Note: I wrote this article, which I stumbled across today, over two years ago, but for some reason never published it. I replaced many of the original pictures and corrected some words and grammar, but otherwise I kept it the same.
I love film photography, but digital is so much more convenient. The cost of digital photography is paid upfront, while with film there’s a per-frame cost with each exposure, which is just getting more and more expensive. I rarely shoot film anymore, but I like the look of film. The best of both worlds is when I can get a film aesthetic straight out of a digital camera. That might sound pie-in-the-sky or even pretentious; if I like the look of film, why not just shoot film? If I shoot digital, why not just edit like everyone else?
Fujifilm cameras can create something film-like while delivering digital advantages, and that’s incredible! With digital you don’t have to send off your exposures to a lab or have your own lab set up somewhere in your home. You can know immediately if your frame is any good or not—no need to wait hours or days or sometimes longer. And you are not limited to 12, 24, or 36 exposures. There’s a reason why most photographers shoot digital, yet there’s a reason why some still go through the hassle of shooting film. I think Fujifilm is kind of a bridge between the two.
Using software, such as Alien Skin Exposure or any of the many preset filter packs that are available, it’s very easy to turn a RAW file into something that looks analog. I’ve done that for many years, and I appreciate the results. If I can skip the software step and have a finished image straight-out-of-camera, that’s even better. That saves me some serious time! For many people, editing a picture is half the fun, but for me it’s not. I much prefer to not sit at a computer manipulating photographs. That’s just my preference, and it may or may not be yours, and that’s perfectly fine—there’s no right or wrong way, only what works for you. Shooting Fujifilm cameras using recipes to get film-like pictures straight-out-of-camera is what works for me.
I’m amazed at all the different looks that I can get out of my camera using my different Film Simulation Recipes on Fujifilm cameras. Fuji only gives so much control in-camera— they’re constantly providing more customization options with each new generation, but it’s still limited. Despite that, there’s a lot that you can do to create many different looks. It’s possible to mimic various film aesthetics without using any software. Thanks to Fujifilm’s vast experience with film, they’ve been able to infuse into their camera-made-JPEGs an analog soul that’s frankly missing from most digital pictures.
The photographs in this article are all straight-out-of-camera JPEGs that weren’t edited, with the exception of some minor cropping in some circumstances. They’re all from Fujifilm cameras, including an X-E4, X100V, X-T30, X-T20, X-Pro2, X100F and X-T1. In my opinion, in one way or another, they resemble film—an analog look from a digital camera. That’s nothing short of amazing!
10 example pictures, just to illustrate the point:
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