Fujifilm X-E4 (X-Trans IV) Film Simulation Recipe: SantaColor

VW Bus – Avila Beach, CA – Fujifilm X-E4 – “SantaColor”

There’s a brand-new color negative film stock called SantaColor 100, which is actually repurposed Kodak AeroColor 125, an emulsion intended for areal photography. I don’t believe that AeroColor is still produced (although it can still be found if you look hard enough); SantaColor 100 could be an old batch that’s been stored for awhile and is now surplus. This film has a reddish-orange color cast, which (depending on how it was shot, developed, and scanned) can be somewhat subtle or quite pronounced. This Film Simulation Recipe is an attempt to mimic that film; however, I’m not 100% satisfied with how closely it does (or doesn’t) replicate it—I think it can be really close sometimes, and other times not so much. Still, I like how this recipe looks, so I thought I’d share it with you in case some of you like it, too.

Why are special films used for aerial mapping? I tried to find an answer to this, but couldn’t. My suspicion is that atmosphere/haze can obscure “regular” film, and aerial films are made to be less susceptible to that. Another thought is that the temperature at high altitude is cold, so maybe the film has to work well in cold temperatures. Still, another idea is that the angle of the sun is different, so the film needs to be adjusted for that. It could be one, all, or none of those things—if you know the answer, please enlighten me by commenting below!

Sport Fishing – Avila Beach, CA – Fujifilm X-E4 – “SantaColor”

This “SantaColor” Film Simulation Recipe is compatible with the Fujifilm X-Pro3, X100V, X-T4, X-S10, X-E4, and X-T30 II cameras. For those with an X-T3 and X-T30, you will need to ignore Grain size (since your camera doesn’t have that), and use a diffusion filter (such as 10% CineBloom) in lieu of Clarity. For those with an X-H1, you will need to additionally ignore Color Chrome Effect (the results will be just a little different).

Eterna
Dynamic Range: DR200
Highlight: -2
Shadow: +4
Color: +4
Noise Reduction: -4
Sharpness: -2
Clarity: -3
Grain Effect: Weak, Small
Color Chrome Effect: Strong
Color Chrome Effect Blue: Off
White Balance: 5100K, +5 Red & -3 Blue
ISO: Auto, up to ISO 6400
Exposure Compensation: +2/3 to +1 (typically)

Example photographs, all camera-made JPEGs using this “SantaColor” Film Simulation Recipe on a Fujifilm X-E4:

Last Limelight – Redlands, CA – Fujifilm X-E4
We Hot – Pismo Beach, CA – Fujifilm X-E4
Fish out of Water – Pismo Beach, CA – Fujifilm X-E4
Agave Garden – Pasadena, CA – Fujifilm X-E4
Plymouth – Pismo Beach, CA – Fujifilm X-E4
Palm & Rooftop – Pismo Beach, CA – Fujifilm X-E4
Rooftop Stairs – Pismo Beach, CA – Fujifilm X-E4
Houses on the Hillside – Pismo Beach, CA – Fujifilm X-E4
Irregular – Avila Beach, CA – Fujifilm X-E4
Life Ring – Avila Beach, CA – Fujifilm X-E4
Wishing Posts – Avila Beach, CA – Fujifilm X-E4
Ball & Blue Boat – Avila Beach, CA – Fujifilm X-E4
Red Rowboats – Avila Beach, CA – Fujifilm X-E4
Beach-Walking Seagull – Pismo Beach, CA – Fujifilm X-E4
Grassy Sand Dune – Pismo Beach, CA – Fujifilm X-E4

Find this film simulation recipes and over 200 more on the Fuji X Weekly — Film Recipes App!

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Top 10 Film Simulation Recipes of June 2022

Open Warning – Butte, MT – Fujifilm X100V – “Kodachrome 64“

It’s always interesting to see which recipes you are shooting with. I don’t have a good method to quantify just how popular specific Film Simulation Recipes are. The best metric that I have is page-views—the more times a recipe has been viewed on this website, the more popular I assume it is. I can’t say for certain that there’s a direct relationship between page-views and actual use, but it seems reasonable to suspect that such a correlation exists. This list is the most popular Film Simulation Recipes during the month of June 2022 (so far… there are couple of days left in the month…), as determined by how many times the recipe article has been viewed.

No surprise to me, color recipes are more popular than black-and-white. I love monochrome photography, but color is clearly king. Still, I’m happy to see that my favorite black-and-white recipe made this list, even if it was at the bottom. Also not surprising to me, those recipes with the names Kodak, Kodachrome, and Portra are the most popular. Kodak was top-dog of film (probably still is), so it’s logical that those aesthetics are the most desired. What is a surprise to me is that a few “new” recipes made this list. Ones that have been out for awhile are well established, so they tend to get more views than the new-kids-on-the-block. Brand-new recipes are at a disadvantage for these types of lists, yet three recipes published in June—Reggie’s Portra, Low Key, and Bright Kodak—made it into the top-ten. Yea!

Without further delay, here are the Top 10 Film Simulation Recipes of June:

1. Kodachrome 64

Denny’s Days – Beaver, UT – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Kodachrome 64“

2. Reggie’s Portra

Abandoned Long John Silver’s – Elk City, OK – Fujifilm X100V – “Reggie’s Portra”

3. Kodak Portra 400 v2

Three Palms – Sun City West, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Kodak Portra 400 v2”

4. Kodak Portra 400

Journal – North Salt Lake, UT – Fujifilm X100V – “Portra 400”

5. Low Key

Cactus Spiderweb – Goodyear, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Low Key”

6. Vintage Kodachrome

Onaqui Horses – Dugway, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – “Vintage Kodachrome”

7. Bright Kodak

Cactus Evening – Goodyear, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Bright Kodak”

8. Kodak Portra 400

Blooms of Pink – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – “Kodak Portra 400”

9. Kodachrome II

Light on Francis Peak – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Kodachrome II”

10. Kodak Tri-X 400

Motel – Panguitch, UT – Fujifilm X100V – “Kodak Tri-X 400”

Find these Film Simulation Recipes and over 200 more on the Fuji X Weekly — Film Recipes App!

Fujifilm X-E4 (X-Trans IV) Film Simulation Recipe: Nostalgic Print

Empty Shell – Pasadena, CA – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Nostalgic Print”

My wife, Amanda, visited her mom, and when she returned home she had a 4″ x 6″ print. “I thought you’d find this interesting,” she said as she handed it to me. I looked at it carefully—front and back—then set out to recreate the look on my Fujifilm X-E4. I have no idea what film was used to capture the picture (other than it was a color negative film), but it was about 20-years-old (based on the subject), definitely from a cheap point-and-shoot of some sort (possibly a disposable camera), it was printed on Fujicolor paper at a one-hour lab, and was likely faded from improper storage. I only had one picture to go off of, but I feel I nailed the aesthetic of it pretty darn closely.

Perhaps more importantly, I really like the look of this recipe. It is the most nostalgic-analog-like results that I’ve ever achieved from the PRO Neg. Std film simulation. It reminds me a little of the Kodak High Definition Plus 200 recipe, but with less contrast and less saturation. I’ve enjoyed shooting with this one—it’s definitely not for everyone or every situation; however, some of you will really appreciate it in the “right” situations.

Palms & Pond – Gilbert, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Nostalgic Print”

This “Nostalgic Print” Film Simulation Recipe is compatible with the Fujifilm X-Pro3, X100V, X-T4, X-S10, X-E4, and X-T30 II cameras. Those with newer GFX cameras can likely use it, too. For those with the X-T3 and X-T30 (or older GFX cameras), if you ignore Color Chrome FX Blue and Grain size (since your camera doesn’t have those), and replace Clarity with a diffusion filter (such as a 10% CineBloom), you can get pretty close to this look; for X-Trans III, you’ll have to additionally ignore Color Chrome Effect (since you don’t have it)—the results will be slightly more different, but still pretty similar overall.

PRO Neg. Std
Dynamic Range: DR400
Highlight: -2
Shadow: 0
Color: -4
Noise Reduction: -4
Sharpness: -2
Clarity: -3
Grain Effect: Strong, Small
Color Chrome Effect: Weak
Color Chrome Effect Blue: Weak
White Balance: 4700K, -3 Red & -4 Blue
ISO: Auto, up to ISO 6400
Exposure Compensation: +2/3 to +1 (typically)

Example photographs, all camera-made JPEGs using this “Nostalgic Print” Film Simulation Recipe on a Fujifilm X-E4:

Red Train – Gilbert, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4
Five Palms – Gilbert, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4
Eagle 5 – Ehrenberg, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4
Morning Mountain Palms – Riverside, CA – Fujifilm X-E4
76 Pretzel – Ehrenberg, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4
Palm Leaves – Gilbert, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4
Tropical Plant – Pismo Beach, CA – Fujifilm X-E4
Ice Bloom – Pismo Beach, CA – Fujifilm X-E4
Sam’s Market – Pismo Beach, CA – Fujifilm X-E4
Green House – Redlands, CA – Fujifilm X-E4
Cupboard & Curtain – Redlands, CA – Fujifilm X-E4
A Sub Above the Dumpster – Pasadena, CA – Fujifilm X-E4
Three Bikes & Pedestrian – Pasadena, CA – Fujifilm X-E4
Umbrellas Here – Pasadena, CA – Fujifilm X-E4
Yield on Green – Pasadena, CA – Fujifilm X-E4
Top Floor Tree – Redlands, CA – Fujifilm X-E4
The Kitchen – Gilbert, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4
Indoor Shrine – Redlands, CA – Fujifilm X-E4

Find this film simulation recipes and over 200 more on the Fuji X Weekly — Film Recipes App!

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My Favorite Fujifilm Film Simulations (The 1,000th Post!!!)

I captured this yesterday with my Fujifilm X-E4 using an upcoming recipe.

This is the 1,000th post!

I started the Fuji X Weekly blog on August 21, 2017, with the intention of writing one article per week. Initial this was a long-term review (or journal, as I called it) of the Fujifilm X100F, but (obviously) it morphed into something much different than that. Life has a way of taking you down roads you wouldn’t have considered or even thought possible. Here we are, four years and ten months later, and this website doesn’t much resemble its origins.

Firstly, Fuji X Weekly is no longer about one camera, but about all Fujifilm cameras. Secondly, its focus is no longer mere journalling; instead, the primary purpose of this page is JPEG camera settings, called Film Simulation Recipes, that allow you to achieve straight-out-of-camera results that look good—you don’t have to edit if you don’t want to. And, of course, there’s the Fuji X Weekly App, so you can take these recipes with you on the go—almost 250 of them!

Also captured yesterday with my X-E4 using an upcoming recipe.

I wanted to do something special for this important 1,000th article. I knew that it needed to be related to film simulations and recipes somehow, but I wasn’t sure how exactly. Like the time I didn’t know why the ball kept getting bigger, then it hit me (sorry for the bad joke…)—I figured it out: for this article, I would rate my favorite film simulations—from most liked to least liked—and also share my favorite Film Simulation Recipes for each. The new Nostalgic Negative film simulation isn’t in this list because I’ve never used it, so I have no idea how I would rank it, but I do believe it’s one that I would particularly appreciate.

Without further ado, here are my favorite Fujifilm film simulations, plus my favorite Film Simulation Recipes for each!

#1 Acros

Motel – Panguitch, UT – Fujifilm X100V – “Kodak Tri-X 400”

Love at first sight!

When I tried the Acros film simulation on my Fujifilm X100F for the first time, I was blown away by it, as it produced the most film-like results I’d ever seen straight-out-of-camera. It was a big reason why I decided to stop shooting RAW and rely on camera-made JPEGs instead. I’m a sucker for black-and-white (probably because I shot a lot of it in my early film days), and the Acros film simulation produces incredibly lovely monochrome pictures. Acros is found on all X-Trans III, IV & V cameras, as well as GFX.

Favorite recipes:

Kodak Tri-X 400
Agfa Scala
Acros Push-Process

#2 Classic Negative

Classic Mirror – Fort Worth, TX – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Fujicolor Natura 1600”

Modeled carefully after Superia film, Classic Negative is the closest film simulation to replicating the aesthetic of actual color negative film (albeit, Fujicolor film, not Kodak). It is programmed uniquely and beautifully—there’s so much to love about it! For color photography, I could shoot exclusively with Classic Negative and be happy. Unfortunately, this film simulation is only found on the X-Pro3, X100V, X-T4, X-S10, X-E4, and X-T30 II cameras, as well as X-Trans V and GFX.

Favorite recipes:

Fujicolor Natura 1600
Fujicolor Superia 800
Xpro ’62

#3 Classic Chrome

Two Caballeros – Culleoka, TX – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Kodachrome 64”

Prior to the introduction of Classic Negative, Classic Chrome was my favorite color film simulation, with its distinctive Kodak color palette. While it’s third on this list for me, I bet that it’s number one for many of you, since the most popular Film Simulation Recipes are those that use it. Fujifilm introduced it in 2014 with the X30, and retroactively gave it to some of their prior X-Trans II cameras (although not all) via firmware updates. Most Fujifilm models have Classic Chrome, and all since 2014 do.

Favorite recipes:

Kodachrome 64
Kodak Portra 400 v2
Vintage Kodachrome

#4 Eterna

Sentinel & Merced – Yosemite NP, CA – Fujifilm X100V – “Vintage Color”

The Eterna film simulation has a uniquely soft tonality; while it can be somewhat mimicked with PRO Neg. Std, there’s nothing that can completely faithfully replicate it. Because its beauty is in its subtleness, it can be easily overlooked. Some might think it’s only for video (which it is good for, too), but it is great for still photography. It was introduced on the X-H1, but that’s the only X-Trans III camera with it; otherwise, Eterna can be found on X-Trans IV, V, and GFX.

Favorite recipes:

Vintage Color
Kodak Vision3 250D
Negative Print

#5 Monochrome

Haystack Driftwood – Cannon Beach, OR – Fujifilm X100V – “Ilford HP5 Plus 400”

While the Acros film simulation grabs the headlines, the Monochrome film simulation is itself a solid black-and-white option; however, because I liked Acros so much I basically ignored it for years, which is unfortunate. Monochrome has a different tonality than Acros and doesn’t have the built-in Grain, but it is still an excellent film simulation—one of the best, in fact. All Fujifilm cameras have the Monochrome film simulation.

Favorite recipes:

Ilford HP5 Plus 400
Ilford Pan F 50 Plus
Dramatic Monochrome

#6 Eterna Bleach Bypass

Low Sun over Tetons – Grand Teton NP, WY – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Ferrania Solaris FG 400“

This is Fujifilm’s latest film simulation (aside from Nostalgic Negative, which is currently only found on one GFX camera, but soon on X-Trans V), and it’s basically the Eterna film simulation but with lots more contrast and even more muted colors. Eterna Bleach Bypass can deliver stunning results that are definitely different than what’s possible with the other options. This film simulation is only found on the X-T4, X-S10, X-E4, X-T30 II, X-Trans V, and the newest GFX models.

Favorite recipes:

Ferrania Solaris FG 400
Lomochrome Metropolis
Ektachrome 320T

#7 PRO Neg. Std

Lakeside House & Road – Culleoka, TX – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Fujicolor Superia 800”

PRO Neg. Std used to be my third favorite film simulation, behind Acros and Classic Chrome. It has a subtle beauty with muted tones and contrast—similar to Eterna (although not quite as pronounced) but with more of a color negative feel than cinematic. Even though Fujifilm has introduced new film simulations that I like better, I still very much appreciate this one. Most Fujifilm models (with the exception of a few really old ones) have PRO Neg. Std.

Favorite recipes:

Fujicolor Superia 800
Fujicolor 100 Industrial
CineStill 800T

#8 Velvia

Hoodoos – Bryce Canyon NP, UT – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Vibrant Velvia”

Velvia 50 was my favorite color transparency film for landscape photography. While the Velvia film simulation isn’t a close approximation of that film straight out of the box, it can be made to look pretty similar with some adjustments. For vibrant landscapes, this is the film simulation to choose. Velvia can be found on all Fujifilm cameras.

Favorite recipes:

Vibrant Velvia
The Rockwell
Velvia v2

#9 PRO Neg. Hi

Wet Glass Bokeh – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – “Jeff Davenport Night”

At this point we’ve moved into the film simulations that use far less frequently. PRO Neg. Hi is basically PRO Neg. Std but with more contrast and saturation. It’s not bad at all, and it used to be my go-to film simulation for portraits (which I think it’s particularly good for). Most Fujifilm models (with the exception of a few really old ones) have PRO Neg. Hi.

Favorite recipes:

Jeff Davenport Night
Fujicolor Pro 400H
PRO Neg. Hi

#10 Provia

Abandoned Ice Chest – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro3 – “Standard Provia”

Fujifilm calls the Provia film simulation their “standard” profile, but I’ve never really liked it. Because of that, I usually only shoot with it when I force myself to do so, and sometimes some interesting things come from that. All Fujifilm cameras have the Provia film simulation.

Favorite recipes:

Standard Provia
Provia 400
Cross Process

#11 Astia

Wind from the West – Hammond, OR – Fujifilm X-E4 – “CineStill 50D”

The Astia film simulation is pretty close to PRO Neg. Hi in terms of contrast and saturation (although Astia is a bit more vibrant), but with a different tint that I think you either like or don’t like. I used to shoot with it a lot more more than I do now. It’s a good alternative for landscapes when Velvia is just too strong. Every Fujifilm camera has the Astia film simulation.

Favorite recipes:

CineStill 50D
Super HG Astia
Redscale

#12 Sepia

No Credit Tires – Bountiful, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – “Sepia”

Last and least is Sepia, the often forgotten film simulation. For some reason every camera has it and almost nobody uses it.

Favorite recipes:

Sepia

It’s your turn! Which film simulation is your favorite? Which Film Simulation Recipe do you use most? What on this list was most surprising to you? Let me know in the comments!

Creative Collective 026: Using Color for Dramatic Pictures

The Big Ocean Fort Stevens SP, ORFujifilm X-E4 – “Fujicolor Super HG

Want the subject in your picture to stand out? There are a few tricks: leading lines, composition, contrast, and color theory (an underutilized tool that seems to be used more often by accident than on purpose). Of course, the problem with color theory is that it can get complex and there are varying schools of thought. There are entire classes in college dedicated to this subject. I prefer simplicity, so we’ll take the easy route as we dive into color theory for photography.

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My Photowalk with YOUR Film Simulation Recipes

Fire Ready – Gilbert, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Soft Cinnamon”

Yesterday, I did a photowalk around Gilbert, Arizona, with my Fujifilm X-E4 and Fujinon 27mm f/2.8. Inspired by the Route 66: Sun n Sand Motel⁠ — Trying Recipes (That Are Not Mine…) article that I published a couple of days ago, I loaded five Film Simulation Recipes that I didn’t create into my camera to try out. This post is the result of that exercise.

I found these recipes at various places across the web. The first is “Classic Neg Fade” by Luis Costa, which can be found on his website, Life, Unintended. The second is “Chrome Urban” by Jamie Chance, which can be found on his website, Jamie Chance Travels. For his recipe, I set Color Chrome Effect & Color Chrome FX Blue to Off and Clarity to -2. Next is “Diffused Chrome” by Toqeer Sethi, which can be found on the Fuji X Weekly Community Recipe page. Then there’s “Soft Cinnamon” by Justin Gould, which can be found on his website, Film.Recipes. Finally, there’s “AstiAmore” by Thomas Schwab, which can be found on the Fuji X Weekly Community Recipe page. There are, of course, many other sources on the internet where you can find Film Simulation Recipes.

I chose these specific ones simply because they seemed interesting to me, so I wanted to try them out for myself. And they’re each good. I don’t know if I used them in the situations where they work best—for example, “Diffused Chrome” seems to be more intended for night photography (yet, in daylight, it produces a soft Kodak-negative-like aesthetic). I ended up using “Soft Cinnamon” the most, although not necessarily on-purpose. “AstiAmore” is one I’ve tried before, but wanted to use again.

Abandoned Cart – Gilbert, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 – “AstiAmore”

I’ve been thinking about community a lot lately. Oxford Languages defines “community” as “a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common interests….” Within the photographic realm, I do believe there’s no greater feeling of fellowship than that of those who share the common interest of Fujifilm X cameras. Yet we’re all strangers—perhaps you know a few other Fujifilm photographers, but most of us have never met. I want to do my part to foster this Fujifilm fellowship, but I’m not exactly sure what that means right now. Like a surfer who feels the wave building even before it can be seen, I feel that something is brewing, but I just can’t see it yet—I don’t have a clear vision of what it will look like.

All of this was in my mind as I received feedback from yesterday’s post, Is Fujifilm Losing Its Soul? Because that article got shared around the web (I wouldn’t call it “viral” but it did receive a lot of attention), there were non-Fuji X Weekly people commenting and messaging me. Some of it was good input, but some of it was just downright mean and nasty (you won’t find it because I deleted it). Websites like PetaPixel, DPReview, and even sadly Fujirumors, are crawling with trolls, yet this website has largely remained troll-free (yea!). Occasionally one comes along, but it’s pretty rare; however, when articles get shared to the general photographic community, sometimes nasty parasites come with that, unfortunately. I almost let that negativity stop me from sharing this article; thankfully, I didn’t. I’m privileged and honored to be part of this community, which is you guys and gals, because you are good people.

I hope that this “feeling of fellowship” can grow stronger. I think it has to go beyond the anonymity of the internet, beyond our phones and computers, and be more personal. I don’t have the “how” worked out, but perhaps that’s just around the corner. I feel the first step that I can take right now is this article, which is an impromptu casual collaboration with you. I’m always quite busy, but I hope to do more of this in the coming days, weeks, and months if I can. If there’s a particular Film Simulation Recipe that you’d like me to try, post a link to it in the comments.

Classic Neg Fade by Luis Costa

“The first recipe on my camera right now….” —Luis Costa

Whiskey Row – Gilbert, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Classic Neg Fade”
Spiderweb in Cacti – Gilbert, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Classic Neg Fade”
Bikes & Scooter – Gilbert, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Classic Neg Fade”
One Way Parking – Gilbert, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Classic Neg Fade”

Chrome Urban by Jamie Chance

“This setting has grown without doubt into my favorite, every day, go-to simulation.” —Jamie Chance

Beaver & Pine – Gilbert, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Chrome Urban”
Da Bayou – Gilbert, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Chrome Urban”
Page Ave Restaurant – Gilbert, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Chrome Urban”

Diffused Chrome by Toqeer Sethi

“This recipe has been created to be used with a fast prime to keep the noise level down….” —Toqeer Sethi

Unlit Lamp – Gilbert, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Diffused Chrome”
Plant 29 – Gilbert, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Diffused Chrome”
Collab – Gilbert, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Diffused Chrome”

Soft Cinnamon by Justin Gould

“A gentle recipe with a subtle cinnamon tone to the neutrals. Delicious!” —Justin Gould

Market – Gilbert AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Soft Cinnamon”
Hale Theatre – Gilbert, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Soft Cinnamon”
Anti-Lawyer – Gilbert, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Soft Cinnamon”
Barbed X – Gilbert, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Soft Cinnamon”

AstiAmore by Thomas Schwab

“This recipe is a modification of Ritchie’s original Kodak Ektar 100 recipe.” —Thomas Schwab

Golden Cross on Top – Gilbert, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 – “AstiAmore”
Gold Cross – Gilbert, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 – “AstiAmore”
Suburban Desert Home – Gilbert, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 – “AstiAmore”

If you don’t have the Fuji X Weekly App on your phone, download it for free today (Android, iOS)! For those who are Fuji X Weekly App Patrons, you can use the Blank Recipe Card feature to manually input recipes into the App, so if you like any or all of the ones above, you can save them to your phone and take them with you on the go. Also, if you have an iPhone, check out RitchieCam!

Is Fujifilm Losing Its Soul?

After the announcement of the Fujifilm X-H2S, which has a PASM dial instead of the traditional dials of the X-H1, many people asked, “Is Fujifilm losing its soul?” I’ve had a number of Fujifilm photographers tell me that they believe so, and some have inquired if I believe so, too. What’s my opinion? Is Fujifilm indeed losing its soul?

Fujifilm has already lost its soul. It’s done gone. Elvis left the building awhile ago. The design decisions during development of the X-H2S are simply the manifestation of that lost soul.

What was this “soul” that Fujifilm lost? How can a company even have a soul?

A whole book could be written on this topic, but to summarize in a short sentence, Fujifilm’s philosophy for their X-series cameras was analog-inspired innovations with a focus on the photographer’s experience (both while using the camera for photography, and as customers of the brand). This was their soul. That philosophy, which seemed to be clearly understood, is what drove the camera department of the company (remember, Fujifilm’s main business is not photography nowadays). From the design decisions to the Kaizen firmware updates and everything in-between, this philosophy oozed out—it was both obvious and attractive, and is why Fujifilm was suddenly successful, quickly overtaking other brands, including iconic Nikon.

Fujifilm didn’t need to have a photography department at all, but they decided that, even if it was a bust, they’d still fund it and keep it going, because photography had been such an important part of their company’s heritage, and had been an important aspect of Japanese culture. They were merely the caretakers of this thing that was bigger than themselves. That’s how they looked at it, anyway, and it was noticeable and refreshing.

Somewhere along the line, however, Fujifilm began to view this differently. The photography division needed to be built bigger. It must grow. It must become more profitable. It must gain more marketshare. It must become as big as—or bigger than—Canon and Sony. I think there are actually two competing sides within Fujifilm (and maybe this battle has been taking place for awhile now): one is profit-first driven, and the other is nurture-first driven. The side I would like to see win is the latter, but the side that seems to be winning is the former.

Where this lost-soul has most obviously manifested itself is Kaizen, or the lack of it. This is a word that I hadn’t heard of until I owned a Fujifilm camera. It’s something that attracted a lot of people to the brand. It means continuous improvement—making something better over time, even though it was already purchased. Why? Part of it is duty (what you are supposed to do), and another part of it is that it creates loyalty, because it shows the customer that you care about them, and not just their money. That care will cause the customer to overlook shortcomings, because the caring is more important to them in the whole scheme of things. And long-term loyalty is more valuable to the company than short-term gains. I don’t know the exact timeline of when Fujifilm stopped caring (or, more accurately, began caring less about their customers in favor of caring more about profits), but it seems to be during the development of X-Trans IV. That’s when the profit-first people seemed to first get an upper hand on the nurture-first people. I don’t know for sure, though. What I am confident in is that, as X-Trans V rolls out, the profit-first philosophy is the current mantra of Fujifilm’s photography division—it’s Fujifilm’s current soul, unfortunately.

Am I overreacting? After all, the X-H2S is just one camera, right? There are two points that I’d like to make. First, Fujifilm removed the traditional dials on the X-H line in favor of PASM. For Fujifilm, PASM cameras are intended to attract new customers who are not interested in or are otherwise intimated by the traditional controls of their other X models. They don’t put PASM on cameras that they intend to market to their current customer base. The X-H2S is their top-of-the-line “flagship” model, the first X-Trans V… and it’s not for you. It was never intended for you. Screw you! It’s for them. Those guys with their Sonys and Canons, that’s who it’s for. We give our best to them. Our current customers who have been so loyal over the years will have to be happy with the crumbs that fall from the table. Second, X-Trans V is rolling out, while the X-T3 (their all-time top-selling model) and X-T30 are still on an island, and the X-Pro3 and X100V (premium models) don’t have as good of JPEG features as the X-S10, X-E4, and X-T30 II (mid or lower tier models). That’s shameful, in my opinion. Take care of your current customers first before working so hard to bring in new customers. Fujifilm is making their customer base less loyal, which will only hurt them in the long run. Nurture first.

If you build it, they will come. Fujifilm built it and they came; however, not enough for the profit-first people. They want more, but they’re barking up the wrong tree. Instead of becoming Sony in order to attract current Sony users who are unhappy with their gear (how does this makes sense to anyone?), Fujifilm should double-down on what makes them unique. What’s special about Fujifilm? Analog-inspired innovation and the photographer’s experience—that’s what’s special, or at least it used to be. There’s one other thing that’s unique, and that’s community. Fujifilm didn’t build it—instead it was built around them; however, they have not done nearly enough to embrace it and engage it. In fact, at times they’ve been standoffish to it. That needs to end, because community is Fujifilm’s greatest asset, yet they seem unsure of how to engage it, so they do so halfheartedly and from a “safe” distance.

I didn’t mean to write a negative article. When I sat down at the computer, I had no intention of typing out this post; however, it’s something that has been circling inside my mind for a few weeks now, so I suppose that it was inevitable. I really hope that it doesn’t make you feel angry towards Fujifilm. This article’s aim is to, on the off chance that this is actually read by Fujifilm, inspire reflection and perhaps even change, and secondarily put into words something that maybe you have felt but weren’t sure how to express. Perhaps this is somehow therapeutic. For me it feels good to say, even though it is negative, and I hope that getting it out in the open will somehow produce something positive.

Route 66: Sun n Sand Motel⁠ — Trying Recipes (That Are Not Mine…)

Sun n Sand Motel – Santa Rosa, NM – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Kodak Portra 66”

The possible number of potential Film Simulation Recipes is almost unlimited. For example, on my Fujifilm X-E4, there are 750 different Kelvin White Balance options that could be selected, and 361 unique White Balance Shifts that could be assigned to each of those different Kelvin options, which means that, if all other settings were identical, you could create over 270,000 different recipes just by changing the White Balance and Shift. Granted, many would look extremely similar to others, but they’d be at least a little different. My point is that there can be millions and millions of potential recipes for Fujifilm cameras, particularly the newer cameras which have more JPEG options. I’ve “only” created just under 250 recipes for Fujifilm cameras⁠—I’ve barely scratched the surface!

Some of you have created your own Film Simulation Recipes. A handful of you have even had your recipes included on this website and in the Fuji X Weekly App. I love that you are diving into your camera settings, getting creative, and sharing the results with the community⁠—it’s all so wonderful! I’m very honored to be a part of all this, and to have a front-row seat.

I’ve shared before where you can find many of these Film Simulation Recipes that were created by others (recipes that are not by me), but today I want to point you to some specific ones: “C1 Classic Neg” by Luis Costa (Life, Unintended), “Aged Negative” by Justin Gould (Fuji X Weekly Community Recipes), and “Kodak Portra 66” by Justin Gould (Film.Recipes). Why these ones? They looked particularly interesting to me for the subject that I wanted to use them for.

The photographs in this article were not captured with these recipes, but instead were RAW files reprocessed in-camera to apply the recipes to exposures already captured. I used my Fujifilm X-E4 and Fujinon 27mm lens (originally with my Fujicolor Natura 1600 recipe) to photograph the burnt Sun n Sand motel in Santa Rosa, New Mexico. This hotel first opened along Route 66 in the 1950’s, had major renovations in the late-1990’s, and closed for good in 2013 after a severe storm caused major damaged. Apparently homeless moved in after it closed, and sometime later (although I couldn’t find exactly when) fire damaged much of the property. It seems to be in the process of being demolished, albeit slowly. The Sun n Sand motel has been left in a sad state, and the opportunities to photograph this somewhat-iconic site along The Mother Road are fleeting. I’m glad that I had the opportunity.

C1 Classic Neg by Luis Costa

“Ironically, I think it resembles Slide film much more than Negative film!” ⁠—Luis Costa

Motel Window Reflection – Santa Rosa, NM – Fujifilm X-E4 – “C1 Classic Neg”
Family Units – Santa Rosa, NM – Fujifilm X-E4 – “C1 Classic Neg”
Red Arrow – Santa Rosa, NM – Fujifilm X-E4 – “C1 Classic Neg”

Aged Negative by Justin Gould

“It reminds me of prints I made from 35mm film in the 1980s.”—Justin Gould

Historic Route 66 Motel – Santa Rosa, NM – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Aged Negative”
Burnt Junk in a Bathtub – Santa Rosa, NM – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Aged Negative”
Burnt Door – Santa Rosa, NM – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Aged Negative”

Kodak Portra 66 by Justin Gould

“Some things seem to be made to go together, and in our world of film simulations and recipes, it’s Kodak Portra and fading Americana.” ⁠—Justin Gould

Cheap Desk – Santa Rosa, NM – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Kodak Portra 66”
TV & Chair – Santa Rosa, NM – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Kodak Portra 66”
Oh, Deere! A flat tire – Santa Rosa, NM – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Kodak Portra 66”

If any (or all) of these Film Simulation Recipes look interesting to you, please visit Luis’ and Justin’s websites⁠—they have many more! I haven’t personally used most of them, but there are plenty that look pretty good to me, based off of the sample pictures. I’m sure many of you will appreciate them. If you have the Fuji X Weekly App, tap the circle-with-dots icon at the top-right, and you can manually add these (or any other recipes) into the App, if you want to take them with you on the go. Don’t have the Fuji X Weekly App? Download it for free today!

Fujifilm X-Trans IV Film Simulation Recipe: Low Key

Cactus Spiderweb – Goodyear, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Low Key”

Fujifilm cameras have a feature in Advanced Filter Settings called “Low Key” that I recently discovered is based on the Provia film simulation, and can be mimicked. While this “Low Key” setting can produce nice-looking images, I felt that it could be better, so I set out to create a Film Simulation Recipe to serve as an alternative to it, with an aesthetic that I appreciate a little more. Specifically, I wanted a recipe based on the Classic Negative film simulation instead of Provia because I like Classic Negative better. My “Bright Kodak” recipe is an alternative to the “High Key” feature found in the Advanced Filter Settings.

Low Key photography is purposefully underexposing for a darker image. It works well when the subject is brightly lit, and the rest of the frame isn’t, so the image is predominately dark, and the brightly lit subject stands out in the otherwise dim frame. I hope this explanation makes sense. This “Low Key” Film Simulation Recipe and the Low Key feature in the Advanced Filter Settings work similarly, and produce nice results when used in the correct situations. While not for everyday use, some of you will certainly appreciate this recipe for when the light is right. I did not model this recipe after any specific emulsion.

Petersen’s Ice Cream – Gilbert, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Low Key”

This “Low Key” Film Simulation Recipe is fully compatible with newer X-Trans IV cameras: Fujifilm X-Pro3, X100V, X-T4, X-S10, X-E4, & X-T30 II. Because it uses Classic Negative, Color Chrome FX Blue, and Clarity, it is not compatible with the X-T3 and X-T30. Those with newer GFX cameras can likely use it, too, although results will be slightly different.

Classic Negative
Dynamic Range: DR200
Highlight: +1
Shadow: +2
Color: +4
Noise Reduction: -4
Sharpness: -1
Clarity: -2
Grain Effect: Weak, Small
Color Chrome Effect: Strong
Color Chrome Effect Blue: Weak
White Balance: Daylight, -2 Red & -4 Blue
ISO: Auto, up to ISO 6400
Exposure Compensation: -2/3 to -1 1/3 (typically)

Example photographs, all camera-made JPEGs using this “Low Key” Film Simulation Recipe on my Fujifilm X-E4:

Cactus & Palm Shadow – Goodyear, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4
Very Tiny Flowers – Goodyear, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4
Green Cactus Pads – Goodyear, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4
Spiky – Goodyear, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4
Blue Sky Cacti – Goodyear, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4
Bougainvillea Sky – Goodyear, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4
Light Bulb Evening – Gilbert, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4
Lit Leaves – Gilbert, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4
Cinderblock Wall Girl – Gilbert, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4
oyride – Gilbert, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4
The Queen’s – Gilbert, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4

Low Key Film Simulation Recipe vs. Low Key Advanced Filter Setting

Low Key Film Simulation Recipe
Low Key Advanced Filter Setting

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Fujifilm X-Trans IV Film Simulation Recipe: Reggie’s Portra

Dr Pepper Closed – Childress, TX – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Reggie’s Portra”

Reggie Ballesteros (website, YouTube, Instagram, Instagram), also known as Reggie B Photo, is an official Fujifilm X-Photographer based in San Fransisco, California. He shoots both film and digital, and on his Fujifilm cameras he likes to use both RAW and JPEG. For his JPEGs, Reggie developed a Film Simulation Recipe that’s a close match to the Kodak Portra 400 film that he shoots and has developed and scanned (on a Noritsu) at Richard Photo Lab. He was very kind to allow me to share his Portra recipe with you on this website and the Fuji X Weekly App. Thanks, Reggie!

Portra 400 was introduced by Kodak in 1998. It used to come in two varieties: “NC” (Neutral Color, which had less saturation) and “VC” (Vivid Color, which had more saturation). I shot a little of both Kodak Portra 400NC and Kodak Portra 400VC back in the day, and I preferred the more colorful version. The film was redesigned in 2006 to improve grain and scanning. It was again redesigned in 2010, with the NC and VC emulsions dropped, replaced by a new mid-saturation version (simply called Portra 400), with more improvements to scanning.

I’m Your Huckleberry – Ridgedale, MO – Fujifilm X100V – “Reggie’s Portra”

As the name implies, Kodak Portra 400 is intended for portrait photography, but can be used for many other genres of photography. It’s similar to Portra 160, but with more contrast, saturation and grain. Believe it or not, ISO 400 was considered “high ISO” by many photographers back in the film days, and Portra 400 was one of the absolute best “high ISO” color films ever made. It’s still available today, and is very popular among film photographers.

When developing his Portra recipe, Reggie used the Kodak Portra 400 Film Simulation Recipe from this website as his starting point, and he tweaked it to more closely match his Portra scans and to better suit his photography. One film can have many different aesthetics, depending on how it’s shot, developed, scanned, and a whole host of other factors, so it’s great that Reggie made this alternative version, which might be closer to the exact look that you are after. Also, because this recipe uses Auto White Balance and doesn’t use Clarity, you might find that this one is more versatile than some other recipes. Oh, and take a look at the Kodak Portra 400 v2 and Kodak Portra 400 Warm recipes, which could potentially produce your desired aesthetic.

Pines – Lake Catherine SP, AR – Fujifilm X100V – “Reggie’s Portra”

One special note: Reggie has a 5% CineBloom diffusion filter attached to his lens whenever he shoots with this particular recipe. I have been using my Fujifilm X100V as a monochrome-only camera, but because I, too, have a 5% CineBloom filter attached to it, I made an exception so that I could test this recipe on that camera with the diffusion filter. For the shots captured on my X-E4, I did not use a diffusion filter; however, I do like how the 5% CineBloom subtly affects the image, and I recommend pairing it with this recipe if you can.

This Film Simulation Recipe is compatible with the Fujifilm X-Pro3, X100V, X-T4, X-S10, X-E4, & X-T30 II cameras. To use it on the X-T3 and X-T30, simply ignore Grain size and Color Chrome FX Blue, since your camera doesn’t have those options⁠—the results will be slightly different, but nearly identical. More than likely this recipe is compatible with GFX and X-Trans V, but I haven’t tested it to know for sure.

Abandoned Long John Silver’s – Elk City, OK – Fujifilm X100V – “Reggie’s Portra”

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

Example photographs, all camera-made JPEGs using “Reggie’s Portra” Film Simulation Recipe on my Fujifilm X-E4 and Fujifilm X100V cameras:

Abandoned in Childress

Brick Building – Childress, TX – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Reggie’s Portra”
Interior Junk – Childress, TX – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Reggie’s Portra”
Inside Mess – Childress, TX – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Reggie’s Portra”
Glass Door – Childress, TX – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Reggie’s Portra”

A Walk in the Ozarks

Chapel – Ridgedale, MO – Fujifilm X100V – “Reggie’s Portra”
Dark Clouds Over Lake – Ridgedale, MO – Fujifilm X100V – “Reggie’s Portra”
Fishing Trail – Ridgedale, MO – Fujifilm X100V – “Reggie’s Portra”
Ducks by a Pond – Ridgedale, MO – Fujifilm X100V – “Reggie’s Portra”

Cadillac Ranch

Classic Drivers – Amarillo, TX – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Reggie’s Portra”
Krylon – Amarillo, TX – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Reggie’s Portra”
Spray Artists – Amarillo, TX – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Reggie’s Portra”
Love Spray Paint – Amarillo, TX – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Reggie’s Portra”

Below is a video that Reggie made which illustrates his Portra recipe quite well (he notes that the Shadow setting is incorrect in the video⁠—it should say -1, not -2). Be sure to like and subscribe and all that stuff. Enjoy!

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 X-E4 Black    Amazon   B&H
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CineBloom 5% Filter Amazon B&H

Find this film simulation recipes and over 200 more on the Fuji X Weekly — Film Recipes App!

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Fujifilm X-Trans IV Film Simulation Recipe: Bright Kodak

Stringed Lights – Gilbert, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Bright Kodak”

Fujifilm cameras have a feature in Advanced Settings called “High Key” that I recently discovered is based on the Provia film simulation, and can be mimicked. While this “High Key” setting can produce nice-looking images, it’s not really my style, so I set out to create a Film Simulation Recipe to serve as an alternative to it, with an aesthetic that I appreciate a little more. Specifically, I wanted a generic overexposed Kodak color negative film aesthetic, perhaps Portra-like (or at least Portra-inspired), which is why I call this recipe Bright Kodak.

Bright Kodak might look familiar. It’s actually similar to a couple of other recipes, namely Bright Summer (a.k.a. “Preetra 400”) and Kodak Portra 400 Warm. If you like those recipes, you’ll certainly like this one, too. The key to using this Bright Kodak recipe is to increase the exposure⁠—almost overexpose⁠—to make the pictures nice and bright.

Palm – Goodyear, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Bright Kodak”

This Film Simulation Recipe is fully compatible with newer X-Trans IV cameras: Fujifilm X-Pro3, X100V, X-T4, X-S10, X-E4, & X-T30 II. If you have an X-T3, X-T30, or X-Trans III camera, you can get similar results by ignoring Grain size and using a diffusion filter (such as 10% CineBloom) in lieu of Clarity. This recipe is also likely compatible with newer GFX cameras, although the results won’t be completely identical.

Classic Chrome
Dynamic Range: DR400
Highlight: -2
Shadow: -2
Color: +4
Noise Reduction: -4
Sharpening: -2
Clarity: -3
Grain Effect: Strong, Large
Color Chrome Effect: Off
Color Chrome Effect Blue: Off
White Balance: Daylight, +3 Red & -7 Blue
ISO: Auto, up to ISO 6400
Exposure Compensation: +1 to +1 2/3 (typically)

Example photographs, all camera-made JPEGs using this “Bright Kodak” Film Simulation Recipe on my Fujifilm X-E4:

Cactus Evening – Goodyear, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4
3 Tall Cacti – Goodyear, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4
Cacti Reaching to the Moon – Goodyear, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4
Palm & Flowers – Goodyear, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4
Pink – Goodyear, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4
Bougainvillea – Goodyear, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4
Palm Moon – Goodyear, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4
Neighborhood Palms – Goodyear, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4
If You Know, You Know… – Gilbert, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4
Red Stripe – Buckeye, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4

Compared to “High Key”:

“High Key”
“Bright Kodak”

Compared to “Bright Summer” & “Kodak Portra 400 Warm”:

“Bright Summer”
“Kodak Portra 400 Warm”
“Bright Kodak”

Find this film simulation recipes and over 200 more on the Fuji X Weekly — Film Recipes App!

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Creative Collective 025: Highs & Lows (Key)

Golden Palms – Goodyear, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 – “High Key”

I pretty much know Fujifilm cameras backwards and forwards. I’ve got to admit, though, that there are a few features that I never⁠—or almost never⁠—use. I recently rediscovered two of these tools that I tried once, didn’t like the results, and so I never used them again… until now. I didn’t realize that I was actually missing out on something kind of cool! I’ve had a lot of fun with these over the last few days, and I bet some of you will, too⁠—and I also bet that you don’t use these features, and perhaps have never even tried them.

What are they? High Key and Low Key.

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Vintage Lens: Vivitar 135mm F/2.8

I picked up a vintage Vivitar 135mm f/2.8 lens at an antique store in Texas for $15. It was not well taken care of, with scratches on the glass and dust inside of it, but definitely still in usable condition. My copy of this lens is M42-mount, and I just so happen to have an M42-to-Fuji-X adapter that I’ve owned for several years now, which allows me to attach this lens to my Fujifilm X-E4.

Vivitar lenses are interesting because Vivitar didn’t actual make lenses. They contracted with other manufacturers (most you’ve probably never heard of, but a few you have) to produce lenses for them. My copy was made in 1978 by Komine (as indicated by the serial number), which has been regarded as one of the “better” Vivitar manufacturers. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of inconsistency with Vivitar lenses, but they’re generally regarded as decent, and sometimes good. My copy of the 135mm f/2.8 seems to be good, despite the wear.

One thing that’s surprising is how small the Vivitar 135mm f/2.8 lens is despite its long telephoto reach. With the adapter attached to it, it’s still smaller than the Fujinon 90mm f/2. Fujifilm doesn’t have a prime lens that’s longer than the 90mm, except for the really big and expensive 200mm f/2, so the 135mm fills a gap in the Fujinon lineup. Really, Fujifilm should consider adding a prime lens that’s longer than 90mm, such as a 135mm f/2.8. Because of the crop-factor, this lens is full-frame equivalent to 202.5mm on my X-E4, which makes it great for wildlife or headshots, but challenging for other types of photography. Because of the focal length, unless your camera has IBIS, I recommend using a minimum shutter speed of 1/250 to ensure sharp photographs.

On my copy, the aperture ring, which has 1/2 stop clicks (that used to be common, but nowadays 1/3 intermediate stops are most common), works perfect, and the minimum aperture is f/22. The focus ring is smooth—a dream to use—and the minimum focus distance is about five feet.

The image quality produced by this lens is interesting. I’m not sure if it is the scratches and dust, or if it is simply the design of the lens, but there’s a slight “romantic softness” to the pictures. It seems to have slightly less micro-contrast compared to many of the lenses that I’ve used. It’s very reminiscent of what you get when you use a diffusion filter. I actually really like it, except for when the sun is near the frame, because the glare can be intense. I read that chromatic aberrations can be quite pronounced, but my copy doesn’t appear to be prone to it… or else the camera is automatically taking care of it behind the scenes.

I love going to antique stores and flea markets to find cheap treasures like the Vivitar 135mm f/2.8 lens. It’s not for use all of the time, but this lens can be a lot of fun and highly rewarding⁠—I’m so glad that I found it and took a chance on it. For $15, I really couldn’t be happier⁠—probably the best $15 I’ve ever spent on photography!

Some pictures that I captured with the Vivitar 135mm f/2.8 lens on my Fujifilm X-E4:

Urban Cycling – Fort Worth, TX – Fujifilm X-E4 & Vivitar 135mm – “Fujicolor Natura 1600
Chevy Mirror – Fort Worth, TX – Fujifilm X-E4 & Vivitar 135mm – “Fujicolor Natura 1600”
Classic Mirror – Fort Worth, TX – Fujifilm X-E4 & Vivitar 135mm – “Fujicolor Natura 1600”
Green – Fort Worth, TX – Fujifilm X-E4 & Vivitar 135mm – “Fujicolor Natura 1600”
Concrete Steps – Fort Worth, TX – Fujifilm X-E4 & Vivitar 135mm – “Fujicolor Natura 1600”
Urbanscaped – Fort Worth, TX – Fujifilm X-E4 & Vivitar 135mm – “Fujicolor Natura 1600”
High Rise – Fort Worth, TX – Fujifilm X-E4 & Vivitar 135mm – “Fujicolor Natura 1600”
3 Lamps – Vernon, TX – Fujifilm X-E4 & Vivitar 135mm – “Fujicolor Natura 1600”
Old House Roofline – McKinney, TX – Fujifilm X-E4 & Vivitar 135mm – “Fujicolor Natura 1600”
Ballyhoo – Childress, TX – Fujifilm X-E4 & Vivitar 135mm – “Fujicolor Natura 1600”
Golden Lake – Culleoka, TX – Fujifilm X-E4 + Vivitar 135mm – “Fujicolor Natura 1600”
Lake Sunset – Culleoka, TX – Fujifilm X-E4 + Vivitar 135mm – “Fujicolor Natura 1600”

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New: Fuji X Weekly App Update!!

I just published an update to the Fuji X Weekly App! If your device didn’t update the App automatically, be sure to manually do so right now.

What’s in this update?

First is Search. You now have the ability to search for Film Simulation Recipes! This new feature allows you to search for recipes by name to more quickly locate the exact one that you are looking for. If you are a Fuji X Weekly App Patron, the search feature works in conjunction with Filter, so (for example) if you Filter By Camera, only those recipes compatible with your camera will appear when you Search. In other words, all App users get Search, but this feature is even better for Patrons. The ability to search for recipes is a significant improvement⁠—it definitely makes the App more user friendly. On Apple, simply scroll up (drag the recipe list down) and Search will appear towards the top. On Android, tap the magnify glass icon at the top-right and Search will appear.

Next is Random Recipe selector. Not sure which Film Simulation Recipe to use? Let the Fuji X Weekly App decide for you! Tap the crossing arrows icon at the top-right, and the App will randomly select one for you to use. The Random Recipe selector also works in conjunction with Filter, so even though it’s available to everyone, it’s even better if you are an App Patron. This fun new feature is addicting! If you’re in a photographic rut, this might help you get out of it. If there are a couple of you out photographing together, you can make a game out of it. I personally have really enjoyed using the Random Recipe selector, and I think you will, too!

Last but not least, the recipe parameter order has been improved. Unfortunately, the order of settings is different depending on your camera model, and even on the same model the order can be different within the IQ menu vs Custom Settings menu, so it’s not possible for it to be perfect; however, I do believe that the new order will make it a bit easier to program recipes into your camera.

This Fuji X Weekly App update is intended to make recipes easier to find and program, plus add a little fun to the experience. I hope that you find it useful and enjoyable!

Don’t have the Fuji X Weekly App? Download it today!

Not a Fuji X Weekly App Patron? Consider subscribing to unlock the best App experience! Within the App, tap the Gear icon, then select Become A Patron.

Creative Collective 024: FXW Zine — Issue 07 — June 2022

The seventh issue of FXW Zine is out, and if you are a Fuji X Weekly Creative Collective subscriber, you can download it now!

What’s in the June issue? The cover story is Culleoka Kodachrome, which is a photography project that I undertook last month while in rural Texas using the Kodachrome 64 Film Simulation Recipe. There are a total of 28 photographs this month, including the cover image (above). I hope that you find it enlightening, entertaining, and inspiring!

If you haven’t joined the Creative Collective, consider subscribing today to get access to bonus articles and the FXW Zine—not just this issue, but the first six issues, too!

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Fujifilm Announced X-H2S + Lenses at X Summit Today

Body Shop – Childress, TX – Fujifilm X-E4 & Fujinon 27mm – “Fujicolor Natura 1600

There was a Fujifilm X Summit today? Guess I missed it.

I’m on a long road trip right now, and I was driving when the big announcements were made. That’s not entirely true. I was actually photographing an abandoned car garage in Childress, Texas, at that time. Originally a gas station built in 1940, this building spent its last active days as an auto body shop. I think it’s been abandoned for at least a couple of years. I suppose I could have tuned into the X Summit instead, but this was a better use of my time, as I prefer to invest in experiences over gear.

I’m sure you’ve heard by now, but Fujifilm announced the X-H2S. Everyone already knew this camera was going to be announced, and what exactly it is. Now it is all official. This is the first of two new “flagship” cameras that will come out later this year. If you need the fastest Fujifilm camera or the best video specs, this is the camera to buy. It’s intended to convince those who are unsatisfied with their current brand to consider Fujifilm instead. I’m not personally interested in this camera, and I already gave my opinions on it.

Ballyhoo – Childress, TX – Fujifilm X-E4 & Vivitar 135mm – “Fujicolor Natura 1600”

Apparently Fujifilm will have two different X-Trans V sensors on their future models: the fast 26mp and the high-resolution 40mp options—the 40mp sensor will be the “normal” one. I wish that Fujifilm would focus on other advancements and improvements instead of resolution. And I’m not talking about autofocus speed, either. People complain about autofocus speed, but consider all of the amazing photographs (and movies) that were made well before autofocus even existed, and in its infancy, too. The X-E1’s autofocus is plenty capable, just so long as the photographer is capable. The autofocus on my X-E4 is amazing, yet some people think it’s not all that good. I’ve come to the conclusion that this complaining is just an excuse, and doesn’t have any true merit. Autofocus could improve by 400% and somebody would complain, because autofocus isn’t the real problem. And it’s definitely reached the point of diminishing returns, as it’s already well beyond what most people need for their photography.

Fujifilm announced two new zoom lenses, too: 18-120mm F/4 and 150-600mm f/5.6-f/8. I’m sure plenty will get excited for the 18-120mm for travel and the 150-600mm for wildlife, but I don’t have a desire for either. I suppose zooms just aren’t my thing. Fujifilm did add an 8mm f/3.5 and 30mm f/2.8 Macro to the roadmap, both of which seem like interesting lenses, but no date was given for when they’ll be released. More than anything, I’m excited for an M42-mount Vivitar 135mm f/2.8 that I found at an antique store for $15. It’s been so much fun to use, yet highly challenging. I’d like to see Fujifilm release a prime longer than 90mm (but less than 200mm)—that would be something to get excited for!

Vivitar 135mm – Fujifilm X100V – “Kodak Tri-X 400

I suppose that I should be more excited than I am at this moment. Maybe once my road trip is over and I’m all settled into my new home, I’ll feel a little more positive about these upcoming releases. I think it’s good to have options. This camera will serve many people very well. These two zooms will open up photographic possibilities for hundreds. That’s truly great! They’re just not for me, and that’s ok, because I don’t need new gear right now. What I “need” is to use what I have, which is what I’ve been doing, and the reason why the X Summit came and went and I didn’t notice.

Why even write this article? It’s 10 PM where I’m at right now. I’m spending the night in a cheap hotel. It kind of smells funny. I have to get up early in the morning and drive for a whole bunch of hours. I could be in bed, and maybe I should be. I’m writing this article because I’ve received a dozen or so messages from people wanting to know my opinions on today’s announcements. A lot has been said already by those on the internet, including those who were given a chance to use the preproduction models. I don’t think I have much to add. If something seems interesting to you, and you believe it might help with your photography (or videography), then by all means get your preorders in. But if you are on the fence, spend the money on experiences instead, and use the gear you already own as best as you can. That’s my advice. Now I’m off to bed.

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

Preorder the Fujifilm X-H2S at B&H
Preorder the Fujinon 18-120mm at B&H
Proeorder the Fujinon 150-600mm at B&H

Photoessay: 10 Frames of an Old Police Car

Classic Police Car – Branson, MO – Fujifilm X-E4 + Fujinon 27mm – “Fujicolor Natura 1600”

I stumbled across an old police car while in Branson, Missouri. If you’ve never been to Branson (I hadn’t), it’s a quirky tourist town, so finding unusual things—such as a 1950’s Ford police car—parked along a road for seemingly no reason isn’t unusual. I had my Fujifilm X-E4 with the Fujinon 27mm f/2.8 lens with me, so I decided to snap a couple of pictures. I used the Fujicolor Natura 1600 Film Simulation Recipe for these images.

To my surprise, the car was unlocked, so I opened the doors and captured some pictures of the inside. One of the windows was broken, and it smelled strongly of mold inside, so I didn’t climb in; instead, I stood outside while reaching inside with the camera. Most of my pictures are of the inside—the outside had a ton of reflections, and I didn’t have a polarizer, so it was extremely difficult to capture the car without capturing myself, too.

I’m not an automotive expert, so I could be completely wrong, but I believe this is a 1957 Ford 300 (if you know, let me know in the comments!). Because Branson is a weird town, it’s possible that this never was an actual police car, but was simply made to look like one. Whatever the case, it’s kind of a shame that it is left the way it is because it’s clearly deteriorating. This would be a great restoration project for someone, but it’s probably not for sale. I’m just glad that I stumbled upon it, and decided to photograph it with my Fujifilm camera.

Red Light – Branson, MO – Fujifilm X-E4 + Fujinon 27mm – “Fujicolor Natura 1600”
Interior & Reflection – Branson, MO – Fujifilm X-E4 + Fujinon 27mm – “Fujicolor Natura 1600”
Car Phone – Branson, MO – Fujifilm X-E4 + Fujinon 27mm – “Fujicolor Natura 1600”
CB Mobile Radio – Branson, MO – Fujifilm X-E4 + Fujinon 27mm – “Fujicolor Natura 1600”
Car Radio – Branson, MO – Fujifilm X-E4 + Fujinon 27mm – “Fujicolor Natura 1600”
Gauges – Branson, MO – Fujifilm X-E4 + Fujinon 27mm – “Fujicolor Natura 1600”
M is for Motorola – Branson, MO – Fujifilm X-E4 + Fujinon 27mm – “Fujicolor Natura 1600”
Police Special – Branson, MO – Fujifilm X-E4 + Fujinon 27mm – “Fujicolor Natura 1600”
Sheriff – Branson, MO – Fujifilm X-E4 + Fujinon 27mm – “Fujicolor Natura 1600”

The New Resolution Revolution

Historic 25th Street Dragon – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-E1 – 16-megapixel

I think there’s a new resolution revolution about to be unleashed on the photography world.

Fujirumors is reporting that the X-H2S will have a 26-megapixel X-Trans V stacked sensor, which will be much like the X-Trans IV sensor but faster; however, the X-H2 will have a 40-megapixel X-Trans V sensor that’s not stacked, and the X-H2 will be less expensive than the X-H2S. My interpretation of this is that “regular” X-Trans V cameras will be 40mp. Wait, what? The upcoming Fujifilm cameras will be 40-megapixels?!

I saw today that Canon Rumors is reporting that an over-100-megapixel full-frame camera is in the works to be released next year—I also saw that Sony “may have” a 102mp camera coming later this year. Yesterday I saw that, according to 9to5Google, Motorola will release a cellphone with a 200-megapixel camera.

Morning Drive – Fort Stevens SP, OR – iPhone 11 – RitchieCam app – 12-megapixel

While many people will get very excited over this, and I do find it a bit fascinating, I’m not all thrilled about it. Why? I would prefer to see advancements in dynamic range (particularly highlights) and high-ISO performance over resolution. I haven’t encountered many situations where I found my cameras lacking the resolution required for what I needed. Honestly, 16-megapixels are more than enough for the average person, and 26-megapixels are more than enough for 99% of people. Very few people (although there are some) actually need 40mp, and even fewer (although there are some) actually need 100mp. Yeah, it’s fun to pixel-peep a 100mp picture, or even a 50mp picture, but in a practical sense, it’s not “better” than 26mp or even 16mp. And, of course, the bigger the file, the more storage is required, and the longer it takes to upload/download.

Instead of extra resolution, I’d actually prefer a new film simulation or two, and a couple new JPEG options, that allow me to achieve in-camera some things that I currently cannot. I’d get really excited for that! I bet a number of you would, too. I think there are a lot of improvements and advancements that could happen that don’t require any increase in resolution, but megapixels are easy to market—it’s the tried and true method to gain sales—so that’s what we get.

Ready or not, the next resolution revolution is here. I certainly won’t complain as I pixel-peep, but I might have to replace my SD cards, buy a larger external hard drive, and get more memory on my next iPhone….

Photograph Wherever You Are — Seeing the Extraordinary in the Mundane

Two Caballeros – Culleoka, TX – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Kodachrome 64”

I had an epiphany today. It’s been building in my mind for several days now, but it was only today that I believe I fully understood it: photograph wherever you are. Whichever place it is that you find yourself, capture it with your camera.

When I was 16-years-old, my family moved to a small unincorporated community in Texas called Culleoka, which is north of Dallas near Lake Lavon. At that time it was in the middle of nowhere—and it still is—but the city has been inching closer and closer, and is now at its doorstep. I finished high school while there and enrolled in college. I studied photography for two years before leaving home—and Texas—at 19. That was a long time ago; however, my parents still live in the same house in Culleoka.

I bring up all of this because I realized that, despite learning photography while I lived there, and despite all of the times that I’ve visited over the years, I’ve never photographed Culleoka. I never thought this place was photographically interesting. I always traveled elsewhere with my camera, whether it was McKinney, Plano, Dallas, or any number of other towns in the region. I never photographed where I lived.

Courtesy Dock Closed – Culleoka, TX – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Kodachrome 64”

Visiting my parents now, for some reason—maybe because I’m older—I find Culleoka to be a much more interesting place. Yes, there’s still not much to see. If you blinked while driving through you’d miss it. There’s a gas station. A Dollar General, which is a fairly new addition. An auto body shop. A fireworks stand. A couple of churches. Maybe a couple hundred people live in Culleoka, many in mobile homes. There’s access to Lake Lavon at the far edge.

I regret now not photographing where I was, because there’s actually a lot of opportunity, if only I had had an open mind. I didn’t see it before. I just thought it was a boring place. Those “other places” were much more fascinating. I had to drive somewhere else to capture interesting pictures. Perhaps you can relate. Maybe you believe that wherever it is you are isn’t worth your camera’s attention, and because you see it day in and day out it is difficult to view it with fresh eyes.

How do you view a highly familiar location with fresh eyes? For me, I think it was just being away for a few years. Actually, I saw some interesting sunlight on the gas station, and a lightbulb went off in my mind. I was reminded of Wim Winders book Written in the West, which inspired me to photograph Culleoka using my Fujifilm X-E4 programmed with the Kodachrome 64 Film Simulation Recipe. Some ideas are to envision yourself as a tourist experiencing the place for the first time, simply keeping a photographic eye out for interesting light, or reading photography books where some pictures are similar to your current location.

W.S.C. – Culleoka, TX – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Kodachrome 64”

Just because you believe that where you are is uninteresting, doesn’t mean there aren’t things worth photographing. You have to keep a constant eye out. Maybe you need to view it through a fresh perspective. Perhaps you just need to get out with your camera on a regular basis and keep at it until you finally “see it” as some new inspiration hits you—I think just getting out with your camera is the best advice that I have.

Don’t be like me and fail to photograph where you are. Just because you don’t think it is worthwhile doesn’t mean that it’s not worthwhile—with a fresh perspective, you’re likely to find things that actually are interesting, things you maybe passed by hundreds of times and it never caught your attention. You have a great opportunity, and perhaps an interesting series of pictures will emerge from it.

It’s an easy trap to think that you have to go someplace else in order to capture interesting pictures. I certainly believed that for awhile, even though I used to say that the job of a photographer is to find the extraordinary in the mundane. I didn’t always practice what I preached—I assumed that where I was wasn’t interesting enough—but my statement was correct: it’s my job to find what others overlook in the places I find myself, and create compelling pictures with my camera. I hope that I’ve accomplished that this time around.

Some of the pictures that I captured in Colleoka, Texas, over the last few days:

Abandoned Houses – Culleoka, TX – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Kodachrome 64”
Boaters Warning – Culleoka, TX – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Kodachrome 64”
Man at Lake Lavon – Culleoka, TX – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Kodachrome 64”
Abandoned Shack – Culleoka, TX – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Kodachrome 64”
Red Taco Trailer – Culleoka, TX – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Kodachrome 64”


Find this Film Simulation Recipe and over 200 more on the Fuji X Weekly App, available for both Android and iPhone.

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PASM is NOT for Me

I hate PASM.

I think PASM is a terrible camera design idea, and I cannot understand why it became a standard feature in photography. Yes, different strokes for different folks—many people like it—but PASM is not for me. It’s probably not for most of you, either, and one thing that likely attracted you to Fujifilm cameras is that they don’t have one.

What is PASM? I’m sure most of you know, but for anyone who might not: it’s a shooting-mode knob (or sometimes a switch) almost always placed on the top of the camera. The “P” is for Program (can vary a little by brand, but is essentially nowadays ISO-Priority), “A” is for Aperture-Priority, “S” is for Shutter-Priority, and “M” is for Manual. Turn the knob to switch between the different modes. Usually the command wheels are what you use to adjust the settings, and (brand dependent) sometimes you have to dig through the menu to make adjustments.

My first experience with PASM was over 20 years ago, way back in my early days of photography. I was shooting all-manual with a Canon AE-1, and someone let me try their Canon EOS-3, which was a “modern” SLR with a bunch of buttons and a little electronic display. I was pretty lost and frustrated with the camera, and only shot one roll of film (I probably would have done less than that, but I wanted to finish the roll) before giving it back. To me at that time, I couldn’t understand the point of this “advanced technology” if all it did was complicate something inherently simple.

Lake Ducks & People – Culleoka, TX – Fujifilm X-E4 & Pentax-110 50mm – “Kodachrome 64

I didn’t have another PASM experience until I finally gave in and purchased my first digital camera, a Pentax DSLR, in 2009. I tried many different digital cameras from a number of brands (Nikon, Sony, Samsung, Sigma, Panasonic) before finally buying a Fujifilm X-E1 in 2016. While I did get used to using PASM, I always found it to be frustrating and miserable, so going back to the traditional controls found on Fujifilm cameras was a breath of fresh air. I literally said out loud to myself, “Why aren’t ALL cameras like this?!”

The traditional shutter knob and aperture ring make a lot of sense to me because that’s how I learned photography. That’s how I did photography for over a decade. The concept is simple, but it does require a prerequisite knowledge of the exposure-triangle to use them in manual mode.

You might be surprised to learn that Canon introduced the very first PASM camera, the A-1, back in 1978. It was a huge hit with “amateur photographers on a budget” due to its “ease of use” and relatively affordable cost. PASM was originally intended to make photography more accessible to the inexperienced. As time went on and PASM became more common, more and more people learned photography on it. I would bet that most people who started photography on or after the year 2000 (and probably a fair amount of people who started in 1990’s, and maybe even some who started in the 1980’s) had PASM on their first camera. Since that is what they learned photography on and what they used day in and day out, PASM makes sense to them. That’s why almost all cameras today have PASM dials.

Fujifilm is unique. While there are some Fujifilm cameras with PASM, most don’t, and instead have traditional controls. I bet that’s one of the main reasons why many of you bought a Fujifilm camera—it was for me! It’s not the only thing that’s unique about Fujifilm, but it is an obvious difference that’s clearly visible just by looking at it.

After I posted my thoughts on the upcoming X-H2S, which according to Fujirumors will have a PASM dial, I received a couple different reactions: Fujifilm needs to appeal to those who prefer PASM, and Fujifilm has forgotten what made them great.

Brendan’s X-T3 – Haslet, TX – Fujifilm X-E4 & Pentax-110 50mm – “Kodachrome 64

The first point is that since most photographers are used to PASM (because that’s what they’ve always had), the traditional dials don’t appeal to them. Fujifilm cameras are intimidating, and the traditional controls are confusing. Probably more than anything, it’s simply not what they’re used to and it’s not what makes the most sense to them. In order to attract these people, Fujifilm should philosophically pivot, and make multiple models that are more appealing to the masses. While I think it’s fine to make some cameras that have PASM, I believe that instead of trying to be just like “Canikony” (a.k.a. everyone else), it makes more sense to me to double-down on what is different about your brand. What makes Fujifilm unique? Those are the things that attract people from other brands. Make those unique things the best that they can possibly be, and have a solid marketing campaign that shows the world why these unique things are something they should desire. That’s my advice to Fujifilm.

The second point is that by replacing the traditional controls with PASM on the X-H line, Fujifilm is losing its analog-inspired soul. Maybe they are. I cringe at the thought of the X-H2S having a PASM dial. But, this is just one camera. I think instead of Fujifilm losing their soul, they’re just shifting their focus for this particular model line. The X-H2S isn’t intended for you, the current Fujifilm photographer. Yes, some of you will buy it and love it, but it will likely be more like the X-S10, which was (generally speaking) a little bit of a disappointment for those who already owned other Fujifilm cameras (I know this because many have told me so), but has sold really well to those coming from other brands. The X-H2S is intended to convince Canikony photographers who aren’t completely happy with their current cameras to look at Fujifilm as an alternative. In other words, for those with a Fujifilm X-H1 who would like to upgrade to an updated version, this probably isn’t the X-H2 you’ve been waiting and hoping for.

My worry is that Fujifilm is going to have a split personality—a customer base with competing desires. On one hand, there are those who want a traditional experience, with manual controls and film simulations and such as essential aspects. On the other hand, there are those who basically want a better Canon or Sony, and they want Fujifilm to create that (somehow, despite the smaller budget). Where is Fujifilm going to focus their time, energy, and R&D? It’s an important question, because it determines the trajectory of the business, which in turns affects future camera models. Yes, there’s room for both, and probably some people sit in-between these two camps; however, I’m concerned that Fujifilm might be shifting their focus away from what matters to me (and likely the majority of you) in hopes to gain market share through morphing models to be more similar to what other brands are making. I think Fujifilm can gain market share by hyper-focusing on what makes their brand unique and better engaging the community, but I’m no expert, so my opinion might not be worth much.

I won’t buy another PASM camera. I have used many, and even currently have a few. At this point in my life, the photography experience is just as important to me as the photographs that I create. Fujifilm cameras with traditional controls are what works for me because they provide the shooting experience that I appreciate (plus the picture aesthetics that I want!). I understand that it’s not for everyone, and probably not for most people, and that’s ok. The X-H2S is not for me quite literally by design, but it is for the masses, and perhaps it will sell very well, and convince many people to try Fujifilm for the first time. That’s great if it is successful—I truly hope it is! I still won’t buy it, though, because PASM is not for me.