Film Simulation Review: Light & Shadow with Ilford Delta Push-Process


Chair & Pillow – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

Photography is about light. Without light there are no photographs. Great photographs require great light. What “great light” is depends on the picture and circumstance, and what’s great for one image might not be for another. Great light can be found anytime of the day or night if one looks hard enough for it.

This series of pictures demonstrate the play of light and shadow in an image. It features instances of bright highlights and deep shadows together. It’s the contrast between illumination and the absence of it. I needed a dramatic film simulation recipe to capture these pictures. I knew that it would need to be black-and-white because these pictures aren’t about color, but light and shadow. Color would only be a distraction to the point. But which black-and-white film simulation recipe should I choose?

There are several options for dramatic black-and-white that I could have chosen, including Dramatic Monochrome, Monochrome Kodachrome, Agfa Scala, Ilford HP5 Plus, Ilford HP5 Push-Process, X100F Acros, X-T30 Acros, Acros Push-Process, and Tri-X Push-Process. Any of those recipes would have worked, but each would have produced a different result. Some have more contrast, some less. Some have a greater dynamic range and others a more narrow. Some are brighter, some darker. Some have more grain and other less. I could have picked any of them and gotten interesting results, but I went with Ilford Delta Push-Process instead, partially because I had been using it for other pictures during this time. It turns out it was a good choice, because it seems to have the right contrast, tones and grain for this series. Sometimes luck plays a role. What I know now is that the Ilford Delta Push-Process recipe is a great option for dramatic light situations like these, and I will choose it again for similar situations in the future. I captured these pictures on a Fujifilm X-T30 with a Fujinon 35mm f/2 lens attached to it.


Suburban Shadows – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2


Seat Back Shadow – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2


Chair Details – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2


Girl Ghost – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2


Sunlight on the Kitchen Floor – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2


Don’t Step Into Darkness – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

See also: Film Simulation Reviews

[Not] My Fujifilm X-T30 Ilford Delta Push-Process Film Simulation Recipe


Boy in a Chair with a Phone – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 “Ilford Delta Push-Process”

When I shot film, Ilford Delta was my go-to for black-and-white photography. Sure, I used other films, but Ilford Delta was what I most often loaded into my camera. For fine-grain, I used Delta 100. For situations other than bright daylight, or if I wanted more contrast and grittiness, I would choose Delta 400. For dim light, I would on a rare occasion use Delta 3200. Sometimes I would push-process the Delta 100 and Delta 400 a stop or two. I actually still have a couple rolls of Delta film sitting around, although I haven’t shot much film in the last few years. The last roll of Ilford Delta that I shot was Delta 3200.

Something that people might not be aware of is that Delta 3200 is actually not an ISO 3200 film, it’s actually rated at ISO 1000, but has “built-in” push-processing to ISO 3200 (labs know to increase the development time unless you specify otherwise). Ilford Delta films have a lot of latitude and flexibility. There’s a lot that one can do in the lab with any of the Ilford Delta films to customize the contrast and grain.

Fuji X Weekly reader K. Adam Christensen shared with me his film simulation recipe for Ilford Delta 3200, and I really like the way that his recipe looks. It’s a great black-and-white recipe! I made a couple of small tweaks to it, nothing big. Adam uses this recipe on his X100V, and he sets Grain to Large, which is an option on that camera, as well as the X-Pro3 and X-T4, but not on my X-T30. If I could set Grain to Large I would, as that would better mimic Delta 3200. Without it, perhaps these settings more resemble Delta 3200 shot and developed at ISO 1600. It reminds me of Delta 400 pushed one stop or maybe a stop and a half.


White House Beyond the Thistle – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 “Ilford Delta Push-Process”

I have the ISO on this recipe set at 12800, which makes it difficult (but not impossible) to use in daylight situations. It’s a little easier on X100 cameras that have a built-in neutral density filter. If you need to drop the ISO, you can go as low as ISO 3200 and still get good results, but for best results keep the ISO at 12800 as much as possible. All of the pictures in this article were shot at ISO 12800.

Monochrome (+Y, +R, +G)
Dynamic Range: DR400
Highlight: 0
Shadow: +3
Grain: Strong
Color Chrome Effect: Off
Toning: 0
Sharpening: -3
Noise Reduction: -4
Exposure Compensation: +1/3 to +2/3 (typically)
ISO 12800

Example photographs, all camera-made JPEGs using this Ilford Delta Push-Process film simulation recipe on my Fujifilm X-T30:


FED 5C & Industar 69 – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30


Phone Numbers – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30


Girl, Smile – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30


Broccoli – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30


Faux Leaves – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30


Glass Bottles with Stems – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30


Flowers Waiting to Pot – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30


Potted Tulip – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30


White Tulips at Night – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30


Outdoor Shelf – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30


Dirty Feet – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30


Roller Skating – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30


Skates – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30


Girl Outdoor – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30


Two Feet – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30


Chair Shadow – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30


Blackberry Vine on Concrete – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30


Watering Plant – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30


Wet Handlebar – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30


Raindrops on a Window – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

See also: Film Simulation Recipes

Fujifilm X100F Review Blog

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Fujifilm X-T1 (X-Trans II) Faded Monochrome Film Simulation Recipe


Partially Illuminated – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1 “Faded Monochrome”

This is my Faded Monochrome recipe adapted for my Fujifilm X-T1. It will work on all X-Trans I & II and Bayer sensor cameras, just so long as it has a double-exposure mode (I think they all do, but I’m not 100% certain). You have to put the camera into double-exposure mode, capture the scene with the first exposure, and use the second exposure to photograph a medium-grey piece of paper (I used an 8.5″ x 11″ sheet of construction paper). I prefer the second exposure to be out of focus. The first exposure should be slightly overexposed, perhaps by 1/3 to 2/3 stop, because the second exposure will decrease the contrast. The second exposure should be underexposed by at least 1 stop, and as many as 3 stops. How bright or dark the second exposure is will determine just how faded the picture will be. It requires some experimentation, but thankfully you get a real-time display of what the picture will look like and the opportunity for a do-over (simply select “Retry”). The look you get is similar to using a low-contrast filter when making black-and-white prints in the darkroom.

Dynamic Range: DR100
Highlight: +2 (High)
Shadow: +2 (High)
Sharpness: 0 (Medium)
Noise Reduction: -2 (Low)
ISO: Auto, up to ISO 3200

Example photographs, all camera-made JPEGs using this Faded Monochrome recipe on my Fujifilm X-T1:


Thought – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1


Girl Shadow – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1


Piano Hand – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1


Piano Fingers – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1


Faded Lily – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1


Flowers Fading – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1


Bouquet – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1


Wheelbarrow Monochrome – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1


Gathering – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1


Window Blinds – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1

See also: Film Simulation Recipes

Fujifilm X100F Review Blog

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My Fujifilm X-T30 Dramatic Monochrome Film Simulation Recipe


The Obscurity of Light – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – “Dramatic Monochrome”

A couple of weeks ago when I was discussing the possibility of Fujifilm creating a black-and-white only camera, something that I came to learn by accident is that the Monochrome film simulation is pretty darn good. On X-Trans III & IV cameras, I have always used the Acros film simulation because it is beautiful and has a film-like quality to it. But there’s something about the “old-fashioned” Monochrome film simulation that’s nice, as well. I had never made a Monochrome film simulation for X-Trans III & IV cameras, so I set out to do so.

At first I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted, so I decided that the best starting point was to revisit the iconic photographs of the great photographers from the 1930’s, ’40’s and ’50’s—people like Ansel Adams, Andre Kertesz, Robert Doisneau, Weegee, Pual Strand, Elliott Erwitt and others. I realized that I was drawn to the high-contrast pictures that these photographers had created. I wanted to create a recipe that mimics that look in-camera. These settings, which I call Dramatic Monochrome, are what resulted from that.


Francis Peak – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – “Dramatic Monochrome”

For those with X-Trans III sensors, which don’t have the Color Chrome Effect, you’ll get similar results, but it won’t be quite as dramatic. The difference isn’t very big, so don’t worry about it. I would consider using +2 for Sharpness on X-Trans III instead of +3. On X-Trans IV cameras, you could give a +1 toning for a subtle warm look, such as what would happen if you gave a print a quick Sepia bath.

Monochrome (+Y, +R, +G)
Dynamic Range: DR200
Highlight: +4
Shadow: +4
Grain: Strong
Color Chrome Effect: Strong
Toning: 0
Sharpening: +3
Noise Reduction: -4
Exposure Compensation: 0 to +2/3 (typically)
ISO: Auto up to ISO 12800

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


Chair Near a Window – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30


Shadow Ware – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30


White Pillow – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30


Santa Fe – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30


Young Piano Hands – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30


Clouds Above The Snow – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30


Wasatch Ridge Winter – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30


Lines In The Snow – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30


Clouds Over The Frosted Hill – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30


White Beyond Dark – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30


Frosted – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30


Darkness & Light – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

See also: Film Simulation Recipes

Fujifilm X100F Review Blog

Help Fuji X Weekly

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Fujifilm Monochrome, Part 2

Monochrome Wasatch Mountain

Dramatic Silver Mountain – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

In my last post I suggested that Fujifilm should make a monochrome camera like the Leica M10 Monochrom. I wasn’t planning to say anymore about it, but the response I received from that article compelled me to type out this one. The majority of those who replied, either in a comment under that post, via Instagram, or through email, said that they would consider buying a black-and-white-only camera if Fujifilm made one. Some of you had great ideas for it. There’s a chance that someone at Fujifilm reads Fuji X Weekly, so I’m writing this with that in mind.

I had suggested that, if Fujifilm did make a monochrome camera, it should either be in an X-Pro3 or X100V body, and they should call it “X-Pro3 Acros” or “X100V Acros” after their film and film simulation of the same name. It was pointed out to me that it doesn’t have to be in those bodies. It could be in a cheaper body, such as the X-T200, and since it doesn’t require any special sensor, just one without a color filter array, and would have a stripped down menu, the camera could potentially be made affordable. The less expensive the camera is, the more copies it will sell. Of all the body suggestions that I received, the X-E3 was the most popular choice for a monochrome camera by Fuji X Weekly readers.

Someone had an interesting idea for a feature on a monochrome camera: color filters. The X100F has a built-in neutral-density filter, so why couldn’t a monochrome camera have built-in yellow, red and green filters (and perhaps blue)? Click a button and the filter of choice is applied. That made me wonder: is it possible to have a color filter array that can be turned on and off? With the click of a button, perhaps the X-Pro4 can become a monochrome camera, and with another click it’s back to normal. That would be cool! It might be completely impossible, but I’m sure someone smarter than I can figure it out.


Bountiful Peak – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

The second largest response that I got from my last post, not far behind the “I want that” replies, is, “would a monochrome camera even produce better results than what I can already get with the Acros film simulation?” My initial response was, heck yes! You get a big bump in resolution. But then I was shown two different YouTube videos that do blind tests between the Leica M10 Monochrom and the Fujifilm X-T3 (here and here), and it changed my mind. I did the blind test in both videos, and I was surprised by the results. In the first blind test, which compares the Leica with the Fujifilm and a Sony A7 III, the author uses the Monochrome film simulation, and not Acros, on the X-T3. Even so, the camera that I blindly picked as I looked at the pictures was the Fujifilm. I watched the blind test part twice before making up my mind and viewing the reveal. In the second video, which compares the Leica against another Leica monochrome camera and the Fujifilm and actual film, the author uses both the Monochrome and Acros film simulations. There were five pictures to choose from, and a few looked very close so it was more difficult to pick a favorite. I was surprised that the one I picked was the X-T3 with the Monochrome film simulation. Again, I watched the blind test part twice before deciding and viewing the reveal.

I’m not sure how much stock one can put into YouTube videos, where it’s difficult to really appreciate the pictures. Even so, I made two conclusions: Fujifilm cameras are especially great for black-and-white photography and I need to shoot more with the Monochrome film simulation. I use Acros on my X-T30, but it’s about time that I create a recipe using the Monochrome film simulation, which is apparently better than I gave it credit for.

Would a Fujifilm monochrome camera be awesome? Yes, it would! Would it be better at black-and-white than your current Fujifilm camera? Probably, but not by a big margin, that’s for sure. Perhaps if you print very large, that’s when the monochrome camera would be advantageous. I would still buy one if Fujifilm made one, but it’s good to reaffirm that Fujifilm is already superb at black-and-white photography, and I’m not missing much by not owning a monochrome-only camera.

In closing, I’m very curious what your results are with the blind tests. If you watched the videos, please let me know in the comments what your results were. Which camera made the best black-and-white pictures in your opinion? Thanks!

Fujifilm Monochrome


Mountains Dressed In Monochrome – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

Leica recently announced the M10 Monochrom, which is their third black-and-white only camera. It can’t capture a color picture because it doesn’t have a Bayer array. It only does black-and-white photography. Fujifilm should do something similar, even though most won’t buy it.

Believe it or not, there’s actually an advantage to a monochrome sensor. With a typical Bayer color array, only 50% of the light-sensitive sensor elements are recording luminosity information, while the other 50% are recording color information. With an X-Trans sensor, 55% of the light-sensitive sensor elements are recording luminosity information while 45% are recording color information. With a monochrome sensor, 100% of the light-sensitive sensor elements are recording luminosity information. Because of this, you get a higher perceived resolution, as pictures will appear more richly detailed, and there’s more shadow latitude, which also improves high-ISO capabilities. You can also use color filters like with black-and-white film.

I think an X-Pro3-M, a black-and-white only version of the X-Pro3, or an X100V-M, a black-and-white only version of the upcoming X100V, would do well enough commercially. Yes, it’s clearly a niche product, as there’s only a tiny market for it, yet Leica found a way to make it profitable, and Fujifilm could, too. There are plenty of photographers who use their X-Pro or X100 series camera to only shoot black-and-white. A Monochrome version would make things simpler for them, while improving perceived resolution, dynamic range and high-ISO. And, Fujifilm has a cool marketing angle: call it the X-Pro3 Acros or X100V Acros. People would eat that up. Increase the price a couple hundred dollars and it would sell well enough to be profitable, in my non-expert opinion.

The flip side to this is that Fujifilm X-Trans cameras, particularly X-Trans III and IV cameras that have the Acros film simulation, are already fantastic for black-and-white photography. Would a monochrome-only camera really produce enough of an improved image to justify buying one? I think that’s a tough question to answer, but my guess is probably not for most people. Still, a monochrome-only camera wouldn’t be for “most people” as it would be for a very small crowd, and for those people the difference would indeed justify buying it. For most, your current X-Trans camera is a great black-and-white photography tool, and there’s no need to get a monochrome-only camera. Some, however, would absolutely love to have one, and I think there’s enough of those people that such a camera could be profitable for Fujifilm, if they ever wished to create one. I hope they do.