I’ve been busy the last few days trying to see what is similar and what’s different about the JPEG output from my new Fujifilm X-T5 camera. How does X-Trans V compare with X-Trans IV? Are my X-Trans IV Film Simulation Recipes really compatible with the new Fujifilm cameras? Technically they are because the options are the same (except that X-Trans V has the new Nostalgic Neg. film simulation), but do they render the same, or at least similar enough?
I was surprised by something that I discovered. While many of the colors are extremely close in rendering, blues are not. Take a look at the comparison below. Both images were captured with identical settings and even the same lens—one with an X-Trans IV camera, and the other on X-Trans V—but the blue sky is not the same. If you study close enough you might notice some other extremely subtle differences, but the rendering of blue is a clearly not the same between the two sensor generations.
I looked very closely at all of the different film simulations, and I noticed that this difference in blue is film simulation dependent. Not all film sims render blue differently, and some vary more than others. Here are my discoveries:
Eterna Bleach Bypass on X-Trans V renders blue a little darker than on X-Trans IV with Color Chrome FX Blue set to Weak.
Classic Negative on X-Trans V renders blue identically to X-Trans IV with Color Chrome FX Blue set to Weak.
Classic Chrome and Eterna on X-Trans V renders blue just barely lighter than on X-Trans IV with Color Chrome FX Blue set to Weak.
Velvia, PRO Neg. Hi, and PRO Neg. Std on X-Trans V renders blue halfway in-between Color Chrome FX Blue set to Weak and Off on X-Trans IV.
Provia and Astia on X-Trans V renders blue identically to X-Trans IV with Color Chrome FX Blue set to Off.
In other words, with the exception of Provia and Astia, blue is different on X-Trans V than X-Trans IV. With Classic Negative, if an X-Trans IV Film Simulation Recipe calls for Color Chrome FX Blue set to Weak, if you set it to Off instead, it will render the same; if it call for Color Chrome FX Blue set to Strong, if you set it to Weak instead, it will render the same. You can also do that with Eterna Bleach Bypass, Eterna, and Classic Chrome, and it will be pretty close, but it won’t be identical. With Velvia, PRO Neg. Hi, and PRO Neg. Std, you can go either way (adjusting Color Chrome FX Blue or not), and it really doesn’t matter because it will be wrong by about the same amount, either too light or too dark.
Does it matter? it’s not a huge difference, but it is a difference. You might prefer the rendering of X-Trans IV or you might prefer the rendering of X-Trans V. I think, personally, I’m leaning towards preferring the X-Trans V rendering—many of my recipes use Color Chrome FX Blue set to Weak or sometimes Strong, and with X-Trans V that’s already built-in now on some of the film simulations. But it also means that many X-Trans IV recipes will render differently, and, while technically compatible, aren’t truly compatible with X-Trans V cameras.
Why did Fujifilm do this? I don’t think this is anything new. For example, Fujifilm has tweaked Velvia film, because the original Velvia emulsion was a “mistake” (although many photographers didn’t think so—if it was an accident, it was a very happy one). I remember reading once that Fujifilm, with each sensor generation, reevaluates each film simulation to see if it’s possible to get them closer to the intended aesthetic. Fujifilm likely decided that the blue of previous generations wasn’t quite “right” for many of the film simulations and so they fixed it. You might not thought that it was “broke” so you’re wondering why they felt the need to “fix” it; however, the folks at Fujifilm must have thought something wasn’t quite right, so they adjusted it.
What else is different? I’m still looking closely, so I don’t have all the answers yet. I think the rendering of cool colors is slightly different, but blue is by far the biggest change—even with a close side-by-side comparison it’s difficult to spot the differences of the greens and purples, but blue is obvious. Shadows and luminance in general seem to be just a hair dissimilar, but it’s close. Warm colors seem to be pretty much identical; if they’re different it’s tough to spot—maybe yellow is the most dissimilar of the warm colors, but it is still very similar, and I think it might have more to do with general luminance than a color difference. Really, blue rendering is the only significant difference I’ve found so far between X-Trans IV and X-Trans V.
With the Fuji X Weekly App, I don’t have X-Trans IV recipes currently listed as compatible with X-Trans V cameras. There are some—those that use Provia or Astia—that could be listed as compatible because they’ll render the same. For others, a Color Chrome FX Blue adjustment will make them compatible. For others, they won’t ever look the same but will still look pretty similar. I’m still deciding how I’ll handle this. The easy route would be to just say they’re all compatible—that they’re close enough—but I don’t think that’s the right path. I ask for patience as I wade through these waters—the rendering of that blue water on X-Trans V—and how to best present it to you in the form of Film Simulation Recipes.