Fuji shifts into high-speed

Fuji Photo Film Canada is hoping to capture a healthy share of the professional photography market for high-speed film with the launch of its newest entry in the segment.Late last month, the Mississauga-based company began rolling out Fujicolour Super G 800...

Fuji Photo Film Canada is hoping to capture a healthy share of the professional photography market for high-speed film with the launch of its newest entry in the segment.

Late last month, the Mississauga-based company began rolling out Fujicolour Super G 800 film to photo journalists, sports photographers and other photo buffs.

According to Fuji, the 35-millimetre Super G 800 boasts a significant technological improvement over existing high speed films.

John Kelly, Fuji’s assistant manager of marketing, professional film, says the film can capture everything from a Juan Guzman fastball to a high-speed car chase all without sacrificing resolution and producing the grainy images which are typically associated with fast-moving subjects.

Before the introduction of the Super G 800 premium color negative film, industry standard film speeds have been 100, 200, 400, 1,000, and 1,600.

While the launch of the new film is big news in the professional film segment, it represents only one of many initiatives Fuji has planned for 1994 in the broader professional photography category.

Kelly says Fuji will target a number of different segments within the category, although apart from admitting it will introduce new film products, he declines to be specific about product lines.

Fuji kicked off its aggressive new approach to the professional market last fall with the rollout of a new professional film for instant cameras, called Instant Film.

Kelly says Instant Film is targetted to commercial photographers who use the film to check lighting conditions for catalogue work, and other advertising photography.

‘At the consumer level, we’re well-established,’ he says.

‘However, at the professional level, we are still very undeveloped. We have a number of individual professional products, but haven’t really been communicating the message that we have a full line of products for professional photographers.’

‘What will be new in our approach is communicating to professionals that we have a whole line of quality products for them.’

Fuji is not alone.

agfa, a division of Miles Canada and a much smaller player in the Canadian market, will also be battling it out this year for a bigger piece of the professional film market pie.

‘The consumer side is stagnating, and we expect the next area of growth to be in the commercial market,’ says Bruce Chalmers, national sales manager, professional photo division, at agfa

Like Fuji, the company also has a number of product launches in the works, with plans to bolster its overall category market share.

For example, the Optima 400 color negative film is just one product scheduled to be introduced at the Photo Marketing Association in Atlanta this month.

According to an industry source,the professional film market comprises about $150 million in annual sales, which is about 15% 20% of the overall film market.

The overall market is thought to be growing at a rate of 3% to 5% yearly.

Kodak Canada, while still the market leader in professional and consumer photography, has been losing market share to Fuji, which ranks second in overall market share, according to Kelly.

Ilford Anitec (Canada), agfa and Konica Canada are much smaller players, which, together, account for about 15% of the professional market.

Lena Capobianco, communications director for professional imaging at Kodak, says while the company is still feeling the effects of the recession, it will continue to lead the market in the future.

‘We are aware of Fuji’s efforts to move further into the market,’ Capobianco says. ‘But we set the industry standards and we know how to communicate our advantages to the professional market.’

Capobianco says technological advances – such as providing the first cd-rom for storing images digitally – will ensure Kodak’s continued position as the market leader.

Fuji’s Super G 800 is currently being advertised in trade magazines such as Photo Dealer News, Photo Life and Photo Selection in Quebec.

Kelly says the company has also begun a direct mail ad program, and has launched a photography contest to encourage product sampling.

The film is able to produce better results in both low-light and fast-action situations because its extra sensitivity to light allows photographers to use faster shutter speeds to ‘freeze’ its subjects.

The Super G 800 was introduced into the Japanese market in April 1993 and was rolled out across the u.s. in September.