When should you use which Film Simulation Recipes on your Fujifilm X-Trans III camera? With so many recipes to choose from, it can be difficult to know what recipe you should select in a given situation, and this article is intended to help you with that. If you haven’t read Part 1, it’s important to do so because it explains what exactly we’re doing—the backstory—which is important to understand. There’s a video to watch in that article, too. Take a moment right now to hop on over to Part 1 (click here) before continuing on with this post, if you haven’t viewed it already. Also, check out Part 2 (click here) if you missed that.
Like Part 2, I set out to recommend seven recipes, one for each C1-C7 Custom Preset, that don’t share the same white balance type, because X-Trans III cameras—X-Pro2, X100F, X-E3, X-T2, X-T20 & X-H1—cannot remember a White Balance Shift within the C1-C7 Custom Presets. If two recipes share the same white balance type but not the same shift, then when you switch presets you must remember to adjust the shift, too. That can be inconvenient and frustrating, so my best solution is to program recipes that use different white balance types and/or share the same white balance type and shift. The user experience is much improved, but you might not be able to program all of your favorite recipe at the same time, which is the one downside to doing this. It was a difficult task, but I think I came up with a good set for you.
If you have a Fujifilm X-T3 or X-T30, you can use these recipes, too, by simply setting Color Chrome Effect to Off. Also, if you have a newer X-Trans IV camera (or X-Trans V), you can use these recipes by additionally setting Color Chrome FX Blue to Off, Clarity to 0, and choosing a Grain size (either Small or Large).
C1 — Improved Velvia — Golden Hour
For sunrise or sunset photography, this “Improved Velvia” Film Simulation Recipe is one of your best bets! It’s great anytime of the day or night when you need vibrant colors, so it has a lot of versatility, but it is especially nice during “golden hour” when the sun is low to the horizon. This recipe uses the Auto white balance type; if I wasn’t concerned about white balance type, I’d probably still choose this recipe.
Alternatives for “golden hour” photography:
Kodak Ektachrome 100SW
Kodak Portra 400
Kodak Ektar 100
C2 — Kodak Gold 200 — Midday
“Midday” is simply daylight conditions outside of when the sun is low to the horizon, and for this category I’m recommending Kodak Gold 200. Even though this is a recipe for the X-T3/X-T30, it is fully compatible with X-Trans III cameras. It’s great for sunny conditions—midday or otherwise—and is good for landscapes and portraits. If you have this programmed into your camera, you’re going to use it a lot, perhaps more than any of the others. It uses the Daylight white balance type; if I wasn’t concerned about white balance type, I’d still choose this one, although each in the alternatives list are excellent options, too.
Alternatives for “midday” photography:
Dramatic Classic Chrome
C3 — Ektachrome E100GX — Overcast
If it’s a rainy, overcast day, the Ektachrome E100GX is an excellent Film Simulation Recipe to try. It’s also great for many daylight situations, so it offers good versatility. This recipe uses the Fluorescent 2 white balance type; if I wasn’t concerned about white balance type I would choose Fujicolor Superia 800 instead, but this is a close second-best, and I feel good about recommending it anyway.
Alternatives for “overcast” photography:
Fujicolor Superia 800
Fujicolor Pro 160NS
PRO Neg. Hi
Kodak GT 800-5
C4 — Color Negative — Indoor
For natural light indoor photography, I recommend the Color Negative Film Simulation Recipe, which is another one that’s intended for the X-T3/X-T30, but is fully compatible with X-Trans III cameras. It uses the Fluorescent 1 white balance type; if I wasn’t concerned about white balance type I would choose Agfa Optima 200 instead, but this is still a solid option.
Alternatives for “indoor” photography:
Agfa Optima 200
Fujicolor Pro 400H
C5 — Fujicolor NPL 160 Tungsten — Nighttime
For nighttime or indoor artificial light situations, try the Fujicolor NPL 160 Tungsten Film Simulation Recipe. It does especially well for “blue hour” photography at dusk or dawn, when the sun is below the horizon. This recipe uses the Fluorescent 3 white balance type; if I wasn’t concerned about white balance type, I would choose CineStill 800T instead, but this is a good second-best.
Alternatives for “nighttime” photography:
C6 — Xpro — Alternative Process
There aren’t very many options for this category, but the Xpro recipe is an excellent recipe, producing a cross-process aesthetic. It uses the Kelvin white balance type; if I wasn’t concerned about white balance type, I would probably choose the Cross Process recipe instead, but this is quite similar, so you can’t go wrong either way.
Alternatives for “alternative process” photography:
C7 — Analog Monochrome — B&W
Last but certainly not least is black-and-white, and for that I recommend the Analog Monochrome Film Simulation Recipe. This recipe is really good for most situations. It uses the Incandescent white balance type; if I wasn’t concerned about white balance type, I would be happy with this recipe or any in the alternatives list below, which are all good.
Alternatives for “B&W” photography:
Ilford HP5 Plus
Kodak Tri-X Push Process
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Thank you for this, Ritchie. Although I occasionally use the SOOC JPEG (I prefer the darkroom) when choosing a film simulation recipe, I often suffer from the tyranny of choice. These posts have helped me focus on which handful of recipes to use “when”. I tend to pick one and stick with it in the same way that famous film photographers of the past would use just one or two film stocks.
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I think tyranny of choice is a real problem, unfortunately. I’m glad that this is helpful! 😀
haha ‘tyranny of choice’ I love that phrase!
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This was a great post Ritchie, I enjoyed reading it! Usually, I pick one recipe and stick with it for the next 36 exposures. This article gives me some good information for when I consider where and when I’ll most likely be shoot over the coming days.
Thanks to the new widget feature on your app, I can list my favourite film sims there, in the C1-C7 order on my camera, so I always have the WB shift to hand.
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Awesome! I’m so glad to hear it. 😀 😀 😀
Great post! We need one like it for Ricoh recipes 😅
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That’s a really good idea! Thanks for the feedback!