Fujifilm Noir

Photographer Omar Gonzales made a video about turning your Fujifilm X camera into the Fujifilm Noir, a dedicated black-and-white camera. This post will make much more sense if you watch the video first, so take a moment to do that right now if you haven’t already done so.

Did you watch it? Don’t read anything below until the video is finished!

Done? Okay, let’s move on.

I made my own Fujifilm Noir camera using my X-T30. I have the silver version, so gaffer tape didn’t make a whole lot of sense for the new label that I wanted to attach to the front. I asked my daughter to create something using paper and pencils that might better match the camera. For those wondering, these labels are available for $25 each (only kidding, of course). And, yes, gluing a paper label to a camera is much less heart-stopping than sandpapering a camera.

The Fujifilm Noir camera.

My Fujifilm Noir is an X-T30 with an Asahi Super-Takumar 55mm f/2 attached to the front. I screwed an 1/2 Black Pro Mist filter to the lens (not pictured, sorry) to further enhance the film-like aesthetic. I shot the camera in manual mode using a black-and-white film simulation recipe that I created just for this project. What’s the film simulation recipe? Well, you’ll find it below!

Acros+G
Dynamic Range: DR200
Highlight: +4
Shadow: +1
Grain: Strong
Color Chrome Effect: Off
Toning: 0
Sharpening: -4
Noise Reduction: -4

White Balance: 2500K, +9 Red & +9 Blue
Exposure Compensation: -2/3 to +2/3 (typically)
ISO 3200

This film simulation recipe was actually an experiment (from when I was creating my B&W IR recipe) that I didn’t love, but I thought it was good enough to use here. I won’t make it an official recipe, this is simply a bonus for you. Feel free to use it in your own photography, as it’s compatible with all X-Trans III and IV cameras. It reminds me of Kodak BW400CN, a black-and-white film that used the C-41 (color) development process. These settings weren’t intended to look like that film, but that’s what it reminds me of.

Kodak BW400CN was not likely ever a popular choice for Noir photography. Noir is French for Black, and Noir photographs are often dark and moody, inspired by 1940’s through 1960’s monochrome crime movies. This recipe isn’t especially Noir, but I used it anyway. There are probably ten different film simulation recipes that are more appropriate for Noir than this one.

I didn’t follow all of Omar’s rules. I shot RAW+JPEG, but only because I used a 2GB memory card, which has enough space for 27 exposures. On a 24-exposure roll of film, you could typically get 25 or 26 frames on it if you were careful. 27 exposures was possible but not commonly achieved (outside of disposable cameras). To make this more of a film-like experience, I used the 2GB SD Card to limit myself to a maximum of 27 exposures, and I refused to change the “film” (recipe) until I had exposed the card. I deleted the RAW files and just used the out-of-camera JPEGs. I got the memory card idea from Fuji X Weekly reader Josh Gagnon.

All of the pictures below were from the first 27-exposure “roll” of “Kodak BW400CN” that I captured using my “Fujifilm Noir” camera. Yes, they’re all camera-made JPEGs, unedited except for some minor cropping here and there.

Smile – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm Noir
Lamp Top – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm Noir
Girl, Drawing – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm Noir
Tortilla Flour – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm Noir
Drink – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm Noir
Top Ten – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm Noir
Building Stack – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm Noir
Building Tree – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm Noir
The Nature of Structure – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm Noir
Campus Skateboarder – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm Noir
One of You – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm Noir
$5 Pizza Bus – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm Noir
Fallen Tree at the Capital – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm Noir
Fallen Tree – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm Noir
Tree & Stormy Mountain – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm Noir

Not bad for one “roll” of “film” on my “Noir” camera, right?

Now the ball is in your court! Turn your Fujifilm X camera into a Fujifilm Noir camera and shoot some black-and-white pictures with it! I don’t have any specific rules, but try to give yourself some limitations because limitations improve art. I enjoyed the 2GB card thing. Share with me your Noir pictures using #fujixweekly on Instagram. Let me know in the comments if you like this project and what you think of this “Kodak BW400CN” film simulation recipe!

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20 comments

  1. Scott · September 9

    Yep, the pictures are fine, but the tones really are what I remember getting from Kodak BW400CN.
    Kind of light gray on dark gray. (Not a criticism, just an observation.) Since it was C-41, there was nothing you could do in development to change the tonality.
    I’m working on one that approximates classic Tri-X at 400. Getting close, but not there yet.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Scott · September 9

      Oops.
      I’ve been here before, but somehow missed your Tri-X recipe.
      I’ll try it!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · September 9

      I used this film once, and I shot two rolls of it in Omaha, Nebraska about 15 years ago. I remember the mid-greys being somewhat flat, and highlights that were bright. I remember it had a slight color tint, almost two-tone, but this recipe doesn’t mimic that whatsoever.

      Like

      • Neil Ford · September 10

        I shot a lot of Kodak T400CN back in the day, which appears to have been a similar, if subtly different film. I thought they were the same but I’ve just looked at some old negatives and there is a difference in the base film stock colour (I shot a couple of rolls of BW400 whilst holidaying in Seattle it seems). I have some scans from that time as well, that I now need to take a closer look at.

        Thanks for opening up this rabbit hole. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ritchie Roesch · September 10

        It is a rabbit hole, isn’t it?!

        Like

    • georgesimpsonart · September 10

      I have a few great film bw400cn shots, in fact the best looking. But i still think it was the subject matter. I didnt develop myself either and scanned, so maybe its good for the consistency of a shop print.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ritchie Roesch · September 10

        I wish, in retrospect, that I had shot more of this film. I think I was a bit “turned off” by the C-41 process for B&W. Maybe I felt like it gave me less control? Whatever the reason, it was silly I’m sure.

        Like

  2. georgesimpsonart · September 10

    One tip, is I’ve been using a physical colour filter – then you’ll have no temptation to switch over to colour! Or if you do you get a deep red monochrome.
    Ive figured the effect is irreplicable in-camera too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · September 10

      You mean b&w filters, like red, yellow, blue, etc? Those work for digital b&w? I tried it once many years ago on a Pentax DSLR and the results were awful. But I used them on a Sigma Foveon camera and that worked great. I haven’t tried it on Fujifilm X cameras. What’s your experience?

      Like

      • georgesimpsonart · September 12

        Yes the BW filters- I like the results and find to be an improvement over the internal modes. With a fixed white balance of course, but i was actually inspired by a previous recipe of yours to dial in some opposing colours which might resemble the unbalanced shifts in film. (By eye, but usually a complimentary colour thereabouts).

        On x-e1 i began to dislike the bw filter modes because the histogram started doing strange things (a peak before the edge suggesting one colour clipped), as well as a few strange outcomes in high DR modes that looked overprocessed “all to one value” problems (bit like posterisation is best descriptor) It could be these are updated on later models however.

        Some examples on instagram @jorripetersimpsomaton but i dont pretend to be anything but learning as i do a bit of psychogeography, its been a while since i used more than a phone til recently.

        Like

      • Ritchie Roesch · September 13

        Thanks for sharing! I appreciate it! I’ll give this a try. Nice pictures on your IG! Tell me more about On Autopilot, I just listened to “LIACO//Embankment”. Good stuff!

        Like

  3. Connor Lengkeek · September 10

    These almost look like theC-41 process ilford 400 film, with light grey on dark grey tones rather than a true black and white. I’ve never shot the old Kodak c-41 but I’m assuming it’s the same effect. I’m wondering if you’ve used the pro mist filter with other recipes, I’ve been trying to figure out if it’s the clarity effect on x100v that gives the superb film look seen in the reala etc recipes or if there’s a filter I could possibly throw on my xt20 to get a similar effect. Either way I ordered one hoping to replicate some of that film style mist/glow for night time photography, I’m going to try it out with the cinestill 100t recipe. Thank you for all you’ve contributed to the community!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · September 10

      I never used the Ilford C-41 b&w film (although I shot a lot of Ilford b&w film), but I do believe it produced similar results to the Kodak version. I’m not sure the exact differences.
      As far as the Pro Mist filters, I just got them. I have a 1/2 and a 1/4, but in different thread sizes. I kind of feel that the 1/2 is just a tad too strong. I haven’t used the 1/4 yet, but I think it might be better. The 1/2 noticeably reduces the contrast, giving almost a faded look, which is fine, but I feel the “bloom” in the highlights is a little too much for my tastes. It was fine for this project, but I might not keep it. Hopefully I can give the 1/4 a try soon.

      Like

      • georgesimpsonart · September 13

        Some reason cant reply to other comment, but:

        Thanks for the follow, is the first time in a while ive gotten into photography this summer. Used to use film a lot, even kitchen developing then somehow fuji x reignited it (film-like but digital convenience).

        Bit of editing on Snapseed but the first lot of BW are the real filters then further back are the filter modes.

        Thanks on the music too. That is more the main thing at the moment! Though photography is a lot more immediately satisfying sometimes, and realise they can influence music and vice versa a bit. They are part of an album which im still working over but should be complete this year.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ritchie Roesch · September 13

        Let me know when the album is finished. I’d love to check it out!

        Like

      • Scott · October 8

        The Ilford XP-2 had a clear base, so it was easy to print in a home darkroom. (Although it too was kind of gray-on-gray, unless you worked really hard to increase the contrast and tonality)
        At least one of the Kodak C41 black and white films (maybe all of them) had the same orange film base as Kodak’s color films. so they could be printed on your local drugstore’s machine, along with color print films. That made them nearly impossible to print at home, unless you had a color darkroom and, I think, a special paper.
        (The orange base color was pretty close to the color of a red safelight for regular black and white paper, so exposures took forever.)

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ritchie Roesch · October 14

        That’s interesting. I never tried printing C-41 B&W film at home, but I can immediately recognize the issues. I printed many Ilford Delta negatives in a darkroom, though. Those were a pleasure to print. I appreciate the comment!

        Like

  4. Chris Griffith · September 10

    That Super Takumar 55mm f2 is one of the sharpest vintage lenses I’ve ever used. Absolutely love it – great choice for this project!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · September 10

      Thanks! I love most of the Super-Takumars that I have used, this one is especially nice.

      Like

  5. criggles · September 10

    That Super Takumar 55mm f2 is one of the sharpest vintage lenses I’ve ever used. Absolutely love it – great choice for this project!

    Like

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