I really love the different film simulations available on my Fujifilm X100F. There is one that I like more than the others, and it’s Acros. The contrast, tonality and grain are simply beautiful, and Acros has a true film-like aesthetic.
I know, that’s been said so much that it’s almost cliche, and, besides, not everyone wants a film look. I appreciate the look of film and I like it much more than the digital aesthetic. I grew up on analog photography, I shot tons of 35mm and 120 film, and to me it’s how photography should look. Digital is far more convenient than film, so it can be hard to justify the hassle of film. The best of both worlds would be the convenience of digital with a film aesthetic.
I’ve been trying to get a film look from my digital files for awhile. I’ve used different software options, such as Alien Skin Exposure and Nik Silver Efex, which are both excellent, to achieve the look that I want. The Acros Film Simulation on my Fujifilm X100F is every bit as good (maybe better) as what I would get using either of those editing programs, and I get it straight out of the camera, no editing required.
One aspect of Acros that Fujifilm got especially right is the grain. Digital noise, which is the modern equivalent of film grain, doesn’t match the look of actual silver grain, and the aesthetic of it is far inferior (although X-Trans noise is better looking than most). Adding a layer of faux grain over top of an image can get you closer (and Alien Skin does a better job with this than anyone in my opinion), but it’s still not the same. The “grain” found in my Acros JPEGs more resembles actual film grain than anything else I’ve found in digital photography.
If you were to scan actual film and compare it side-by-side to images captured with the Acros Film Simulation, you’d have a tough time identifying which is film and which is digital. Same thing if you printed from the film and from the digital file, and asked people to identify which is which. The Acros Film Simulation doesn’t look all that digital as it more closely resembles analog.
Images captured with Acros look beautiful. They look nice viewed from a distance and up close, on a computer screen or printed and hung on a wall. Even though the film simulation produces a JPEG file and not RAW, the results are what one would expect to achieve if they post-processed a RAW file. This isn’t typical camera-made JPEG stuff.
Great black-and-white results without hassle is what the Acros Film Simulation delivers. That’s the convenience of digital photography merged with the quality of film photography. I have two different settings, a “standard” Acros and a “push-process” Acros, that I frequently use, and they’re very good. The photographs in this article are examples of both that I’ve captured over the last several weeks.
I remember the “old days” of film photography. It was a slow process. Loading the film, using the entire roll before you could change it, rewinding it by hand, then all of the darkroom work–winding it onto a reel in complete darkness, baths in chemicals and water, drying, printing a contact sheet, then making prints. One print could take hours of work to get right. It wasn’t easy, but that’s the way it was, and the results made it worthwhile. Now, thanks to the X100F and Acros, I can achieve similar results with ease.