This Film Simulation Recipe is the second in a series, in which I attempt to customize each film simulation to optimize the aesthetic that Fujifilm intended. In other words, make a nice-looking recipe that is similar to yet better than the stock look of a film simulation. The first recipe in this series was Standard Provia, and this new one is called Improved Velvia.
I used to be frustrated by the Velvia film simulation because it’s not like Velvia 50. When people talk about Velvia film, that’s the emulsion that they most commonly mean, with it’s exaggerated super-vivid colors, but Velvia 50 is not the only Velvia film. You see, Velvia 50 was a “mistake” emulsion that landscape photographers fell in love with. I shot plenty of Velvia 50 back in the day, and it was one of my absolute favorite films. But Fujifilm was frustrated by it because it wasn’t what they wanted it to be. In 2003 Fujifilm “improved” Velvia and finally “fixed” their mistake—they made Velvia look like how they thought it should have from the beginning. This emulsion was called Velvia 100F and was duller than Velvia 50 (or Velvia 100, which came out in 2005)—it lacked the classic Velvia pop, but was better for pictures of people. One of the guys who worked on Velvia 100F also worked on the Velvia film simulation. It’s no surprise, then, that the Velvia film simulation is closer to Velvia 100F film than Velvia 50. Understanding this made me better realize the intention of—and better appreciate—the film simulation. I no longer find Velvia to be frustrating, and I think even default Velvia looks pretty good.
For this recipe, I didn’t want mimic Velvia 50, so I didn’t want to mess with the settings very much. I have other Velvia recipes that I quite like (here, here, & here), and those could very easily “stand-in” for this. I felt like a subtly-different option is what was needed. This recipe is compatible with X-Trans III models, plus the X-T3 and X-T30. For newer X-Trans IV, consider setting Color Chrome Effect and Color Chrome FX Blue to Off, Grain to Weak Small, and Clarity to 0.
Dynamic Range: DR200
Noise Reduction: -4
White Balance: Auto, -1 Red & -2 Blue
ISO: Auto up to ISO 6400
Exposure Compensation: +1/3 to +2/3 (typically)
Example photographs, all camera-made JPEGs captured using this “Improved Velvia” film simulation recipe on my Fujifilm X-H1:
The top image (above) is this recipe, while the bottom image (above) is Velvia with everything set to 0 or Off, except for Dynamic Range, which was DR200, and Noise Reduction, which was -4. The White Balance was Auto 0R & 0B. You can see that both images are quite similar. My recipe is slightly more vibrant, has a little more yellow and slightly less red, and protects highlights a tad more. I also added a little Grain to my recipe to give it a more film-like appearance. Overall, though, the differences are fairly subtle.
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