15 Film Simulation Recipes So Far This Year

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As I was reviewing my different film simulation recipes, I realized that I have posted 15 different ones so far in 2019. That’s quite a few! I bet I made close to 25 more that were “failures” and were never shared on this blog. I have several in the works right now, and I hope at least a couple of them will be successful, and will be published in the coming weeks or months. I also have some crazy ideas that I want to try out, and maybe a recipe or two will come out of that, we’ll see.

More of these recipes are based on Classic Chrome than any other film simulation, which is probably because it’s my favorite for color. Eterna and Acros, which are also great film simulations, are tied for second most. PRO Neg. Std has two. Provia, Velvia and Astia have one each, while PRO Neg. Hi doesn’t have any. I would like to do more with those, so maybe I will come up with something soon. I also think Acros is overdue for a new recipe.

Which of these film simulation recipes that I posted in 2019 are your favorite? Which one would you like to try but have yet to do so? Let me know in the comments!

Provia:

Agfa Optima

Velvia:

Velvia

Astia:

Redscale

Classic Chrome:

Kodachrome 64
Kodacolor
Vintage Urban
Faded Color

PRO Neg. Std:

Warm Contrast
Fujicolor Industrial

Eterna:

Eterna
Expired Eterna
Low Contrast Eterna

Acros:

Agfa APX 400
Ilford HP5 Plus Push-Process
Faded Monochrome

Budget Fujifilm Kit Recommendation

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Back in June I wrote a post explaining how one could buy an elaborate kit, complete with multiple bodies and lenses, for $3,000 or less, the exact price depending on the body and lens combinations. The deals that made it possible have since expired, so I thought I would suggest a budget kit based on what’s on sale now. This one won’t be as grand as the previous, but if you are trying to assemble an “ultimate kit” on a low-budget, this might help you achieve that.

The first thing that I’d start with is a Fujifilm X-T20 bundled with the excellent 18-55mm f/2.8-4 lens, which will set you back $1,000. This is a great mid-level body to build the rest of the kit around, and bundling the lens saves some cash. For a second camera body, I would buy an X-E3, which right now is $600. This would give you two quality camera bodies and a good zoom, and you would have spent only $1,600. Assuming that we’re staying within the same $3,000 budget, you now have $1,400 to spend on lenses.

If you visit my Fujifilm Gear page, you can see the different lens options and what they’re currently going for on Amazon. There’s a lot of potential combinations that would fit within the budget, and what would work best for you will depend on your photography needs. That being said, I will lay out a few ideas for how to spend that $1,400. You could buy the 10-24mm f/4 or the 16mm f/1.4 or the 56mm f/1.2 for $1,000, and the 35mm f/2 or the 50mm-230mm f/4.5-6.7 for $400. You could buy the 14mm f/2.8 or the 23mm f/1.4 or the 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 for $900, and the 23mm f/2 or the 27mm f/2.8 or the 50mm f/2 for $450. Or, if you want the most lenses, maybe choose your favorite three from the $400-$450 options listed above. I really like the 90mm f/2, which costs $950, and the 35mm f/2, which are two lenses that I use regularly, but you could choose any one of the $400-$450 lenses to pair with the 90mm. There are a lot of potential combinations!

For $3,000 or less, you could have two solid camera bodies, and three or possibly four quality lenses. That’s really quite amazing! While these current deals aren’t nearly as blockbuster as the ones in June were, there’s still a lot of value available for your money. You could still assemble an very solid Fujifilm kit for a reasonable price.

New: Fujifilm X-A7

Fujifilm just announced the upcoming X-A7 mirrorless camera. The X-A line is a low-budget series that uses a Bayer sensor instead of X-Trans, and is comparable to the X-T100. Honestly, I’m not sure why Fujifilm has both camera series, as they are a lot alike, aside from body design. The X-A7 has some advantages over the X-T100, but I’m sure whenever the X-T110 is announced, it will include these same upgrades.

I used to have a Fujifilm X-A3, which is two model-years removed from the X-A7 (there’s no X-A4 or X-A6). It was a surprisingly good camera. The user experience and image quality reminded me a lot of X-Trans I or maybe X-Trans II sensor cameras. The big improvements that have come since then are in regards to speed (including auto-focus, which is supposed to be pretty fantastic on the X-A7), video quality, and the new “vari-angle” rear LCD screen. I doubt there is much difference in image quality between the X-A3 and X-A7, but it seems like the rest of the camera has come pretty far. It might be like X-Trans II+ (if such a thing existed), but not quite equivalent to X-Trans III, yet with an LCD that is unlike anything found on any X-Trans camera, and better auto-focus, too.

I know that a lot of people are less than thrilled by this camera, not because it’s bad, but because it’s not X-Trans and it’s mostly made of plastic. The X-A line is not particularly popular in America, but in some parts of the world it’s extremely popular. I’ve heard that in a couple southeastern Asia countries, the X-A line sells better than Nikon, Canon and Sony combined. I have no idea if that’s true, but I do know that the camera will sell well internationally, and will get only minor-league attention in the American market, which is too bad because it’s a good camera.

For those looking for an inexpensive second (or third, perhaps) camera body, the X-A7 (or even the X-A5 or X-A3) is a good choice. This could also be a great option for those buying their first interchangeable-lens camera. I can see the X-A7 as a stepping stone into the Fujifilm system for someone with limited funds. If you are trying to decide between the X-A7 and X-T100, if video or super fast auto-focus are important, I would recommend the X-A7, but if not, the X-T100 is basically the same thing, and $100 cheaper right now (while the X-A5 is $200 cheaper and the X-A3 $285 cheaper). My personal recommendation is to get the X-T20 combined with the 16-50mm lens, which is only $100 more right now, and is a better overall camera. The X-A7, with an MSRP of $700 combined with the kit 15-45mm lens, is available today for pre-order (click here to pre-order from Amazon), and will be shipped on October 24th. Be sure to check out the “mint green” version, which you will either love or hate (probably hate). While I’m sure most of you are yawning at this announcement, a few of you are likely going to buy this camera and will enjoy it over the next few years.

Below are some photographs that I captured with a Fujifilm X-A3:

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Endless Canyons – Dead Horse Point SP, UT – Fujifilm X-A3

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La Sal Through Mesa Arch – Canyonlands NP, UT – Fujifilm X-A3

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Hoodoos – Canyonlands NP, UT – Fujifilm X-A3

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Feeling Blue – Canyonlands NP, UT – Fujifilm X-A3

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Kids At The Salt Flats – Wendover, UT – Fujifilm X-A3

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Salty Tree Stumps – Wendover, UT – Fujifilm X-A3

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Salt Water Reflection – Wendover, UT – Fujifilm X-A3

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Stark Salt – Wendover, UT – Fujifilm X-A3

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Canyon River – Grand Canyon NP, AZ – Fujifilm X-A3

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Maricopa Point – Grand Canyon NP, AZ – Fujifilm X-A3

Photoessay: Suburban B&W

You might think that you live in a boring neighborhood. You might think that there’s nothing of interest to photograph where you live. You might think that you have to go somewhere to capture good photographs. This photoessay is intended to debunk that. I live in a boring suburban neighborhood, but I have still made an effort to walk the sidewalks with my camera in hand. This particular collection features some recent black-and-white images that I’ve captured in the neighborhood where I live. In the past I’ve shared many pictures captured in my neighborhood, so these are far from the only ones or even the best ones–they are simply ones that I have not posted on here before. I hope that this article inspires you to get out into your local area with your camera, even if “getting out” is just a short trip around the block.

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Home Peek – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Shadow Maker – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Suburban Pathway – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Monochrome American Flag – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Pentax Auto-Takumar 55mm f/2.2

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Geo – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Pentax Auto-Takumar 55mm f/2.2

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House Work – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Alaskan Engineer – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Ray Above The Roof – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 90mm

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Hill Behind The Homes – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Curious Cow – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Grey Fence – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

Fujifilm X-Pro3 Thoughts

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The upcoming X-Pro3 hasn’t been officially announced by Fujifilm, but aspects about the camera have been leaked, and it’s creating quite a stir. Word on the street is that sometime next month Fujifilm will make the official announcement and we’ll know all about the X-Pro3, but in the meantime we have only little glimpses of it, yet a picture of what this new iteration will be is becoming more clear, and more controversial.

Firstly, as has been widely reported across the web, the X-Pro3 will have an unusual rear screen. The X-Pro2 has a flat, non-flipping and non-touch LCD. The new version will have a flip screen, but mounted backwards. When up, you will see the black backside of the screen. To view the LCD, you will have to flip it down. When up, there will be some sort of mini screen that will display the film simulation and perhaps other information. The idea, I believe, is to literally hide the LCD from the user when in use, so that the photographer uses the viewfinder. You can flip the screen down 90° to shoot from the waist, or 180° to review your pictures. It’s highly unusual, and I imagine that most people won’t like it, but if you are looking for a film-camera-like experience, this could help replicate that a little more closely.

Another thing that will be different on the X-Pro3, according to FujiRumors, is it will not have a D-Pad. I’m a little surprised, as I think having both a focus-joystick and D-Pad is a premium feature, something that should absolutely be included on premium cameras. On the less-than-premium models, the D-Pad is removed in favor of touch-screen controls, which works well enough. My concern on the X-Pro3, when you make the touch screen less convenient by mounting it backwards, you should not make the use of it integral to the operating of the camera. The D-Pad solves that, so I’m curious how this is going to work on the new camera since Fujifilm removed it.

What I believe Fujifilm is attempting to do with the X-Pro3 is further separate it from the X-T3. The X-Pro2 and X-T2 are a lot alike, with the main difference being the body shape (SLR vs. rangefinder). Yes, the X-Pro2 has some things, such as the hybrid viewfinder, that the X-T2 doesn’t, and the X-T2 has some things, such as the rear tilt-screen, that the X-Pro2 doesn’t. But in reality they are 95% the same camera. The X-T2 is perhaps very slightly superior technically, while the X-Pro2 is, in my opinion, superior aesthetically, although some might disagree with both of those points. I think Fujifilm’s research shows that many of those who purchased an X-Pro1 or X-Pro2 did so because the camera reminds them of classic 35mm rangefinders, so Fujifilm is using that information to slightly alter the design to enhance that impression. While internally the X-Pro3 and X-T3 will be nearly identical, the shooting experience of the two cameras will be significantly different, and that’s what will separate the two models from each other. What camera you choose will depend on the experience that you desire. My guess is that most will choose the X-T3.

I can see a few possible scenarios regarding the X-Pro3. People might love the changes, find the backwards screen to be revolutionary, and the camera sells even better than previous models. Alternatively, it might be a total flop, as the design choices leave people confused and frustrated, and this might be the last of the X-Pro line, or perhaps an X-Pro3s is released next year with a normal flip screen. Most likely, a dedicated group loves the design while others don’t “get it” and buy a different camera instead, and the camera does about as well as previous versions have done. I suspect that the X-Pro3 will get plenty of attention, unfortunately much of it will be at least somewhat negative, and it won’t receive the high praise of the X-T3. But I also suspect that it will quietly have a cult following and do surprisingly well for itself. I know that I would gladly give it a chance, although budget constraints will likely prevent that from happening anytime soon. It will be interesting to see the final product and observe how well it does in the marketplace, and that time will come pretty quickly.

Fujifilm Gear

Fujifilm GearThere’s a new page that I created on Fuji X Weekly called Fujifilm Gear. The intention of this new page is to make it more convenient to find camera and lens reviews, recommendations, and links to buy. Up until this point it has been difficult to find that information because you had to dig for it. The articles were on this blog, but you might have been unaware of their existence, or missed them when they were new, or didn’t know how to locate them. Now it’s all in one easy-to-find place, which should improve the Fuji X Weekly experience, at least a little.

I hope to expand the page, adding more articles as I write them. As best as I can I will keep the links accurate so that you can see what gear is on sale, which will hopefully make bargain hunting a tad easier for you. I’m hoping that this will be a good resource, and it will be a page that you’ll return to often.

To get to Fujifilm Gear, simply click on the three bars (the “hamburger menu”) at the top-left of this page. Once there, I recommend bookmarking the page so that you can easily find it whenever you might want to access it. You can also follow Fuji X Weekly, if you haven’t already done so. When you are at the top of this page, click “follow” on the bottom-right. Oh, and don’t forget to look me up on Instragram: @fujixweekly.

My New Fujifilm Camera

I bought a new camera. By “new” I mean new-to-me, as it was in fact a used camera. It’s a few years old, but in decent shape, and functions well. I’m not going to disclose the model just yet, as I’m going to let it be a surprise a little further down this article. I will give you some clues: this is a 16-megapixel fixed-lens Fujifilm camera. Any guesses?

Let’s take a look at some straight-out-of-camera JPEGs from this camera, and then I will reveal what it is.

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Red Trike – South Weber, UT

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Leaves By The Shed – South Weber, UT

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Flower Jungle – South Weber, UT

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Green Summer Leaf – South Weber, UT

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Dead Rose – South Weber, UT

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Factory Authorized Service – Ogden, UT

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Mary Wants You To Buy Some Books – Ogden, UT

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Suburban Fence Monochrome – South Weber, UT

What camera do you think captured these pictures?

My new 16-megapixel fixed-lens Fujifilm camera is…

…an AX350. You’re likely saying to yourself right now, “An AX what?!” The Fujifilm AX350 is an eight-year-old low-budget pocket point-and-shoot zoom camera. It came out around the same time as the original X100. It has a tiny sensor, and really is a point-and-shoot with very few manual controls. It has three film simulations: Standard, which reminds me more of Astia than Provia, Chrome, which is a lot like Classic Chrome but predates it by a few years, and B&W. Changing the film simulation is pretty much all you can do on this camera, besides zooming in and out and activating macro mode.

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I was surprised by the image quality. When the ISO is low (ISO 200 and lower, roughly), and just as long as the highlights aren’t too bright, it produces very lovely pictures. The lens seems to perform worst when at the widest or most telephoto ends, but it does well when in-between. It has a narrow window, but when things line up correctly, this camera creates pictures that you’d never guess came from an eight-year-old low-budget point-and-shoot. On the flip side, when things don’t line up, the pictures are just as you’d expect them to be.

A couple of weeks ago I purchased a box of assorted film and digital cameras for under $40. I had no idea if any of it worked, but I thought it was worth the risk. This Fujifilm AX350 was among the cameras in the box. I tried it out just to see if it worked, and I was shocked when I reviewed the pictures! I’m glad that I didn’t pay a whole lot of money for this camera, but I think I might keep it around for a little while, as it seems to have a purpose, and can potentially fulfill a tiny niche role in my bag. I wouldn’t go out looking for one of these cameras to buy, but if someone is trying to give you one, maybe accept the offer. It is a capable photographic tool, even if just barely, in the hands of a skilled photographer.

The Ray Manley Photo Challenge

In 1939, Ray Manley, who was at the time a broke college student in northern Arizona, made a decision that would change the course of his life. Ray decided that he wanted to be published in Arizona Highways magazine, so he purchased 10 frames of Kodachrome. During that era, Kodachrome was not cheap, and Ray could barely afford those 10 frames. He had some prior experience shooting black-and-white film, but not much. Color photography was completely new to him, and he’d never used Kodachrome before. Still, Ray was determined, and he set out to make the most of those 10 exposures. Three of those Kodachromes would be printed on the cover of Arizona Highways during the 1940’s. And it was those three pictures that helped Ray launch a successful photography career, which included publication in National GeographicSaturday Evening PostPopular Science, as well as several books that featured his pictures.

The Ray Manley Challenge is to capture 10 exposures and only 10 exposures, attempting to get a minimum of three good pictures out of it. The intention of this is to train yourself to slow down and really think about what you are doing. It’s about being very deliberate and making every exposure count. Ray had only 10 exposures because that’s all he could afford, and it’s incredible what he did with it. You have unlimited exposures, yet, I know for myself, meaningful pictures are only captured sparingly. This photo challenge is a good way to refine your photography skills, and increase the odds of capturing something good.

I had considered using my Vintage Kodachrome recipe to really mimic what Ray was up against, but decided instead to use any settings that I felt would best fit the scene. I might try this again and use only Vintage Kodachrome, although I’m not really sure right now if I’ll do that. You can choose to do so for an added challenge, or use whatever settings you feel is best. It’s really up to you how you want to tackle this challenge, as the only real rule is that once you’ve made 10 exposures, you are done.

Here are my results:

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Frame 1: Mt Wolverine Reflected In Silver Lake – Brighton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm f/2 – 0.7 Seconds, f/11, ISO 160

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Frame 2: Flowing Creek – Brighton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm f/2 – 0.4 Seconds, f/11, ISO 320

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Frame 4: Big Cottonwood Creek – Big Cottonwood Canyon, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm f/2 – 1/5, f/13, ISO 160

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Frame 5: Flowing River Monochrome – Big Cottonwood Canyon, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm f/2 – 0.3 Seconds, f/11, ISO 160

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Frame 10: Hidden Falls – Big Cottonwood Canyon, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm f/2 – 2 Seconds, f/13, ISO 160

How did I do? I would say mediocre.

In the first exposure there’s that bright stump on the top-left that I really didn’t want to include in the frame. Unfortunately, there was a bridal photo shoot going on just out of the right side of the frame, and I had to pick between including people in the shot or the stump. I chose the stump. Otherwise, I like that picture. I felt like I did a good job of taking my time and creating the best picture that I could with what was there, and I think this is my second favorite frame from this challenge.

The second frame is a well executed photo of a rather bland scene. I feel that there probably wasn’t a better picture that I could have created at that spot, but perhaps I shouldn’t have made an image at all, and saved the exposure for a different location.

Frame three was identical to frame four other than I didn’t get one setting right, so I made another exposure. If I had taken my time just a little more I wouldn’t have made that mistake. Frame four is a good picture and probably my third favorite from this challenge.

The fifth frame is alright. I don’t think I composed it particularly well. I put the tripod with the camera on it in the river, which was a risk. At this point the light that I wanted was quickly disappearing, and I wasn’t taking my time like I should have been.

Exposures six, seven, eight and nine were all failures. I was going too fast. I should have stopped and really soaked in the scene and worried less about the disappearing good light and saved those frames for another time. This was the lesson that I needed to learn.

For the final frame, I made sure that I got it right. I slowed myself down and really thought about how I wanted the picture to look. I moved the tripod a couple of times to refine the composition. This is my favorite exposure of the 10 that I made.

On the drive home, just a little ways down the road from where I exposed the 10th frame, I saw what I thought would have been a great picture. I stopped the car and looked at the scene, but I left the camera in the bag. If I hadn’t wasted several of my exposures, I could have captured this place. I got back on the road and stuck with my restriction.

This project didn’t go quite as well as I had hoped, but it was a great photographic exercise that proved to be valuable. I learned much. I intend to do it again soon, and I invite you to join me in completing the Ray Manley Photo Challenge.