Fujicolor Reala 100 was Fujifilm’s first Superia film, even though initially it did not have Superia in the name. Superia films shared Fuji’s “4th layer technology” and Reala was the first to have it, but Reala was marketed towards “pro” photographers while Superia was marketed towards “consumer” photographers. Eventually Fujifilm added Superia to Reala’s name. There were several different versions of Reala manufactured, including a high-ISO Tungsten one made for motion pictures, but Reala 100 was the most popular. Reala was very similar to Superia, but Superia was intended for “general purpose” photography while Reala was intended for portrait and wedding photography. Colors are rendered a little differently between the two films, especially blue, which is deeper and more saturated on Reala, despite Reala being overall slightly less saturated than Superia 100. Fujifilm discontinued Reala in 2013.
When I read that Reala would be the name of the new film sim, I wondered how Fujifilm would differentiate the rendering of it from Classic Negative, which is closely modeled after Superia emulsions. Would it be a slight tweak with deeper blues and slightly lower vibrancy? After given it some thought, I believe that the Reala film simulation won’t be an accurate facsimile of Reala film, but something else entirely.
Some film sims are meant to be somewhat accurate reproductions of specific emulsions, such as Classic Negative and Acros. Some are meant to be general representations of certain groups of films but not accurate to any specific, such as Classic Chrome (Kodak slide film) and Eterna (motion picture emulsions). Others are just brand names, and aren’t meant to accurately replicate the films they’re named after, such as Provia and Astia; in the case of Astia, Fujifilm says it renders the ideal of the emulsion—what the film would have looked like if they could have done it—but not the actual aesthetic. In the case of Nostalgic Neg., it’s meant to replicate an era of American film, and not any specific stock. Eterna Bleach Bypass emulates a darkroom process.
I have zero inside knowledge, so I can only speculate what the new Reala film simulation will look like. Come September 12th, we’ll have a much better idea. What I think you can expect is a neutral rendering. I believe that it will be low-contrast with accurate-yet-muted colors.
A few weeks ago, a Fujifilm manager stated, “…it’s important for us that we have an image that is very clean. Because of course for editing in post-production, you can do anything, right? As long as the original image is very clean and has the best image quality.” The interviewer responded, “I guess my ideal would be if the camera could even save, say, an ‘undisturbed’ JPEG. It’s kind of funny thinking of a JPEG as some sort of a RAW format.”
That’s what I think the new Reala film sim will be: a very clean, “undisturbed” look as a foundation for editing. Maybe Eterna-like low-contrast toning with PRO Neg. Std-like colors, and maybe even more muted than that. From there, you can manipulate the file however you wish using your software of choice. I know there are people who want that, but probably most of those who read this website regularly will be disappointed if it’s true. I’ll hold out judgement until I see it, but I’m crossing my fingers that the Reala film simulation will be a tweak of Classic Negative that will more closely mimic Reala emulsions. If it does not end up replicating the film, I’m sure I will still be able to make some interesting Film Simulation Recipes with it, no matter how it looks. But… I’m sure it won’t be given to any currently existing cameras, only those models that come after September 12th, so it will likely be awhile before I get a chance to try it.