Comparing Film Simulation Recipes

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I shoot JPEGs, but it’s not uncommon for me to shoot RAW+JPEG, since it gives me the opportunity to reprocess the picture in-camera, which is helpful when developing different film simulation recipes. Because of this, I was able to process a single picture I captured recently on my Fujifilm X-T30 using many of my different recipes to compare the differences. I thought that this might be helpful to some of you. Perhaps there’s one recipe that stands out to you in the pictures below that you’ve never used. Obviously different settings look better in different situations, and in this article there’s just one picture to compare, so even though you might not like how one recipe looks in this article doesn’t mean that you wouldn’t like it with different subject and in a different light. The scope of this article is quite limited, but I hope that seeing the various film simulation recipes applied to a single exposure is helpful to someone.

Not every recipe was used for this post. Some of them require a specific parameter that was not available. For example, the picture at the top was made using my HP5 Plus Push-Process recipe, which requires an ultra-high ISO, so it wasn’t possible to apply it to the exposure below. Other recipes, such as my faded color and faded monochrome, require double exposures. There are other film simulation recipes that you could try not represented below, and I invite you to investigate the different options to see if there’s one or more that work well for your photography. Let me know in the comments which film simulation recipe is your favorite and which in your opinion fits the exposure below best.

Color

B&W

My Fujifilm X-T30 Kodacolor Film Simulation Recipe

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Summit Merc – Coalville, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Kodacolor

This is the film simulation recipe that you’ve been waiting for! Well, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but if you like my Kodachrome II or Portra 400 recipes, which are both very popular, you’ll likely also appreciate this one. It’s in the same neighborhood as those, producing a classic Kodak analog aesthetic. I think many of you will like this film simulation recipe.

Last week I was contacted by a Fuji X Weekly reader who wanted help creating an in-camera look that was similar to the pictures from this other photographer. It didn’t take me long to realize that the photographer in question was using a digital camera (Nikon D750) and applying a plugin preset (most likely VSCO) to achieve the desired look. If I had to take a guess, I would say that the preset is supposed to resemble Kodak Portra 400, although probably one of the alternative versions and not the straight Portra 400 preset. Anytime that I get one of these requests I always make an attempt to create it, although oftentimes my efforts are not successful and no recipe is made. This time, my first stab at it was pretty close, and a little refining made it even closer. I was able to quickly create a film simulation recipe that produces similar results in-camera to what that other photographer is getting with software.

The reason that I named this recipe Kodacolor and not Portra is that, to me, it looks more like Kodacolor VR than Portra, although the aesthetics of these two films are quite similar. Portra is the better film with improved grain, more tolerance to under and over exposure, and slightly more accurate skin tones, but overall the films produce very similar looks. Kodak originally developed Kodacolor VR film in the early 1980’s for their Disc cameras, which used a film cartridge resembling a computer floppy disc (or the “save icon”), allowing the camera to be small and easy to use. It made tiny exposures on the disc of film, and the film prior to Kodacolor VR, which was called Kodacolor II, was too grainy and not sharp enough for the small exposure to produce good results. Kodak’s solution was to create a sharper film with finer grain, which they originally named Kodacolor HR, and quickly renamed Kodacolor VR after making a small improvement. Kodacolor VR was available in ISO 100, 200, 400 and 1000 film speeds. This film simulation recipe most closely resembles Kodacolor VR 200, in my opinion. Kodacolor VR was replaced by Kodacolor VR-G in the mid 1980’s, which was later renamed Kodak Gold. Kodacolor VR was technically discontinued in 1986, but the ISO 200 version was renamed Kodacolor 200 and later ColorPlus 200, which is surprisingly still available today.

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Kodak Flying Disc – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Kodacolor

One characteristic of Kodacolor VR is that it’s not particularly tolerant to underexposure (for color negative film), so a common technique was to overexpose the film (to prevent accidental underexposure). The side-effect of this, which is a common side-effect of most Kodak color negative films, but it’s especially pronounced on this particular film, is cyan sky. Blues tend to become an unnatural lighter color. That’s what this film simulation recipe looks like: Kodacolor VR 200 that’s been overexposed. It’s also a close proximity to Portra 400 that’s been overexposed, although it’s not quite as strong of a match for that as Kodacolor VR.

Classic Chrome
Dynamic Range: DR400
Highlight: -1
Shadow: +2
Color: -2
Sharpening: +2
Noise Reduction: -4
Grain: Strong
Color Chrome Effect: Off
White Balance: 6300K, -1 Red & -4 Blue
ISO: Auto up to ISO 6400
Exposure Compensation: +2/3 to + 1-1/3 (typically)

Example photographs, all camera-made JPEGs captured using my Kodacolor film simulation recipe on my Fujifilm X-T30:

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Echo Canyon Morning – Echo, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Kodacolor

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Morning Light In Echo Canyon – Echo, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Kodacolor

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Tree On The Rocky Ledge – Echo, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Kodacolor

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Western Cliff – Echo, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Kodacolor

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Rock Bowl – Echo, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Kodacolor

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Echo Mesa – Echo, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Kodacolor

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Summer Witches – Echo, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Kodacolor

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Trees Dotting The Rock – Echo, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Kodacolor

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Blue Sky Rocks – Echo, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Kodacolor

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Weber River Thistle Blooms – Coalville, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Kodacolor

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Yucca Blossoms – South Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Kodacolor

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Sky Tree – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Kodacolor

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Sycamore Seeds – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Kodacolor

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Green Cottonwood Leaf – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Kodacolor

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Cottonwood Sun – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Kodacolor

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Vintage Sunset – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Kodacolor

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Blue Hole – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Kodacolor

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Summer Clouds Behind The Green Hill – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Kodacolor

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Summer Blue & Green – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Kodacolor

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Big Cloud Behind The Mountain – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Kodacolor

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Grey Sky Hill – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Kodacolor

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Car Wash – South Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Kodacolor

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Burger Umbrellas – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Kodacolor

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Renew or Replace – Riverdale, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Kodacolor

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Red Curve – Riverdale, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Kodacolor

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Red Corner – South Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Kodacolor

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Moore Motor – Coalville, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Kodacolor

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Better Days Behind – Coalville, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Kodacolor

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Building For Sale – Coalville, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Kodacolor

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Brick Angles – Coalville, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Kodacolor

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Suburban Garage – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Kodacolor

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Gas – Echo, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Kodacolor

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Gas Cafe – Echo, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Kodacolor

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Neighborhood Fence – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Kodacolor

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The Joy of Driving Rain – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Kodacolor

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Man of Steel – Coalville, UT – Fujifilm X-T30  – Kodacolor

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Bicycle Back Tire – South Weber, Utah – Fujifilm X-T30 – Kodacolor

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Chaos Wheel – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Kodacolor

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Hat On A Bed – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Kodacolor

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Couch Pillows – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Kodacolor

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Wall Curtain – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Kodacolor

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Intelligence Game – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Kodacolor

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The Trouble With Age – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Kodacolor

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Ketchup – Riverdale, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Kodacolor

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Orange – South Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Kodacolor

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Playing With Fire – South Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Kodacolor

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Mastrena – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Kodacolor

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Be The Light – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Kodacolor

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Adidas – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Kodacolor

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Balloon Maker – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Kodacolor

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Standing In The Water Balloon Pool – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Kodacolor

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Water Balloon Fight – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Kodacolor

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Recording Summer Fun – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Kodacolor

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Wearing Grandpa’s Hat – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Kodacolor

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Johanna – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Kodacolor

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Echo Canyon Morning Freight – Echo, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Kodacolor

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Freight Train At Echo – Echo, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Kodacolor

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Eastbound Freight Through Echo Canyon – Echo, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Kodacolor

Kodachrome vs. Ektachrome – A Film Simulation Showdown

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I have two very similar film simulation recipes that both produce results quite close to their namesake slide films: Kodachrome II and Ektachrome 100SW. Even though the settings are nearly the same, the looks that they produce are quite different. As I was thinking about this, I was reminded of the old “Kodachrome vs. Ektachrome” debate from the days of film. There were people who preferred one over the other for various reasons. Kodachrome was more iconic. Ektachrome had more variations. Despite the fact that they were both color transparencies made by the same company, I could probably write a long article about the differences between the two films, but this blog is about Fujifilm X cameras and not Kodak film stocks.

What I wanted to do here is compare the two film simulation recipes side by side. I will show them both, and you can decide which is best for you. It’s kind of a revival of the old debate, but with a modern twist. Kodachrome or Ektachrome? You get to decide which is the better film simulation recipe!

Take a look at the pictures below:

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Welcome to Ogden – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Kodachrome II”

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Winter Mountain – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Ektachrome 100SW”

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Desert Juniper – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Kodachrome II”

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Juniper – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Ektachrome 100SW”

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Pueblo de Taos – Taos, NM – Fujifilm X-Pro2 “Kodachrome II”

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View From Mount Carmel Tunnel – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Ektachrome 100SW”

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Kodak Transparencies – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Kodachrome II”

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Kodak Transparencies – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Ektachrome 100SW”

What I like about the Kodachrome II recipe is that it produces a vintage color look that reminds me of the images found on the pages of old magazines, such as National Geographic and Arizona Highways. As I look through my grandparent’s old slide collection (which I have at home), I can see this look in their old photographs from 50 or so years ago. It’s such a fantastic recipe for Fujifilm X cameras, and I just love it!

What I like about the Ektachrome 100SW recipe is that it produces a color look that reminds me of some images that I have captured with the actual film. The film was good for western landscapes or any situation where you needed some color saturation with a warm color cast. It wasn’t around for very long because it was only marginally commercially successful, but it was one of the better variations of Ektachrome film in my opinion.

What do you think, Kodachrome or Ektachrome? Let me know in the comments which film simulation recipe you like best!

When Does ISO Matter?

Modern cameras have amazing high-ISO capabilities. Back in the days of film, ISO 400 was considered high-ISO by many (including Fujifilm, who designated all their ISO 400 films with the letter “H” for high-speed), and ISO 1600 was ultra-high-ISO, used only out of absolute necessity or by the brave who wanted a certain gritty look. Nowadays some photographers don’t even think of ISO 1600 as a high-ISO setting, and don’t think twice about using it. For many, high-ISO doesn’t really begin until ISO 3200, and ultra-high-ISO doesn’t begin until you go above ISO 6400. It’s really unbelievable!

The real question is this: when does ISO matter? Since modern cameras make such good-looking images at incredibly high sensitivities, when should you start considering image quality degradation? When is a certain ISO setting too high? That’s what I want to answer.

Of course, since this is the Fuji X Weekly blog, I’m discussing Fujifilm X cameras, specifically X-Trans III. This won’t apply 100% to other cameras, but it’s still relevant to some degree no matter the camera make and model. If you are reading this with another camera in mind, take everything said here with a small grain of salt.

I did a little experiment just to better understand all of this ISO stuff. I already knew the answer from experience even before beginning the experiment, but I wanted to see if my instincts matched reality. I captured a few sets of identical pictures, all straight-out-of-camera JPEGs from a Fujifilm X-T20, using ISO 400 and ISO 6400. I made sure that all of the settings were the same between the identical pictures except for ISO and shutter speed. This isn’t 100% scientific, but it’s a controlled-enough test to draw some conclusions about ISO capabilities.

Here are the original pictures:

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ISO 6400

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ISO 400 – my Velvia recipe

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ISO 6400

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ISO 6400

There’s not a lot that can be learned by looking at the above images, other than when viewing images on the web the ISO doesn’t matter whatsoever because it’s incredibly difficult to spot the differences even when comparing side-by-side. In real life nobody does side-by-side comparisons, that’s pretty much an internet-only thing, so it would be impossible to tell if a picture was captured using a low-ISO or high-ISO just by looking at it on your screen. We need to look much closer to really gain anything from this test. Below are some crops from the above images.

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ISO 400

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ISO 6400

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ISO 400

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ISO 6400

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ISO 400

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ISO 6400

If you study the color crops carefully, you’ll notice that the ISO 400 images are cleaner, sharper and have just a hair more dynamic range, but the differences are quite small and subtle. You really have to look carefully to find them. With the black-and-white image, the differences are even less obvious, and I actually prefer the ISO 6400 version, as it seems to have a more film-like quality. Looking at the crops clarifies things a little, but what kind of conclusions can we really draw?

My opinion with regards to color photography and ISO is this: if I’m printing smaller than 16″ x 24″ or displaying the pictures on the web, I don’t find any practical difference between base ISO and ISO 6400. Even ISO 12800 can be acceptable, especially if I’m not going to print the picture. If I’m going to print 16″ x 24″ or larger, a lower ISO is better, preferably less than ISO 3200, but it’s not a big deal to use up to ISO 6400. The ISO that I select does not make a huge difference to the outcome of the image, so I don’t worry a whole lot about it. Put more simply, if I print large, it’s preferable but not critical that I use a lower ISO, and if I don’t print large it doesn’t matter at all.

My opinion with regards to black-and-white photography and ISO is this: the ISO doesn’t matter much at all no matter how large I’m printing, and I often prefer (just by a little) high-ISO over low-ISO because it looks more analog. I freely use without hesitation any ISO up to 12800. Thanks to the Acros film simulation, Fujifilm X cameras are some of the best monochrome cameras on the market, and with that film simulation, often times the higher the ISO the better.

These are, of course, my opinions, and not everyone is going to agree with them, and that’s perfectly alright. Find what works for you. Use a higher ISO or lower ISO if that’s what you need for your pictures, because, after all, they’re your pictures. I’m not here to judge your camera setting choices, only to offer mine, which I’m hoping is helpful to some of you. I hope that this article makes sense and clarifies some things regarding high-ISO on Fujifilm X cameras.

Below is a video that I made on this topic:

Fujifilm Acros Film Simulation Recipes

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Taos Tourist – Taos, NM – Fujifilm X100F “Agfa Scala”

Acros is one of the most popular film simulations available on Fujifilm X-Trans cameras. It looks incredibly similar to the black-and-white film that it was named after. In fact, in my opinion, it produces the most film-like results of any settings on any camera! It’s easy to see the draw to the analog-esque results produced by the Acros film simulation.

I love Acros and I have used it as the base for a bunch of different film simulation recipes. It’s possible to achieve a number of different interesting looks straight out of camera by adjusting the settings. I plan to create even more film simulation recipes using Acros in the coming months. As I do, I will add them to this article.

Below you will find all of my different film simulation recipes that I have created that use Acros. If you haven’t tried them all, I personally invite you to do so and see which are your favorites! My personal favorite is Tri-X Push-Process, but they each have their own usefulness and charm. Let me know in the comments which recipe you like most!

Even though the different recipes say X100F and X-Pro2, they are completely compatible with any Fujifilm X-Trans III or IV camera. For example, you don’t have to use the X100F recipes exclusively on the X100F. You can use any of my recipes on any X-Trans III camera.

Original Acros

Acros Push-Process

Agfa Scala

Ilford HP5 Plus

Tri-X Push Process

Fujifilm Classic Chrome Film Simulation Recipes

Classic Chrome is one of the most popular film simulations available on Fujifilm X-Trans cameras. It produces a look similar to quintessential Kodak color transparency films like Kodachrome and Ektachrome, which graced the pages of publications like National Geographic and Arizona Highways for many years. With all things vintage being in style, there is a huge draw to the analog-esque results produced by the Classic Chrome film simulation.

I love Classic Chrome and I have used it as the base for a bunch of different film simulation recipes. It’s possible to achieve a number of different interesting looks straight out of camera by adjusting the settings. Honestly, I think that I’ve only scratched the surface of what’s possible. I plan to create even more film simulation recipes using Classic Chrome in the coming months. As I do, I will add them to this article.

Below you will find all of my different film simulation recipes that I have created that use Classic Chrome. If you haven’t tried them all, I personally invite you to do so and see which are your favorites! My personal favorite is Kodachrome II, but they each have their own usefulness and charm. Let me know in the comments which recipe you like most!

Even though the different recipes say X100F, X-Pro2, and X-T20, they are completely compatible with any Fujifilm X-Trans III or IV camera. For example, you don’t have to use the X100F recipes exclusively on the X100F. You can use any of my recipes on any X-Trans III camera.

My original Classic Chrome recipe.

My dramatic Classic Chrome recipe.

My Vintage Kodachrome recipe.

My Kodachrome II recipe.

My Vintage Agfacolor recipe.

My Kodak Portra recipe.

See also:

My Classic Chrome recipe for Fujifilm Bayer and X-Trans II.

If you like these recipes, be sure to follow Fuji X Weekly so that you don’t miss out when I publish a new one! Feel free to comment, as I appreciate your feedback. Please share on social media this article or any other that you found useful so that others might find it, too.

My Fujifilm X-T20 Fujicolor Pro 400H Film Simulation Recipe

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Taking Out The Trash – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Pro 400H”

Fujifilm Pro 400H is a color negative film that was first introduced in 2002 (originally named NPH400). It’s a popular print film that has survived the digital era, as Fujifilm continues to manufacture Pro 400H to this very day, while many other films have seen the chopping block. It’s a fine-grain (for ISO 400), natural-color, versatile film that’s especially good for weddings and portraits. I have used it a couple times myself, although not anytime recently. I do remember some of the idiosyncrasies of the film. Interestingly, the “H” in the name stands for “high speed,” which is the designation that Fujifilm gave to all their ISO 400 films.

I’ve tried in the past to create a Pro 400H recipe for Fujifilm X cameras, but I was never happy with the results. In fact, you might recall that I suggested Fujifilm include this as a new film simulation in future cameras. Recently a Fuji X Weekly reader, Mauricio, shared with me his settings for Pro 400H, and he asked my thoughts on it. I was able to try it out and I liked it! His settings were indeed close, although I felt it needed some tweaking to better mimic the film.

Anytime that you are attempting to recreate the look of a certain film with a digital camera, there are variables that make it difficult. How was it shot? How was it developed? Was it printed, and how so? Was it scanned, and how so? Those are common challenges, plus more. With Pro 400H, there is an additional challenge: the film can look much different depending on the light and exposure. There are several distinct looks that can be achieved using the film, and it’s not possible to recreate all of those aesthetics with a film simulation recipe. Despite all of the challenges, I do feel that I was able to create a look that is in the ballpark of the film, thanks to the help of Mauricio.

There were several compromises that I had to make. I tried many different things to get the aesthetics as close as I could. For example, the film is known for cool blueish shadows and a warm pinkish highlights. Split toning is not possible on Fujifilm X cameras. I could get the shadow color cast more accurate but at the expense of the highlight color, or I could get the highlight color cast more accurate but at the expense of the shadow color. The white balance shift that I settled on, which is the same one that was suggested to me in the first place, isn’t spot-on accurate for the shadows or highlights, but it’s a nice middle ground that’s close enough to both to be convincing. What you get is a cool color cast showing through in the shadows and a slight red color cast showing up in the highlights. The light and exposure of an image will change the look of it in a similar fashion to the actual film, although not completely the same. It’s as close as I could get it.

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Holiday Decor – S. Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Pro 400H”

Fujifilm Pro 400H film has a huge latitude in the highlights. You can overexpose it by three stops easily (maybe four) and get a good print. In fact, a lot of people purposefully overexpose the film because the colors turn pastel and the images become more warm and vibrant. The X-Trans III sensor has a lot of dynamic range, but it cannot hold up to a three stop overexposure. I found that DR200 is a good setting in many circumstances, but in high-contrast scenes, DR400 might be a better option. I used DR200 for all of the pictures in this article, but some might have benefited from the higher dynamic range setting. I think in high contrast scenes, in order to prevent clipped highlights, if you aren’t going to select DR400, perhaps set highlights to -1. I debated on whether +2 or +3 is the best setting for shadows. I think a +2.5 option would be most correct, but unfortunately that doesn’t exist. My recommendation would be to use +2 in higher contrast scenes and +3 in lower contrast scenes. I used +3 for all of the photos here.

Another setting that I debated on was color saturation. I settled on +4, which I think is the most correct for simulating slightly overexposed Pro 400H. An argument could be made that +3, +2 and +1 are also correct, depending on how the film was exposed and handled. If you think that +4 is too saturated for your tastes, simply find the color setting that works best for you. Pro 400H is definitely a tough film to make a recipe for. I think these settings are going to be your best bet for achieving a look straight out of camera that mimics the film’s aesthetic. Even though I captured these photographs using an X-T20, this film simulation recipe is compatible with all Fujifilm X-Trans III and IV cameras.

PRO Neg. STD
Dynamic Range: DR200
Highlight: 0
Shadow: +3
Color: +4
Grain: Weak
Noise Reduction: -3
Sharpening: 0
White Balance: Auto, +2 Red & +1 Blue
ISO: Auto up to ISO 6400
Exposure Compensation: +2/3 to +1 (typically)

Example photographs, all straight-out-of-camera JPEGs captured using my Fujifilm X-T20 Fujicolor Pro 400H Film Simulation recipe:

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Red Chairs In Snow – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Pro 400H”

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Up From The Snow – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Pro 400H”

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Second Day of Winter – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Pro 400H”

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Frosted Trees & Winter Sun – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Pro 400H”

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Cold Neighborhood Morning – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Pro 400H”

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Some Lady’s Book Store – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Pro 400H”

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TV Fiasco – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Pro 400H”

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Pierre’s Miniature Bakery – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Pro 400H”

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Christmas Decoration – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Pro 400H”

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Faith – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Pro 400H”

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FED 5c Rangefinder – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Pro 400H”

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Bolsey Behind Bars – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Pro 400H”

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Fake Grass In A Box – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Pro 400H”

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Lavender & Twine – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Pro 400H”

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Pentax & Fujifilm – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Pro 400H”

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Three 35mm Film Canisters – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Pro 400H”

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Vase Arm – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Pro 400H”

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Red Fire Hydrant – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Pro 400H”

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Neighborhood Window – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Pro 400H”

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Dead Rose Bush Leaves – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Pro 400H”

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Frozen Leaf – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Pro 400H”

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Moon Rise Over The Mountain – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Pro 400H”

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Snow Dusted Peak – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Pro 400H”

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Mountain & Cloud – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Pro 400H”

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Brick Wall Boy – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Pro 400H”

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Car Play – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Pro 400H”

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Girl By The Window Light – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Pro 400H”

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Green Night Shed – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Pro 400H”

My Fujifilm X-T20 Kodak Ektachrome 100SW Film Simulation Recipe

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Ektachrome was a line of color transparency (slide) films made by Kodak that used the E-6 development process. Some people preferred it to Kodachrome because of the faster ISO (100 vs 64 or 25), more saturated colors and easier development (although Kodachrome had finer grain, a larger dynamic range and didn’t fade as easily). A lot of National Geographic photographs were shot on Ektachrome back in the day.

There were a number of varieties of Ektachrome produced over the years, and I’ve used five of them myself. My favorite was Ektachrome 100VS (VS = “very saturated”), which was Kodak’s attempt at Fujifilm Velvia. Occasionally I used Ektachrome 100SW (SW = “saturated warm”), which was introduced in 1996 and produced vivid photographs with a warm color balance. Kodak stopped production of Ektachrome 100SW in 2002 and all Ektachrome film in 2012. Just a few months ago a brand new Kodak Ektachrome film was released, although I have not tried it yet.

A Fuji X Weekly reader, Ilya Struzhkov, took my Kodachrome II recipe and made a simple modification: he used Velvia instead of Classic Chrome. He shared the results on Instagram and I immediately felt like the images had a Kodak Ektachrome 100SW aesthetic. I had to try it out myself! Sure enough, the results looked a lot like the film: saturated colors (not as much as Velvia but more than most films), a warm color balance, and shadows that easily turned black. It’s amazing that this one change to the recipe could transform it from 1970’s Kodachrome to 1990’s Ektachrome.

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The title of this film simulation recipe says “Fujifilm X-T20” but it can be used on any X-Trans III or IV camera. In fact, at the bottom of this article you’ll find some Fujifilm X100F examples. The only other change I made (besides Velvia instead of Classic Chrome) is that I set sharpening to 0 instead of +1 on the X-T20, but it’s set to +1 on the X100F. That’s just how I set up the cameras, and there really isn’t much of a differences between 0 and +1 sharpening, so either one is fine. Because the settings are essentially the same as my Kodachrome II recipe, it’s super easy to toggle between the two when out shooting. Really, it’s just brilliant!

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

Example photos, all camera-made JPEGs using my Fujifilm X-T20 Kodak Ektachrome 100SW Film Simulation recipe:

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Light Dust of Snow – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Ektachrome 100SW”

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Frozen Fall – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Ektachrome 100SW”

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Frosty Leaf & Grass – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Ektachrome 100SW”

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Sandstone Peaks – Snow Canyon SP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Ektachrome 100SW”

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Evening Moonrise – Snow Canyon SP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Ektachrome 100SW”

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Zion Sun – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Ektachrome 100SW”

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Evening On The Cliffs – Snow Canyon SP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Ektachrome 100SW”

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Amanda & Ritchie – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Ektachrome 100SW”

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Still Water & Rocky Shore – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Ektachrome 100SW”

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Old Dry Lavender – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Ektachrome 100SW”

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Boots – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Ektachrome 100SW”

Fujifilm X100F:

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Autumn Tree Below Bridge Mountain – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Ektachrome 100SW”

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View From Mount Carmel Tunnel – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Ektachrome 100SW”

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Juniper – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Ektachrome 100SW”

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Sandstone Trees – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Ektachrome 100SW”

See also: My Fujifilm X-T20 Aged Color Film Simulation Recipe

My Fujifilm X100F Ilford HP5 Plus Film Simulation Recipe

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Back when I shot lots of film, my favorite black-and-white options were Ilford Delta 100, and Ilford Delta 400 when “high ISO” was necessary, as back then I considered ISO 400 to be high ISO. I didn’t use Ilford HP5 Plus very often, but I have used it on several occasions. I still have a few rolls of the film lying around, which I should go out and use just for the fun of it. The differences between Delta 400 and HP5 Plus aren’t huge. Delta 400 uses tabular-grain, which is supposed to be a finer grain that produces sharper images, but I think in real-world use it’s not really noticeable. Delta 400 has a hair more contrast than HP5 Plus and in my opinion is a bit better for push-processing, but HP5 Plus seems to have more exposure latitude, making it more forgiving if you didn’t get the exposure quite right. Overall the two films produce very similar results.

I’ve been asked a number of times to make an Ilford HP5 Plus film simulation recipe for Fujifilm X-Trans III cameras. The title of this article says “Fujifilm X100F” but these settings can be used on any X-Trans III or IV camera. In fact, you’ll find a few Fujifilm X-T20 examples at the bottom. I already have a number of different black-and-white film simulation recipes that I like, so I didn’t really need to make a new one, but I enjoyed doing this and I’m pleased with how it turned out.

A few days ago I was asked if my Agfa Scala recipe is a close match to HP5 Plus, and as I thought about it I realized that it’s not all that far off, and only some small changes would be necessary to get it right. Of course, any time that you attempt to mimic a certain film the problem is that the film can vary in look. How was it shot? Developed? Printed? Scanned? There isn’t necessarily one aesthetic that’s right because there are so many variables. Still, I feel like this is recipe is in fact pretty close to Ilford HP5 Plus film.

I captured the photograph below, Airport Lobby, using a Canon AE-1 about 20 years ago using Ilford Delta 100 film. I printed it on Agfa Classic paper using a split-filter technique and toned it with sepia (just barely). This is a (rather poor) scan of the print. I included it in this article for the heck of it, as it doesn’t really have much to do with this film simulation recipe. My experience with Ilford films goes back pretty far, and perhaps that’s the point of including the picture with this article.

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Airport Lobby – McKinney, TX – Ilford Delta 100 printed on Agfa Classic paper.

You could modify this recipe to shadows +3 if you need more contrast or shadows +1 if you needed less, or highlights to +3 if you need to prevent clipped highlights. If you feel as though the recipe needs some changes to best capture an image, don’t be afraid to make those adjustments. I don’t always stick rigidly to my recipes, and I’m not afraid to adjust them when needed. The example photographs in this article are all the exact recipe, but with some other pictures (that I didn’t include) I made some modifications to the settings because the scene required it. A few of the pictures here might have been better off with a modification to the shadow or highlight, but I wanted to demonstrate the aesthetic of this recipe as is.

Acros (Acros+Y, Acros+R, Acros+G)
Dynamic Range: DR200
Highlight: +4
Shadow: +2
Noise Reduction: -3
Sharpening: 0
Grain Effect: Strong
ISO: Auto up to ISO 6400
Exposure Compensation: 0 (typically)

Example photos, all camera-made JPEGs captured using my Fujifilm X100F Ilford HP5 Plus Film Simulation recipe:

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Grey Salt Lake – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Ilford HP5 Plus”

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Kids On The Salt Lake Shore – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Ilford HP5 Plus”

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Hurry Up & Wait – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Ilford HP5 Plus”

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Downtown Workday – SLC, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Ilford HP5 Plus”

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Monochrome Caution – SLC, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Ilford HP5 Plus”

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Window Pentax – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Ilford HP5 Plus”

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Tunnel Chevy – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Ilford HP5 Plus”

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Virgin River From Canyon Jct Bridge – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Ilford HP5 Plus”

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Monochrome Vista In Zion – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Ilford HP5 Plus”

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Zion Juniper – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Ilford HP5 Plus”

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Rock & Trees – Zion NP, UT – Fuji X100F “Ilford HP5 Plus”

Fujifilm X-T20:

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Frozen Leaf & Grass – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Ilford HP5 Plus”

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The Last Leaf – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Ilford HP5 Plus”

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Morning Clouds Around The Mountain – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Ilford HP5 Plus”

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Grey Sky Over Antelope Island – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Ilford HP5 Plus”

My Fujifilm X-T20 Aged Color Film Simulation Recipe

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White Duck – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Aged Color”

During World War II there was a shortage of rubber, and an effort was put forth to create synthetic rubber. There were many ideas and experiments to create rubber in the lab, most of which failed. One of those failures was a silicone-based elastic substance that could bounce, float in water, and lift print off of newspaper. This substance was created by mistake while trying to invent something else. It was a twist of fate. It was a happy accident. It was Silly Putty.

Recently I was experimenting with the JPEG settings on a Fujifilm X-T20, trying to replicate the look of some different films. I’ve been working on four different film simulation settings for several months, only hitting dead ends. I haven’t been able to achieve the desired results, but I did stumble across an interesting look. Like the discovery of Silly Putty, I made a happy accident! Even though I used an X-T20 for this recipe, you could apply these settings to any X-Trans III camera and get the same exact results.

This look doesn’t quite resemble any specific film that I’m aware of. I think it produces an analog film aesthetic, even though I couldn’t tell you which one. There are a couple of films that I can see maybe some resemblance, but overall it’s not an exact match. Actually, what it reminded me of is a group of four Alien Skin Exposure presets under the “Color Films – Aged” tab called Color Photo. These presets are similar to each other but each one has a slightly varied look. My new film simulation, which I’ve named Aged Color, produces a look that resembles those Exposure presets, although I will admit that it’s more of general aesthetic than a carbon copy. It’s just what I think it most closely resembles, by coincidence.

Below are three pictures of mine that were edited with those Alien Skin Exposure Color Photo presets:

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Hidden Waterfall – Lava Hot Springs, ID

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South Pasadena – Pasadena, CA

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Three Kids In The Water – Carlsbad, CA

While Alien Skin Exposure gives you four preset options for this look, and each of those can be heavily customized, I only have one Aged Color recipe, but you are more than welcome to tweak it to your liking. I find that it produces muted yet lovely colors and slightly faded shadows. If the scene doesn’t have a lot of contrast the images can come out a little flat. The skin tones in the pictures below show a lot of red, but some of that can be attributed to cold temperatures, and I think that under normal conditions skin will look a little more natural. This film simulation recipe is an interesting option to achieve a look that is perhaps unexpected from a digital camera and looks a bit more film-like. I doubt that it’s everyone’s cup of tea, but I think some of you will really appreciate it.

PRO Neg. Std
Dynamic Range: DR400
Highlight: +2
Shadow: +3
Color: +4
Noise Reduction: -3
Sharpening: 0
Grain Effect: Strong
White Balance: Auto, +5 Red & -3 Blue
ISO: Auto up to ISO 6400
Exposure Compensation: +1/3 (typically)

Example photos, all straight-out-of-camera JPEGs captured on a Fujifilm X-T20 using my Aged Color Film Simulation recipe:

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Brother & Sister Fun – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Playground Play – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Joshua Throwing Leaves – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Evening Leaves – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Swingset Post – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Oak Tree Autumn Sun – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Last Leaves – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Sunlight Through The Branches – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Ducks Swimming In A Pond – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Late Blooms – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Dry & Yellow – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Old Town Clock – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Little White Pumpkin On The Mantel – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Lego Food Stand Creation – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Boy Reading – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Hot Coffee Brew – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Potted Succulent  – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Asahi Pentax SLR – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20