Fujifilm X100F Dynamic Range Settings

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Autumn At Mill Creek – Bountiful, UT – FujiFilm X100F Astia @ DR200 – captured on a sunny afternoon with strong highlights and deep shadows.

Fujifilm X cameras, including the X100F that I own, have three Dynamic Range settings: DR100, DR200 and DR400. Let’s explore what these setting are and what it means for your pictures.

To begin with, it’s important to understand that the X-Trans sensors found inside Fujifilm cameras are actually made by Sony. Once upon a time digital camera sensors would increase the energy pumped into them to make the photosites more sensitive to light in order to increase ISO. At some point Sony figured out that doing so was unnecessary, that the camera, even in very dark areas, was recording a lot of information. Thus, the “ISO-less” sensor was born.

An ISO-less sensor, which modern Sony-made sensors are, increases ISO by simply increasing the luminosity levels with software. You can try this at home by capturing an exposure at ISO 6400 and a RAW exposure at ISO 200 underexposed by five stops, then brighten the underexposed file in software to the correct exposure. You’ll notice that the the two files now look the same.

In other words, the camera is actually capturing every shot at base ISO and increasing the brightness after the exposure for whatever ISO was selected. You are completely unaware, and it is automatically done, even to RAW files. That’s why they call it ISO-less.

What this means is that there are a lot of details that can be pulled out of the shadows of your RAW files. The highlights can clip rather sharply and there isn’t a lot of room for error, but you have tons of room in the shadows. It’s best to underexpose to protect the highlights and increase the luminosity in post.

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Vibrant Forest – Bountiful, UT – Fujifilm X100F Velvia @ DR200 – contrast from back-lit trees are handled well, with shadows that are strong but not devoid of details.

 

That’s great for RAW shooters, but what about those who prefer JPEG? Fujifilm built into their cameras the Dynamic Range settings, which allows the benefits of the ISO-less sensor to be applied to JPEGs.

Have you ever wondered why base ISO on Fujifilm X cameras is ISO 200? It’s actually a software trick. The real base ISO on the sensor is ISO 100 (which is available as an “extended ISO”), but the camera applies a curve in software to pull more details out of the shadows, essentially underexposing the scene and then increasing the luminosity of everything (except the highlights) to maximize the dynamic range. This is also why some people claim that Fujifilm “cheats” with their ISOs.

The Dynamic Range settings don’t mean anything to RAW files, but they have a big effect on JPEGs. They allow you to retain shadow details and prevent clipped highlights.

The default setting is Dynamic Range 100 (DR100). This is the standard Dynamic Range option and it cannot be turned off (except by selected extended ISO 100). Dynamic Range 200 (DR200) is next, and if it is selected the minimum ISO is 400 (instead of ISO 200). The third option is Dynamic Range 400 (DR400), and if it is selected the minimum ISO is 800. There is also an option to let the camera auto-decide which Dynamic Range setting to use.

The reason that the minimum ISO increases is because the camera is increasing the luminosity in the files (except for the highlights) to an equivalent of that ISO. The good news is that there really isn’t an image quality difference between ISO 200 and ISO 800, so there should be no hesitation using ISO 800 if you want a larger dynamic range.

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Autumn Forest Light – Bountiful, UT – Fujifilm X100F Astia @ DR200 – sunlight created deep shadows, but they are handled quite well by the camera.

A lot of people keep the Dynamic Range set at the default DR100, and that’s fine for them. I think it works well in low contrast situations. For normal everyday use I prefer DR200 because it does a great job of capturing the dynamic range of most scenes while not looking flat. DR400 is a good option for scenes with a large dynamic range (it seems nearly impossible to clip highlights), but if there isn’t enough contrast in the scene your images will look flat (but contrast could be added in post-processing).

Which Dynamic Range setting is best and which you should choose depends on the situation. I don’t think DR100 is strong enough, and you are more likely to experience clipped highlights and deep black shadows with it selected. DR400 seems too strong, but if you plan to post-process the JPEG this gives you the most latitude for editing (then again, if you are going to post-process, why not shoot RAW?). DR200 seems to be the “just right” option that delivers results similar to what I’d achieve if I had edited a RAW exposure.

That’s putting it simply because there’s a lot more to it than that. Each scene has to be judged individually. If the light is even and there’s little contrast in the scene perhaps DR100 gives you the best look. Each Film Simulation has different amounts of contrast, so maybe DR200 works good for one and DR100 or DR400 works best for another. And it also depends on what exactly you’ve got highlights and shadows set to within your Film Simulation.

There are a lot of moving parts and things to consider when determining which Dynamic Range setting to select. There are many variables that might make you adjust it. I find myself using DR200 most of the time, and occasionally adjusting it up or down if I need to.

In conclusion, the Fujifilm Dynamic Range settings are a great way for JPEG users to take advantage of the large dynamic range capabilities of the X-Trans sensor. It has no effect on RAW, you will have to apply your own curves to pull out the shadow details if you are a RAW shooter. It’s a neat trick that Fuji uses to elevate their out-of-camera JPEGs to a level beyond that of other camera brands. It’s just a matter of figuring out which settings are best for each situation.

Update:

A reader contacted me to explain how I got this wrong, that the Dynamic Range settings only protect highlights and don’t effect shadows. That’s true, but because highlights are protected, I’m exposing a little more than I would otherwise, making the image a little brighter, including shadows. My exposure compensation is typically dialed between +2/3 and +1-1/3, situation specific, which would give me blown highlights without DR. So while the Dynamic Range options don’t directly increase the dynamic range within the shadows, they indirectly do.

Fujifilm X-T30 – New Feature: D-Range Priority

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Since my Fujifilm X-T30 arrived last week, I have been trying out all of the different new features, and over the coming days I will be sharing with you my findings. Today I will discuss D-Range Priority. This new feature first appeared on the X-H1, then the X-T3, and now the X-T30. I’m sure it will be included in all future X-Trans cameras, such as the X-Pro3 and X100V, which might be released before the end of the year. I wasn’t sure exactly what D-Range Priority is, how it works, or how to best use it, so I was eager to try it out. And I made some interesting discoveries.

The manual doesn’t give a lot of information on what exactly D-Range Priority is, except that it reduces contrast when activated. When you select D-Range Priority, you no longer have control of the Dynamic Range (DR) setting, Highlight and Shadow. You get what you get, which is a lower-contrast image. There are three D-Range Priority options: Weak, Strong and Auto (as well as Off). I’m not sure exactly how this might effect RAW, as (thanks to Fujifilm’s excellent camera-made JPEGs) I haven’t post-processed a RAW file in over a year (with the exception of using the in-camera RAW conversion to reprocess some images). For the JPEG shooter, D-Range Priority applies a flat curve to help control blown highlights and blocked shadows in high-contrast scenes.

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D-Range Priority Strong

The best way to think about D-Range Priority is an extension of the Dynamic Range settings. You have DR100, DR200, DR400, and now D-Range Priority Weak and D-Range Priority Strong. D-Range Priority Auto selects either Weak, Strong or Off, whatever the camera thinks it should be. I haven’t tried Auto, so I can’t comment on how well it does or doesn’t work. The only times that you’d want to use D-Range Priority are those rare circumstances when DR400 isn’t enough, and you need to squeeze a little more dynamic range out of the camera (again, this is for JPEGs, as you could make these same adjustments yourself from an underexposed RAW file in software).

The first D-Range Priority test that I conducted can be seen below. I captured a scene with a little bit of contrast in it and applied the two D-Range Priority options. As you can see, the DR100 version could use a little boost in the shadows, but D-Range Priority Weak is slightly too flat and D-Range Priority Strong is much too flat. This is a case where using DR200, or simply adjusting Shadow down a notch, probably would have been sufficient.

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DR100

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D-Range Priority Weak

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D-Range Priority Strong

I did another test, this time with a higher contrast scene. This is a case where you might actually benefit from D-Range Priority. The first image shows what DR400 looks like (Pro NEG Hi, with Highlight and Shadow at 0), the second shows DR400 with Shadow and Highlight at -2, the third shows D-Range Priority Weak, and the last image shows D-Range Priority Strong. You might notice that D-Range Priority Weak has only subtly less contrast than DR400 with Shadow and Highlight set to -2. There’s a clear difference between using DR400 and D-Range Priority Strong, but you can almost achieve D-Range Priority Weak by using DR400 and setting Shadow and Highlight to -2. I can’t imagine you’ll encounter all that many situations where DR400 isn’t enough, but you might and Fujifilm has given you the option to go beyond it when you need to.

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DR400

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DR400 with -2 Shadow & -2 Highlight

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D-Range Priority Weak

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D-Range Priority Strong

I wondered what exactly the camera is doing when I select D-Range Priority. As I said, the DR setting, Shadow and Highlight are no longer adjustable when D-Range Priority has been activated. I didn’t find the answer, but I do have a theory. I believe that Fujifilm programmed a very flat tone curve that it applies to D-Range Priority images. It’s the same curve whether you use the Weak or Strong option. For D-Range Priority Weak I believe that it is applying this flat curve to a DR200 setting, and for D-Range Priority Strong it is applying the same curve to a DR400 setting. There’s no option to adjust Shadow or Highlight because the curve has already been set. That’s what I think is going on, but I have no proof. It’s just a theory.

Whatever the technical mumbo-jumbo might be, the practical aspect of D-Range Priority is that in very high contrast scenes, this setting might help you achieve the look that you want in-camera. I did one final test, where I used some very normal settings and made an image that’s not particularly good, and I also used D-Range Priority to create a more usable (but perhaps still not very good) image of the same high contrast scene. This is the type of situation where this new option is beneficial. It’s not something that I suspect anyone will use every day, but it’s good to know that it’s there when you need it, however infrequent that might be.

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“Normal Settings”

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D-Range Priority Weak

Click here to buy the Fujifilm X-T30 at Amazon.

See also:
Fujifilm X-T30 – New Feature: Eterna Film Simulation
Fujifilm X-T30 – New Feature: B&W Toning
Fujifilm X-T30 – New Feature: Color Chrome Effect

Sepia: The Forgotten Film Simulation

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No Credit Tires – Bountiful, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2 – Sepia

Sepia is Fujifilm’s forgotten film simulation. Despite being included on every X camera since the original X100, very few people use it. Some photographers mock the Sepia film simulation, calling it gimmicky or amateurish. It’s even been the butt of jokes. There seems to be no love for it. I believe that the Sepia film simulation is misunderstood and underappreciated, and it deserves more respect.

You might be surprised to learn that actual sepia is a byproduct of cuttlefish, and it’s been a part of photography for over 150 years. Sepia is used for its archival properties. When black-and-white photographic prints are given a sepia bath, it stabilizes the silver, which slows the aging process. It also stains the paper, producing a brownish-red tone. The longer the paper sits in a sepia bath, the stronger the sepia tone will be. Some photographers would leave their prints in the bath for a long time, producing a pronounced tint. Many years ago when I printed my own black-and-white pictures in a darkroom, I would only give my pictures a quick dip in sepia, which would produce a very subtle warm tone. Sepia has both form and function in the photographic process.

The majority of black-and-white photographers used sepia, although many preferred a short bath for subtle effect; however, some wanted the full sepia aesthetic with it’s pronounced warm tones. There have been different eras in photography when a strong sepia stain was in vogue. You can change the emotion of a black-and-white photograph by toning it, so it’s no surprise that a warm tone would be popular. Even when it wasn’t popular, there were still some photographers who would purposefully use sepia for artistic effect.

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Snow on Rudy Drain – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T1 & Fujinon 35mm f/2 – Sepia

Even though film photography is much less prevalent now, sepia is still being used today in analog black-and-white printing. It’s unnecessary in digital photography, but Fujifilm has provided an easy solution for simulating the effect: the Sepia film simulation. Specifically, it mimics the look of a black-and-white print that’s spent some time in a sepia bath. Some might call it “old timey” in appearance; yes, sepia has been used in photography for a very long time, yet it is still being used today. Maybe it’s not so gimmicky and amateurish after all.

You know that I love to create film simulation recipes that produce straight-out-of-camera results which mimic analog aesthetics. I have created many different color and black-and-white recipes for Fujifilm cameras, and in the process used all of the different film simulation options that Fujifilm provides on their cameras, except for one: Sepia. This is the first time that I’ve used the Sepia film simulation as the basis for a recipe. I love the feeling that these settings produce in an image; there’s a certain emotional response to Sepia that’s not found in the Acros or Monochrome film simulations. I invite you to try these settings for yourself, and perhaps you’ll discover a newfound respect for the lowly Sepia film simulation.

Sepia film simulation recipe for the X100V, X-Pro3 and X-T4:

Sepia
Dynamic Range DR400
Highlight & Shadow: +3
Grain: Strong, Large
Color Chrome Effect & Color Chrome Effect Blue: Off
Clarity: +2
Sharpening: -2
Noise Reduction: -4

Example photographs:

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Sepia Sun – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Broken Barrier – Kaysville, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Espresso Yourself – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X100V

Sepia film simulation recipe for X-Trans III plus X-T3 and X-T30 cameras:

Sepia
Dynamic Range: DR400
Highlight & Shadow: +3
Grain: Strong
Color Chrome: Off or N/A
Sharpening: -2
Noise Reduction: -4

Example photographs:

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Lens in the Window Light – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 90mm f/2

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Chair Light & Shadow Abstract – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Night Pump – Centerville, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5

Sepia film simulation recipe for X-Trans I & II plus Bayer cameras:

Sepia
Dynamic Range DR200
Highlight & Shadow: +2
Sharpening: -1
Noise Reduction: -2

Example photographs:

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Cup of Beans – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T1 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Selfie – Uintah, UT – Fujifilm X-T1 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Suburban Pond in Winter – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

See also:
Film Simulation Recipes
Review: Fujifilm X-T30
Review: Fujinon 35mm f/2
Review: Fujinon 90mm f/2
Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5

Fujifilm X100F Review Blog

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Fujifilm X100V New Feature: HDR

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There’s a new feature on the Fujifilm X100V called HDR, which is an abbreviation for High Dynamic Range. You’ve probably heard of HDR photography. It was all the rage 10 years ago, but often looked terrible. Well, software has improved, and people are being more tasteful with their edits, and you likely see HDR pictures frequently and don’t even know it. I’ve never been a big fan of HDR photography, and I had very little interest in this new Fujifilm feature, but I thought that I’d try it anyway.

What is HDR? It’s the combination of a series of pictures, some overexposed and some underexposed, to maximize dynamic range. It prevents clipped highlights and blocked shadows. Fujifilm has other tools to deal with this: Highlight and Shadow adjustments, different Dynamic Range options, and D-Range Priority. HDR is now another option. You can select HDR 200, HDR 400, HDR 800 or HDR Plus.

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Bright Flowers – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V – HDR 800

On the X100V you have to go to the Drive menu to access HDR. One thing that I really appreciate about HDR on this camera is that you can select all of the different JPEG options except Dynamic Range (with HDR Plus you also cannot select Highlight, Shadow or Clarity). In other words, HDR becomes the Dynamic Range setting, and you still have everything else. You can also reprocess in-camera the RAW HDR file, but only as an HDR image. Cool!

Let’s take a closer look at the HDR options on the X100V, and also compare it to DR400 and D-Range Priority.

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DR400

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D-Range Priority Weak

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D-Range Priority Strong

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HDR 200

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HDR 400

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HDR 800

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HDR Plus

The only pictures where the shadows appear significantly different are D-Range Priority Strong and HDR Plus. Otherwise shadows are similar, and HDR doesn’t seem to affect it much. However, highlights are greatly affected by the different HDR settings. In the pictures above, there’s a big difference in how the sun is rendered.

You might also notice some similarities between some of these different settings. Let’s compare a few:

DR400 vs. HDR 400

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DR400

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HDR 400

D-Range Priority Weak vs. HDR 200

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D-Range Priority Weak

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HDR 200

D-Range Priority Strong vs. HDR Plus

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D-Range Priority Strong

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HDR Plus

You might notice that D-Range Priority Weak and HDR 200 look very similar, as does DR400 and HDR 400, as well as D-Range Priority Strong and HDR Plus. Why? D-Range Priority Weak and HDR 200 are both based on DR200, so it makes sense that they would appear similar to each other. HDR 400 is based on DR400, so it’s logical that they would seem similar, as well. HDR 800 is like DR800 if such a thing existed. Both D-Range Priority Strong and HDR Plus are basically the same as HDR 800 with lighter shadows.

I don’t see a benefit to using HDR 200 or HDR 400, as you can achieve the same thing with your different Dynamic Range options. I did find HDR 800 useful for maximizing the dynamic range of the camera in harsh-light situations. HDR Plus isn’t really any different than using D-Range Priority Strong, so you might as well use the D-Range Priority setting if you really need it.

Here’s another example of the different HDR settings:

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HDR 200

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HDR 400

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HDR 800

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HDR Plus

The picture above illustrates when HDR Plus could be beneficial, but you might as well use D-Range Priority Strong instead. You could achieve the same thing as HDR 200 and HDR 400  by using the Dynamic Range settings. HDR 800 is the only one that you cannot mimic by using other settings, but the difference is pretty small between it and HDR 400.

HDR Examples

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Light Flower – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V – HDR 800

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Tiny Library – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V – HDR 800

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Chopstix – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V – HDR 800

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Jurassic Park – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V – HDR 800

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Window Light on the Wall – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V – HDR 800

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Lunch – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X100V – HDR 800

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Health Parking – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V – HDR 800

Back in the day, HDR photographs were notorious for halos and cartoonish renderings, but I didn’t find any of those issue on the X100V. The camera does a decent job of aligning hand-held shots. The new HDR feature far exceeded my expectations (which were admittedly pretty low). However, it turns out that HDR on the X100V is not especially useful. It also slows down the camera considerably as it captures a series of pictures and combines them. Besides that, it doesn’t always work well.

HDR Bloopers

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How many legs?

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An extra wheel and no driver!

If there’s anything more than very minor movements within the frame, you’ll get weird artifacts from the combination of pictures. Even if there’s no movement, but you are not very still when you capture the pictures, you can get blur from poor alignment. I had just as many busts as I had successes when using HDR because of alignment problems and artifacts from movement. Maybe there’s a way to artistically use this?

Conclusion

HDR was not a feature that I was especially excited about on the Fujifilm X100V, yet it turned out to be a lot more fun than I expected. After playing around with it for a few days, I concluded that it’s not an especially useful tool. HDR 800 is the only selection that has a practical application, and the conditions have to be pretty extreme for it to be beneficial. While you can get good hand-held shots, you’re better off using a tripod, and don’t even think about using HDR if there’s anything more than very slow movement in the scene. While I think Fujifilm did a descent job in the programming, there’s plenty of room for improvement, and it’ll need to be made better before it’s a feature that will be used frequently. It’s good to have HDR as an option on the X100V, but I’m confident that I’ll rarely use it.

This post contains affiliate links, and if you make a purchase using my links I’ll be compensated a small amount for it.

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My Fujifilm X100V Kodachrome 64 Film Simulation Recipe

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Evening at a Pond – Farmington Bay, UT – Fujifilm X100V “Kodachrome 64”

The Fujifilm X100V has some new features, including Clarity and Color Chrome Effect Blue, that my X-T30 doesn’t have, despite sharing the same sensor. The more JPEG options that I have, the more accurately I can create in-camera looks. My hope is to revisit some of my film simulation recipes, and create what I hope are more accurate versions using the new features. The first one that I revamped is my Kodachrome 64 film simulation recipe.

Many people love my Kodachrome 64 recipe, but not everyone. The biggest complaint that I’ve heard about it is that the reds aren’t vibrant enough. I don’t disagree with that, but there are always compromises when recreating looks in-camera because the tools available to me are limited. Of course, what Kodachrome 64 looks like depends on how you’re viewing it, whether projector, light table, scan, print, and how so. You can find some vastly different looking pictures that were captured on Kodachrome 64. For this revamped recipe, I spent some time studying the Kodachrome slides that I captured many years ago.

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Red Lights & Rain – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V “Kodachrome 64”

While I feel that this is an improved Kodachrome 64 recipe, it’s still not perfect. Those who disliked how reds were rendered on the old recipe will certainly like this one better, but is it 100% exactly like the film? No. I think +2 Color might be too much, but +1 Color doesn’t render reds and yellows vibrant enough. If you prefer +1 Color, feel free to do that instead. There’s a little less contrast with this new version. Both of the Color Chrome Effects, the lower Dynamic Range setting, and Clarity add contrast, so I changed Highlight and Shadow to compensate. The X-T4 has .5 Highlight and Shadow adjustments, and I would set Shadow to +0.5 if I were using these settings on that camera (I hope that Fujifilm updates the X100V and X-Pro3 to allow this, too). I think it would be acceptable to use +1 Shadow, but I felt that was a tad too much, so I set it to 0. Despite not being perfect, I do feel that this version is a little more accurate to actual Kodachrome 64 film.

If you have an X100V, X-Pro3 or X-T4, I invite you to try this new-and-improved Kodachrome 64 film simulation recipe. Be sure to let me know what you think! Here are a couple pictures comparing the two versions of this recipes:

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Original Kodachrome 64 recipe.

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New Kodachrome 64 Recipe.

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Original Kodachrome 64 recipe.

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New Kodachrome 64 recipe.

Classic Chrome
Dynamic Range: DR200
Highlight: 0
Shadow: 0
Color: +2
Noise Reduction: -4
Sharpening: +1
Clarity: +3
Grain Effect: Weak, Small
Color Chrome Effect: Strong
Color Chrome Effect Blue: Weak
White Balance: Daylight, +2 Red & -5 Blue
ISO: Auto, up to ISO 6400
Exposure Compensation: 0 to +2/3 (typically)

Example photographs, all camera-made JPEGs using this new Kodachrome 64 film simulation recipe on my Fujifilm X100V:

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White Horse by a Stream – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Horses in the Grass – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Curious Horse – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Country Tires – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Yellow Flowers, Blue Sky – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Wishful Day – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Beer & Board – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Road Bicycling – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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All the World’s a Sunny Day – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Orders & Pickup – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Red, White & Blue Day – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Flag Up Close – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Reeds by the Water – Farmington Bay, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Evening Reeds – Farmington Bay, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Landscape Flowers – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Handlebar – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Kodak Colors – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Half of an Orange – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Ground Beans – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Pallets – Centerville, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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IHOP – Centerville, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Cupcake – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Sitting on Concrete – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Spring Snow – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Film Simulation Review: Light & Shadow with Ilford Delta Push-Process

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Chair & Pillow – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

Photography is about light. Without light there are no photographs. Great photographs require great light. What “great light” is depends on the picture and circumstance, and what’s great for one image might not be for another. Great light can be found anytime of the day or night if one looks hard enough for it.

This series of pictures demonstrate the play of light and shadow in an image. It features instances of bright highlights and deep shadows together. It’s the contrast between illumination and the absence of it. I needed a dramatic film simulation recipe to capture these pictures. I knew that it would need to be black-and-white because these pictures aren’t about color, but light and shadow. Color would only be a distraction to the point. But which black-and-white film simulation recipe should I choose?

There are several options for dramatic black-and-white that I could have chosen, including Dramatic Monochrome, Monochrome Kodachrome, Agfa Scala, Ilford HP5 Plus, Ilford HP5 Push-Process, X100F Acros, X-T30 Acros, Acros Push-Process, and Tri-X Push-Process. Any of those recipes would have worked, but each would have produced a different result. Some have more contrast, some less. Some have a greater dynamic range and others a more narrow. Some are brighter, some darker. Some have more grain and other less. I could have picked any of them and gotten interesting results, but I went with Ilford Delta Push-Process instead, partially because I had been using it for other pictures during this time. It turns out it was a good choice, because it seems to have the right contrast, tones and grain for this series. Sometimes luck plays a role. What I know now is that the Ilford Delta Push-Process recipe is a great option for dramatic light situations like these, and I will choose it again for similar situations in the future. I captured these pictures on a Fujifilm X-T30 with a Fujinon 35mm f/2 lens attached to it.

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Suburban Shadows – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Seat Back Shadow – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Chair Details – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Girl Ghost – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Sunlight on the Kitchen Floor – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Don’t Step Into Darkness – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

See also: Film Simulation Reviews

Classic Chrome for Those Who Don’t Have It (X-Trans I)

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One of these two pictures is Classic Chrome and one is PRO Neg. Std. Can you guess which is which?

Classic Chrome is probably the most popular film simulation created by Fujifilm. It is the most common starting point for my film simulation recipes. It was introduced by Fujifilm beginning with the X-Trans II sensor, so those who have X-Trans I cameras or older Bayer sensor cameras don’t have it as an option. The X100, X100S, X-E1 and X-Pro1 all lack Classic Chrome.

I’ve been asked many times how to replicate Classic Chrome for cameras that don’t have it. I figured it out! And it’s not what you might expect. It’s not the advice that I have been giving out over the years, which was based on Astia. I figured that Astia with the contrast turned up and color turned down would be close, but I was wrong. It’s difficult to get the contrast correct when using Astia, and with Color set to -2 it’s still much too vibrant. Turns out PRO Neg. Std is the film simulation required to mimic Classic Chrome. Shocked? I was. It was literally the last color film simulation that I tried.

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One of these two pictures is Classic Chrome and one is PRO Neg. Std. Can you guess which is which?

My experiments were conducted on my Fujifilm X-T1. Using Classic Chrome, I set Color, Highlight, Shadow and Sharpness at 0, Dynamic Range to DR100, Noise Reduction to -2, and White Balance to Auto with Red and Blue both set to 0. Then I tried to replicate that look using one of the other film simulations. I figured out how to get pretty darn close using the PRO Neg. Std film simulation.

There are some differences between actual Classic Chrome and these settings. This faux Classic Chrome is actually slightly more yellow. If there was a way to shift the white balance by fractions this could be made more accurate, as the actual shift should be closer to +0.3 Red and -0.6 Blue, but that’s not possible. You could set the white balance shift to 0 Red and 0 Blue if you prefer less yellow, and I think that’s a legitimate option, as I debated between that and this, but ultimately I went with the warmer white balance shift. There’s also slightly deeper shadows and more saturation with these settings than real Classic Chrome. I think +0.7 Shadow and Color would be more accurate, but +1 is as close as I could get. I found that setting Shadow and Color to 0 produced results that were further away from Classic Chrome, but that’s something you could consider. These settings are not perfect, but for those who don’t have Classic Chrome as an option, in my opinion this is as close as you’re going to get, which is actually pretty close. 

PRO Neg. Std
Dynamic Range: DR200
Highlight: +1
Shadow: +1
Color: +1
Sharpness: 0
Noise Reduction: -2
White Balance: Auto, 0 Red & -1 Blue

What about the pictures above? The top one is the faux Classic Chrome using PRO Neg. Std and the bottom one is actual Classic Chrome. Did you guess correctly?

Below are example photographs, all straight-out-of-camera JPEGs from my Fujifilm X-T1, that compare faux Classic Chrome using PRO Neg. Std with Classic Chrome.

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Faux Classic Chrome using PRO Neg. Std

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Classic Chrome

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Faux Classic Chrome using PRO Neg. Std

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Classic Chrome

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Faux Classic Chrome using PRO Neg. Std

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Classic Chrome

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Faux Classic Chrome using PRO Neg. Std

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Classic Chrome

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Faux Classic Chrome using PRO Neg. Std

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Classic Chrome

Digital Holga – Turning My Fujifilm X-T30 Into A Toy Camera

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The Holga is a line of cheap Chinese “toy” cameras that (mostly) use medium-format film. Introduced in 1982, this inexpensive camera was designed to be the everyday tool to capture family moments, although poor quality made it only somewhat successful commercially. It’s known for heavy vignetting, soft focus, blur, and light leaks. While the Holga is not generally considered a good option for serious photographers, it has been used as such, and some famous pictures have been captured with this humble camera. The flaws are what make the Holga special.

I own a Holga 120N, which is perhaps the most common Holga model. I don’t use it often, but I do dust it off every once in awhile, load it with 120 film, and capture 12 square frames. Holga cameras can capture square or rectangular frames, or, if you are feeling really frisky, you can load it with 35mm film. Here are a few photographs that I’ve captured with my Holga camera:

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Like most of you, I’m staying home as much as possible right now due to the worldwide pandemic. For the most part, going places is out of the question, and I wouldn’t really want to even if I could. To foster my creative mind and prevent boredom, I decided to “convert” my Fujifilm X-T30 into a digital Holga camera. I set out to capture Holga-like images out-of-camera. Yes, I could do this by shooting RAW and using software, such as Exposure X5, but I didn’t want to. For me, that would be much less fun.

In “Advanced Filters” Fujifilm has included a “Toy Camera” effect. It’s designed to produce something similar to what you might get out of a Holga camera. Advanced Filters is misnamed, as it’s not well-designed for advanced users. It’s gimmicky. You can’t really change much with it, so what you see is what you get, for better or worse. I set my X-T30 to the Toy Camera effect, set the aspect ratio to 1:1 (square), and Dynamic Range (the only thing you can control) to DR400. To further the Holga effect, I attached my “worst” lens to the camera, an Industar 69, which has flaws not too dissimilar to the lens on my Holga camera. For some pictures, I used page markers to simulate light leaks.

Here are some straight-out-of-camera “Holga” pictures from my X-T30:

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Next, I opened up a rarely-used app on my phone called RNI Films to apply a film preset to the pictures. I used an Agfa Scala option for black-and-white and a Kodak Portra 160 for color. Below you’ll find some pictures where I used the RNI Films app.

B&W

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Color

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Of course, a Holga experience wouldn’t be complete without double exposures. With a Holga camera, if you don’t advance the film (or you forget to), you can capture multiple exposures by simply opening the shutter again. Unfortunately, you cannot make double exposures on the X-T30 using the Toy Camera effect, so I used the Snapseed app on my phone to combine two exposures. Here are a few examples of using Snapseed to combine two Toy Camera images into one double exposure picture:

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While this was a fun experiment, and I’m glad that I did this, the Fujifilm X-T30 isn’t an especially good or practical way of achieving an out-of-camera Holga look. Can you? Sure, to an extent. The use of a couple of apps improves the results. Even so, there are only a few of these pictures that I really like. I think next time I’ll just load a roll of film into my Holga 120N.

Part 2

Fujifilm Monochrome

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Mountains Dressed In Monochrome – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

Leica recently announced the M10 Monochrom, which is their third black-and-white only camera. It can’t capture a color picture because it doesn’t have a Bayer array. It only does black-and-white photography. Fujifilm should do something similar, even though most won’t buy it.

Believe it or not, there’s actually an advantage to a monochrome sensor. With a typical Bayer color array, only 50% of the light-sensitive sensor elements are recording luminosity information, while the other 50% are recording color information. With an X-Trans sensor, 55% of the light-sensitive sensor elements are recording luminosity information while 45% are recording color information. With a monochrome sensor, 100% of the light-sensitive sensor elements are recording luminosity information. Because of this, you get a higher perceived resolution, as pictures will appear more richly detailed, and there’s more shadow latitude, which also improves high-ISO capabilities. You can also use color filters like with black-and-white film.

I think an X-Pro3-M, a black-and-white only version of the X-Pro3, or an X100V-M, a black-and-white only version of the upcoming X100V, would do well enough commercially. Yes, it’s clearly a niche product, as there’s only a tiny market for it, yet Leica found a way to make it profitable, and Fujifilm could, too. There are plenty of photographers who use their X-Pro or X100 series camera to only shoot black-and-white. A Monochrome version would make things simpler for them, while improving perceived resolution, dynamic range and high-ISO. And, Fujifilm has a cool marketing angle: call it the X-Pro3 Acros or X100V Acros. People would eat that up. Increase the price a couple hundred dollars and it would sell well enough to be profitable, in my non-expert opinion.

The flip side to this is that Fujifilm X-Trans cameras, particularly X-Trans III and IV cameras that have the Acros film simulation, are already fantastic for black-and-white photography. Would a monochrome-only camera really produce enough of an improved image to justify buying one? I think that’s a tough question to answer, but my guess is probably not for most people. Still, a monochrome-only camera wouldn’t be for “most people” as it would be for a very small crowd, and for those people the difference would indeed justify buying it. For most, your current X-Trans camera is a great black-and-white photography tool, and there’s no need to get a monochrome-only camera. Some, however, would absolutely love to have one, and I think there’s enough of those people that such a camera could be profitable for Fujifilm, if they ever wished to create one. I hope they do.

Downtown SLC Street Photography with Fujifilm X-T30 & Vintage Super-Takumar Lenses

Downtown Salt Lake City Street Photography

Walking Next To The Trax – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5

Earlier this week I was able to do some street and urban photography in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah, with my Fujifilm X-T30. I had two vintage Asahi-Pentax lenses with me: a Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5 and a Super-Takumar 105mm f/2.8. I mostly used the 28mm lens, as its focal-length is more ideal for this type of photography. As you already know if you follow the Fuji X Weekly blog, I really love pairing vintage lenses with my Fujifilm cameras. They go together like peanut butter and jelly! I have so much fun with it, and for whatever reason using vintage lenses seems especially appropriate for street photography.

I used my Kodachrome II recipe, with Color set to +2 on some images, for the color pictures in this series. The black-and-white photographs are my Acros Push-Process recipe, except I set Grain to Weak, Dynamic Range to DR400, and Highlight to +3 or +2, depending on the picture. I like to say that you can “season to taste” my different film simulation recipes; it’s something that I do. If a scene requires something to be adjusted a little different in order to create a stronger picture, I will not hesitate to do so. While my different film simulation recipes work well as-is in many circumstances, sometimes they need an adjustment to best fit the scene.

Downtown Salt Lake City is a great location for street and urban photography. It’s pretty safe. Parking is easy. Getting around is easy. It typically has just enough going on for interesting pictures, but not too much where it feels crowded. It’s large enough that you can’t do it justice in just one visit, but not too large where you might get lost. There’s interesting architecture and art. There are interesting people. Downtown Salt Lake City might not be the most idealistic street photography location, but it is nonetheless ideal in many ways.

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Federal Traffic Signal – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5

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Urban Sunshine – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5

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1st & 4th – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5

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Man On Main – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5

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The Joy of Train Riding – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5

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Rail Riders – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5

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35 Minute Parking – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5

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City Winter – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5

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Urban Mailbox – SLC, UT – Fuji X-T30 & Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5

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Every Style – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5

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Table For One – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5

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Old Business – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5

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Urban American – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5

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Planetarium Platform – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5

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Climbing Aboard – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5

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Electric City – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5

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Tribune – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5

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Gateway Living – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Super-Takumar 105mm f/2.8

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Gateway – SLC, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Super-Takumar 105mm f/2.8

See also:
Downtown SLC Street Photography w/Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2
Downtown SLC Street Photography w/Fujifilm X100F & Fujifilm XF10