It’s summer and it’s hot. I live in Arizona, so when I say it’s hot, I mean that it feels like someone opened an oven door! Nobody wants to be outside during the day right now, so (like vampires) everyone comes out at night. Not that it’s all that much cooler at dusk—it’s still triple digits—but at least it’s more bearable. While it’s easy to look at the negative side of things, the positive aspect to the excessive heat is that opportunities for night photography are plentiful.
A few days ago I took my Fujifilm X-T5 to downtown Tempe for some after-dark photography. Attached to the camera was a Meike 35mm f/1.7 lens, and I had a 5% CineBloom diffusion filter screwed onto it. I like the Meike lens for its vintage-like character. I chose the 5% CineBloom because its effect is subtle. While the 10% or 20% might have been more appropriate for a couple of the Film Simulation Recipes, overall I appreciate what the 5% CineBloom does to the photographs, which is not much yet oftentimes just enough.
I programmed into my Fujifilm X-T5 eight different Film Simulation Recipes, and shot with all of them. How was I able to program eight? Well, obviously, there’s C1-C7. On the X-T5 (as well as my X-E4 and a few other newer models), you can program an additional Recipe into the IQ menu. As you scroll through C1-C7, when you’re in-between C7 and C1, the camera will display the shooting mode (either P, A, S, or M, depending on the configuration of your dials), and it will select the settings programmed into the IQ menu, giving you a bonus eighth custom preset.
I didn’t walk all that far with my camera—going down a few blocks on one side of the road, and then back up on the other side. It was dark, but still blazing hot. I did manage to capture a whole bunch of pictures, making sure that I had at least six decent exposures with each Recipe. Afterwards I cooled off with an ice cream shake at In-N-Out, a nice treat to beat the heat.
If you are searching for some Film Simulation Recipes to try out on a hot summer night, take a look at the eight below. They’re certainly not the only ones that are good for after-dark photography, but they are all excellent options, and have their own unique aesthetics. These eight Recipes are the ones that I used, and I invite you to try them, too, the next time you go out for some night photography.
Fujicolor Super HG v2 is a highly versatile Film Simulation Recipe that—because it uses the Auto White Priority white balance—you can use anytime of the day or night. This is a Recipe that makes a lot of sense to always have programmed into your camera, since, no matter the light scenario, it’s going to give you good results. There’s an X-Trans V version of Fujicolor Super HG v2 (for those with an X-T5, X-H2, X-H2s, or X-S20), and an X-Trans IV version of this Recipe (for those with an X-T4, X-S10, X-E4, or X-T30 II).
While the previous Recipe used Auto White Priority, Ektachrome 320T uses Auto Ambiance Priority, but don’t let that fool you: this Recipe is intended for use at night or indoors under artificial light, where it works very well. Ektachrome 320T is compatible with some X-Trans IV models that have the Eterna Bleach Bypass film simulation (X-T4, X-S10, X-E4 & X-T30 II); to use it on X-Trans V, simply set Color Chrome FX Blue to Weak instead of Strong, since X-Trans V renders blue more deeply on some film simulations.
Expired ECN-2 100T is currently a Fuji X Weekly App Patron Early-Access Recipe. If you are a subscriber on the App, you have access to this Film Simulation Recipe; otherwise, you’ll have to wait a little while for it to become available to everyone. This particular Recipe produces a green or yellow cast (depending on the light) when used at night, and a teal-ish cast when used in daylight. Like the previous Recipe, this one is compatible with the X-T4, X-S10, X-E4, and X-T30 II cameras; to use it on X-Trans V models, set Color Chrome FX Blue to Weak instead of Strong.
Fujicolor NPS 160 Pulled isn’t intended specifically as a Film Simulation Recipe for nighttime photography, but because it is so versatile it works really well for this. It has a low-contrast, low-saturation rendering with an earthy cast. It’s really good for toning down a scene when you’d prefer a softer picture. Fujicolor NPS 160 Pulled is compatible with most X-Trans IV cameras (X-Pro3, X100V, X-T4, X-S10, X-E4 & X-T30 II, but not the X-T3 or X-T30); to use it on X-Trans V, set Color Chrome FX Blue to Weak instead of Strong.
When I first learned that Xpro ’62 was great for after-dark photography, I was actually a little surprised, because this is intended as a daylight Recipe, and on paper it doesn’t seem versatile enough to be a good nighttime option. But it’s absolutely wonderful for night images! If you’ve never tried Xpro ’62 for post-sunset pictures, be sure to do so. It’s compatible with most X-Trans IV cameras (X-Pro3, X100V, X-T4, X-S10, X-E4 & X-T30 II, but not the X-T3 or X-T30); to use it on X-Trans V, set Color Chrome FX Blue to Weak instead of Strong.
The CineStill 800T Film Simulation Recipe is specifically intended for night photography, so it should be no surprise that it does well for after-dark pictures. If you want to even more closely mimic the film, try it with a 10% or 20% CineBloom diffusion filter. Like the previous two Recipes, CineStill 800T is compatible with most X-Trans IV cameras (X-Pro3, X100V, X-T4, X-S10, X-E4 & X-T30 II, but not the X-T3 or X-T30); to use it on X-Trans V, set Color Chrome FX Blue to Weak instead of Strong. There is a version for X-Trans III cameras plus the X-T3 and X-T30, and a version for X-Trans II models.
The Pushed CineStill 800T Recipe is actually modeled after some pictures of the film that were captured in daylight on an overcast day. This Recipe wasn’t necessarily purposefully intended for night photography, but it shouldn’t be surprising that it does well for it. It also shouldn’t be too surprising that it renders noticeably different than the CineStill 800T Recipe above. Pushed CineStill 800T is compatible with X-Trans IV cameras that have Eterna Bleach Bypass (X-T4, X-S10, X-E4 & X-T30 II; however, there is a version for the X-Pro3 and X100V); to use it on X-Trans V cameras, set Color Chrome FX Blue to Weak instead of Strong.
Last but far from least is Serr’s 500T, which is one of my absolute favorite nighttime Film Simulation Recipes. Due to its strong blue cast, this one is especially great for countering warm artificial light. Serr’s 500T is compatible with most X-Trans IV cameras (X-Pro3, X100V, X-T4, X-S10, X-E4 & X-T30 II); to use it on X-Trans V, set Color Chrome FX Blue to Weak instead of Strong.
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