Reggie Ballesteros (website, YouTube, Instagram, Instagram), also known as Reggie B Photo, is an official Fujifilm X-Photographer based in San Fransisco, California. He shoots both film and digital, and on his Fujifilm cameras he likes to use both RAW and JPEG. For his JPEGs, Reggie developed a Film Simulation Recipe that’s a close match to the Kodak Portra 400 film that he shoots and has developed and scanned (on a Noritsu) at Richard Photo Lab. He was very kind to allow me to share his Portra recipe with you on this website and the Fuji X Weekly App. Thanks, Reggie!
Portra 400 was introduced by Kodak in 1998. It used to come in two varieties: “NC” (Neutral Color, which had less saturation) and “VC” (Vivid Color, which had more saturation). I shot a little of both Kodak Portra 400NC and Kodak Portra 400VC back in the day, and I preferred the more colorful version. The film was redesigned in 2006 to improve grain and scanning. It was again redesigned in 2010, with the NC and VC emulsions dropped, replaced by a new mid-saturation version (simply called Portra 400), with more improvements to scanning.
As the name implies, Kodak Portra 400 is intended for portrait photography, but can be used for many other genres of photography. It’s similar to Portra 160, but with more contrast, saturation and grain. Believe it or not, ISO 400 was considered “high ISO” by many photographers back in the film days, and Portra 400 was one of the absolute best “high ISO” color films ever made. It’s still available today, and is very popular among film photographers.
When developing his Portra recipe, Reggie used the Kodak Portra 400 Film Simulation Recipe from this website as his starting point, and he tweaked it to more closely match his Portra scans and to better suit his photography. One film can have many different aesthetics, depending on how it’s shot, developed, scanned, and a whole host of other factors, so it’s great that Reggie made this alternative version, which might be closer to the exact look that you are after. Also, because this recipe uses Auto White Balance and doesn’t use Clarity, you might find that this one is more versatile than some other recipes. Oh, and take a look at the Kodak Portra 400 v2 and Kodak Portra 400 Warm recipes, which could potentially produce your desired aesthetic.
One special note: Reggie has a 5% CineBloom diffusion filter attached to his lens whenever he shoots with this particular recipe. I have been using my Fujifilm X100V as a monochrome-only camera, but because I, too, have a 5% CineBloom filter attached to it, I made an exception so that I could test this recipe on that camera with the diffusion filter. For the shots captured on my X-E4, I did not use a diffusion filter; however, I do like how the 5% CineBloom subtly affects the image, and I recommend pairing it with this recipe if you can.
This Film Simulation Recipe is compatible with the Fujifilm X-Pro3, X100V, X-T4, X-S10, X-E4, & X-T30 II cameras. To use it on the X-T3 and X-T30, simply ignore Grain size and Color Chrome FX Blue, since your camera doesn’t have those options—the results will be slightly different, but nearly identical. More than likely this recipe is compatible with GFX and X-Trans V, but I haven’t tested it to know for sure.
Dynamic Range: DR-Auto
Noise Reduction: -4
Grain Effect: Weak, Small
Color Chrome Effect: Strong
Color Chrome Effect Blue: Weak
White Balance: Auto, +2 Red & -4 Blue
ISO: Auto, up to ISO 6400
Exposure Compensation: +1/3 to +1 (typically)
Example photographs, all camera-made JPEGs using “Reggie’s Portra” Film Simulation Recipe on my Fujifilm X-E4 and Fujifilm X100V cameras:
Abandoned in Childress
A Walk in the Ozarks
Below is a video that Reggie made which illustrates his Portra recipe quite well (he notes that the Shadow setting is incorrect in the video—it should say -1, not -2). Be sure to like and subscribe and all that stuff. Enjoy!
This post contains affiliate links, and if you make a purchase using my links I’ll be compensated a small amount for it.
Fujifilm X100V Black Amazon B&H
Fujifilm X100V Silver Amazon B&H
Fujifilm X-E4 Black Amazon B&H
Fujifilm X-E4 Silver Amazon B&H
CineBloom 5% Filter Amazon B&H
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Since his video came out, I have been using his recipe for my everyday shots, but I never knew the shadows settings was not supposed to be -2, I’ll have to change it and try it out. So many sims to try, it gets overwhelming.
If Shadow -2 works for you, then I’d keep using that.
Thx! I am a new Fuji XS10 user. I’ve been using your recipes for half a year, and I like them very much!
I was wondering if you could release more recipes especially for portrait photography? I would be very lucky. Because I always have skin tone issues — my photos of girls’ skin are always weird. I don’t like that digital-ish looks, and that’s why I chose to Fuji for its film-ish looks.
Anyway, thanks, man, keep up the work.
I appreciate the suggestion! I’m not a portrait photographer (although Reggie is), and I’ve never done a lot of “people pictures” (it’s not my thing), but I do agree that it would be helpful to have more portraits in the samples. Thanks so much for the feedback!
Tried this out pre sunrise , and really impressed . Looking for to trying it when the light is better. Hopefully this will be the ‘everyday’ simulation rather than Astia soft all the time 👍
Awesome! This is an easy one to appreciate.
Does this translate well onto the Xtrans II sensor?
You know, I think Reggie does use a variation of it on his X70, but I’m not 100% certain what he modifies. He might have information about it on his IG/YouTube/Website.