I get asked all of the time when to use which Film Simulation Recipe. With over 250 on the Fuji X Weekly App to choose from, it can be difficult to know when each recipe should be chosen. Besides, you only have C1-C7 Custom Presets on your Fujifilm camera (most of you, anyway). Which seven recipes should you have programed? When should you select them?
The problem with trying to answer this question is that it’s a highly subjective endeavor. While I might like a certain recipe for a particular situation, you might not. There’s not a right or wrong answer, just what works for you and what doesn’t—and I cannot say whether any particular recipe will work for you or not. Only you can answer that for yourself, and you have to try a recipe to know. With that said, I attempt to give good advice. In each SOOC broadcast I recommend a few recipes for various situations. Still, I’ve really struggled with how to be helpful to those asking for direction—that is until I watched a video by Grainydays, a YouTube channel about film photography, in which photographer Jason Kummerfeldt tries to give advice on when to use which film stocks. You can view it below:
Jason has a similar dilemma. Since film choice is such a personal thing, how do you say when to use which? It’s the same thing for Film Simulation Recipes. His solution is simply to demonstrate what he uses and state what he likes, and maybe you’ll like it too; I’m going to do the same thing for recipes. I’ll tell you what my preferences are, and invite you to try them too if you want. If you don’t want, that’s cool. There’s not any one way—and especially no right or wrong way—to do this. Instead, figure out what works for you, and do that. If you’re not sure, perhaps this article will be helpful to you.
I’m going to suggest seven recipes for you to program into your Fujifilm camera, and state when to use each. Since recipes are (for the most part) generationally specific, I’m going to make this a series of articles to cover most Fujifilm models. In this first one we’ll cover “newer” X-Trans IV cameras: X-Pro3, X100V, X-T4, X-S10, X-E4, and X-T30 II. This should also apply to X-Trans V cameras (from the reports I’ve received, X-Trans IV recipes are fully compatible with X-Trans V, although I have not tested this myself to know for certain) and newer GFX models (although the rendering will be slightly different).
C1 — Kodak Portra 400 v2 — Golden Hour
Kodak Portra 400 v2 is a recipe that does well at anytime during daylight hours, and as the name suggests it is a good option for portrait photography, but I’m going to recommend it specifically for “golden hour” near sunrise and sunset. This really could be your primary use-all-of-the-time recipe, and that’s why I suggest placing it in C1, but when the sun is low to the horizon, make sure that this is the one you’re shooting with. I personally use this recipe frequently.
Alternatives for “golden hour” photography:
Fujicolor Pro 400H
Kodak Portra 800 v2
C2 — Kodachrome 64 — Midday
Kodachrome 64 is another one that could be your go-to everyday-use recipe, but specifically I want to suggest it for daytime (non-“golden hour”) photography. Obviously it can also be used for when the sun is low to the horizon, too, but I think it is one of the best options for when the sun is not low—from mid-morning to mid-afternoon. This is one of the few recipes that you’ll almost always find programmed into my camera.
Alternatives for “midday” photography:
Fujicolor Natura 1600
C3 — Kodak High Definition Plus 200 — Overcast
If it’s thick overcast and rainy, the Kodak High Definition Plus 200 recipe is an excellent option. Yes, it’s pretty good in daylight, too (even “golden hour”), but give it a try on drab overcast days—I think you’ll really appreciate just how well it does in that situation.
Alternatives for “overcast” photography:
Elite Chrome 200
Kodak Max 800
C4 — Kodak Ultramax 400 — Indoor
For natural light indoor photography, my top choice is the Kodak Ultramax 400 recipe. This is another great all-rounder that could be used in pretty much any daytime situation and produce excellent results, but specifically I’m recommending it for natural light indoor pictures. For artificial-light indoor images, use the recipes for nighttime photography below.
Alternative for “indoor” photography:
Color Negative 400
Fujicolor Superia 1600
C5 — Serr’s 500T — Nighttime
If it’s after dark, my top choice for nighttime or artificial light photography is Serr’s 500T. This is a very blue recipe, so it isn’t a good option for many daytime situations, but from just past sunset to just prior to sunrise, this is the one that I would most recommend, especially if there are warm artificial lights.
Alternatives for “nighttime” photography:
Pushed CineStill 800T
Fujicolor Super HG v2
C6 — Xpro ’62 — Alternative Process
For an alternative process recipe—a fun option for unusual results—my top recommendation is Xpro ’62. Use it anytime of the day or night, as it is surprisingly versatile. The results will be different, and perhaps unexpected, yet the experience will be a lot of fun, so give it a try!
Alternatives for “alternative process” photography:
Expired Slide v2
Pulled Fujicolor Superia
C7 — Kodak Tri-X 400 — B&W
My all-time favorite recipe is Kodak Tri-X 400, so it should come as no surprise that it is my top recommendation for monochrome photography. It’s not the most popular recipe on Fuji X Weekly, but it is the most popular B&W recipe. Definitely give this one a try if you’ve never done so before.
Alternatives for “B&W” photography:
Ilford HP5 Plus 400
Kodak T-Max 400
Ilford Pan F Plus 50
You have plenty to choose from, because I just suggested to you 42 different Film Simulation Recipes! Of course, there are so many other recipes that I could have listed—just because one didn’t make this list doesn’t mean that it’s not good; however, I do feel that this is a good set—not only the seven suggestions, which I believe are a winning C1-C7 combination, but the alternative options, too. With that said, don’t let an exclusion from this list discourage you from trying a particular recipe, because you never know when one just “clicks” for you, and you find a new favorite. The top picture in this article was captured with a recipe that I didn’t recommend, yet I do really like that recipe and do recommend it, and I even use it myself sometimes, including recently. It’s a good reminder that this is all subjective, and you might not prefer any of my recommendations, but instead have seven that I didn’t mention as your C1-C7 custom presets. So, I guess, the conclusion is to try every recipe until you find the ones you love and fulfill your photographic needs—but, if you’re not sure, maybe start with these 42.
Next up will be recipes for “older” X-Trans IV cameras—the X-T3 and X-T30.
Thanks a lot! This is going to be a fixed article
You are welcome!
I’m not surprised that 5 on 7 are Kodak recipes, and many of them are also between my favourites!
The Kodak recipes are generally the most popular, and it shouldn’t be too surprising because Kodak film was the most popular (probably still is). I appreciate the comment! 😀
Such a helpfull article. This site is the reason i sold my Sony A7iii and came back to Fuji.
Awesome! Glad to be helpful.
Thank you! I wasn’t able to identify the films for fog on the video. I didn’t see it listed on your posting.
I didn’t give suggestions for fog in my article. While I did plenty of fog photography 6-8 years ago (when I lived in an area where fog was common), I realized that I have photographed in the fog very infrequently since. My opinion is that high-contrast recipes are usually the best, and I prefer B&W over color. Moody Monochrome might be a good option. I hope this helps!
Thank you for taking the time to answer my question and especially for your film simulation posts.
You are welcome!
I found the recipe for Redscale in the app. 🙂
Yeah, that’s a fun recipe 😀
Hi, Ritchie. Thanks for this. If you’ve got the energy and time, would you consider creating a similar post for XTrans-II cameras?
I’m planning to do that… Part 4.
That’s great; thanks. I look forward to reading.
By far one of the most useful blog posts (and blog/website)! Thank you so much for taking the time to write it amongst all your other amazing posts as always. A quick question if I may – will you be updating this post if you update any of the above or will you put up a new post when you make any changes? I always try to stay up-to-date with your recipes 😊
I wasn’t planning to update it because, in the past, whenever I said I was going to update a post, I would do it for a short time, and then it would fall to the wayside. It’s easy to forget about it or lose track of and neglect. What I was planning to do is make this a series, and once I’ve made it through the sensors, revisit it and perhaps give alternative suggestions. I haven’t finalized anything yet, but just what I’ve been thinking about. I appreciate your kind feedback!
Tried a few of them out yesterday. Love them! Only thing is, the overcast one seems very “green”. Guessing that was intentional? Mind sharing your thoughts on it?
It can be green, for sure. I used the recipe (and others) in Oregon and loved the results.
Wicked helpful article worthy of bookmarking. Looking forward to part 2!
Thanks so much!
Hi Ritchie, thanks for the great article. I love your film sims. May i ask you a question. If i put different film sims to c1-c7 (on xt4) – is there a way to go quickly to standard settings (auto wb and without any changes) so i can choose the Fuji sims? Recently i put on c1 the Standard-Setting, but that means i can only use 6 of your sims.
You can quickly and easily reset any of the C1-C7 to factory defaults, but you cannot toggle between that and a programmed recipe. I’m not sure I understand the desire for the factory settings (everything set to 0, Off, or Auto), but if you need to, this should be helpful (look specifically at item 3):
I gave Serr’s 500T a try there night before last, I used it wandering around Paris shooting restaurant neons .. I love it!
Awesome! Happy to hear it 😀
Very interesting and useful but I’m waiting for the next parts as I only have the x trans sensor I, II and III.
I bought my first fujifilm camera XT1 about 5- 6 years ago, I’m wondering why I didn’t find anything about recipes until let me say a year ago . I searched the web about all kind of info on fujifilm camera’s but never read something about recipes. It seems no one knew about all the posibilities of these camera’s …even pro’s seems not to know until recently what these camera’s are capable of.
This is really strange to me….anyway thanks to Ritchie I’m back to photography and are even more in love with my camera’s then before.
Thank you so much for all your work.
Bart Van de Venne
I don’t think even Fujifilm realized 😀
Thank you for your kindness!
I would love to see a field like “when to use” for each or at least each new recipe in the FujiXWeekly App! Maybe even a way to filter recipes based on situations (sunrise, midday and so on). Other than that, keep up the great work 🙂
That’s a great suggestion! I’ve been contemplating how to do this for a long time.
One issue is that I can offer my opinion, but someone else might not share that same opinion. For example, someone told me that they hate a certain recipe for portraits (apparently they thought the recipe ruined their pictures), yet another photographer uses that same recipe for professional portrait photography (with amazing results). So I have to make it clear somehow that it’s just an opinion and shouldn’t be taken as anything more than that, and one might agree or disagree with it. Another issue is actually rating 250+ recipes… that’s a heck of a lot of work! It’s something that I think will be helpful and so I want to do it, but the logistics of it have me stuck, and I’m still trying to figure out how to move forward with it.
I appreciate your feedback and kindness!
I see your point. One option that comes into my mind would be labels. You could introduce a set of pre-defined labels (e.g. “sunny days,” “night”, “wedding” etc.) and add them to each recipe, but make them editable. Each user can introduce new labels and add or remove them individually for each recipe. Maybe even something like Scoped Labels (https://docs.gitlab.com/ee/user/project/labels.html#scoped-labels) in GitLab (e.g. “Mood: Light and Airy”, “Weather: Sunny” and so on). Labels would also be a great way to search or filter for specific recipe :).
Thanks for the suggestion! I’ll look into it. 😀
I’m really grateful to have found this blog, man. I’m new to fuji, with a X-T4 and at first thought that I wouldn’t use the film sims but how wrong I was. I’ve found this last week and love all the recipes. Really fun to go out and just shoot trying different recipes without worrying too much about post-processing later. I’ll save some of this to experiment a little.
Thank you so much for all the work!
I appreciate your kindness and enthusiasm! I’m so happy to be helpful to your photography. Which recipes do you like so far?
I started to go out and shoot at night so I’ve been using Serr’s 500T and Ektachrome 320T. Both have their charm depending on the light and though I don’t know if I like or not the film sim Eterna Bleach Bypass, Ektachrome is growing on me. Tomorrow I’ll go out at sunrise so I’ll try the Kodad Portra 400 V2. I’ve shot a bit with Xpro ’62 and man, that’s an awesome film sim. The different style it has, is something that give an unique touch to the photos.
Serr’s 500T is a favorite of mine for night… Ektachrome 320T is underrated. You won’t be disappointed with Kodak Portra 400 v2, that’s one of my favorites. Xpro ’62 is a lot of fun, especially in the right situations. Thanks for your input! 😀
Thank you very much for this very useful article. I have been a subscriber to the application for almost a year now and it is a pleasure to use it: what a great job!
So, I’d like to take this opportunity to make a request/suggestion. Given the number of recipes, it’s difficult to organize them: you can do it by type of lighting, as in this article, but you can also imagine other classifications, according to the type of photos, personal tastes, types of events, etc. For all this, I try to use the stars in the application, but you are quickly limited. Would it be possible to have the search sorted by words in the personal notes, for example, rather than just by recipe title? This would make it easy to organize by keywords to sort the recipes and it would be great!
Thanks again for all you do!
I appreciate your kindness, support, and feedback! Thanks so much!