For this third installment of the Film Simulation Challenge, where I use the same settings for 24 or 36 exposures, similar to shooting a roll of film, I chose my Eterna film simulation recipe. This particular recipe isn’t meant to mimic the look of any real film, but nonetheless it has a color negative aesthetic. I “loaded” this “film” into my Fujifilm X-T30, and exposed 36 frames. Sometimes I had a Fujinon 35mm f/2 lens attached to the front of the camera, and sometimes I had a Fujinon 90mm f/2. Both of these lenses are fantastic. I like the way this Eterna recipe looks, and I think Eterna in general is under appreciated. Only a few cameras have this film simulation, so perhaps that’s why it’s not discussed as much as it deserves, but I think it’s great, and I was glad to use it here.
My first “roll of film” for the Film Simulation Challenge was Kodachrome 64. For my second “roll of film” I choose my Kodacolor film simulation recipe. I “loaded” the “Kodacolor film” into my Fujifilm X-T30 camera, which had a Fujinon 35mm f/2 lens attached to it, and exposed 36 frames. The Film Simulation Challenge is where you capture 24 or 36 exposures using the same settings much like shooting a roll of film. It can be a fun (and educational) experiment to use your digital camera similarly to an analog camera.
Last week I introduced the Film Simulation Challenge, which is where you pick one film simulation recipe and shoot either 24 or 36 frames before changing settings. It’s kind of like loading your camera with a roll of film, and you are stuck with whatever film you loaded until that roll is completely exposed. This challenge is the digital equivalent of that analog issue. I thought it would be a fun experiment to encourage photographic vision while sharing the joy of Fujifilm X cameras.
For my first attempt at the Film Simulation Challenge, I chose my Kodachrome 64 recipe. I “loaded a roll” of “Kodachrome” into my Fujifilm X-T30, which had a Fujinon 35mm f/2 lens attached to it, and shot 36 exposures at a park in Layton, Utah. I did this in the late morning, and unsurprisingly the light was quite harsh, which wasn’t the best match for this particular film simulation recipe. But I stuck with it, just like I would have done in the film days. I used quite a few of the middle frames attempting hand-held slow-shutter exposures to blur moving water, making a number of tries, and ending up with a few frames that were sharp and a bunch that weren’t. I didn’t capture any spectacular pictures, but sometimes that happens with a roll of film, too. I will try another day in a different light and hopefully get better results.
Back in the analog days, I would load film into the camera, and I was stuck with whatever was in the camera until the very last frame was exposed. The most common options were 12, 24 or 36 exposures, and frequently the roll of film that I loaded was either 24 or 36 exposures. Once the film was fully exposed, I could then change to another film if I wanted, or load another roll of the same. What I appreciate about this is that you know what you’re going to get, the strengths and weaknesses of the film, and your photographic vision is tuned into that. You look for picture opportunities that best fit what the film is good at.
With digital photography, it’s easy to make the exposure first and think about the end result later. If you don’t like how it looks one way, it’s simple to change it to another look. You might even post-process one frame to have several different aesthetics and decide later which version you like best. There’s nothing wrong with this technique, but I personally find it better to consider in advance the finished photograph, and do what you can to get as close as you can to that finished picture in-camera.
One way that you can practice this using your Fujifilm X camera is to load it with “film” and force yourself to capture a predetermined number of frames with that film before changing. The film in this case is a film simulation recipe, programming into your camera in advance the one that you want to use. You tell yourself that you’ll capture 24 or 36 exposures with those settings, then, when you’re done with those frames, consider if you want to use another “film” or shoot a second “roll” of the first one. I call this the Film Simulation Challenge.
Back when I shot a lot of film, I would consider three to five good pictures from one roll of film to be average. If I got more than five good pictures from 36 exposures, that was a good day for me. If I had less than three, it wasn’t a good day, unless one of those frames was especially good. The idea with the Film Simulation Challenge is that from each “roll” of “film” that you capture, you share three to five (or more if you had a good day) of your best photos from that roll. Share it on your blog, share it Facebook, share it on Instagram, share it somewhere. You can use the hashtag #filmsimulationchallenge if you’d like. You can link to Fuji X Weekly if you want (you certainly don’t have to), or post a link to it in the comments. The purpose of this is to practice photographic vision in a fun way, while also sharing the joy of shooting with Fujifilm X cameras.
You can consider yourself officially challenged. I’m looking forward to seeing what you do, which films you choose and the pictures that you create. Best of luck in this challenge! I’ll be doing the Film Simulation Challenge, too, and I’ll share the results periodically on this blog.