Fuji Features: Fujifilm X Monochrome

I’ve been saying for awhile now that Fujifilm should make a dedicated black-and-white camera, kind of like the Leica M10 Monochrom. I would absolutely love that, and would shell out gobs of money for it, assuming that I actually have the funds available to do so. Of course, Fujifilm X cameras are already great at capturing black-and-white photographs straight-out-of-camera, but a true monochrome camera would be on a whole other level.

For this week’s Fuji Features post, I found some articles and videos on the web related to this topic is some way. I hope you enjoy!

SLR Lounge

Fujifilm X

The Phoblographer

Fujilove Magazine

Fujifilm X-M1 (X-Trans I) Film Simulation Recipe: Monochrome

Broken View – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-M1

Fujifilm introduced the world to the X-Trans sensor in January of 2012 with the announcement of the X-Pro1 camera. Later that same year the X-E1 became the second camera with this new sensor, and a year later the X-M1 became the third and final camera to have the original X-Trans sensor. Even before the X-M1 was released, Fujifilm had begun selling cameras with the X-Trans II sensor, so the original sensor was already old news by the time the camera was released. It seems that, more-or-less, Fujifilm had some spare X-Trans I sensors laying around, so they put them inside of the X-A1, a Bayer sensor camera, and renamed it X-M1. There never was an X-M2.

Even though only three cameras have an X-Trans I sensor, I’ve had many requests for film simulation recipes that are compatible with the X-Pro1, X-E1 and X-M1. I used to own an X-E1 (two, actually), but I mostly shot RAW with it and never developed any film simulation recipes for it. Some X-Trans II and Bayer recipes are technically compatible, but produce slightly different results. I purchased a cheap, gently used X-M1 to create some recipes with, and this is the very first one!

White Trees – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-M1

The X-M1 only has one black-and-white option. There’s no B+Y, B+R and B+G. There’s just standard B, which is the abbreviation for the Monochrome film simulation. I wanted to create a B&W recipe that produces dramatic results, but the JPEG options are limited on this camera compared to the newer models, so I had to get creative with the white balance to get the look that I wanted. This recipe is intended for X-Trans I cameras, but those with Bayer and X-Trans II cameras can use it, too, but the results will be slightly different.

Monochrome
Dynamic Range: DR200
Highlight: +2 (Hard)
Shadow: +2 (Hard)
Sharpness: +1 (Medium-Hard)
Noise Reduction: -2 (Low)
White Balance: Incandescent, -5 Red & +9 Blue
ISO: Auto, up to ISO 3200
Exposure Compensation: +1/3 to +2/3 (typically)

Example photographs, all camera-made JPEGs made using this Monochrome film simulation recipe on a Fujifilm X-M1:

Old Phone – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-M1
Dark Chocolate – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-M1
Ice Cream Bowl – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-M1
Countertop – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-M1
Steel Deck – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-M1
Good Sam – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-M1
Tool Ghosts – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-M1
Timesaver – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-M1
Saw Table – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-M1
Abandoned Workshop – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-M1
Buy American – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-M1
Anchor Screw Drawer – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-M1
Open Drawers – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-M1
Indoor Hoop – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-M1
Window with Broken Glass – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-M1
Abandoned Garage – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-M1

See also: Film Simulation Recipes

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Help Fuji X Weekly

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Fujifilm Noir

Photographer Omar Gonzales made a video about turning your Fujifilm X camera into the Fujifilm Noir, a dedicated black-and-white camera. This post will make much more sense if you watch the video first, so take a moment to do that right now if you haven’t already done so.

Did you watch it? Don’t read anything below until the video is finished!

Done? Okay, let’s move on.

I made my own Fujifilm Noir camera using my X-T30. I have the silver version, so gaffer tape didn’t make a whole lot of sense for the new label that I wanted to attach to the front. I asked my daughter to create something using paper and pencils that might better match the camera. For those wondering, these labels are available for $25 each (only kidding, of course). And, yes, gluing a paper label to a camera is much less heart-stopping than sandpapering a camera.

The Fujifilm Noir camera.

My Fujifilm Noir is an X-T30 with an Asahi Super-Takumar 55mm f/2 attached to the front. I screwed an 1/2 Black Pro Mist filter to the lens (not pictured, sorry) to further enhance the film-like aesthetic. I shot the camera in manual mode using a black-and-white film simulation recipe that I created just for this project. What’s the film simulation recipe? Well, you’ll find it below!

Acros+G
Dynamic Range: DR200
Highlight: +4
Shadow: +1
Grain: Strong
Color Chrome Effect: Off
Toning: 0
Sharpening: -4
Noise Reduction: -4

White Balance: 2500K, +9 Red & +9 Blue
Exposure Compensation: -2/3 to +2/3 (typically)
ISO 3200

This film simulation recipe was actually an experiment (from when I was creating my B&W IR recipe) that I didn’t love, but I thought it was good enough to use here. I won’t make it an official recipe, this is simply a bonus for you. Feel free to use it in your own photography, as it’s compatible with all X-Trans III and IV cameras. It reminds me of Kodak BW400CN, a black-and-white film that used the C-41 (color) development process. These settings weren’t intended to look like that film, but that’s what it reminds me of.

Kodak BW400CN was not likely ever a popular choice for Noir photography. Noir is French for Black, and Noir photographs are often dark and moody, inspired by 1940’s through 1960’s monochrome crime movies. This recipe isn’t especially Noir, but I used it anyway. There are probably ten different film simulation recipes that are more appropriate for Noir than this one.

I didn’t follow all of Omar’s rules. I shot RAW+JPEG, but only because I used a 2GB memory card, which has enough space for 27 exposures. On a 24-exposure roll of film, you could typically get 25 or 26 frames on it if you were careful. 27 exposures was possible but not commonly achieved (outside of disposable cameras). To make this more of a film-like experience, I used the 2GB SD Card to limit myself to a maximum of 27 exposures, and I refused to change the “film” (recipe) until I had exposed the card. I deleted the RAW files and just used the out-of-camera JPEGs. I got the memory card idea from Fuji X Weekly reader Josh Gagnon.

All of the pictures below were from the first 27-exposure “roll” of “Kodak BW400CN” that I captured using my “Fujifilm Noir” camera. Yes, they’re all camera-made JPEGs, unedited except for some minor cropping here and there.

Smile – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm Noir
Lamp Top – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm Noir
Girl, Drawing – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm Noir
Tortilla Flour – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm Noir
Drink – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm Noir
Top Ten – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm Noir
Building Stack – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm Noir
Building Tree – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm Noir
The Nature of Structure – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm Noir
Campus Skateboarder – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm Noir
One of You – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm Noir
$5 Pizza Bus – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm Noir
Fallen Tree at the Capital – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm Noir
Fallen Tree – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm Noir
Tree & Stormy Mountain – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm Noir

Not bad for one “roll” of “film” on my “Noir” camera, right?

Now the ball is in your court! Turn your Fujifilm X camera into a Fujifilm Noir camera and shoot some black-and-white pictures with it! I don’t have any specific rules, but try to give yourself some limitations because limitations improve art. I enjoyed the 2GB card thing. Share with me your Noir pictures using #fujixweekly on Instagram. Let me know in the comments if you like this project and what you think of this “Kodak BW400CN” film simulation recipe!

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Fujifilm X100V Film Simulation Recipe: Kodak T-Max 400

Tree Behind Bars – North Salt Lake, UT – Fujifilm X100V – “Kodak T-Max 400”

Kodak introduced T-Max black-and-white negative film back in 1986, and they dubbed it “the finest-grained black-and-white film in the world.” While it certainly has fine-grain, particularly the low-ISO version, I don’t know how accurate Kodak’s proclamation was. It’s available in ISO 100, 400 and 3200 variants. This film simulation recipe is intended to resemble the ISO 400 version.

T-Max 400 is a popular B&W film. I’ve used it, although it has been many, many years. Kodak updated the film in 2007 to be sharper and have finer grain; it’s the old version that I have personal experience with. With any film, but perhaps especially with black-and-white negative film, so much can be altered in the darkroom to customize the aesthetic, and one film can produce many different looks, so creating a recipe can be controversial because it might not look exactly like what someone thinks it should. Still, I hope that you will recognize this as T-Max-esque.

You might find that this recipe looks familiar. Actually, it began as Kodak Tri-X 400. Fuji X Weekly readers Thomas Schwab (who has helped with several recipes) and Anders Linborg (who invented the Tri-X recipe) worked together to modify that recipe into this one. I added a couple of small revisions, and now we have Kodak T-Max 400! It really was a group effort, but mostly Thomas and Anders. Thanks, guys!

Night Clouds – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V – “Kodak T-Max 400”

This Kodak T-Max 400 film simulation recipe is intended for the Fujifilm X100V, X-Pro3 and X-T4 cameras; however, with a couple small modifications, it can be used on any X-Trans III or IV camera. First, if your camera doesn’t have Clarity, consider using +1 Highlight and +4 Shadow instead, although you can certainly keep those settings as they are in the recipe below. If your camera doesn’t have the option for Grain size (only strength), set it to Strong. I used Toning on this recipe, which is completely optional, but on the X-T3 and X-T30, which has a different Toning menu, consider using +1 (warm). Back when I shot film I would often give my prints a quick Sepia bath, both for warmth and archival reasons, and the Toning option on your X-Trans IV camera does a good job of mimicking that.

One difference that you might notice between this recipe and Tri-X is ISO. On that recipe I suggest using ISO 1600 to 12800. I think for this recipe the best results are found between ISO 1600 and 3200, but anything from ISO 320 to 6400 looks good. I feel like ISO 12800 is a bit too much, but feel free to try it and see what you think.

Monochrome (+Y, +R, +G)
Dynamic Range: DR200
Highlight: 0
Shadow: +3
Noise Reduction: -4
Sharpening: +2
Clarity: +3
Toning: WC +2, MG 0

Grain Effect: Strong, Small
Color Chrome Effect: Strong
Color Chrome Effect Blue: Off
White Balance: Daylight,+9 Red & -9 Blue
ISO: Auto, up to ISO 6400
Exposure Compensation: +1/3 to +1 (typically)

Example photographs, all camera-made JPEGs using this Kodak T-Max 400 film simulation recipe on my Fujifilm X100V:

Hanging Leaves Silhouette – North Salt Lake, UT – Fujifilm X100V
Light Through The Dark Forest – North Salt Lake, UT – Fujifilm X100V
Ghosts – North Salt Lake, UT – Fujifilm X100V
Tree Trunks & Ground Cover – North Salt Lake, UT – Fujifilm X100V
Tree at Forest Edge – North Salt Lake, UT – Fujifilm X100V
Paved Forest Path – North Salt Lake, UT – Fujifilm X100V
People Shadows – North Salt Lake, UT – Fujifilm X100V
Happy Jon – North Salt Lake, UT – Fujifilm X100V
Fish in the Net – Hyrum Reservoir, UT – Fujifilm X100V
Tired Old Dock – Hyrum Reservoir, UT – Fujifilm X100V
A Boy & His Fishing Pole – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V
Lake Water – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V
Flower Photo – North Salt Lake, UT – Fujifilm X100V
Monochrome Wildflower – North Salt Lake, UT – Fujifilm X100V
Photo by Thomas Schwab – Husum, Germany – Fujifilm X100V

See also: Film Simulation Recipes

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

Fujifilm X100V Black    Amazon   B&H
Fujifilm X100V Silver   Amazon   B&H

Help Fuji X Weekly

Nobody pays me to write the content found on fujixweekly.com. There's a real cost to operating and maintaining this site, not to mention all the time that I pour into it. If you appreciated this article, please consider making a one-time gift contribution. Thank you!

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Making Color Pictures Using Acros, B&W Toning & Multiple Exposures

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This is a combination of 8 B&W Exposures with different color toning applied to each.

The Fujifilm X100V, X-Pro3 and X-T4 cameras have a new tool for toning black-and-white pictures in-camera. I mentioned in my article about this new toning feature that there’s the potential to get creative with it, especially when combined with multiple exposure photography. I thought that it might be possible to create color pictures using the Acros film simulation, B&W toning and multiple exposures. This is certainly an unusual use of those tools! A sturdy tripod is a requirement for this experiment.

On my X100V, there are 1,368 possible colors to tone B&W pictures, but I concentrated on the more bold options. To make this work, the best results are found in the +/- 15-18 range. My camera has four multiple exposure options: Additive, Average, Bright and Dark. Additive and Average won’t work for this project because it muddies the colors. Bright and Dark will work, and they work similarly. For Bright, the camera compares the exposures and chooses only the brightest pixel at each location; for Dark, it chooses the darkest pixel. I found that one option typically works better than the other, depending on the scene. You could get creative and adjust the exposure of each image to control which colors are chosen; however, I didn’t do that for these pictures.

At first I tried using just three exposures: one with Toning set to WC -18 MG 0 (Blue), one set to WC +18 MG -18 (Red), and the other set to WC 0 MG +18 (Green). This worked alright, but there are not any in-between colors. The transitions from one color to the next are harsh. Still, I was able to create color pictures this way.

After a little experimenting, I decided that eight exposures worked better (you can combine up to nine). In addition to the Toning described in the previous paragraph, I added one with WC 0 MG -18 (Magenta), WC -18 MG -18 (Purple), WC -18 MG +18 (Teal), WC +18 MG +18 (Yellow), and WC +18 MG 0 (Orange-Red). This made the color transitions a little less harsh, but it’s still not ideal. The pictures look strange and nothing like “normal” color photographs. I also tried reducing some colors to as low as +/- 15 (instead of 18) in an attempt to control the outcome a little, but it’s hard to know what you’ll get until you’ve made all eight exposures.

The results remind me of some cross processing experiments that I did a number of years ago. You can get weird results, depending on the film and process. The toned B&W multiple exposures on my X100V loosely resemble the “worst” cross-processing results from those analog experiments years ago. This isn’t something that I’d want to do all of the time, but it was fun nonetheless. Most people will never try this, but a few of you will. I can see someone doing an abstract photography project using this technique.

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I used three exposures for this picture.

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Another three exposure picture.

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This is an eight exposure image.

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Another eight exposure picture.

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I used eight exposures for this picture. 

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Another eight exposure picture.

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Eight exposures. The wind moved the grass between exposures.

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This is another eight exposure image.

I never really thought that I’d be creating color images from black-and-white in-camera. The results aren’t especially great, so it’s not really a practical thing, more gee-whiz. I do believe, with practice and experimentation, it’s possible to get better results. I hope that you found this article interesting, and perhaps even a few of you were inspired to do your own experiments.

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

Fujifilm X100V Black    Amazon   B&H
Fujifilm X100V Silver   Amazon   B&H

Fujifilm X100V Film Simulation Recipe: Kodak Tri-X 400

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Leaves in the Forest – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V – ISO 3200 – “Kodak Tri-X 400”

The number one black-and-white film simulation recipe that I’ve been asked to create is Kodak Tri-X 400, but I’ve never been satisfied with my own attempts. Thankfully for you, Fuji X Weekly reader Anders Lindborg (Instagram) was able to do it! This is brilliant, and I’m sure you’ll love it. It’s the only B&W recipe I’m using on my Fujifilm X100V right now.

Kodak introduced Tri-X in the early 1940’s, and in the 1950’s they began selling it in 35mm format. Ever since, it has been the “standard” high-ISO black-and-white film for photographers. It’s been made in ISO 160, 200, 320 and 400 versions; this recipe is based on Tri-X 400. Kodak re-engineered Tri-X 400 in 2007 with finer grain and lower contrast, but it’s still nearly identical to the old stock.

Anders actually made three recipes in one: low-contrast, mid-contrast, and high-contrast. Tri-X, like most films, can be made more contrasty or less contrasty based on how it’s developed (chemicals used and/or development times) or printed (contrast filters). The recipe further down this article is the mid-contrast version. For low contrast, set Highlight to -1 and Shadow to +2. For high contrast, set Highlight to +1 and Shadow to +4. This film simulation recipe was designed for the X-T3 and X-T30, but I changed a couple of things for the X100V: I set Clarity to +4 (which isn’t available on the X-T3 and X-T30) and Grain to Strong & Large (on the X-T3 and X-T30, Grain is set to Strong). Because it adds contrast, setting Clarity to +4 actually makes this look more like the high-contrast version. If you are using this on the X100V, X-Pro3 or X-T4, feel free to try all three contrast versions, with or without Clarity, to see which you like better. For X-Trans III cameras, which don’t have Color Chrome Effect, you can still use this recipe; while it won’t look exactly the same, it will still look very similar. In other words, even though the title says “Fujifilm X100V Film Simulation Recipe” you can actually use it on any camera with the Acros film simulation—I’ve tried it on an X-T30 and X-T20, and it looks great!

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Forest Edge – Fruit Heights, UT – Fujifilm X100V – ISO 1600 – “Kodak Tri-X 400”

I found that this recipe looks best when set to ISO 1600 or higher. From ISO 1600 to 3200, the results more resemble newer Tri-X 400 film. From ISO 6400 to ISO 12800, the results more resemble older Tri-X 400 film. I want to give a big thank-you to Anders Lindborg for creating this recipe, sharing it, and allowing me to publish it here—you are appreciated! Thank you!

Acros (+Y, +R, +G)
Dynamic Range: DR200
Highlight: 0
Shadow: +3
Noise Reduction: -4
Sharpening: +1
Clarity: +4
Grain Effect: Strong, Large
Color Chrome Effect: Strong
Color Chrome Effect Blue: Off
White Balance: Daylight,+9 Red & -9 Blue
ISO: ISO 1600 – 12800
Exposure Compensation: +1/3 to +1 (typically)

Example photographs, all camera-made JPEGs using this Kodak Tri-X 400 film simulation recipe on my Fujifilm X100V:

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Fallen Trunk – Fruit Heights, UT – Fujifilm X100V – ISO 1600

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The Forest – Fruit Heights, UT – Fujifilm X100V – ISO 1600

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Light in a Dark Canopy – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V – ISO 1600

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Sunlight & Leaves – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V – ISO 12800

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Monochrome Backlit Leaves – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V – ISO 1600

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Drops on a Window – Fruit Heights, UT – Fujifilm X100V – ISO 1600

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Half Leaf In The Road – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V – ISO 1600

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Footstep – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V – ISO 1600

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Barrier – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V – ISO 1600

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Corner Benches – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V – ISO 6400

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Drinking Fountains – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V – ISO 1600

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Feel Like A Kid Again – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V – ISO 1600

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Walking at an Amusement Park – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V – ISO 1600

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Waiting at the Exit – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V – ISO 3200

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Diagonal Light Boy – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V – ISO 12800

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FED 5c Film Camera – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V – ISO 3200

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Coffee Grounds in a Filter – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V – ISO 3200

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Rainbow Feet on the Floor – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V – ISO 3200

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Girl in Zebra Shirt – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V – ISO 12800

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Rainy Day Siblings – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V – ISO 3200

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Level Up – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V – ISO 12800

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Wet Leaf in the Grass – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V – ISO 5000

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Wet Tree Leaves – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V – ISO 3200

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Leaf of a Different Color – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V – ISO 3200

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Emptiness – Roy, UT – Fujifilm X100V – ISO 3200

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Empty Boxes in an Abandoned Home – Roy, UT – Fujifilm X100V – ISO 12800

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Nobody’s Home – Roy, UT – Fujifilm X100V – ISO 3200

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White Truck – Roy, UT – Fujifilm X100V – ISO 3200

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Dead End Night – Roy, UT – Fujifilm X100V – ISO 12800

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Trolley Bus – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V – ISO 12800

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Wrong Way – Centerville, UT – Fujifilm X100V – ISO 12800

See also:
Film Simulation Recipes
Tri-X Push-Process Film Simulation Recipe

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

Fujifilm X100V Black    Amazon   B&H
Fujifilm X100V Silver   Amazon   B&H

Help Fuji X Weekly

Nobody pays me to write the content found on fujixweekly.com. There's a real cost to operating and maintaining this site, not to mention all the time that I pour into it. If you appreciated this article, please consider making a one-time gift contribution. Thank you!

$2.00

Fujifilm X100V New Feature: B&W Toning

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With the X-T3 and X-T30, Fujifilm introduced black-and-white toning. With the X100V, X-Pro3 and X-T4, Fujifilm took B&W toning to a whole new level! On the X-T3 and X-T30, you have the option of 0 (for neutral), +1 through +9 for warm, and -1 through -9 for cool. On the new cameras, toning is set up more like white-balance-shift, except you can move as many as 18 spots up or down and left or right. Yes, on the X100V, there are 1,368 possible colors to tone your black-and-white pictures! You can even tone B&W video.

The up-and-down option is called “WC” for warm/cool; plus is warm, minus is cool, and 0 is neutral. The left-and-right option is called “MG” for magenta/green; plus is green, minus is magenta, and 0 is neutral. The further you get from 0, the stronger the color, and the closer you get to 0, the more subtle the color. Most people will likely use subtle toning, but some will appreciate the bold options.

I think there is the potential for some very creative uses of this new feature, especially when paired with multiple exposure photography. I haven’t explored the possibilities yet, but I will! If you are a fan of toning your black-and-white pictures, you’ll love this new option. The only thing missing is split-toning, which Fujifilm very well might add on future models—I hope so, anyway! In the meantime, I’ll explore the potential of this new toning feature on the X100V.

Examples of black-and-white toning on the Fujifilm X100V:

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WC 0 MG 0

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WC +5 MG 0

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WC +5 MG +5

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WC 0 MG +5

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WC -5 MG +5

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WC -5 MG 0

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WC -5 MG -5

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WC 0 MG -5

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WC +5 MG -5

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WC +18 MG 0

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WC +18 MG +18

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WC 0 MG +18

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WC -18 MG +18

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WC -18 MG 0

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WC -18 MG -18

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WC 0 MG -18

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WC +18 MG -18

See also:
Fujifilm X100V New Feature: Clarity
Fujifilm X100V New Feature: HDR

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

Fujifilm X100V Black    Amazon   B&H
Fujifilm X100V Silver   Amazon   B&H

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Film Simulation Review: Changing Light, Part 2: Ilford HP5 Plus

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Clouds On Top – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 90mm

Changing Light, Part 1: Velvia

I get asked sometimes how do I decide between color and black-and-white. I don’t remember where I heard this, but a long time ago somebody told me that if color is important to the scene then it should be a color picture, and if it’s not it should be black-and-white. Back then you had to make this decision before loading your camera with 24 or 36 exposures. Nowadays you can wait until after capturing the picture before deciding, although I find it best to choose before making the exposure.

Color pictures are (primarily) about three things: light, shadow and color. Black-and-white pictures are (primarily) about two things: light and shadow. It’s easy to see that if color isn’t an essential element to the picture, then it only serves as a distraction to light and shadow; however, that’s an oversimplified way of looking at it. There are many different color theories, and whether color is important or unimportant is highly subjective. One thing is for certain: black-and-white pictures are about light and shadow and those in-between grays.

Whenever I photograph in monochrome my mentality changes. They way that I look at the scene is different. When I photograph in color, I look for color. When I photograph in black-and-white, I look for tones. That’s why it’s important for me to decide before capturing the picture whether it will be color or not. For the pictures in this article, I decided that they needed to be monochrome. I chose my Ilford HP5 Plus film simulation recipe because I thought it would offer me the right amount of contrast. It’s not my most contrasty black-and-white recipe, but it has a good amount of contrast—not too much or too little. I think it was a great choice for these scenes.

I captured these pictures over the last several days from my house. I didn’t go anywhere. There were a lot of clouds and the light on the mountain was constantly changing. Oftentimes it was rather dull, but sometimes it was amazing! The camera I used was a Fujifilm X-T30. Most often I used a Fujinon 100-400mm lens, but occasionally I used a Fujinon 90mm. These longer focal lengths allowed me to “bring close” the mountain, making it appear as though I was in them, and not at a distance. Sometimes you don’t have to go anywhere to capture interesting pictures. That’s especially true if you have a great view where you are.

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Wasatch with Snow – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 100-400mm

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Dramatic Sky Ridge – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 90mm

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Silver Sky Mountain – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 90mm

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Clouds Over the Peak – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 90mm

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Clouds Around the Mountain – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 100-400mm

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Monochrome Mountain Top – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 100-400mm

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White Cloud – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 100-400mm

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Cloud Reaching – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 100-400mm

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Clouds & Dark Ridge – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 100-400mm

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Lightly Snowing On Top – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 100-400mm

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Gray Mountain – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 100-400mm

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Obscurity – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 100-400mm

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Mountain Rain – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 100-400mm

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Rain – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 100-400mm

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Monochrome Mountain Rain Shower – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 100-400mm

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Mountain Downpour – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 100-400mm

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Monochrome Mountain Mist – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 100-400mm

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Francis Peak Rain – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 100-400mm

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Monochrome Radar – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 100-400mm

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Dark Hills – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 100-400mm

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Storm Over Dark Mountains – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 100-400mm

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Mountain Storm – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 100-400mm

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Clouds on the Ridge – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 100-400mm

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Covered by Clouds – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 100-400mm

See also: Film Simulation Reviews

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

[Not] My Fujifilm X-T30 Ilford Delta Push-Process Film Simulation Recipe

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Boy in a Chair with a Phone – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 “Ilford Delta Push-Process”

When I shot film, Ilford Delta was my go-to for black-and-white photography. Sure, I used other films, but Ilford Delta was what I most often loaded into my camera. For fine-grain, I used Delta 100. For situations other than bright daylight, or if I wanted more contrast and grittiness, I would choose Delta 400. For dim light, I would on a rare occasion use Delta 3200. Sometimes I would push-process the Delta 100 and Delta 400 a stop or two. I actually still have a couple rolls of Delta film sitting around, although I haven’t shot much film in the last few years. The last roll of Ilford Delta that I shot was Delta 3200.

Something that people might not be aware of is that Delta 3200 is actually not an ISO 3200 film, it’s actually rated at ISO 1000, but has “built-in” push-processing to ISO 3200 (labs know to increase the development time unless you specify otherwise). Ilford Delta films have a lot of latitude and flexibility. There’s a lot that one can do in the lab with any of the Ilford Delta films to customize the contrast and grain.

Fuji X Weekly reader K. Adam Christensen shared with me his film simulation recipe for Ilford Delta 3200, and I really like the way that his recipe looks. It’s a great black-and-white recipe! I made a couple of small tweaks to it, nothing big. Adam uses this recipe on his X100V, and he sets Grain to Large, which is an option on that camera, as well as the X-Pro3 and X-T4, but not on my X-T30. If I could set Grain to Large I would, as that would better mimic Delta 3200. Without it, perhaps these settings more resemble Delta 3200 shot and developed at ISO 1600. It reminds me of Delta 400 pushed one stop or maybe a stop and a half.

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White House Beyond the Thistle – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 “Ilford Delta Push-Process”

I have the ISO on this recipe set at 12800, which makes it difficult (but not impossible) to use in daylight situations. It’s a little easier on X100 cameras that have a built-in neutral density filter. If you need to drop the ISO, you can go as low as ISO 3200 and still get good results, but for best results keep the ISO at 12800 as much as possible. All of the pictures in this article were shot at ISO 12800.

Monochrome (+Y, +R, +G)
Dynamic Range: DR400
Highlight: 0
Shadow: +3
Grain: Strong
Color Chrome Effect: Off
Toning: 0
Sharpening: -3
Noise Reduction: -4
Exposure Compensation: +1/3 to +2/3 (typically)
ISO 12800

Example photographs, all camera-made JPEGs using this Ilford Delta Push-Process film simulation recipe on my Fujifilm X-T30:

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FED 5C & Industar 69 – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Phone Numbers – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Girl, Smile – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Broccoli – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Faux Leaves – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Glass Bottles with Stems – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Flowers Waiting to Pot – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Potted Tulip – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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White Tulips at Night – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Outdoor Shelf – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Dirty Feet – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Roller Skating – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Skates – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Girl Outdoor – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Two Feet – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Chair Shadow – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Blackberry Vine on Concrete – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Watering Plant – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Wet Handlebar – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Raindrops on a Window – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

See also: Film Simulation Recipes

Help Fuji X Weekly

Nobody pays me to write the content found on fujixweekly.com. There's a real cost to operating and maintaining this site, not to mention all the time that I pour into it. If you appreciated this article, please consider making a one-time gift contribution. Thank you!

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My Fujifilm X-T30 Monochrome Kodachrome Film Simulation Recipe


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Light on the Wall – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 “Monochrome Kodachrome”

Kodachrome was a black-and-white film. No, really, it was! The color dyes were actually added during development. The process to develop Kodachrome color transparencies was complex and toxic. As demand for the film decreased and Kodak experienced financial troubles, both the film and the chemicals to develop it were discontinued. If you still have some undeveloped Kodachrome film sitting around, there’s absolutely no place in the world that can process it; that is, except as black-and-white negatives. It’s true: Kodachrome can be developed to this day as a black-and-white film!

While I think that this recipe does more-or-less mimic the look of Kodachrome developed as black-and-white, that’s not necessarily the intent of it. This recipe began as an experiment by Fuji X Weekly reader Thomas Schwab, who created the Urban Vintage Chrome recipe. He took my Vintage Kodachrome recipe and replaced the Classic Chrome film simulation with Acros, Monochrome and Sepia, and the results were quite interesting! I made a couple of minor adjustments to create this recipe. This is definitely a joint effort, and it wouldn’t exist without Thomas Schwab’s experiments and willingness to share the results. Thank you!

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Window & Blinds – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 “Monochrome Kodachrome”

What I like about this Monochrome Kodachrome film simulation recipe is that it has a great film-like quality to it. This recipe pairs especially well with vintage lenses (I used an Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm for about half of these pictures). Even though it says “Fujifilm X-T30” in the title, it can be used on any X-Trans III & IV camera. You can also use this same recipe with the Monocrome+R film simulation, for a slightly different result.

Acros+R
Dynamic Range: DR200
Highlight: +4
Shadow: -2
Noise Reduction: -4
Sharpening: +1
Grain Effect: Strong
Color Chrome Effect: Off
Toning: 0
White Balance: AWB, 0 Red & +9 Blue
ISO: Auto, ISO 3200 to ISO 12800
Exposure Compensation: -1/3 to +2/3 (typically)

Example photographs, all camera-made JPEGs using this Monochrome Kodachrome film simulation recipe on my Fujifilm X-T30:

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Roman – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Cleaning Cart – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Fake Potted Plant – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Tree Shadow on a Brick Wall – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Small Bridge – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Rural Road – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Monochrome Mountain Landscape – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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B&W Reeds – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Tennis Swing – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Engaged In Television – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Little Jo – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Hand Washing – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Faceless – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Muffins – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Pronto! – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Daylight Balanced – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

See also: Film Simulation Recipes

Help Fuji X Weekly

Nobody pays me to write the content found on fujixweekly.com. There's a real cost to operating and maintaining this site, not to mention all the time that I pour into it. If you appreciated this article, please consider making a one-time gift contribution. Thank you!

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Fujifilm X-T1 (X-Trans II) Faded Monochrome Film Simulation Recipe


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Partially Illuminated – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1 “Faded Monochrome”

This is my Faded Monochrome recipe adapted for my Fujifilm X-T1. It will work on all X-Trans I & II and Bayer sensor cameras, just so long as it has a double-exposure mode (I think they all do, but I’m not 100% certain). You have to put the camera into double-exposure mode, capture the scene with the first exposure, and use the second exposure to photograph a medium-grey piece of paper (I used an 8.5″ x 11″ sheet of construction paper). I prefer the second exposure to be out of focus. The first exposure should be slightly overexposed, perhaps by 1/3 to 2/3 stop, because the second exposure will decrease the contrast. The second exposure should be underexposed by at least 1 stop, and as many as 3 stops. How bright or dark the second exposure is will determine just how faded the picture will be. It requires some experimentation, but thankfully you get a real-time display of what the picture will look like and the opportunity for a do-over (simply select “Retry”). The look you get is similar to using a low-contrast filter when making black-and-white prints in the darkroom.

Monochrome
Dynamic Range: DR100
Highlight: +2 (High)
Shadow: +2 (High)
Sharpness: 0 (Medium)
Noise Reduction: -2 (Low)
ISO: Auto, up to ISO 3200

Example photographs, all camera-made JPEGs using this Faded Monochrome recipe on my Fujifilm X-T1:

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Thought – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1

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Girl Shadow – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1

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Piano Hand – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1

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Piano Fingers – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1

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Faded Lily – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1

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Flowers Fading – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1

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Bouquet – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1

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Wheelbarrow Monochrome – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1

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Gathering – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1

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Window Blinds – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1

See also: Film Simulation Recipes

Help Fuji X Weekly

Nobody pays me to write the content found on fujixweekly.com. There's a real cost to operating and maintaining this site, not to mention all the time that I pour into it. If you appreciated this article, please consider making a one-time gift contribution. Thank you!

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Video: Abandoned

I created a new video entitled Abandoned, which features my black-and-white photographs of abandoned places that I’ve captured over the last five years. I used to do a lot of “urban exploration” type photography, but I don’t venture into that genre much anymore. I do think that it’s important to document these forgotten and neglected structures, as they’ll crumble away someday, either by man or nature, and the opportunities to record them are fleeting. The photographs also serve as commentary to how society deals with what’s unwanted and unneeded. The decay speaks of our values, and how we handle change.

The main purpose of this video, however, is not the photographs, but the music. I have a six-year-old son, Joshua, who loves music. You can tell that he feels it deeply, like he connects with it at soul-level. He’s learning piano, and it’s impressive the songs that he makes up. He’s not a child prodigy or anything like that, but he’s much more musical than my other kids. He is music smart, and we’re trying to foster that.

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My kids like to make songs on an app where you mix samples. It’s kind of like being a DJ. It’s called “live loops” and you can select different sounds and beats, and record it as you go. There’s a lot that can be manipulated and customized. My kids record all sorts of different songs. Last week Joshua came to me and excitedly said, “Daddy, listen to this song I made!” He played it, and I was impressed. It sounded like an actual song! It was pretty well done.

Being a proud father, I wanted to share his creation with everyone, so I made a video. I hope that you enjoy the photographs, but I hope you especially enjoy the music that my six-year-old son mixed. I think that the music and pictures compliment each other, and together they tell a story. I hope that we’ll have many more opportunities to collaborate. I can say for certain that Joshua loves music, and he has many more creations stirring in his heart and mind right now.

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My Fujifilm X-T30 Dramatic Monochrome Film Simulation Recipe


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The Obscurity of Light – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – “Dramatic Monochrome”

A couple of weeks ago when I was discussing the possibility of Fujifilm creating a black-and-white only camera, something that I came to learn by accident is that the Monochrome film simulation is pretty darn good. On X-Trans III & IV cameras, I have always used the Acros film simulation because it is beautiful and has a film-like quality to it. But there’s something about the “old-fashioned” Monochrome film simulation that’s nice, as well. I had never made a Monochrome film simulation for X-Trans III & IV cameras, so I set out to do so.

At first I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted, so I decided that the best starting point was to revisit the iconic photographs of the great photographers from the 1930’s, ’40’s and ’50’s—people like Ansel Adams, Andre Kertesz, Robert Doisneau, Weegee, Pual Strand, Elliott Erwitt and others. I realized that I was drawn to the high-contrast pictures that these photographers had created. I wanted to create a recipe that mimics that look in-camera. These settings, which I call Dramatic Monochrome, are what resulted from that.

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Francis Peak – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – “Dramatic Monochrome”

For those with X-Trans III sensors, which don’t have the Color Chrome Effect, you’ll get similar results, but it won’t be quite as dramatic. The difference isn’t very big, so don’t worry about it. I would consider using +2 for Sharpness on X-Trans III instead of +3. On X-Trans IV cameras, you could give a +1 toning for a subtle warm look, such as what would happen if you gave a print a quick Sepia bath.

Monochrome (+Y, +R, +G)
Dynamic Range: DR200
Highlight: +4
Shadow: +4
Grain: Strong
Color Chrome Effect: Strong
Toning: 0
Sharpening: +3
Noise Reduction: -4
Exposure Compensation: 0 to +2/3 (typically)
ISO: Auto up to ISO 12800

Example photographs, all camera-made JPEGs using this Dramatic Monochrome film simulation recipe on my Fujifilm X-T30:

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Chair Near a Window – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Shadow Ware – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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White Pillow – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Santa Fe – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Young Piano Hands – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Clouds Above The Snow – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Wasatch Ridge Winter – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Lines In The Snow – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Clouds Over The Frosted Hill – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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White Beyond Dark – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Frosted – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Darkness & Light – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

See also: Film Simulation Recipes

Help Fuji X Weekly

Nobody pays me to write the content found on fujixweekly.com. There's a real cost to operating and maintaining this site, not to mention all the time that I pour into it. If you appreciated this article, please consider making a one-time gift contribution. Thank you!

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Fujifilm Monochrome, Part 2

Monochrome Wasatch Mountain

Dramatic Silver Mountain – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

In my last post I suggested that Fujifilm should make a monochrome camera like the Leica M10 Monochrom. I wasn’t planning to say anymore about it, but the response I received from that article compelled me to type out this one. The majority of those who replied, either in a comment under that post, via Instagram, or through email, said that they would consider buying a black-and-white-only camera if Fujifilm made one. Some of you had great ideas for it. There’s a chance that someone at Fujifilm reads Fuji X Weekly, so I’m writing this with that in mind.

I had suggested that, if Fujifilm did make a monochrome camera, it should either be in an X-Pro3 or X100V body, and they should call it “X-Pro3 Acros” or “X100V Acros” after their film and film simulation of the same name. It was pointed out to me that it doesn’t have to be in those bodies. It could be in a cheaper body, such as the X-T200, and since it doesn’t require any special sensor, just one without a color filter array, and would have a stripped down menu, the camera could potentially be made affordable. The less expensive the camera is, the more copies it will sell. Of all the body suggestions that I received, the X-E3 was the most popular choice for a monochrome camera by Fuji X Weekly readers.

Someone had an interesting idea for a feature on a monochrome camera: color filters. The X100F has a built-in neutral-density filter, so why couldn’t a monochrome camera have built-in yellow, red and green filters (and perhaps blue)? Click a button and the filter of choice is applied. That made me wonder: is it possible to have a color filter array that can be turned on and off? With the click of a button, perhaps the X-Pro4 can become a monochrome camera, and with another click it’s back to normal. That would be cool! It might be completely impossible, but I’m sure someone smarter than I can figure it out.

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Bountiful Peak – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

The second largest response that I got from my last post, not far behind the “I want that” replies, is, “would a monochrome camera even produce better results than what I can already get with the Acros film simulation?” My initial response was, heck yes! You get a big bump in resolution. But then I was shown two different YouTube videos that do blind tests between the Leica M10 Monochrom and the Fujifilm X-T3 (here and here), and it changed my mind. I did the blind test in both videos, and I was surprised by the results. In the first blind test, which compares the Leica with the Fujifilm and a Sony A7 III, the author uses the Monochrome film simulation, and not Acros, on the X-T3. Even so, the camera that I blindly picked as I looked at the pictures was the Fujifilm. I watched the blind test part twice before making up my mind and viewing the reveal. In the second video, which compares the Leica against another Leica monochrome camera and the Fujifilm and actual film, the author uses both the Monochrome and Acros film simulations. There were five pictures to choose from, and a few looked very close so it was more difficult to pick a favorite. I was surprised that the one I picked was the X-T3 with the Monochrome film simulation. Again, I watched the blind test part twice before deciding and viewing the reveal.

I’m not sure how much stock one can put into YouTube videos, where it’s difficult to really appreciate the pictures. Even so, I made two conclusions: Fujifilm cameras are especially great for black-and-white photography and I need to shoot more with the Monochrome film simulation. I use Acros on my X-T30, but it’s about time that I create a recipe using the Monochrome film simulation, which is apparently better than I gave it credit for.

Would a Fujifilm monochrome camera be awesome? Yes, it would! Would it be better at black-and-white than your current Fujifilm camera? Probably, but not by a big margin, that’s for sure. Perhaps if you print very large, that’s when the monochrome camera would be advantageous. I would still buy one if Fujifilm made one, but it’s good to reaffirm that Fujifilm is already superb at black-and-white photography, and I’m not missing much by not owning a monochrome-only camera.

In closing, I’m very curious what your results are with the blind tests. If you watched the videos, please let me know in the comments what your results were. Which camera made the best black-and-white pictures in your opinion? Thanks!

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.

Photoessay: November Arizona, Part 2: Monochrome

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North Mountain Saguaro – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

Part 1: Color

Many years ago, Ansel Adams photographed the Arizona desert in black-and-white. Many people might be unaware that he was a regular contributor to Arizona Highways magazine back in the day. Adams’ photographs of the desert have been an inspiration to me even before I captured a single exposure in Arizona. Don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly not trying to compare myself with the legend. What I am saying is that Arizona and black-and-white photography go together like peanut butter and jelly. There’s something timeless about it that just makes me feel good on the inside. It brings me back to those classic pictures by Ansel Adams that I carefully studied back in the early years of my own picture-making. As colorful as Arizona can be, to me it looks best in black-and-white.

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Downtown Phoenix From North Mountain – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Saguaro In The City – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Monochrome Desert Hill – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2 

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Hillside Saguaro – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Lookout Mountain – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Cactus Sun – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Morning In The Desert – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Arizona Saguaro – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Saguaro Couple – Surprise, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Rushing New River – Peoria, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Bridge Over Troubled Waters – Peoria, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

See also:
Willow Beach, Arizona
McCormick Stillman Railroad Park, Scottsdale, Arizona

Photoessay: Monochrome Sun Rays Over Willow Beach, Arizona

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Rays Over Colorado River – Lake Mead Nat’l Rec. Area, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

Along U.S. Highway 93, about 12 miles south of the Hoover Dam, there’s a scenic view pullout, which offers tremendous views of desert mountains and canyons and a glimpse of the Colorado River at Willow Beach. This is part of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. It’s easy to drive right on past this spot, as I have done many times before. Those who do stop here are rewarded with an incredible vista. It’s not the Grand Canyon, but it’s like a small glimpse of the Grand Canyon. It’s a quintessential Arizona landscape. Actually, you can see both Arizona and Nevada, as the river marks the boundary between the two states.

When I was at this scenic pullout last week, there was a storm passing through, which provided a dramatic sky with streaking light rays from the peeking sun. It was an amazing sight, yet short lived. I had my Fujifilm X-T30 with me, alternating between a Fujinon 35mm f/2 and a Fujinon 90mm f/2 attached to the front. A more wide-angle lens might have been nice, but these are the two lenses that I had with me. I captured a number of frames, then the great light disappeared as quickly as it had come.

Because I had a camera with me, and I decided to stop, I was able to witness and record this beautiful moment. Many cars zoomed down the highway, perhaps witnessing the scene quickly from behind their windows, or perhaps not noticing it at all, and only a few stopped. I’m thankful that I was one of the few who stopped, and what a great reward I was given for doing so. Sometimes the journey is the destination, especially if you are a photographer.

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Light Streaming – Lake Mead Nat’l Rec. Area, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 90mm f/2

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Light & Mesa – Lake Mead Nat’l Rec. Area, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 90mm f/2

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Shining Down – Lake Mead Nat’l Rec. Area, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 90mm f/2

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Pouring Light Over Desert – Lake Mead Nat’l Rec. Area, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 90mm f/2

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Dramatic Desert Sky – Lake Mead Nat’l Rec. Area, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Rays Over The Desert – Lake Mead Nat’l Rec. Area, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Rays Over Willow Beach – Lake Mead Nat’l Rec. Area, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

Photoessay: Suburban B&W

You might think that you live in a boring neighborhood. You might think that there’s nothing of interest to photograph where you live. You might think that you have to go somewhere to capture good photographs. This photoessay is intended to debunk that. I live in a boring suburban neighborhood, but I have still made an effort to walk the sidewalks with my camera in hand. This particular collection features some recent black-and-white images that I’ve captured in the neighborhood where I live. In the past I’ve shared many pictures captured in my neighborhood, so these are far from the only ones or even the best ones–they are simply ones that I have not posted on here before. I hope that this article inspires you to get out into your local area with your camera, even if “getting out” is just a short trip around the block.

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Home Peek – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Shadow Maker – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Suburban Pathway – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Monochrome American Flag – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Pentax Auto-Takumar 55mm f/2.2

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Geo – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Pentax Auto-Takumar 55mm f/2.2

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House Work – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Alaskan Engineer – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Ray Above The Roof – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 90mm

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Hill Behind The Homes – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Curious Cow – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Grey Fence – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

Fujifilm X-T30 – New Feature: B&W Toning

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One great new feature found on the Fujifilm X-T30, which first appeared on the X-T3, is the ability to tone black-and-white photographs in-camera, either warm or cool. Back in the days of film, in the darkroom you would dip your prints into certain chemicals to tone them. You could make them warm or cool or any number of different colors, including split toning, depending on the exact process and chemicals. I’m glad that Fujifilm has finally created the option to tone black-and-white photographs in-camera.

The reason you might want to tone a photograph is to add emotion to it. A warm image will give a different feel than a cool image. It’s part of the nonverbal communication of the photograph. In the days of film there may have been other benefits, such as archival, but that won’t apply to a digital image. I used sepia quite frequently myself, both for the warm tone and the archival benefit.

The X-T30 has the option to tone from +1 through +9 for warm, and -1 through -9 for cool, with 0 being not toned. I find that +9 and -9 are both much too much, and that +5 and -5 are the limits for my tastes. I think that plus or minus one is often enough, and plus or minus two is more than plenty for most pictures. Subtlety is often preferred when it comes to black-and-white toning. Below is an example of +5, 0, and -5:

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Toned +5 (warm)

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Set to 0 (not toned)

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Toned at -5 (cool)

It’s easy to see how toning an image changes how it feels. It’s also easy to see that plus or minus five is quite pronounced, and you can imagine how going beyond that would be even more so. My opinion is that the beauty of the toning that Fujifilm offers on the X-T30 can be found in the weaker application of it, such as plus or minus two or less. But everyone has different tastes, so you might prefer different settings than me.

Below are a few more examples of toned black-and-white photographs that I captured with the X-T30.

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Snow Falling Gently On The Mountain – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Wasatch Rain – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Storm Beyond The Frozen Lake – Echo Lake, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Piano Wire – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Filmed In Black & White – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Two Pots – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

See also:
Fujifilm X-T30 – New Feature: D-Range Priority
Fujifilm X-T30 – New Feature: Eterna
Fujifilm X-T30 – New Feature: Color Chrome Effect