My Fujifilm X-T30 Dramatic Monochrome Film Simulation Recipe


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The Obscurity of Light – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – “Dramatic Monochrome”

A couple of weeks ago when I was discussing the possibility of Fujifilm creating a black-and-white only camera, something that I came to learn by accident is that the Monochrome film simulation is pretty darn good. On X-Trans III & IV cameras, I have always used the Acros film simulation because it is beautiful and has a film-like quality to it. But there’s something about the “old-fashioned” Monochrome film simulation that’s nice, as well. I had never made a Monochrome film simulation for X-Trans III & IV cameras, so I set out to do so.

At first I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted, so I decided that the best starting point was to revisit the iconic photographs of the great photographers from the 1930’s, ’40’s and ’50’s—people like Ansel Adams, Andre Kertesz, Robert Doisneau, Weegee, Pual Strand, Elliott Erwitt and others. I realized that I was drawn to the high-contrast pictures that these photographers had created. I wanted to create a recipe that mimics that look in-camera. These settings, which I call Dramatic Monochrome, are what resulted from that.

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Francis Peak – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – “Dramatic Monochrome”

For those with X-Trans III sensors, which don’t have the Color Chrome Effect, you’ll get similar results, but it won’t be quite as dramatic. The difference isn’t very big, so don’t worry about it. I would consider using +2 for Sharpness on X-Trans III instead of +3. On X-Trans IV cameras, you could give a +1 toning for a subtle warm look, such as what would happen if you gave a print a quick Sepia bath.

Monochrome (+Y, +R, +G)
Dynamic Range: DR200
Highlight: +4
Shadow: +4
Grain: Strong
Color Chrome Effect: Strong
Toning: 0
Sharpening: +3
Noise Reduction: -4
Exposure Compensation: 0 to +2/3 (typically)
ISO: Auto up to ISO 12800

Example photographs, all camera-made JPEGs using this Dramatic Monochrome film simulation recipe on my Fujifilm X-T30:

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Chair Near a Window – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Shadow Ware – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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White Pillow – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Santa Fe – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Young Piano Hands – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Clouds Above The Snow – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Wasatch Ridge Winter – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Lines In The Snow – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Clouds Over The Frosted Hill – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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White Beyond Dark – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Frosted – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Darkness & Light – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

See also: Film Simulation Recipes

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52 comments

  1. Manten|Photography (@mantenphoto) · February 12, 2020

    Love it, now need to figure this out on the X100F 🙂

    Like

    • Ritchie Roesch · February 12, 2020

      You can! You just don’t have Color Chrome Effect, but that’s not a big deal.

      Like

  2. Steve · February 12, 2020

    Working hard to keep my custom film settings the same on the xt2 and the. X200f , looking forward to seeing how this one matches up.
    Great work, thank you

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thomas Schwab · February 12, 2020

    Great blackandwhite recipe! Xpro3: added FX Blue Strong and Clarity +3.
    LG Thomas

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Tae Kim · February 12, 2020

    Saw monochrome images with the X-Pro1 with the color filter removed and the images were gorgeous compared to a typical B&W/Mono picture. Theres something to be said for monochrome cameras with raw monochrome sensors.

    Like

    • Ritchie Roesch · February 12, 2020

      Yes, and even though it’s not for “most people” I do believe that there’s enough interest that Fujifilm should do it.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Mark Crable · February 15, 2020

    Thanks for another B&W recipe to try out! Can’t wait to “load this film” into my X-T3 and give it a go.

    Like

  6. hugoac7 · February 27, 2020

    Thanks for your work! Do the xt30 recipes work on the xt3?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · February 28, 2020

      They absolutely do!

      Like

      • hugoac7 · February 28, 2020

        Nice. Does your portra 400 recipe for the x100f work on the xt3 as well?

        Like

      • Ritchie Roesch · February 28, 2020

        Yeah, it’s completely compatible.

        Liked by 1 person

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  12. Roger Solbakke · June 9, 2020

    Thanks for a very interesting and useful blog Ritchie. And regarding this Dramatic Monochrome simulation, I used it for a day on my X100V and find it very interesting for strong and dramatic contrast. I’ve tried many of your recipes by the way, and several have become my favorites. They have also inspired me to try out my own ideas and I especially like a B&W with “old looks”. If you wish, I will be happy to send it to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Wendy Laenen · June 16, 2020

    Top top top
    J’ai mis 7 “recettes” dont la noir et blanc “dramatique”. Elle est géniale pour les portraits 👍

    Liked by 1 person

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  15. Charles Z. Smith · November 2, 2020

    Thanks for these! When you say “(+Y, +R, +G)” is that just monochrome standard, or are you saying to pick whatever we like best, or is there a way to select all three? I can only select one at a time on the X-T4.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · November 2, 2020

      Pick which one you like best. They’re meant to mimic the use of color filters on b&w film (yellow, red or green), or use the standard film simulation if you don’t want to mimic using a filter.

      Like

      • Charles Smith · November 8, 2020

        Got it, thanks!

        Liked by 1 person

  16. Drako · November 10, 2020

    Loving this look, really reminds me of Ferrania P30

    Liked by 1 person

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  19. TheTakingLens · April 9, 2021

    Setting up a few custom sims on my XT-3. Looking for a ‘standard’ bw and a ‘moody’ bw. I’m wondering how this recipe would translate to using AcrosR as the base, instead of standard mono, since Acros seems to be an attempt at moody/gritty already? I’m going to give it a try but turn the grain effect to weak or off since Acros has some grain baked in. Wondering if you have any thoughts on that or other suggestion for modifying? Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · April 12, 2021

      Believe it or not, I think Acros is actually going to be slightly less moody. Acros has more subtle toning gradations. It’s a more of a “beautiful” b&w if that makes any sense. Definitely give it a try, though. I’d still add some Grain if you are going for moody. I’d also shoot at higher ISOs if you can, that will help add to the grittiness.

      Liked by 1 person

      • TheTakingLens · April 12, 2021

        Thanks. I’ll have to plug it in both ways and compare results. I set up a ‘standard’ BW sim and a “dramatic’ BW sim based on the recipes here yesterday and took a few test shots and I really like both. The dramatic recipe is pretty stark compared to standard, so not sure Id be able to tell the diff between the base sim modes.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ritchie Roesch · April 12, 2021

        Awesome! If you post the pictures somewhere, be sure to share.

        Liked by 1 person

      • TheTakingLens · April 12, 2021

        Will do, was planning a short blog post about how I use sims alongside shooting raw for processing, with a link back here for the recipes! I shoot mostly BW for my own work, but set up some color recipes for other stuff/family images which I tend to use the jpgs for. Really excited to play with the recipes I added from your site. Thanks for all the hard work!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ritchie Roesch · April 13, 2021

        I appreciate your kindness!

        Like

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  24. Joas · July 27

    In regards the Dramatic Monochrome, I see the recipe but how about the other settings?
    Monochrome (+Y, +R, +G) -> DOES IT MEANS THAT I HAVE TO CHOOSE ONE OF THEM, RIGHT?
    Dynamic Range: DR200
    MONOCHROMATIC COLOR? WC ? MG ?
    COLOUR CHROME FX BLUE?
    Highlight: +4
    Shadow: +4
    Grain: Strong LARGE OR SMALL?
    WHITE BALANCE?
    D RANGE PRIORITY?
    CLARITY?
    Color Chrome Effect: Strong
    Toning: 0
    Sharpening: +3
    Noise Reduction: -4
    Exposure Compensation: 0 to +2/3 (typically)
    ISO: Auto up to ISO 12800

    Like

    • Ritchie Roesch · July 27

      Lots of questions here.

      You can select Monochrome, Monochrome+Y, Monochrome+R, or Monochrome+G, whichever is most appropriate. This article might help:
      https://fujixweekly.com/2019/03/07/understanding-acros-film-simulation-options-on-fujifilm-x-cameras/
      The article says “Acros” but just replace that word with “Monochrome” and it’s the same thing.

      No Monochromatic Color, unless you want it. The recipe doesn’t call for it.

      Color Chrome FX Blue Off. This recipe was created before CCEB was even a thing, and the X-T3 & X-T30 camera, which this recipe was made for, doesn’t have it. Also, CCEB doesn’t affect B&W.

      You’ll have to decide yourself if you want the Grain size to be Large or Small. The X-T3 & X-T30, which this recipe is intended for, doesn’t have Grain size as an option.

      The White Balance I use is Auto 0R & 0B, but feel free to try something else if you’d like. You might find this article interesting:
      https://fujixweekly.com/2018/11/12/using-white-balance-shift-for-black-white/

      D-Range Priority Off. You cannot use DR200 and D-Range Priority simultaneously—it’s one or the other—so if a recipe calls for a specific DR setting, it automatically means that D-Range Priority is Off, and if a recipe calls for D-Range Priority, the DR setting will automatically be disabled. It’s not possible to select both.

      Set Clarity to 0 (unless you want to try something like +2 or -2). The X-T3 and X-T30, which this recipe was intended for, doesn’t have Clarity as an option.

      You can use X-Trans III and X-T3/X-T30 recipes on your “newer” X-Trans IV cameras, but things like Monochromatic Color, Color Chrome FX Blue (plus Color Chrome Effect for X-Trans III recipes), Clarity, and Grain size, are all settings that will have to be resolved.

      I hope this helps!

      Like

  25. Amel Hadzic · September 8

    How come i cant se any grain in your images. You use grain effect Strong and iso up to 12800 and still i cant se grain in those images in this article.

    Like

    • Ritchie Roesch · September 8

      Here’s the full-res file of the first image so that you can see the grain:

      Like

      • Amel Hadzic · September 8

        Cool thank you Ritchie. I aprishiate that. The grain is nice. I feel like grain gives images some kind of life or a more organic feeling to it.

        Liked by 1 person

  26. Alex · 11 Days Ago

    Hello. What is the fundamental difference between monochrome and across? And does monochrome work as well with high iso (grain) as across?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · 9 Days Ago

      Monochrome is Provia with the color removed, while Acros was designed specifically as a B&W film sim. Acros has a little more gentle gradations, and is slightly less punchy than Monochrome. Acros has built-in Grain that’s a little different than the faux Grain options. I think Acros does do better at ultra-high ISOs (12800 and above) than Monochrome. I hope this helps!

      Like

      • Alexander · 9 Days Ago

        I was able to establish that Acros has a slightly stronger micro contrast, which may make it seem sharper. Perhaps this is a consequence of the built-in grain.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ritchie Roesch · 8 Days Ago

        More micro-contrast but less overall contrast, if that makes sense. Not sure if that is a byproduct of the built-in grain or not.

        Like

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