Fujifilm X-Trans IV Film Simulation Recipe: Moody Monochrome

Apocalyptic Pavillion – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X100V – “Moody Monochrome”

Of the different faux filter options for Acros, +Y is the one I use the least. I think it goes back to my film days when I used color filters with B&W film. I would select Orange or Red before Yellow, because Yellow is fairly subtle, but the advantage of the Yellow filter is that it doesn’t block as much light. Of course, the faux filters on Fujifilm cameras don’t affect the exposure like real filters with film. Anyway, recognizing that I infrequently use Acros+Y, I set out to make a Film Simulation Recipe that uses +Y and produces an aesthetic that I like. I think it is important to challenge myself sometimes, so if there’s some setting or gear or option that I don’t use often, forcing myself to use it helps me to grow as a photographer. That’s why I made this recipe.

I wanted something with an overall darker curve, so that it would produce a moody look. Maybe deep blacks reminiscent of Tri-X, and maybe a push-process feel. I didn’t have any specific film in mind, but I’m reminded of this time that I push-processed a roll of Ilford Delta 400, but inadvertently got it wrong—I underexposed two stops, and only had the lab push it by one stop, so the pictures were largely underexposed, and they were darker and moodier (yet less contrasty and grainy) than I had intended. This isn’t exactly the same as that, but not too dissimilar, either, so that’s why I call this recipe Moody Monochrome.

Early Blossoms – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V – “Moody Monochrome”

Because this film simulation recipe uses Clarity, it is compatible with the Fujifilm X-Pro3, X100V, X-T4, X-S10, X-E4, and X-T30 II cameras. If you have an X-T3 or X-T30 or X-Trans III camera, ignore Clarity and Grain size, and use a diffusion filter, like a 10% CineBloom or 1/4 Black Pro Mist, to get similar results.

Acros+Y
Dynamic Range: DR400
Highlight: -1
Shadow: +4
Noise Reduction: -4
Sharpness: -2
Clarity: -3
Grain Effect: Strong, Large 
Color Chrome Effect: Off
Color Chrome Effect Blue: Off
White Balance: Fluorescent 3, -4 Red & -9 Blue
ISO: 3200
Exposure Compensation: +1/3 to +1 (typically)

Example photographs, all camera-made JPEGs using this “Moody Monochrome” Film Simulation Recipe on my Fujifilm X100V:

Stop West – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V
Watch For Falling Bikes – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V
Sun Beams – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X100V
Tower in the Middle of Nowhere – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X100V
Path Through The Grass – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X100V
Wetland Boardwalk – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X100V
Wetland Grass – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X100V
Creek in the Trees – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V
Creek, Stick & Vines – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V
Log Above The Water – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V
Grey Brush – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V
Cat on a Log – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Understanding Acros Film Simulation Options On Fujifilm X Cameras

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B&W Film With Colored Filters – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

Fujifilm has included on X-Trans III and IV cameras four Acros Film Simulation options: Acros, Acros+Y, Acros+R, and Acros+G. I’ve been asked a few times to explain the differences between these options. On my Acros Film Simulation recipes I never mention which one to use, I only say to use any or all of them, so that has left some confusion on what’s the best choice. Which Acros Film Simulation should you choose?

With real black-and-white film, you can use colored filters to manipulate the shades of grey. Since there are no colors, the film interprets colors between black and white. You can change how the film interprets the color, and what grey you get, by using different filters. Take a look at the graphic below to see an explanation of how different color filters change the grey on black-and-white film.

You cannot use colored filters on your X-Trans camera to achieve this same effect, so Fujifilm has given you three “filter” options for Acros: +Y, which simulates the use of a yellow filter, +R, which simulates the use of a red filter, and +G, which simulates the use of a green filter. You might notice that, in black-and-white film photography, there are more options than you are given on your X-Trans camera, but at least you have some choices.

While these different “filter” Acros options simulate the look of using filters, the actual results aren’t a 100% match. The manipulation of grey is not nearly as pronounced as using colored filters on film, and it’s not exactly the same shift, either. One thing that can help achieve desired results is using the white balance shift in conjunction with the different Acros options. It takes a little extra thought to figure out how adjusting the color balance will change the way the film simulation interprets the color in grey, but it can be worth the effort.

To help you understand what the different Acros Film Simulation options are doing to different colors, I made an image in color and re-processed it in-camera using all four Acros choices. Take a look!

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Fujifilm X-T20 – Velvia

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Acros

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Acros+Y

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Acros+R

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Acros+G

The differences between the different Acros Film Simulations might not seem immediately obvious, but take a closer look. Notice that the red paint is a little lighter and the blue paint is a little darker in the Acros+R image. However, in the Acros+G image the red paint is darker and the blue paint is lighter. These small manipulations in the shades of grey are what the different Acros options provide.

How do you use this information in a practical way? When should you consider using the different Acros Film Simulations? When would you want to change the shade of grey of a particular color? It’s really difficult to give generalized answers to those questions because what works for one person and one photograph may not work for another. You really must think in grey and consider how contrast will work in an image, and how to best achieve that using the different Acros options.

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Monochrome Mountain Majesty – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 – Acros+R

A common example of when Acros+R might work well is in landscape photography where the sky is a deep blue. You can turn the sky dark grey or even black, which will create dramatic contrast against clouds or a snow-capped peak. Acros+R will lighten reds, so sometimes in portraits it can lighten a face, but it can make lips blend in, which might be bad. Acros+G, which darkens reds, can sometimes work well for dramatic portraits.

There is a lot to consider when it comes to choosing the most appropriate Acros Film Simulation for a particular circumstance. You have to know what each one will do, and decide what shade of grey you want the different colors to be, in order to make the right selection. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, but it’s not too hard to figure out with practice. My suggestion is to try them all in different situations, and study the differences closely to better understand what each one does.