I’ve Got the Fujifilm X-Trans V Blues….

I’ve been busy the last few days trying to see what is similar and what’s different about the JPEG output from my new Fujifilm X-T5 camera. How does X-Trans V compare with X-Trans IV? Are my X-Trans IV Film Simulation Recipes really compatible with the new Fujifilm cameras? Technically they are because the options are the same (except that X-Trans V has the new Nostalgic Neg. film simulation), but do they render the same, or at least similar enough?

I was surprised by something that I discovered. While many of the colors are extremely close in rendering, blues are not. Take a look at the comparison below. Both images were captured with identical settings and even the same lens—one with an X-Trans IV camera, and the other on X-Trans V—but the blue sky is not the same. If you study close enough you might notice some other extremely subtle differences, but the rendering of blue is a clearly not the same between the two sensor generations.

I looked very closely at all of the different film simulations, and I noticed that this difference in blue is film simulation dependent. Not all film sims render blue differently, and some vary more than others. Here are my discoveries:

Eterna Bleach Bypass on X-Trans V renders blue a little darker than on X-Trans IV with Color Chrome FX Blue set to Weak.
Classic Negative on X-Trans V renders blue identically to X-Trans IV with Color Chrome FX Blue set to Weak.
Classic Chrome and Eterna on X-Trans V renders blue just barely lighter than on X-Trans IV with Color Chrome FX Blue set to Weak.
Velvia, PRO Neg. Hi, and PRO Neg. Std on X-Trans V renders blue halfway in-between Color Chrome FX Blue set to Weak and Off on X-Trans IV.
Provia and Astia on X-Trans V renders blue identically to X-Trans IV with Color Chrome FX Blue set to Off.

In other words, with the exception of Provia and Astia, blue is different on X-Trans V than X-Trans IV. With Classic Negative, if an X-Trans IV Film Simulation Recipe calls for Color Chrome FX Blue set to Weak, if you set it to Off instead, it will render the same; if it call for Color Chrome FX Blue set to Strong, if you set it to Weak instead, it will render the same. You can also do that with Eterna Bleach Bypass, Eterna, and Classic Chrome, and it will be pretty close, but it won’t be identical. With Velvia, PRO Neg. Hi, and PRO Neg. Std, you can go either way (adjusting Color Chrome FX Blue or not), and it really doesn’t matter because it will be wrong by about the same amount, either too light or too dark.

Does it matter? it’s not a huge difference, but it is a difference. You might prefer the rendering of X-Trans IV or you might prefer the rendering of X-Trans V. I think, personally, I’m leaning towards preferring the X-Trans V rendering—many of my recipes use Color Chrome FX Blue set to Weak or sometimes Strong, and with X-Trans V that’s already built-in now on some of the film simulations. But it also means that many X-Trans IV recipes will render differently, and, while technically compatible, aren’t truly compatible with X-Trans V cameras.

I captured with picture on my Fujifilm X-T5 using the new Nostalgic Neg. film simulation.

Why did Fujifilm do this? I don’t think this is anything new. For example, Fujifilm has tweaked Velvia film, because the original Velvia emulsion was a “mistake” (although many photographers didn’t think so—if it was an accident, it was a very happy one). I remember reading once that Fujifilm, with each sensor generation, reevaluates each film simulation to see if it’s possible to get them closer to the intended aesthetic. Fujifilm likely decided that the blue of previous generations wasn’t quite “right” for many of the film simulations and so they fixed it. You might not thought that it was “broke” so you’re wondering why they felt the need to “fix” it; however, the folks at Fujifilm must have thought something wasn’t quite right, so they adjusted it.

What else is different? I’m still looking closely, so I don’t have all the answers yet. I think the rendering of cool colors is slightly different, but blue is by far the biggest change—even with a close side-by-side comparison it’s difficult to spot the differences of the greens and purples, but blue is obvious. Shadows and luminance in general seem to be just a hair dissimilar, but it’s close. Warm colors seem to be pretty much identical; if they’re different it’s tough to spot—maybe yellow is the most dissimilar of the warm colors, but it is still very similar, and I think it might have more to do with general luminance than a color difference. Really, blue rendering is the only significant difference I’ve found so far between X-Trans IV and X-Trans V.

With the Fuji X Weekly App, I don’t have X-Trans IV recipes currently listed as compatible with X-Trans V cameras. There are some—those that use Provia or Astia—that could be listed as compatible because they’ll render the same. For others, a Color Chrome FX Blue adjustment will make them compatible. For others, they won’t ever look the same but will still look pretty similar. I’m still deciding how I’ll handle this. The easy route would be to just say they’re all compatible—that they’re close enough—but I don’t think that’s the right path. I ask for patience as I wade through these waters—the rendering of that blue water on X-Trans V—and how to best present it to you in the form of Film Simulation Recipes.

Understanding Color Chrome Effect & Color Chrome FX Blue (Videos)

In these two “SoundBites” (as we’re calling it) from Episode 06 of SOOC, Fujifilm X-Photographer Nathalie Boucry and I discuss Color Chrome Effect & Color Chrome FX Blue features on Fujifilm X-Trans IV cameras. These are short snippets from the show, and it gives you an idea of the type of content that’s found in a SOOC broadcast. If you missed Episode 06, I’ve included it below, so you can view it in its entirety if you’d like.

If you’ve never watched, SOOC is a monthly live video series that’s interactive. It’s a collaboration between Nathalie and I. We discuss film simulation recipes, camera settings, and answer your questions. Basically, we’re trying to help you master your Fujifilm camera, with a focus on simplifying your photographic workflow.

The film simulation recipe used in both videos is Kodachrome 64. If you don’t have the Fuji X Weekly App, be sure to download it for free today!

Fujifilm X100V New Feature: Color Chrome Effect Blue

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The Fujifilm X100V, X-Pro3 and X-T4 have a new feature called Color Chrome Effect Blue. This is very similar to a different feature, which has a nearly identical name, that’s also found on X-Trans IV cameras, such as my X-T30, called Color Chrome Effect. What does Color Chrome Effect Blue do to photographs? How is it different than Color Chrome Effect? Those are questions that I hope to answer in this article.

The original Color Chrome Effect takes vibrant colors (mostly reds, but also yellows and greens to a lessor extent) and deepens their tones to retain color gradation. Fujifilm says that a short-lived color slide film called Fortia inspired this setting. Color Chrome Effect Blue is essentially the same, but for blue. It makes blues in the picture a deeper shade. It’s a lot like using a polarizing filter. You have three options: Off, Weak and Strong.

Let’s take a look at the pictures below:

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Color Chrome Effect Blue Off

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Color Chrome Effect Blue Weak

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Color Chrome Effect Blue Strong

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Color Chrome Effect Blue Strong & Color Chrome Effect Weak

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Color Chrome Effect Blue Strong & Color Chrome Effect Strong

Color Chrome Effect Blue noticeably darkens the blue sky. There’s a difference between Off and Weak and Strong that’s not too hard to spot. I added Color Chrome Effect to the bottom two images, and it doesn’t affect the sky—it barely affects the warm building; it’s so subtle that it’s hard to tell the difference even upon close inspection. I believe that Color Chrome Effect Blue makes more of a difference in an image than Color Chrome Effect, but they manipulate different colors, so they have different purposes. Disappointingly, Color Chrome Effect Blue doesn’t seem to change black-and-white images much at all.

For color images where you want blues to be rendered deeper, such as blue sky, Color Chrome Effect Blue is great! It’s like using a polarizing filter. If you want reds to be rendered deeper, use the original Color Chrome Effect. I hope this helps explain what the new Color Chrome Effect Blue feature is, how it’s different than Color Chrome Effect, and when to use it.

See also:
Clarity
B&W Toning
HDR