Quick Eterna Bleach Bypass Experiments

LomoChrome Metropolis recipe, using the Eterna Bleach Bypass film simulation

My wife has a Fujifilm X-T4, and I was able to borrow it briefly for an experiment with the new Eterna Bleach Bypass film simulation. The X-T4 and the X-S10 are currently the only cameras that have this film simulation. My new LomoChrome Metropolis recipe, which is currently only found on the Fuji X Weekly App for iOS, uses Eterna Bleach Bypass.

I snapped the picture below of my daughter using the Fujifilm X-T4 and the Eterna Bleach Bypass film simulation. Highlight, Shadow and Color were set to 0, using Auto White Balance, and pretty much everything set to defaults.

Eterna Bleach Bypass

I reprocessed the RAW file in-camera, and tried to (in a short period of time) recreate Eterna Bleach Bypass using regular ol’ Eterna. I set Highlight to +4, Shadow to +3, Color to -4, and set a shift of -2 Red and -3 Blue to the Auto White Balance, which roughly gets you close. If I had more time I could get closer, but this was just a quick experiment. The takeaway is that Eterna Bleach Bypass is essentially Eterna but with more contrast and less color saturation, and some other small differences.

“Eterna Bleach Bypass” using Eterna

Below I reprocessed the RAW file in-camera using my Bleach Bypass film simulation recipe that uses Classic Negative. That recipe wasn’t intended to mimic the Eterna Bleach Bypass film simulation, but actual bleach bypassed film. It looks kind of like the new film simulation, but with more contrast and saturation.

“Bleach Bypass” using Classic Negative

There was an interview published recently in Japan where a couple of Fujifilm managers explained a bunch of different things about Fujifilm cameras. Between the translation and my interpretation of that translation, I mistakenly thought that it said a Bleach Bypass look could be achieved using the Provia film simulation with Highlight set to +1, Shadow set to +3 and Color set to -4, so I reprocessed the RAW file in-camera doing this, which is below.

“Bleach Bypass” using Provia?

Obviously that doesn’t look right, so I reread the quote, and realized what it actually said was that the Eterna Bleach Bypass film simulation recipe is intended to mimic cinematic film (for cinematic purposes) that’s skipped the bleach during development. Bleach bypass for still photography is (or often is) not the same—different film and/or different process. What was being said by those Fujifilm managers is to mimic bleach bypass for still photography, use the Eterna Bleach Bypass film simulation (not Provia) with Highlight set to +1, Shadow set to +3, and color Set to -4. An example of that is below.

Eterna Bleach Bypass with more contrast and less saturation

Bleach bypass is a darkroom technique where you skip or limit the bleach during development of color film, which causes it to retain the silver. Results will vary greatly depending on the film used and exactly how you develop it, but generally speaking what you get with bleach bypass is a high-contrast, low-saturation, grainy picture that appears as if a black-and-white and color picture were combined together. This technique is more common for motion picture film than still photography, but some people do bleach bypass with C-41 film.

There’s no one exact aesthetic for bleach bypass. The Eterna Bleach Bypass film simulation is a great starting point, and I plan to experiment more with it and create at least a few different film simulation recipes using it. Classic Negative can also be used, and maybe even Classic Chrome and PRO Neg. Hi (and perhaps others), just depending on the exact bleach bypass look you are after. While more complicated, you can use the double-exposure feature to create a bleach bypass look. There’s not necessarily a right or wrong way, or even a right or wrong look, which makes experimentation more fun. I invite you to pick a film simulation (whether or not your camera has the new Eterna Bleach Bypass film simulation), turn up the contrast and turn down the color saturation, and see what you can create!

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