10 Most Popular Film Simulation Recipes of 2019

Arizona Highways Magazine

Shot on a Fujifilm X-T30 using my Vintage Kodachrome film simulation recipe.

It’s the new year, and that means reviewing last year, and making “top lists” of everything under the sun from the previous 12 months on this blog. Most popular posts. Top favorite pictures. You get the idea. That’s what I’ve done in the past, and besides, everyone else is doing it. Actually, this article will be the only one on Fuji X Weekly this January. Well, I’m not promising, as I reserve the right to change my mind, but for now, my only top list will be this post, where I will share the most popular film simulation recipes for Fujifilm cameras from 2019.

I determined which film simulation recipes were the most popular by the number of page views each one received last year. Which article was seen the most during 2019 is what determines the popularity for the purpose of this post. That doesn’t mean more people are using it or more images were captured with it, just that more people viewed the recipe. Also, not every film simulation recipe was around the whole year. Some were made not very long ago and are at a strong disadvantage to make this list.

I was surprised by how many views a few of these film simulation recipes had. The top five were expected, but some of the others were not. Let me know in the comments which one is your favorite! Also, let me know which recipe that didn’t make this list is your favorite. I hope that your holidays were wonderful. May 2020 be a fantastic year for you!

#10. Cinestill 800T
#9. X100F “Eterna”
#8. Ektar 100
#7. Eterna
#6. Fujicolor Superia 800
#5. Kodachrome 64
#4. Kodak Portra 400
#3. Classic Chrome
#2. Vintage Kodachrome
#1. Kodachrome II

Fujifilm Grain Settings

49133837932_867cd09bee_c

Blue Winter Sky – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

Many of my film simulation recipes call for faux grain, in order to achieve a more analog aesthetic. The picture above was captured using my Kodachrome 64 recipe, which requires Grain set to Weak. Fujifilm cameras with X-Trans III or IV sensors have a faux grain option, which can be set to Off, Weak or Strong (the X-Pro3 has additional grain options). The Acros film simulation has built-in grain that increases as the ISO increases. I have often said that X-Trans digital noise is also grain-like in appearance. But all of this is hard to see, especially when viewed at web sizes, so it can be tough to know exactly what the different settings are doing to pictures. I thought it would be helpful to take a closer look at the grain on Fujifilm cameras. For this post I used a Fujifilm X-T30.

Let’s take a closer look at Blue Winter Sky, the picture at the top of this article. Here are some crops:

49164104658_3001289d09_c

ISO 640, Grain Off.

49165875823_313ddd1c3b_c

Grain Weak

49166606782_ee8be9ba57_c

Grain Strong

You likely can see the grain in the bottom crop, which has Grain set to Strong, but the middle one with Grain set to Weak is a little more difficult to notice. It’s subtly there, but the difference between Grain Off and Grain Weak isn’t huge by any stretch, and you have to look very closely to find it. Even Grain Strong isn’t particularly obvious, but it’s certainly noticeable upon close inspection.

Let’s look at some massive crops from another picture:

49164584526_e5af348e0a_c

ISO 640, Grain Off

49166587417_79e7d8f268_c

Grain Weak

49166369571_ee21444241_c

Grain Strong

This example is a little bit deeper of a crop, and so it’s also a little easier to spot the differences in grain. Still, there’s not a huge distinction between Grain set to Off and Grain set to Weak. Grain set to Strong stands out from the others, but again it’s still not especially obvious.

Can you spot the difference between Grain set to Weak and Grain set to Strong in the two images below?

49163815728_81b7b93b5c_c

ISO 400, Grain Weak

49164563897_569d5e415e_c

ISO 400, Grain Strong

49164523017_72c0b48c36_c

ISO 400, Grain Weak

49164330156_32db0808e7_c

ISO 400, Grain Strong

I think if you study the crops above long enough, you can see that the bottom one has a stronger grain, but just barely. It’s not obvious whatsoever, even when viewed this closely.

Can you spot the differences between the two crops below?

49164523017_72c0b48c36_c

49163950843_69e7be88d0_c

The top image is ISO 400 with Grain set to Weak. The bottom is ISO 6400 with grain set to Strong. You could probably tell that the top image is slightly cleaner and crisper, but it is very subtle, and not something you’d ever notice without closely comparing crops side-by-side.

Now let’s take a look at some Acros crops. Can you spot the differences?

49163804378_12e452ee6b_c

ISO 400, Grain Weak

49163844488_0469c1749d_c

ISO 400, Grain Strong

49164666177_d01919321d_c

ISO 6400, Grain Strong

49164399961_21cf8457e7_c

ISO 6400, Grain Weak

There’s not much to notice, but there’s (once again) a subtle difference between ISO 400 with Grain set to Weak and ISO 6400 with Grain set to Strong, and you’re not likely to spot it without closely comparing crops. In real life, nobody does that.

The conclusion is that the faux grain options on Fujifilm cameras aren’t especially obvious without a close study. Grain Strong stands out much more than Grain Weak, but neither are particularly noticeable without a close inspection. Even the difference between ISO 400 and ISO 6400 (with or without grain) isn’t all that big, especially if you aren’t viewing the pictures large. The more you crop, the more you zoom into the image, or the larger you print, the more you’ll notice the differences. For internet viewing, you’ll have a tough time even noticing. It’s perfectly fine to set Grain to Off if you don’t like it. I personally enjoy seeing the grain, even if it’s not immediately apparent, because I first learned photography in the film era and I love grain. I look forward to someday trying out the new grain options that Fujifilm has included on the X-Pro3, and I hope it’s added to the X-T30 via a firmware update, but in the meantime I’m happy to use the faux grain that’s currently available to me in my camera.

Comparing “Classic Negative” and “Color Negative” Film Simulation Recipes

Someone asked me what the differences are between my “Classic Negative” film simulation recipe and my “Color Negative” film simulation recipe. They’re pretty similar, but they’re not exactly identical. I thought it would be helpful to see them side-by-side, so I applied my “Color Negative” recipe using the in-camera RAW converter on my Fujifilm X-T30 to a few recent exposures that I had captured using my “Classic Negative” recipe. Check them out:

49041663526_5f2e268f5e_c

“Classic Negative”

49069631526_866e48e01d_c

“Color Negative”

49040777728_c4c41cdbce_c

“Classic Negative”

49069111438_c2b314f23c_c

“Color Negative”

49060498232_5a4602d62f_c

“Classic Negative”

49069840352_1fe2639d71_c

“Color Negative”

49041569901_62619856a8_c

“Classic Negative”

49069840322_c133f83b6d_c

“Color Negative”

As you can see, while they’re quite similar, the “Color Negative” recipe is more saturated, has a tad more contrast, and is a little warmer with a bit more red. The “Classic Negative” recipe is slightly more bland, but with a nice vintage negative-film aesthetic. So which film simulation recipe do you like better, “Classic Negative” or “Color Negative”? Let me know in the comments!

My Fujifilm “Classic Negative” Film Simulation Recipe (For X-Trans III)

49025312807_b332535cfc_c

November Morning – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 – “Classic Negative”

The Fujifilm X-Pro3 has a new film simulation: Classic Negative. This film simulation is supposed to mimic the look of Superia film. The Classic Negative film simulation is expected to make its way to the X-T3 and X-T30 via a firmware update at some point in the near future, but for now the X-Pro3, which is still a couple weeks out from shipping, is the only camera with it. I’ve already had a number of requests for a film simulation recipe that resembles Classic Negative, despite it being so new.

To be clear, I have absolutely zero experience with the Classic Negative film simulation. There’s only a small sampling of examples that I could find online. I have used Superia film before, but sometimes the film simulations aren’t exact matches to the film they’re supposed to look like. From what I can tell, in this case Fujifilm did a decent job of creating a film simulation that resembles the film.

Classic Negative is actually a little different than other film simulations. Fujifilm has increased the color contrast in it compared to other film simulations. How it renders the picture depends on the lighting and exposure. The darker the light, the lower the saturation, while the brighter the light, the stronger the saturation. In addition, warm colors seem to be a little more vibrant, and cool colors appear a little less so. Highlights seem to have a creamy quality to them, while blacks look a tad faded. This is unlike any other option Fujifilm has given us, so you can imagine creating a film simulation recipe that mimics this is very difficult.

Fujifilm X-Pro3 Blog

According to Fujifilm, this new film simulation has the second-most contrast out of all of them, only behind Velvia, while the saturation is in the range of PRO Neg. Std. I found it difficult to create a high-contrast look that doesn’t blow out highlights or create blocked shadows. I also found it difficult to recreate the look of warm and slightly vibrant skin tones while also creating cool and dull shadows, as you can only get one right. I tried to find a happy middle ground that’s not very far off on anything and generally provides a similar aesthetic. I hope that I succeeded, although I’m not completely confident in that I did.

I didn’t initially intend to share this recipe until I had a chance to see Classic Negative for myself. When the Eterna film simulation came out, I created a recipe for it for my camera that didn’t have it. Some time later, once I had a chance to shoot with Eterna, I realized that my recipe wasn’t as close as I thought or hoped it would be. I’m guessing this one might turn out to be the same. However, a Fuji X Weekly reader urged me to share it, even if it might turn out to be wrong, as some people might like it anyway. I hope that you do like it, whether or not it is completely accurate to the real Classic Negative film simulation.

PRO Neg. Std
Dynamic Range: DR400
Highlight: +3
Shadow: +2
Color: -3
Noise Reduction: -4
Sharpening: +1
Grain Effect: Weak
Color Chrome Effect: Off or N/A
White Balance: 6700K, -2 Red & +7 Blue
ISO: Auto, up to ISO 6400
Exposure Compensation: -1/3 to +1/3 (typically)

Example photographs, all camera-made JPEGs made using this “Classic Negative” film simulation recipe:

49025397357_938b3d48ac_c

Smile of Joy – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

49026409288_1e4a4eee14_c

November Red Shed – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

49025192906_a50bf9daf0_c

Dormant Neighborhood Tree – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

49024679623_fc6b894e83_c

Icy Leaf – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

49024591043_f45ceb76d7_c

Brown Cottonwood Leaf – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

49025296382_db64558b2e_c

Brown Eye Boy – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

49025402627_e5e3a2b4d8_c

Mixed Use Crate – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

49025395602_dff68e4847_c

Backyard Winter – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

49024682443_6ffe95d801_c

Brown Leaf Pile – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

49025394687_85ff53900e_c

Suburban House – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

See also: My Film Simulation Recipes

My White Balance Shift Solution

As you know, my film simulation recipes rely heavily on white balance shifts. Unfortunately, you cannot save white balance shifts with custom presets. You can only save one white balance shift for each white balance type in the White Balance Menu. In other words, whatever shift you set for auto white balance will be applied to all custom presets that use auto white balance. If all of your C1-C7 presets in the Q menu use the same white balance, one white balance shift will be applied to all of them. For many people, this means that whenever you change recipes you’re also having to adjust the white balance shift, which is a pain sometimes.

The Fujifilm X-Pro3 doesn’t have this problem from what I’ve heard. You can save unique white balance shifts with each preset in the Q menu. You can set it and forget it! There’s a decent chance that this ability will be added to the X-T3 and X-T30 via a firmware update at some point, but right now the X-Pro3 is the only camera that can do this. There’s an outside chance that X-Trans III cameras could also be given this feature, but most likely not. Don’t fret! I do have a solution. There’s a simple work-around that might make things much easier for you.

The issue is that only one white balance shift can be saved per white balance, but in that statement lies the answer! What you need are presets that use different white balances. Or you can have presets that use the same white balance and the same white balance shift. What do I mean?

So you have custom slots C1 through C7, right? Maybe you use all seven of them for color. Or maybe you set aside one or two for black-and-white, in which case white balance and white balance shift may or may not be important. For each color preset you simply use a film simulation recipe with a different white balance. If each recipe uses a different white balance, then you can set the shift for that recipe and you’re good to go. It will always be set to that unless you decided to change it.

48962516186_17ac58aa5a_c

For example, you could have Kodachrome II, which uses auto white balance, set to C1, Kodacolor, which uses a kelvin white balance, set to C2, Kodachrome 64, which uses daylight white balance, set to C3, Lomography Color 100, which uses cloudy/shade white balance, set to C4, Color Negative, which uses fluorescent 1 white balance, set to C5, Fujichrome Sensia, which uses flurescent 2 white balance, set to C6, and Portra 400, which uses a custom white balance, set to C7. If you did that, since each recipe uses a different white balance, you wouldn’t have to adjust the white balance shift when going between different presets. Also, there a few recipes that share the same white balance and white balance shift as others, such as Kodachrome II and Ektachrome 100SW, so you could use both of those and never have to change the shift.

To make things easy for you, I’ve organized the color film simulation recipes by white balance. Choose one from each until all of your available presets are filled. It’s pretty simple. Unfortunately, you might not be able to use all of your favorite recipes, depending on exactly what the white balance and white balance shifts are. But I hope that you find enough options you like to fill your available presets.

Film Simulation Recipes that use AWB
Film Simulation Recipes that use Kelvin
Film Simulation Recipes that use other White Balances

Since I set up my custom presets this way on my camera, it’s made a world of difference to me. It’s so much easier moving between recipes! The user experience has been greatly improved. I hope that you find this just as useful as I did.

Film Simulation Recipes That Use Other White Balances

Film

I’ve made a list of all my film simulation recipes that use a white balance other than auto or kelvin. Previously I organized them by dynamic range setting, so that they could be seen in a different arrangement. Now I’m doing it by white balance. The film simulation recipes below all use a white balance other than auto or kelvin. Just in case it’s helpful, I’ve also included the required white balance shift.

Daylight:

Kodachrome 64 (+2R, -5B)

Cloudy/Shade:

Lomography Color 100 (-3R, +7B)

Fluorescent 1:

Color Negative (-2R, +4B)

Fluorescent 2:

Fujichrome Sensia 100 (-1R, -3B)

Custom: 

Portra 400 (+2R, -5B)

See also:
Film Simulation Recipes that use Auto White Balance
Film Simulation Recipes that use Kelvin

Film Simulation Recipes That Use Kelvin White Balance

Film

I’ve made a list of all my film simulation recipes that use a white balance with a specific Kelvin temperature. Previously I organized them by dynamic range setting, so that they could be seen in a different arrangement. Now I’m doing it by white balance. The film simulation recipes below all use a kelvin white balance. Just in case it’s helpful, I’ve also included the required white balance shift.

Kodacolor (-1R, -4B)
Eterna Low-Contrast 
(-3R, +3B)
Elite Chrome 200 (+4R, -8B)
Urban Vintage Chrome (-1R, -3B)
Fujicolor 100 Industrial (+8R, -8B)
Redscle (+9R, 0B)
Cinestill 800T (no shift)
“Classic Negative” (-2R, +7B)

See also:
Film Simulation Recipes That Use Auto White Balance
Film Simulation Recipes That Use Other White Balances

Film Simulation Recipes That Use Auto White Balance

Fujifilm Film Simulation Blog

I’ve made a list of all my film simulation recipes that use auto white balance. Previously I organized them by dynamic range setting, so that they could be seen in a different arrangement. Now I’m doing it by white balance. The film simulation recipes below all use auto white balance. Just in case it’s helpful, I’ve also included the required white balance shift.

X-T30 Eterna (+5R, -5B)
Expired Eterna
(+5R, +5B)
Faded Color
(shift variable)
“Warm Contrast”
(-2R, -4B)
X-T30 Velvia
(+1R, -1B)
X100F Velvia 
(+1R, -1B)
Classic Chrome (+1R, -1B)
Dramatic Classic Chrome (+1R, -1B)
Astia
(no shift)
PRO Neg. Hi (no shift)
Vintage Kodachrome (+2R, -4B)
Fujicolor Superia 800 
(-2R, -3B)
“Eterna” 
(+2R, +2B)
Ektar 100 
(+3R, -2B)
Cross Process 
(-3R, -8B)
Kodachrome II 
(+3R, -4B)
Ektachrome 100SW (+3R, -4B)
Vintage Agfacolor
(-3R, -4B)
Aged Color 
(+5R, -3B)
Fujicolor Pro 400H 
(+2R, +1B)
Agfa Optima 200 
(-1R, -1B)

See also:
Film Simulation Recipes that use Kelvin White Balance
Film Simulation Recipes that use Other White Balances

My Fujifilm X-T30 Provia Film Simulation Recipe (Fujichrome Sensia 100)

48971661371_9802dbe638_c

Evening Flag – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Provia

The film simulation that Fujifilm calls “standard” is Provia, but of all the color options, Provia is my least favorite. For the most part, I prefer the other film simulations instead. In fact, the only recipes that I’ve created that use Provia are Agfa Optima 200 and Cross Process, both of which are great in their own way. The problem with Provia is that it’s somewhat boring. And it doesn’t resemble the film that it’s named after. The Astia film simulation looks more like real Provia film, and the Provia film simulation more resembles Astia film. Weird, huh? Well, I decided that Provia needed a little more of my love, so I created a new recipe for it.

This Provia recipe reminds me of Fujifilm Fujichrome Sensia 100, although that is strictly coincidental, as I wasn’t attempting any specific film look, just a general analog aesthetic. Fujichrome Sensia 100 was a general-purpose slide film that was discontinued about 10 years ago. It was a popular choice for cross-processing, although that’s not the look you find here. There were three different generations of the film, and each looked very slightly different. I shot a little of the second version of Sensia back in the day, but I usually preferred Velvia or Provia film. This recipe’s accidental resemblance is a happy accident.

48971900442_e8554d5b49_c

Autumn Tree Branches – Riverdale, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Provia

The white balance required for this recipe is Warm-White Fluorescent, which is also known as Fluorescent Light 2 or Neon 2. It’s the second fluorescent white balance option underneath cloudy/shade. It’s a bit unusually to select this in daylight, but it works in this case.

Provia
Dynamic Range: DR400
Highlight: 0
Shadow: +2
Color: 0
Noise Reduction: -4
Sharpening: +1
Grain Effect: Weak
Color Chrome Effect: Off
White Balance: Warm-White Fluorescent (2), -1 Red & -3 Blue
ISO: Auto, up to ISO 6400
Exposure Compensation: 0 to +2/3 (typically)

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

48971115413_3032db17de_c

Lost In Thought – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

48971176958_b9e82dbe3e_c

Summer Is Over – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

48971112038_6833bda9fe_c

The Last Yellow Leaf – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

48971901342_a1ccd56990_c

Abscission – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

48971152073_8910140c3f_c

Leaves of Autumn – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

48971704236_b66dbe00ef_c

Autumn Sun – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

48971865772_0e2c652d0d_c

Autumn Tree Trunk – Riverdale, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

48971153588_25df213d3e_c

Neighborhood Snowfall – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

48977529032_5e20046130_c

Baseball Boy – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

48971869012_670172e2e7_c

Cottonwood Fall – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

See also: Film Simulation Recipes

My Fujifilm X-T30 Lomography Color 100 Film Simulation Setting

48978319992_11bfa106ab_c

Misty Mountain Sunset – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – “Color 100”

Several different Fuji X Weekly readers have asked me to create a film simulation recipe based on Lomography Color 100 film. Lomography is essentially low-fi film photography, and it’s also the name of a company that sells cameras and film. One of their negative films is Color 100. It’s a popular film among lomographers, but even those who wouldn’t consider themselves a part of the lomography movement have taken notice of it. I’ve never used this particular film myself, as it didn’t exist when I shot a lot of film, so I only had the internet to assist me with creating this recipe.

Besides the fact that I don’t have any first-hand experience with this film, another big hurdle for creating these settings was the film itself. As I researched it, I discovered that Lomography Color 100 film isn’t one single emulsion. In fact, at least two, possibly three, and maybe even four different emulsions have been sold under the name Lomography Color 100! At least two of those, and maybe all of them, are Kodak films. Lomography bought these emulsions at a discount, either because too much was manufactured and the film was approaching its expiration, or because it didn’t pass quality control, and Kodak sold their unwanted film cheaply to Lomography. Which films, you ask? Gold 100 and Pro Image 100, for sure. Ektar 100 possibly. The fourth, if there is a fourth, would be a non-Kodak film, possibly Fujifilm Fujicolor 100, but there’s a good chance that a fourth emulsion for Color 100 never happened.

48977620788_83474ddd62_c

Curious – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – “Color 100” 

Another hurdle with this film simulation recipe is that a lot of people use alternative techniques with Color 100, such as push-process. There’s a big variety with how it’s typically handled by photographers, which makes creating a look that resembles Color 100 quite difficult. Results may vary would be the best description of the film. Despite that, I do believe that this recipe is in the neighborhood of the film, and those looking for an aesthetic that’s close to Color 100 film will appreciate this facsimile of it.

Velvia
Dynamic Range: DR400
Highlight: +1
Shadow: +1
Color: -3
Noise Reduction: -4
Sharpening: +1
Grain Effect: Weak
Color Chrome Effect: Weak
White Balance: Cloudy/Shade, -3 Red & +7 Blue
ISO: Auto, up to ISO 6400
Exposure Compensation: +1/3 to +2/3

Example photographs, all camera-made JPEGs using this Color 100 film simulation recipe on my Fujifilm X-T30:

48978356822_f8d4bed571_c

Yellow Cottonwood – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

48977354761_433d777262_c

Morning Yellow – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

48980549178_331b65ebc6_c

Cold Backyard Autumn – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

48976799053_d4a3f3b899_c

Red Tree Snowfall – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

48976797728_bb183b0c56_c

Ball Hitter – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

48978771822_2c43993388_c

Girl In Bright Sunlight – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

48977352391_fa9b9305c4_c

Red Autumn Leaves – Riverdale, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

48983634946_414421d78b_c

Backyard October Winter – South Weber, UT

48977531547_aa0768e5f3_c

October Snow – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

48984017152_7136b3f640_c

Ice Cold Leaf – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

48981289937_90e669d391_c

Camera Shelf – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

48983266448_e6c08bc9c0_c

R Decor – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

See also: My Film Simulation Recipes