This is the 1,000th post!
I started the Fuji X Weekly blog on August 21, 2017, with the intention of writing one article per week. Initial this was a long-term review (or journal, as I called it) of the Fujifilm X100F, but (obviously) it morphed into something much different than that. Life has a way of taking you down roads you wouldn’t have considered or even thought possible. Here we are, four years and ten months later, and this website doesn’t much resemble its origins.
Firstly, Fuji X Weekly is no longer about one camera, but about all Fujifilm cameras. Secondly, its focus is no longer mere journalling; instead, the primary purpose of this page is JPEG camera settings, called Film Simulation Recipes, that allow you to achieve straight-out-of-camera results that look good—you don’t have to edit if you don’t want to. And, of course, there’s the Fuji X Weekly App, so you can take these recipes with you on the go—almost 250 of them!
I wanted to do something special for this important 1,000th article. I knew that it needed to be related to film simulations and recipes somehow, but I wasn’t sure how exactly. Like the time I didn’t know why the ball kept getting bigger, then it hit me (sorry for the bad joke…)—I figured it out: for this article, I would rate my favorite film simulations—from most liked to least liked—and also share my favorite Film Simulation Recipes for each. The new Nostalgic Negative film simulation isn’t in this list because I’ve never used it, so I have no idea how I would rank it, but I do believe it’s one that I would particularly appreciate.
Without further ado, here are my favorite Fujifilm film simulations, plus my favorite Film Simulation Recipes for each!
Love at first sight!
When I tried the Acros film simulation on my Fujifilm X100F for the first time, I was blown away by it, as it produced the most film-like results I’d ever seen straight-out-of-camera. It was a big reason why I decided to stop shooting RAW and rely on camera-made JPEGs instead. I’m a sucker for black-and-white (probably because I shot a lot of it in my early film days), and the Acros film simulation produces incredibly lovely monochrome pictures. Acros is found on all X-Trans III, IV & V cameras, as well as GFX.
#2 Classic Negative
Modeled carefully after Superia film, Classic Negative is the closest film simulation to replicating the aesthetic of actual color negative film (albeit, Fujicolor film, not Kodak). It is programmed uniquely and beautifully—there’s so much to love about it! For color photography, I could shoot exclusively with Classic Negative and be happy. Unfortunately, this film simulation is only found on the X-Pro3, X100V, X-T4, X-S10, X-E4, and X-T30 II cameras, as well as X-Trans V and GFX.
#3 Classic Chrome
Prior to the introduction of Classic Negative, Classic Chrome was my favorite color film simulation, with its distinctive Kodak color palette. While it’s third on this list for me, I bet that it’s number one for many of you, since the most popular Film Simulation Recipes are those that use it. Fujifilm introduced it in 2014 with the X30, and retroactively gave it to some of their prior X-Trans II cameras (although not all) via firmware updates. Most Fujifilm models have Classic Chrome, and all since 2014 do.
The Eterna film simulation has a uniquely soft tonality; while it can be somewhat mimicked with PRO Neg. Std, there’s nothing that can completely faithfully replicate it. Because its beauty is in its subtleness, it can be easily overlooked. Some might think it’s only for video (which it is good for, too), but it is great for still photography. It was introduced on the X-H1, but that’s the only X-Trans III camera with it; otherwise, Eterna can be found on X-Trans IV, V, and GFX.
While the Acros film simulation grabs the headlines, the Monochrome film simulation is itself a solid black-and-white option; however, because I liked Acros so much I basically ignored it for years, which is unfortunate. Monochrome has a different tonality than Acros and doesn’t have the built-in Grain, but it is still an excellent film simulation—one of the best, in fact. All Fujifilm cameras have the Monochrome film simulation.
#6 Eterna Bleach Bypass
This is Fujifilm’s latest film simulation (aside from Nostalgic Negative, which is currently only found on one GFX camera, but soon on X-Trans V), and it’s basically the Eterna film simulation but with lots more contrast and even more muted colors. Eterna Bleach Bypass can deliver stunning results that are definitely different than what’s possible with the other options. This film simulation is only found on the X-T4, X-S10, X-E4, X-T30 II, X-Trans V, and the newest GFX models.
#7 PRO Neg. Std
PRO Neg. Std used to be my third favorite film simulation, behind Acros and Classic Chrome. It has a subtle beauty with muted tones and contrast—similar to Eterna (although not quite as pronounced) but with more of a color negative feel than cinematic. Even though Fujifilm has introduced new film simulations that I like better, I still very much appreciate this one. Most Fujifilm models (with the exception of a few really old ones) have PRO Neg. Std.
Velvia 50 was my favorite color transparency film for landscape photography. While the Velvia film simulation isn’t a close approximation of that film straight out of the box, it can be made to look pretty similar with some adjustments. For vibrant landscapes, this is the film simulation to choose. Velvia can be found on all Fujifilm cameras.
#9 PRO Neg. Hi
At this point we’ve moved into the film simulations that use far less frequently. PRO Neg. Hi is basically PRO Neg. Std but with more contrast and saturation. It’s not bad at all, and it used to be my go-to film simulation for portraits (which I think it’s particularly good for). Most Fujifilm models (with the exception of a few really old ones) have PRO Neg. Hi.
Fujifilm calls the Provia film simulation their “standard” profile, but I’ve never really liked it. Because of that, I usually only shoot with it when I force myself to do so, and sometimes some interesting things come from that. All Fujifilm cameras have the Provia film simulation.
The Astia film simulation is pretty close to PRO Neg. Hi in terms of contrast and saturation (although Astia is a bit more vibrant), but with a different tint that I think you either like or don’t like. I used to shoot with it a lot more more than I do now. It’s a good alternative for landscapes when Velvia is just too strong. Every Fujifilm camera has the Astia film simulation.
Last and least is Sepia, the often forgotten film simulation. For some reason every camera has it and almost nobody uses it.
It’s your turn! Which film simulation is your favorite? Which Film Simulation Recipe do you use most? What on this list was most surprising to you? Let me know in the comments!