Fujifilm Pro 400H is a color negative film that was first introduced in 2002 (originally named NPH400). It’s a popular print film that has survived the digital era, as Fujifilm continues to manufacture Pro 400H to this very day, while many other films have seen the chopping block. It’s a fine-grain (for ISO 400), natural-color, versatile film that’s especially good for weddings and portraits. I have used it a couple times myself, although not anytime recently. I do remember some of the idiosyncrasies of the film. Interestingly, the “H” in the name stands for “high speed,” which is the designation that Fujifilm gave to all their ISO 400 films.
I’ve tried in the past to create a Pro 400H recipe for Fujifilm X cameras, but I was never happy with the results. In fact, you might recall that I suggested Fujifilm include this as a new film simulation in future cameras. Recently a Fuji X Weekly reader, Mauricio, shared with me his settings for Pro 400H, and he asked my thoughts on it. I was able to try it out and I liked it! His settings were indeed close, although I felt it needed some tweaking to better mimic the film.
Anytime that you are attempting to recreate the look of a certain film with a digital camera, there are variables that make it difficult. How was it shot? How was it developed? Was it printed, and how so? Was it scanned, and how so? Those are common challenges, plus more. With Pro 400H, there is an additional challenge: the film can look much different depending on the light and exposure. There are several distinct looks that can be achieved using the film, and it’s not possible to recreate all of those aesthetics with a film simulation recipe. Despite all of the challenges, I do feel that I was able to create a look that is in the ballpark of the film, thanks to the help of Mauricio.
There were several compromises that I had to make. I tried many different things to get the aesthetics as close as I could. For example, the film is known for cool blueish shadows and a warm pinkish highlights. Split toning is not possible on Fujifilm X cameras. I could get the shadow color cast more accurate but at the expense of the highlight color, or I could get the highlight color cast more accurate but at the expense of the shadow color. The white balance shift that I settled on, which is the same one that was suggested to me in the first place, isn’t spot-on accurate for the shadows or highlights, but it’s a nice middle ground that’s close enough to both to be convincing. What you get is a cool color cast showing through in the shadows and a slight red color cast showing up in the highlights. The light and exposure of an image will change the look of it in a similar fashion to the actual film, although not completely the same. It’s as close as I could get it.
Fujifilm Pro 400H film has a huge latitude in the highlights. You can overexpose it by three stops easily (maybe four) and get a good print. In fact, a lot of people purposefully overexpose the film because the colors turn pastel and the images become more warm and vibrant. The X-Trans III sensor has a lot of dynamic range, but it cannot hold up to a three stop overexposure. I found that DR200 is a good setting in many circumstances, but in high-contrast scenes, DR400 might be a better option. I used DR200 for all of the pictures in this article, but some might have benefited from the higher dynamic range setting. I think in high contrast scenes, in order to prevent clipped highlights, if you aren’t going to select DR400, perhaps set highlights to -1. I debated on whether +2 or +3 is the best setting for shadows. I think a +2.5 option would be most correct, but unfortunately that doesn’t exist. My recommendation would be to use +2 in higher contrast scenes and +3 in lower contrast scenes. I used +3 for all of the photos here.
Another setting that I debated on was color saturation. I settled on +4, which I think is the most correct for simulating slightly overexposed Pro 400H. An argument could be made that +3, +2 and +1 are also correct, depending on how the film was exposed and handled. If you think that +4 is too saturated for your tastes, simply find the color setting that works best for you. Pro 400H is definitely a tough film to make a recipe for. I think these settings are going to be your best bet for achieving a look straight out of camera that mimics the film’s aesthetic. Even though I captured these photographs using an X-T20, this film simulation recipe is compatible with all Fujifilm X-Trans III and IV cameras.
PRO Neg. STD
Dynamic Range: DR200
Noise Reduction: -3
White Balance: Auto, +2 Red & +1 Blue
ISO: Auto up to ISO 6400
Exposure Compensation: +2/3 to +1 (typically)
Example photographs, all straight-out-of-camera JPEGs captured using my Fujifilm X-T20 Fujicolor Pro 400H Film Simulation recipe:
Help Fuji X Weekly
Nobody pays me to write the content found on fujixweekly.com. There's a real cost to operating and maintaining this site, not to mention all the time that I pour into it. If you appreciated this article, please consider making a one-time gift contribution. Thank you!
One of my biggest wishes for future X-series developments would be the implementation of in-camera split-toning, it would really open up a world of possibilities for the film simulations!
Yes, it sure would! I would definitely be on board with that. Seems like something that could be programmed without too much trouble.
Ritchie, the X-T2 can hold only hold 8 presets. Given your growing list of film simulation presets, how do use these in the field? Do you look at expected lighting conditions and “dial” in a few recipes? Do you have a standard set you always keep on camera?
I have a few that are saved in the Q menu (currently Kodachrome II, Velvia, 400H, Scala, Acros Push Process and Tri-X), then if I want to use something special I will add that recipe. Sometimes I will use a different recipe than what I planned. I have most of them memorized, but I’ve had to look a couple of them up while out shooting before.
I like having only a few choices to reduce cognitive load. I think I’ll keep your Ilford HP5 preset and Dramatic Classic Chrome on hand.
One more thing. I think that readers (including myself) would benefit from suggested guidance on when (general lighting conditions) for using each recipe. E.g. because CineStill 800T is colour balanced for tungsten so could be best used for night scenes. What do you think?
The CineStill 800T recipe is a good option for night scenes, but you can also get some interesting results in daylight. It’s fun to see the different recipes used in different conditions. I’ve seen a few people use some recipes in conditions that I probably wouldn’t have used them, and the results were great. I will take your suggestion into consideration for future recipes.
Amazing! I’ve just found your blog and I’m blown away by the quality of your recipes! I’m new to the X-T2 (and Fuji) and I’m wondering how you expose to get these results. I’ve been trying A for both Shutter and ISO but no way to +2/3 exposure compensation as I the image gets overexposed. Could you please explain? Many thanks in advance.
Thanks so much! I typically shoot in aperture priority mode (shutter and ISO set to A), using matrix metering, although sometimes I use spot metering. I will take a test shot and look to see if the exposure compensation is correct or needs to be moved up or down. I hope this helps!
You have an excellent blog my friend. Thank you for sharing your knowledge!
I have an X-T20 and I would like to get results similar to Portra 160 or Portra 400
Can you help me?
I have a Portra 400 recipe, but it’s difficult to get the white balance correct. I have tried Portra 160 several times, and I have been close, but I feel like I never quite get it right. https://fujixweekly.com/2018/05/30/my-fujifilm-x100f-kodak-portra-400-film-simulation-recipe/
Fujifilm sure do know how to respond to the wishes of their customers! I’m new to the Fujifilm system and have been reading up on this blog before my XT-4 arrived. I am happy to report that the XT-4 saves custom white balance settings for custom presets, and highlights/shadows can also be adjusted in .5 increments.
I’m eager to try out some of these recopies when the weather lets up.
Whoa! The X-T4 can do .5 adjustments to Highlight and Shadow?! That’s great! Maybe that will come to other X-Trans IV cameras via firmware, perhaps. One can hope.
It’s true! I’m not sure if they fixed it for older cameras already but you also don’t need to set the custom white balance shift each time. Reading through these recipes before my XT-4 arrived I was not looking forward to having to adjust WB every time I changed simulations; however I was relieved to discover that your recipes can now be be 100% locked in via custom presets.
Thanks for the putting all this info up. I’m loving Fujicolor Pro 400H Overexposed, it looks great no matter how much I over or under expose the shot. And those Fuji greens…. I do love the look of the images from my Canon bodies but the greens compared to the Fuji are practically non existent.
That’s great! My X100V can save white balance shifts but my X-T30 cannot. The half step highlight and shadow adjustments is something I’ve been hoping for. Glad that they’ve gotten around to it. Thank you for the report, and I’m glad that you like the recipe!
I really like playing around with your recipes here.
If you would use this recipe on your x100V would you leave your Chrome effects (both of em) to off?
Same question would be for the cinestill 800t, ektachrome 100SW and ilford hp5 plus. These are some of my favorites but I am not sure if you could make them better on newer models (I’ve got the X-Pro 3).
I don’t know if you gonna do newer versions of them too (If you do that, i would for sure atleast tip you coffee!)
How would you go about in newer cameras? Just like here, or set the chrome effect normal and blue to weak or strong?
On this recipe I would leave them off. I’m working on a revised version of both CineStill 800T and Ektachrome 100SW, although both of those are in the early stages. I’m not sure about HP5 Plus, I will have to add that to my list to look at. I think things like Color Chrome Effect, CCE Blue and Clarity are tools that can make it possible to be more accurate, but not all recipes need them, so it’s tough to say without reviewing them individually. Thanks for the input!
Hi Ritchie, thanks for sharing this great film simulation. I had it setup this morning in my X-Pro2, and I am happy with how this image from the camera worked out! https://www.fujix-forum.com/threads/post-moody-atmospheric-photos-from-any-camera-here.50799/post-1058895
Actually I think this photo better shows the characteristics of your film simulation (which is becoming a favorite of mine): https://www.fujix-forum.com/threads/ritchie-roeschs-custom-film-simulations.101913/post-1058931
Great! Thanks for sharing!
Awesome! I’m glad to hear it!