Looking for a Fuji Acros Replacement?

If you’re like me, and so many others, your heart is likely to be in the same sad state after learning that Fujifilm is discontinuing its amazingly beautiful Acros 100 film. What’s not to love about Acros 100? Its grain is so fine it leaves you wondering if it’s even really there at all, it has wonderfully rich contrast, and the silky smoothness it provides to skin tones isn’t even fair to the other films. As we sit and romanticize over this gorgeous film stock it’s hard not wonder, what’s next? What film comes close to producing the same kind of fine grain, contrast, and wildly flattering smoothness? Is there anything out there?

Of course there is! 

That’s where this post comes into play. Yes, Across 100 is beautiful. It will be sorely missed, but it’s time to move on. 

We've decided to test five different 100(ish) speed black and white film emulsions from the selection of film we offer here at Pro Photo Connection.

When comparing so many different film stocks it’s hard to know where to begin. Let’s start with Ilford FP4 125. FP4 is in fact a 125 speed film, but since it is a professional BW film grade, and is made by Ilford, I thought adding it to the group wouldn’t be a bad idea. Even though its grain is much more noticeable than the Acros or TMax, we were impressed by its excellent contrast--the blacks are black and the whites are white, and somehow it still retains a lot of detail in the shadows.

Now onto Kentmere 100, often considered a student grade non-professional film stock. Although I personally use Kentmere 400 on a daily basis because of its versatility and rad mid-tones, I was not super impressed with the 100 speed. The grain is definitely noticeable, it’s a little flat and its grey in the highlights compared to its competitors. Although I wouldn’t knock it entirely as it’s not far off from Delta 100 (which is in fact a professional grade film). It may have some minor flaws, but for its low cost I definitely wouldn’t mind having a few rolls in my camera bag for when I’m in a pinch and needing a 100 ISO roll.

Delta 100 is another Ilford film that is also a professional grade film stock. It has great detail and rich contrast, along with a very fine grain. Though it is still not as fine as Acros, it absolutely deserves its spot in second place.

Finally, we’ve come to our top competitor Kodak TMax 100. I honestly wasn’t expecting much from TMax; I personally shoot a lot of Ilford films). Not to say Kodak isn’t amazing, because they are, I just didn’t think Kodak would be top contender. TMax 100 blew my mind! Its grain is SO fine and its contrast, although a bit flat at first, can be adjusted to emulate Acros.

Although every film on this list is a wonderful choice for fine grain, TMax grain is the closest to Acros grain and with a few adjustments (levels, curves) you can get pretty darn close.

So what’s the verdict? If you’re looking for an Acros replacement, TMax is your best bet. Each of the other film stocks, while unique, were simply a little too grainy to be a direct replacement. We love the look of Acros, which is why we chose to find out what film could best replicate it, but just because TMax 100 came in first place in this test doesn’t necessarily mean it needs to be your top 100 speed BW film. The great thing about having so many different varieties of film is that you get to experiment and develop your own “look.” We encourage everyone to go out and shoot anything you can get your hands on. Acros 100 will always have a special place in our heart, but it’s time to move on. TMax 100, I’m coming for ya!                

-Bree

Note* All film negatives were shot with the same camera (Canon A2E), the same lens (Canon 50mm 1.4 USM), at the same shutter speed (1/90th sec), in the same exact lighting conditions, at the same F-Stop, and in the same developer chemicals (Clayton F76+.) It is important to note that different developing chemicals, cameras, and lenses (so on, so fourth) may yield different results.

Jan OldfieldComment