The new Nostalgic Neg. film simulation found only on the latest Fujifilm cameras is becoming quite popular! A lot of people really seem to love the aesthetic of it. All X-Trans V models, which (as of this writing) are the X-H2, X-H2s, X-T5, and X-S20, have Nostalgic Neg., as well as a couple of GFX cameras (GFX100S and GFX50S II). Classic Chrome is the most-used film sim by a large margin, followed distantly by Classic Negative and Acros, but currently there’s a lot of interest in the new option.
According to Fujifilm, Nostalgic Neg. 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 the new film simulation is. While not mentioned by Fujifilm, I think Nostalgic Neg. also has some similarities to photographs by Saul Leiter and Joel Meyerowitz. 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. Meyerowitz mostly shot a mix of Kodachrome and Ektachrome for his color work. Nostalgic Negative is a divergent approach for Fujifilm, I think, in that it is not 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 simply elicit a nostalgic emotional response.
A lot of various looks can be made using the Nostalgic Neg. film simulation. Because it is largely intended to mimic a retro Kodak aesthetic, it’s a good starting point for Kodak-esque Film Simulation Recipes. While some of my Recipes that use Nostalgic Neg. are intended to replicate a specific stock, most of them are not, and instead are more reminiscent of a certain time or era instead of a specific emulsion; however, some of those were made from studying pictures captured on specific films, so they do tend to resemble actual film stocks to an extent.
I get asked which Nostalgic Neg. Film Simulation Recipe one should try first on their X-Trans V camera. There are plenty to choose from, and the list is growing. Since your camera has seven custom presets (with the exception of the X-S20, which only has four), I would like to suggest the seven Nostalgic Neg. Recipes below. Choose one or two or even all seven to program into your camera, and give it a try! I bet at least one of them will become a new favorite Film Simulation Recipe that you find yourself using often.
The 1970’s Summer Film Simulation Recipe very much has a nostalgic Kodak “memory color” (as Fujifilm likes to say) that is reminiscent of old color photographs from the 1970’s. You might notice some similarities to William Eggleston’s Election Eve and 2 1/4 series and some of his other work from the late-1960’s through the mid-1970’s—not every picture, but certainly several. You might spot some similarities between this look and some of Stephen Shore’s photographs from the early-to-mid 1970’s. I think there are some similarities to a few of Joel Sternfeld’s American Prospects pictures. There’s a noticeable likeness to several of Richard Misrach’s desert photographs. In other words, 1970’s Summer produces a distinct American New Color aesthetic with a clear 1970’s vibe. This recipe works best in sunny daylight, and is excellent for midday photography.
I found the December 1960 issue of Arizona Highways in a used bookstore. It has page after page of amazing photography! I really love the look of the pictures in this particular issue—while not every image looks alike, there is definitely a commonality to the photo aesthetic. For those who don’t know, Arizona Highways is a magazine with an important history. It began in 1925, and in 1946 published the world’s first all-color publication. From the beginning, Arizona Highways has been dedicated to the art of photography. Ansel Adams was a regular contributor. Barry Goldwater, Ray Manley, Chuck Abbott, David and Josef Muench, Ed Ellinger, Esther Henderson, and many other talented photographers were often featured. The publication is full of wonderful images even to this day. While it is not purely a photography magazine, Arizona Highways is a publication that photographers love due to their passion for the medium.
The vast majority of the pictures in the December 1960 issue were captured on Ektachrome, and fair number were shot on Kodachrome. While it was the December issue, most of the photographs had been captured that previous summer. The Summer of 1960 Film Simulation Recipe mimics the aesthetic of the those images, including the magazine photo below, made by Chuck Abbott in July 1960 using Kodachrome.
When I was six-years-old, my family and I went to Expo ’86 World’s Fair in Vancouver, Canada. Not long ago I found many old pictures of that event—personal, in books, and online. The Emulsion ’86 Film Simulation Recipe is highly reminiscent of some of those photographs, producing a nostalgic analog aesthetic that is similar to some pictures from the mid-1980’s (presumably primarily Kodak emulsions). While it is a good option for sunny daylight photography, I especially like how this one looks on dreary overcast days.
The Kodak Negative Film Simulation Recipe isn’t intended to mimic any specific emulsions; instead it has a “memory color” similar to some Kodak films, like Royal Gold, Gold 100, and Ektar 100. It’s not an exact match to any of those, but just in the general ballpark with a warm and vibrant Kodak color negative film palette. Because it uses Auto White Balance, the Kodak Negative Recipe is fairly versatile and can be used for many subjects and lighting situations.
Thommy’s Ektachrome was made by Thomas Schwab, who was simply trying to make a Recipe using the Nostalgic Neg. film sim that would be good for portraits. The Recipe he created has a distinctive Ektachrome aesthetic, especially similar to National Geographic photographs prior to Ektachrome’s discontinuation by 2013 (prior to the revival in 2018). That was, of course, by chance and not intentional, but there certainly are some similarities. This Recipe is not only good for portraits, but also landscapes and I’m sure many genres of photography. Thommy’s Ektachrome does particularly well in sunny daylight, but is good for overcast, shade, and natural-light indoors, too.
I wasn’t trying to emulate any specific film or process when I created the Nostalgia Negative Film Simulation Recipe, I just wanted something that looked good. This was my very first X-Trans V Recipe, and it was simply an attempt to create a better Nostalgic Neg. than just using the default settings. I hoped that perhaps it would even evoke feelings of nostalgia with a vintage analog-like aesthetic.
The creators of the Nostalgic Neg. film simulation stated, “Nostalgic Negative is tuned for the best allrounder settings, but if you want to tweak it to get that classic American New Color look from the ’70’s, there are some adjustments you should make.” This Timeless Negative Film Simulation Recipe is a tweak to Fujifilm’s recommended settings, bringing it closer to a ’70’s vibe. This particular Recipe is especially versatile, and can be used for many different genres of photography and in various light conditions—it’s good for anytime of the day or night.
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