Which Film Simulation Recipes, When? — Part III (X-Trans III)

Urban Palm Leaves – Sun City West, AZ – Fujifilm X-H1 – “Everyday Astia”

Part 1Part 2Part 4Part 5

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

Lava Pond – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-H1 – “Improved Velvia”

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

Pear Blossom Day – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – “Kodak Gold 200”

“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:

Kodachrome II
Dramatic Classic Chrome
Everyday Astia

Kodak Ultramax

C3 — Ektachrome E100GX — Overcast

Pink Rose Blossom – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – “Ektachrome E100GX”

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

Cameras and Coffee – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – “Color Negative”

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

Dusk Lamps – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-H1 – “Fujicolor NPL 160 Tungsten”

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:

CineStill 800T
Classic Chrome
Melancholy Blue
Cine Teal

C6 — Xpro — Alternative Process

Suburban Abstract – Buckeye, AZ – Fujifilm X-H1 – “Xpro”

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:

Cross Process
Vintage Kodachrome
Vintage Kodacolor
Vintage Agfacolor

C7 — Analog Monochrome — B&W

Doll – Bountiful, UT – Fujifilm X-H1 – “Analog Monochrome”

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:

Agfa Scala
Ilford HP5 Plus
Kodak Tri-X Push Process

Part 4

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  1. Khürt Williams · November 16

    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.

    • Ritchie Roesch · November 16

      I think tyranny of choice is a real problem, unfortunately. I’m glad that this is helpful! 😀

  2. Robin · November 17

    haha ‘tyranny of choice’ I love that phrase!

  3. Robin · November 17

    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.

    • Ritchie Roesch · November 18

      Awesome! I’m so glad to hear it. 😀 😀 😀

  4. juep · December 4

    Great post! We need one like it for Ricoh recipes 😅

    • Ritchie Roesch · December 5

      That’s a really good idea! Thanks for the feedback!

  5. Jo · June 2

    Thanks Ritchie! Like others, I get confused with too many options. I ended up selling the X-E2s and moved to the X-E3 so just restarting with these. Quick question, why not Portra 400 for golden hour here as you recommended in for the IV trans sensors?

    • Jo · June 2

      Probably realised here that it’s because it’s the same WB shift! 🙂

      • Ritchie Roesch · June 3

        Kodak Portra 400 is excellent for golden hour, but it wasn’t picked number one because of the white balance, and the quirk of having to switch WB Shifts when changing between the C1-C7 presets.

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