I get asked fairly regularly which Film Simulation Recipes are the most popular. For me, this is a fascinating topic, but it’s definitely hard to know definitively. While I get a glimpse on social media, my best gauge is the Fuji X Weekly website statistics; specifically, which Recipe articles are viewed the most. I don’t collect any data on the Fuji X Weekly App, so that’s no help—although, if I did, it would likely offer the most accurate picture; however, it would still be impossible to know which Recipes people programmed into their Fujifilm cameras, or how often they use each. Perhaps a survey would be particularly useful, yet even it has its limitations. While certainly a flawed method, page-view website statics offer the best glimpse at which Film Simulation Recipes are the most popular, so that’s what I’m using for this article. These are simply the Top 25 most-viewed Recipes on the Fuji X Weekly website.
There’s a lot that can be gleaned from this exercise, but also a grain of salt must be consumed, too. For example, Vibrant Arizona actually has four Recipes in that article (two versions of two), so it would certainly rank lower if it only had one; also, it was published near the end of April, so it has a time disadvantage, as do all of the other Recipes published after January 1st. But, setting those limitations aside, there are still some fascinating trends to be explored. Some of these rankings are quite surprising to me, and others are not surprising at all.
Classic Chrome is the king of film simulations. The five most popular Fuji X Weekly Recipes all use Classic Chrome, as do 21 of the Top 25. Second place, which is Classic Negative with two, is a very distant second. Acros and PRO Neg. Std have one each. The other film simulations don’t even chart on this list. For those who use Film Simulation Recipes, Classic Chrome is clearly the film sim of choice for most.
Not surprisingly, Recipes with Kodak brand names are the most popular. 13 have Kodak in the name, eight have Portra in the name, and five have Kodachrome in the name. Kodak was the most popular film brand, so it should be expected that Film Simulation Recipes that mimic those emulsions would also be popular. What is surprising to me is that none with Fujifilm, Fujicolor, Superia, Provia, Velvia, etc., in the Recipe name made this list, as some of those are my personal favorites.
10 of these Recipes use a Kelvin White Balance, eight use Auto White Balance, six use Daylight, and one uses a Custom White Balance measurement. Almost all of them are warm, at least a little. Only one B&W Recipe made this list, which isn’t a shock to me because the color Recipes are typically far more popular than monochrome. Only one Recipe specifically intended for night photography made this list, and I’m actually a little surprised by which one and how high it ranks. 10 Recipes use DR200, nine use DR400, five use DR-Auto, and one uses D-Range Priority Strong.
Most people who use Recipes do so on X-Trans IV cameras, specifically the X-Pro3, X100V, X-T4, X-S10, X-E4, and X-T30 II models. Of the Top 25 Recipes, 16 of them are for those specific X-Trans IV cameras, including each of the Top 3. Six are for X-Trans III cameras plus the X-T3 and X-T30, two are for X-Trans V, and one is for X-Trans II (the very last one). But it’s a little more convoluted than that, because some Recipes (Vibrant Arizona and Kodak Tri-X 400 for sure, and probably others) are being used on X-Trans V cameras. Some of the X-Trans III plus X-T3 and X-T30 Recipes are likely being used on X-Trans IV and X-Trans V models to some extent. The majority of X-Trans V Recipes are at a disadvantage because they were published after January 1st, and there are only four fifth-generation X-Trans models anyway. I think the biggest takeaway is that the majority of people who shoot with Film Simulation Recipes in 2023 are doing so on X-Trans III and newer cameras, and X-Trans IV is the largest group within that. Recipes are not as popular on EXR, X-Trans I, X-Trans II, Bayer, and GFX models, although there are certainly many who do use them.
There are some rankings that surprise me. Vibrant Arizona is the only one published in 2023 to make the Top 25, although the fact that there are actually four Recipes in that article certainly affect its page-views. The X-Trans III version of Kodak Portra 400 requires a hard-to-get-right custom White Balance measurement, so it’s always surprising to me that so many use it. Kodak Portra 400 Warm and Bright Summer are especially warm, and their use case is more narrow than the others. If you had asked me what the second-most popular Recipe that uses the Classic Negative film sim, I would not have guessed Kodak Max 800, yet here it is! The X-Trans III version of Kodachrome II was ranked #7 last year, the X-Trans IV version of Kodachome II was ranked #8, Nostalgic Negative was #9, and Kodak Ektar 100 was #10, so those have fallen significantly, now ranked #12, #19, #24, & #16, respectively. I’m a little surprised that Classic Kodak Chrome is the most popular X-Trans II Recipe.
Anyway, I’ve held you up long enough. Let’s get to the list!
Top 25 Most Popular Film Simulation Recipes of 2023 (…so far)
Find these Film Simulation Recipes and many more on the Fuji X Weekly App!