I Paid $1,700 for a Film Simulation?!?

I mentioned before that the main reason I’m buying the new Fujifilm X-T5 is for the Nostalgic Negative film simulation. That’s crazy, right? $1,700 is way too much money to spend on a new film simulation, isn’t it? Am I crazy or just plain stupid?

The Nostalgic Negative film simulation hasn’t received the fanfare of Classic Chrome or especially Classic Negative. Not even as much as Acros or Eterna. Maybe about as much as Eterna Bleach Bypass. Maybe. I think it’s because of poor marketing strategies by Fujifilm.

Nostalgic Negative was introduced by Fujifilm about a year-and-a-half ago on the GFX100S. I know that some people use film simulations and shoot straight-out-of-camera on GFX, but it is a much smaller percentage, I think, than the X system. I don’t know the numbers, but (just throwing something out there) if 20% of Fujifilm X owners use Film Simulation Recipes, the number of GFX owners is maybe 5%. So Nostalgic Negative is something that, for the most part, GFX owners don’t even care about. Besides, I’m pretty sure that GFX models sell a lot fewer copies than X series cameras, so the number of people actually using this film simulation on a GFX100S is pretty small. The next camera to get Nostalgic Negative was the GFX 50S II—kind of the same story. The first X camera to get Nostalgic Negative was the X-H2S, followed very quickly by the X-H2. Interestingly, this film simulation isn’t found anywhere in the promotional material for those two cameras. Yes, they have Nostalgic Negative, but it’s clear that Fujifilm didn’t think it would be a selling point for those two models. That makes sense, since these two “flagship” cameras aren’t intended for or marketed to long-time Fujifilm photographers, but for those with other camera systems (Canikony) looking to make a change. I suspect that many of those buying the X-H2S and X-H2 are generally less aware of, and less open to using, film simulations and recipes and such.

That brings us to the Fujifilm X-T5, the first X series camera where Fujifilm is actually promoting the Nostalgic Negative film simulation… barely. It’s mentioned in the promotional material, but without much fanfare, and not stated as a new feature, or with a good explanation of what it’s intended to resemble and what makes it special.

According to Fujifilm, the Nostalgic Negative film simulation is based on “American New Color” photography of the 1970’s. They studied photographs by William Eggleston, Stephen Shore, Joel Sternfeld and Richard Misrach in order to create it. Eggleston and Sternfeld largely shot on Kodachrome—II and X in the early 1970’s, 25 and 64 in the late ’70’s—while Shore shot mostly Kodacolor, and Misrach shot a lot of Vericolor. All of those are Kodak emulsions, but with different aesthetics. These four photographers had different styles and different darkroom processes, and they each had a unique look; the commonality that Fujifilm found was an “overall atmosphere based on amber.” That’s a basic explanation of what Nostalgic Negative is. While not mentioned by Fujifilm, I think this film simulation might be closer to aesthetic of Saul Leiter than the ones Fujifilm stated they studied. Saul Leiter used a whole bunch of different films over the years, including Kodachrome and Anscochrome, but apparently he didn’t mind using generic drug store brands, either. Nostalgic Negative is a divergent approach for Fujifilm, I think, in that it isn’t intended to mimic a certain emulsion (or the “memory color” of a specific film stock), but instead tries to mimic the “memory color” of a certain decade (the 1970’s), or perhaps elicit a nostalgic emotional response.

The Fujifilm X-T5 is the cheapest camera with Nostalgic Negative. It’s the 5th camera to get it, and at $1,700, it’s somehow the cheapest! I don’t think this film simulation will really “catch on” until it’s available on a more affordable body. And this is where I think Fujifilm goofed. If they had introduced Nostalgic Negative on the X-T5, and followed it up with an X-T40, X-S20, X100VI (or whatever it will be called), X-Pro4, and X-E5 in the coming couple of years, it would be a selling point. People would be super-excited about it right now. But because Fujifilm first put it on four models that are expensive and where the users aren’t as eager about film simulations, it lost a lot of its luster. Nobody’s really talking about Nostalgic Negative anymore. While I don’t think I’ll appreciate this film simulation as much as Classic Negative, Classic Chrome, Eterna, or Acros, I do believe it has the potential for some very interesting recipes. I look forward to trying it. Heck, I’m spending $1,700 just for Nostalgic Negative—that’s crazy! Or dumb. It could go either way.

What about you? Are you excited for Nostalgic Negative? How much would you spend for it? If Fujifilm offered it as a paid firmware update for your X-Trans IV camera, would you buy it? Let me know in the comments!

This post contains affiliate links, and if you make a purchase using my links I’ll be compensated a small amount for it.

Preorder your Fujifilm X-T5 in black:  Amazon  B&H
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Interestingly, as a side note, if you look closely at the promotional statement by Fujifilm about film simulations on the X-T5, you’ll see this statement: “Reproduce the classic colors and tones that Fujifilm are known for, or add an artistic flair and start to Build Your Legacy.” First, I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure it should be “is” and not “are”—after all, Fujifilm is known for reproducing classic colors and tones; for “are” to be correct, you’d need a conjunction, such as, “Reproduce the classic colors and tones that Fujifilm and Fuji X Weekly are known for….” Maybe they initially penciled that “and Fuji X Weekly” part in there, and erased it at the last minute, forgetting to change the “are” to “is” by accident. Second, Build Your Legacy seems to be Fujifilm’s new catchphrase for Film Simulation Recipes. It’s been a Fujifilm trademark for a few years, but I hadn’t seen it used in conjunction with film simulations. I wonder if Fujifilm has something up their sleeves that they’ll announce later. Perhaps it is even related to their upcoming app? I’m not sure, but it is definitely something to keep an eye on.

48 comments

  1. jamiechancetravels · November 14

    Not crazy at all Ritchie! I can’t wait to try this film simulation and, to be fair, classic neg too!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Albert Smith · November 14

    I may be older than many readers here, but one lesson that I took from the film days is the consistency that comes from finding a film that you like and then making that YOUR film. There was a time that going to a good photo store was like going to Blockbuster video. You could stand before the racks of film and spend much time trying to pick one.

    Most of us, had one slow speed slide film, one moderate speed print film and maybe a favorite B&W film if we had our own darkroom. We didn’t just shoot every possible film in the store. We’d never develope our own style or look if the variables (color, contrast, saturation, erc…) always changed.

    So to answer your question, no, I wouldn’t (and haven’t) bought any new camera to get a film simulation that my latest model, the X-T3 doesn’t have. I have three simulations programmed into my Q menu, with 80% of my shooting done with a simulation based on Classic Chrome with all the tweaks that I’ve arrived at and the others two based on Provia and Acros.

    I want consistent results that look the same in 2019, and in 2022 and in three years. All the people that inspired me shot the same film for decades (usually Kodachrome), and saw no need to have every emulsion on the market in their bag.

    Return to simplicity: one camera, one lens, one film (simulation).

    Of course, I’m just some old guy. YMMV.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Roger Solbakke · November 15

      Can’t say it better. Thank you so much.

      Regards from another old guy;)
      Roger

      Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · November 15

      I agree with consistency, and there’s definitely not enough of that today. On the flip side, Saul Leiter used so many different films, yet he still had a unique style and aesthetic despite that. So I think one’s own style doesn’t have to be dependent on having three or less films or recipes. With that said, I do think limiting oneself can certainly help improve one’s art… less is more. I appreciate the thoughtful input!

      Like

  3. Dusty Framer · November 14

    Great article Ritchie! Well I paid $400 for “clarity” by way of “upgrading” from my XT30 to my XT30ii – that was painful but I still did it. I’m on the fence about paying for an updated firmware on my new body – there is nothing really more mechanically I want out of the compact body of the XT30II and nostalgic negative would be a great simulation to have. But setting the precedent to Fujifilm that I’d be happy to not only buy a brand new body, but also pay for firmware updates does not sit well in my eyes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · November 15

      I’m really sorry that Fujifilm didn’t give those things to you in a firmware update (they should have!). Since they weren’t willing to do that, if you could have paid (say) $75 to update your X-T30 into an X-T30 II via a paid firmware, would you have preferred that over selling your X-T30 and buying an X-T30 II? If Fujifilm offered a Nostalgic Negative firmware update for the X-T30 II for (say) $35, would you do it? My personal preference is that Fujifilm shouldn’t abandon Kaizen, but since that ship seems to have sailed, my second preference would be to offer paid firmware updates. No firmware updates at all is my least appreciated option, but that’s what Fujifilm seems to be going towards, unfortunately.

      Like

      • Dusty Framer · November 15

        Given them abandoning kaizen, I would have paid for a significant firmware update for the XT30.

        Given the option again on the XT30II, I’d also pay for a significant firmware update – a new film sim etc.

        But Fuji needs to understand that I’m not buying an XT5 and due to already overspending to “upgrade” two similar models of XT30, I don’t have intentions on buying a potential XT40 unless they put some commitment into supporting models already sold. They should support what we already have (paid firmware of not), bring out new models and capture new customers and give the rest of us the choice to upgrade bodies while supporting us.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ritchie Roesch · November 15

        I think the abandonment of Kaizen is a massive mistake, and I hope they reconsider; otherwise it will bite them in the butt long term, I think.

        Like

  4. rederik75 · November 14

    At the moment (I repeat myself, I know) I would be happy to pay for the possibility to save the WB shift in each recipe of my XT3. I also would pay for a Cx bracketing option, and of course for the new simulations

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · November 15

      They should offer that via a firmware update for free, but since that seems to be out of the question, a paid firmware update seems like a good compromise. C1-C7 bracketing should absolutely be offered, I don’t understand why that’s not a thing. Thanks for the input!

      Like

  5. Khürt Williams · November 15

    My understanding is that in English (as opposed to American) corporations are viewed as collections of people. So Fujifilm are makes perfect sense.

    Like

    • Ritchie Roesch · November 15

      Are Pixar a good company to work for? Apple are a tech company. Lucas Films are a movie studio. LG are my favorite appliance maker.

      I’m not an expert… I’ve only tutored middle school English… but it doesn’t sound right to me.

      Like

      • James · November 16

        Khurt is right, in UK English, collective entities are treated as plural, where “they” is implicit. So the government or corporation or the team “are” doing something.

        Like

      • Ritchie Roesch · November 16

        In America, that would get you a red mark and a lower grade. 😮 🤣

        Like

  6. chimchim123 · November 15

    I think if you have found a hobby that you enjoy so much and operate intensively, then it is priceless. Therefore, congratulations on the new camera and have fun with it! 😉

    I’d also be interested in hearing your reports on lenses you prefer on your X-T models!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · November 15

      I think it will be the same lenses. I’m pretty sure you can use any lens and it will be good. Can every lens resolve 40mp? No, but I think in the grand scheme of things it matters absolutely zero. The character of a lens will matter so much more than if it can resolve the full 40mp or only 90%. So if you like a lens on the 16mp or 24-26mp sensor, you’re going to also like it on 40mp. I hope this makes sense.

      Like

      • chimchim123 · November 15

        Yes, it does make sense. 🙂 But I mean I would be interested in your setup in general, e.g. which lenses you are using and why.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ritchie Roesch · November 16

        That would make a good article 😀
        I appreciate your suggestion!

        Like

  7. Torsten · November 15

    You don’t really just buy a film simulation 😉

    It’s always a small overall package, for me it would be the three-way tilt screen, the processor, the sensor and the film simulation. Nevertheless, I will not buy this camera for the time being because the rangefinder style has fascinated me. I hope the X-Pro 4 gets the same three-way tilt screen as the X-T 5, otherwise I might buy the X-T 5 later, after the release of the X-Pro 4, we’ll see.

    BTW, I think Fuji already knows about the popularity of film simulations, because it’s not for nothing that they don’t deliver new sims in firmware updates 😉

    Cheers,
    Torsten

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · November 15

      There’s nothing about the X-T5 that I “need” or even “want” outside of Nostalgic Negative. My X-E4 fulfills my photographic needs just fine. So does my X-T30. Even the X-T1. So I agree that $1,700 get’s you a full package, but I feel like I’m buying a BMW for the radio. Yeah, you get the rest of the car, but not a car that I want or need, other than that radio would be nice. I think I’m nuts for doing it, but I’ve committed to it, so it’s happening. Once the camera is in my hands, I’m sure I’ll be more confident in the decision.

      I truly hope that the popularity of film simulation recipes is not a reason that Fujifilm has abandoned Kaizen. That would make me feel so bad, and sad. I hope this isn’t true, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it was.

      I appreciate the comment!

      Like

  8. tabfor · November 15

    “And this is where I think Fujifilm goofed.”
    But I think that Fujifilm simply knows to match more about how many of his users really use film simulation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Torsten · November 15

      Everyone uses film simulations, because you can’t take pictures with an X or GFX camera without them. The only thing you can do about it is to use a RAW converter like Adobe Lightroom and use their profiles.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ritchie Roesch · November 15

        I think the majority of photographers, especially those with GFX, use a RAW converter (Lightroom, Capture One, etc), in which the film simulations don’t matter because they use whatever profiles/presets/edits that they wish.

        Like

      • tabfor · November 15

        Before I meet Ritchie in the inernet I used Provia because it’s a first item in the film list. And I used it for JPG too whithout RAW convertors.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ritchie Roesch · November 15

        I think a lot of people can relate to this. Thanks for sharing!

        Like

    • Ritchie Roesch · November 15

      I really feel that Fujifilm was completely unaware of how people were using their cameras (especially the JPEGs). It was a little over two years ago a photographer/videographer was talking with Fujifilm, and he mentioned that he shot Kodak Portra 400 on his X100V, and Fujifilm said, “Wait, what? How did you do that?” And he explained film simulation recipes and Fuji X Weekly to them, which they had never even heard of before. I know this because this photographer reached out to me to tell me this story, and Fujifilm later contacted me and repeated this story to me. So I think Fujifilm in general doesn’t have a good grasp on how a large group of their customers use their products.

      Liked by 1 person

      • tabfor · November 15

        Imagine Fujifilm users from Russia and Eastern Europe most of them used films like Svema or Orwo and just heard about Fujifilm and Kodak before they came to the digital world. The aesthetic of film simulation is interesting as an art technique for some of them but they don’t feel it as you do. I think Fujifilm does not think about it as well. You may hand over them my opinion. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ritchie Roesch · November 15

        If they ever call me again, I sure will! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Sandro · November 15

    Hello, my name is Sandro, from Italy. Thanks 4 your work: I like to play with your recipes! I own the Fuji xt4 and I don’t plan to buy the new camera. Sorry 4 my english… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Toni · November 15

    Do you guys think there is even a change that we get a firmware update for x-trans 4? I recently got into Fujifilm system only for the film simulations so I’m wondering what is the reputation of Fujifilm for bringing new film simulation onto older cameras? I understand that some sensors have hardware limitation, but I didn’t hear anything that would stop x-trans 4 getting this recipe.

    Like

    • Ritchie Roesch · November 15

      Fujifilm used to be renown for updating “old” models via Kaizen firmware updates. Now they do it far less frequently, and Fujifilm has stated that they’re moving away from Kaizen and to expect fewer firmware updates. So in my opinion, the odds of the X-T4 getting the Nostalgic Negative film simulation is 0%. I really don’t think it will happen. The X-T3 is still waiting for Classic Negative, and the X-Pro3 is still waiting for Eterna Bleach Bypass. It’s unfortunate.

      Like

  11. David · November 15

    I have started using Film Simulation bracketing on my X100V… rather than shooting RAW. A massive fan of Classic Chrome so it will be interesting to see how my X-T5 simulations differ.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Dusty Framer · November 15

    I wonder if Fujifilm has any idea of the impact you have with their revenue? – I sold a big canon DSLR + lenses setup and bought a Fuji XT30 and two primes. After a few months of shooting in RAW and processing in LR, I became bored and got ready to sell it. I was happy to move it on as 50% of my shooting is actually on film with 1980’s Nikon SLR’s.

    By dumb luck I discovered your website and “film recipes”. As a direct result of your website, I completely changed how I used the Fuji system, totally embraced SOOC jpegs and recipes. I no longer shoot RAW and have no desire too for my own personal photos. I’m now on my second body with 3 lenses.

    Fujifilm is like Ferrari releasing amazing cars but with no good roads to drive on. Fuji X weekly has the map to the awesome roads 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · November 16

      I really don’t know. I’d hope they’d have an idea, but I’m not sure. They only first learned of this website a couple of years ago, so I don’t have a lot of confidence…. I appreciate your comment, and I love your analogy! 😀

      Like

  13. fnhaters · November 16

    So? No one has come up with a recipe for nostalgic negative?

    Like

    • Ritchie Roesch · November 16

      I have a Nostalgic Negative recipe that uses Classic Chrome, but I have no idea how accurate it may or may not be because I’ve never used the actual Nostalgic Negative film simulation. I’ve never made a recipe with the Nostalgic Negative film simulation; I have no idea if anyone else has or hasn’t.

      Like

  14. Mainak · November 18

    ‘Fujifilm are’ is correct. They are looking at the company as a bunch of people and therefore as plural.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Ray · November 19

    I often notice this difference when watching camera reviews on YouTube. I noticed that many of the international reviewers, generally the ones based in the UK, refer to companies in the plural instead of the singular. Ted Forbes’ (Art of Photography) also does this. A bit of cognitive dissonance for me since he’s American, but uses traditionally English grammar style.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · November 21

      As a former middle school English tutor (in America), it’s hard for me to accept it. Fujifilm is a corporation, and not a group of people; but I guess they are a group of people… it’s making my head spin. 🤣 😀

      Like

  16. Peter · November 20

    I dont think youre crazy to buy a camera just for a film sim. Then again – this is coming from someone who is considering buying a GFX just because it has xpan 65:24, which sadly they did not put in the XT5

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · November 21

      It’s a real shame that the 65:24 ratio isn’t on more Fujifilm cameras. Seems like a no-brainer to me…. Thanks for the comment!

      Like

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