Fujifilm X100V Film Simulation Recipe: Black & White Infrared

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Stop Here on Infrared – Yellowstone NP, WY – Fujifilm X100V – “Black & White Infrared”

Infrared photographing is capturing light beyond the visible spectrum. It requires special film, or a digital sensor that has had the infrared filter removed. Any digital camera has the potential to be infrared sensitive, but the process isn’t easy or cheap. Full spectrum photography is similar to infrared, but also includes ultraviolet and visible light (not just infrared light). With full spectrum photography you can choose by the use of filters which light you want to capture. You can use filters with infrared, too, to control what light comes through, but not to the extent of full-spectrum. A characteristic of both infrared and full-spectrum in black-and-white is deep contrast, with dark skies and white foliage. One of my favorite photographers is Mitch Dobrowner, who converted his Canon cameras to full-spectrum for dramatic monochrome storm photography.

When I purchased my Fujifilm X-T1, I had the intentions of converting it to full-spectrum, but the cost of the conversion has prevented me from doing it. I still hope to do so, maybe later this year or perhaps next year. We’ll see. But I figured out a way to simulate something that’s in the neighborhood of infrared or full-spectrum on my Fujifilm X100V without any conversions. In the right light and with the right subject, it can be quite convincing! Even though you are only using the visible spectrum of light, it can appear as though you are actually doing infrared photography. Amazing!

Even in situations where this recipe doesn’t resemble infrared or full-spectrum, it will still produce a dramatic, high-contrast look that you might find appealing. Those who have said that Acros+R doesn’t actually resemble the use of a red filter on black-and-white film will appreciate these settings. Many landscape photographers, including Ansel Adams, employed a red filter to achieve a dark sky (for example, Moonrise Over Hernandez).

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White Tree Black Sky – West Valley City, UT – Fujifilm X100V – “Black & White Infrared”

The trick is to use a low Kelvin white balance in conjunction with a dramatic white balance shift when using Acros+R. I got the idea from Fuji X Weekly reader James Clinich, who uses between 3800K and 4500K with a 0 Red & +8 shift to achieve a darker sky, which is something you can apply to other B&W recipes if you’d like to better mimic the use of a red filter. I just took his idea a step further to make it even more dramatic for this recipe.

My Black & White Infrared film simulation recipe can be difficult to use. I find that it doesn’t always work well. It can be very tough to gauge the best exposure, and I’ve had to go anywhere from -1 to +3 on the exposure compensation dial to get it right. It’s one of the more difficult to use recipes that I’ve created, yet it is highly rewarding. If you like dramatic black and white photographs, you’ll want to give this one a try! As of this writing, it’s only compatible with the Fujifilm X100V, X-Pro3 and X-T4 cameras.

Acros+R
Dynamic Range: DR200
Highlight: +4
Shadow: +3
B&W Toning: 0
Noise Reduction: -4
Sharpening: -4
Clarity: +5
Grain Effect: Strong, Large
Color Chrome Effect: Off
Color Chrome Effect Blue: Off
White Balance: 2750K, -5 Red & +9 Blue
ISO: Auto, up to ISO 6400

Example photographs, all camera-made JPEGs using this Black & White Infrared film simulation recipe on my Fujifilm X100V:

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Crafts & Hobbies – West Valley City, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Cloud Above The Wall – Draper, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Flags Over IKEA Infrared – Draper, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Pinnacle – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Suburban Abstract – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Suites – West Valley City, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Paved Paradise – West Valley City, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Accessible Parking – West Valley City, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Done Shopping – West Valley City, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Soda Glass – West Valley City, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Couch Stripes – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Flowers in the Sky – Big Sky, MT – Fujifilm X100V

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Grey Hills – Red Rock Lakes NWR, MT – Fujifilm X100V

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Abandoned Dream Infrared – Red Rock Lakes NWR, MT – Fujifilm X100V

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Abandoned House by the Hill IR – Red Rock Lakes NWR, MT – Fujifilm X100V

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Henry’s Fork River – Island Park, ID – Fujifilm X100V

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Upper Red Rock Lake IR – Red Rock Lakes NWR, MT – Fujifilm X100V

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Red Rock Road Monochrome – Red Rock Lakes NWR, MT – Fujifilm X100V

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Aspen Leaves Infrared – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Illuminated Tree – West Valley City, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Infrared Tree – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V

See also: Film Simulation Recipes

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Fujifilm Full Spectrum (Or, Dreaming In Infrared Colors)

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This is a fake infrared picture that I captured in Yosemite National Park several years ago.

I would love a full-spectrum Fujifilm camera for infrared photography. I’ve had an interest in infrared photography for some time, but I have yet to actually try it. Yes, I shot a roll of infrared film many, many years ago, but I didn’t understand what I was doing and the results were disappointing. I’ve also used software to make faux infrared, but I don’t particularly like the results from that, either. No, what I need is a Fujifilm camera that has been modified for full-spectrum, and then a bunch of filters to achieve various affects. You can find these cameras sometimes on eBay, like this X-E3 for $900, this X-T1 for $850, or this X-T100 for $590. [Edit: This X100F is the one I want, but at $1,300 it is outside of my budget.] I would especially love to buy the X-E3, but honestly I’d be happy with the X-T100. You also need filters, which can be cheap (like this one) and can be expensive (like this one), depending on the brand, filter thread size, and the exact effect you are after. Additionally, you need to know what lenses are good for infrared, but thankfully there’s a good database, so it’s not too difficult to know which lenses will work well and which ones won’t.

It would be great if Fujifilm made a full-spectrum version of one of their cameras (the X100F, perhaps). I doubt that will ever happen, unless there’s a sudden interest in infrared photography. Sigma cameras have a removable IR filter over the sensor, which when removed turns the camera into full-spectrum. The filter just pops in and out. An option like that would be pretty cool on Fujifilm cameras, but it’s unlikely. The best bet is to buy a camera that’s had the conversion done to it. Someday, when I have some extra money burning a hole in my pocket, I will do that. Until then, I will dream in the unusual colors of infrared.