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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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.