Lens Review: Rokinon 12mm f/2 NCS CS

Fujifilm X-E1 Rokinon 12mm f/2 Photography Blog

The Rokinon 12mm f/2 NCS CS is a fairly inexpensive ultra-wide-angle lens for crop-sensor cameras, such as Fujifilm X. This same exact lens is also sold under the Samyang brand name. Is it any good? Is it worth buying? Is it for you? Those are questions that I hope to answer in this Rokinon 12mm lens review.

This Rokinon lens has a focal length of 12mm, which is a full-frame equivalent of 18mm when attached to your Fujifilm camera due to the APS-C crop factor. It has a maximum aperture of f/2, which is good, and a minimum aperture of f/22. There are 12 elements in 10 groups, with six curved blades. The lens is made mostly of plastic, but it still feels plenty sturdy. The Rokinon 12mm lens is quite small and lightweight, and overall well designed.

Fujifilm X-T20 Rokinon 12mm f/2 Lens Photography Blog

Rokinon 12mm f/2 Lens

This is a manual lens. You will have to manually focus it and manually control the aperture. The focus ring is slightly stiff but smooth. It does focus just past infinity, which can be annoying. The aperture ring clicks at the different f-stops and is overall pretty swell, as far as aperture rings go. If you are not used to using manual lenses, it will likely take some practice to feel comfortable using this lens.

The Rokinon 12mm is pretty sharp. It definitely fits in well with Fujinon glass. There is some corner softness when wide open, but it’s corner-to-corner sharp by f/4. The center is crisp at all apertures, and seems to reach peak sharpness around f/5.6. Diffraction begins around f/11, but isn’t really noticeable until f/16, and even then it’s not terrible, although I would avoid f/22. While not perfect, this lens is surprisingly sharp considering that it’s a relatively cheap third-party option.

Fujifilm Rokinon 12mm Lens

Fujifilm Rokinon 12mm Lens

This lens produces some barrel distortion, but that’s not surprising since this is such a wide-angle lens, and it’s not as much as you might think. If you photograph a brick wall or straight lines you will notice it, otherwise it won’t affect your pictures. Honestly, I expected it to be much worse than it is.

There is pronounced vignetting at f/2 on the Rokinon 12mm, but it becomes less obvious as you stop down. It’s pretty minor by f/5.6, but I don’t think that it ever completely goes away. Chromatic aberrations can be found in the corners when wide open, but largely go away by f/4. Coma is well controlled, but slightly noticeable at f/2. The lens controls flare fairly well–not necessarily great but far from terrible. Sunstars are mediocre, as is bokeh, although you don’t buy a 12mm lens for the background blur. With a minimum focus distance of about eight inches, you can achieve some background blur when wide-open, but most likely you won’t be using the lens like that.

Fujifilm Rokinon 12mm f/2 Lens

Fujifilm Rokinon 12mm f/2 Lens

What I love about the 12mm focal length is that it is very dramatic. You can really make some interesting pictures with it, but at the same time it can be quite demanding. You have to stick the lens right into the scene, sometimes uncomfortably so. I love the challenge of using this lens, as it can be a lot of fun. It’s especially great for landscapes, street photography and astrophotography. I have used it for both still photography and video. If you want a lens that will help you create striking pictures, this is one to strongly consider, but know it’s not necessarily easy to use.

The Rokinon 12mm f/2 lens is a great ultra-wide-angle option for your Fujifilm X camera. It’s very easy to recommend. Although this lens does have some minor flaws, it’s pretty great overall, and it’s easy to overlook the shortcomings when you consider the price. It has an MSRP of $400, but can often be found for less than that, and sometimes for less than $300. While the 12mm focal length isn’t for everyone, and some people might be intimated by a manual lens, I do think this is one that most Fujifilm X shooters should consider having in their camera bag.

Fujifilm Rokinon 12mm f/2 Lens

Rokinon 12mm f/2 Lens Fujifilm

My affiliate links for this Rokinon 12mm lens are here: B&H  Amazon. If you make a purchase using my links I will be compensated a small amount for it.

Sample photographs, captured using a Rokinon 12mm f/2 lens with a Fujifilm X-E1 and a Fujifilm X-T30:

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Barn by the Tetons – Grand Teton NP, WY – Fujifilm X-E1 & Rokinon 12mm f/2

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Tree of Broken Glass – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Rokinon 12mm f/2

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Self – Bonneville Salt Flats, UT – Fujifilm X-E1 & Rokinon 12mm f/2

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Tulip Blossom Monochrome – Lehi, UT – Fujifilm X-E1 & Rokinon 12mm f/2

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Bike Jump – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-E1 & Rokinon 12mm f/2

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Hustle & Bustle – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-E1 & Rokinon 12mm f/2

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Storm Trooper – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-E1 & Rokinon 12mm f/2

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Cat Crossing – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-E1 & Rokinon 12mm f/2

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Lighthouse Lounge – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Rokinon 12mm f/2

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Urban Flowers – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-E1 & Rokinon 12mm f/2

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Little Blooms, Big Blooms – Lehi, UT – Fujifilm X-E1 & Rokinon 12mm f/2

Fujifilm X-T30 Blog

Vibrant Nature – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Rokinon 12mm f/2

Fujifilm X-T30 Blog

Tree Stars – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Rokinon 12mm f/2

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Schwabacher Landing Beaver Dam – Grand Teton NP, WY – Fujifilm X-E1 & Rokinon 12mm f/2

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Hiding Rainbow – Coalville, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Rokinon 12mm f/2

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Stars & Salt – Bonneville Salt Flats, UT – Fujifilm X-E1 & Rokinon 12mm f/2

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Sidewalk Tricycle – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Rokinon 12mm f/2

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Evening Bike – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Rokinon 12mm f/2

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Nick – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Rokinon 12mm f/2

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Inside The Savage Bus – Delle, UT – Fujifilm X-E1 & Rokinon 12mm f/2

For more reviews, please visit my Gear page.

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DR-Auto Film Simulation Recipes

I thought it might be interesting to separate my film simulation recipes by Dynamic Range setting. There are a ton of different ways that one could organize these, so I thought it might be helpful to somebody to see them in various arrangements. Maybe you’ll see a recipe that you haven’t considered using before, or maybe a certain setting will stand out to you that never crossed your mind before. I don’t really know, but you never know, so I’m just going to do it. For this post I’m separating the film simulation recipes by DR setting. Below are all of my recipes that use DR-Auto:

Kodak Ektar 100

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Dramatic Classic Chrome

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Vintage Agfacolor

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Classic Chrome

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Velvia

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Monochrome

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See also:
DR400 Film Simulation Recipes
DR200 Film Simulation Recipes
DR100 Film Simulation Recipes

DR100 Film Simulation Recipes

I thought it might be interesting to separate my film simulation recipes by Dynamic Range setting. There are a ton of different ways that one could organize these, so I thought it might be helpful to somebody to see them in various arrangements. Maybe you’ll see a recipe that you haven’t considered using before, or maybe a certain setting will stand out to you that never crossed your mind before. I don’t really know, but you never know, so I’m just going to do it. For this post I’m separating the film simulation recipes by DR setting. Below are all of my recipes that use DR100:

Eterna

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Expired Eterna

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Faded Color

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Agfa Optima

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Agfa Scala

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Ilford HP5 Plus Push-Process

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Faded Monochrome

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See also:
DR400 Film Simulation Recipes
DR200 Film Simulation Recipes
DR-Auto Film Simulation Recipes

DR200 Film Simulation Recipes

I thought it might be interesting to separate my film simulation recipes by Dynamic Range setting. There are a ton of different ways that one could organize these, so I thought it might be helpful to somebody to see them in various arrangements. Maybe you’ll see a recipe that you haven’t considered using before, or maybe a certain setting will stand out to you that never crossed your mind before. I don’t really know, but you never know, so I’m just going to do it. For this post I’m separating the film simulation recipes by DR setting. Below are all of my recipes that use DR200:

Eterna Low-Contrast

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Elite Chrome 200 Color Fade

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“Warm Contrast”

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Urban Vintage Chrome

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Redscale

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Velvia

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Astia

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Classic Chrome

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Vintage Kodachrome

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PRO Neg. Hi

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Fujicolor Superia 800

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CineStill 800T

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Cross Process

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Kodachrome II

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Kodak Ektachrome 100SW

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Fujicolor Pro 400H

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Acros

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Acros Push-Process

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Ilford HP5 Plus

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Tri-X Push-Process

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See also:
DR400 Film Simulation Recipes
DR100 Film Simulation Recipes
DR-Auto Film Simulation Recipes

DR400 Film Simulation Recipes

I thought it might be interesting to separate my film simulation recipes by Dynamic Range setting. There are a ton of different ways that one could organize these, so I thought it might be helpful to somebody to see them in various arrangements. Maybe you’ll see one that you haven’t considered using before, or maybe a certain setting will stand out to you that never crossed your mind before. I don’t really know, but you never know, so I’m just going to do it. To start with, I’m separating the film simulation recipes by DR setting. Below are all of my recipes that use DR400:

Kodachrome 64

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Kodacolor

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Fujicolor 100 Industrial

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“Eterna”

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Kodak Portra 400

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Aged Color

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Acros

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See also:
DR200 Film Simulation Recipes
DR100 Film Simulation Recipes
DR-Auto Film Simulation Recipes

Video: Street Photography with a Fujifilm X-T30 & Eterna

Take a look at Street Photography with a Fujifilm X-T30 & Eterna, which is the latest video from Fuji X Weekly! Last Sunday I shared with you the first video that Amanda and I worked on together, which featured footage and photographs captured using my Kodacolor film simulation recipe. This new video features footage and photographs captured using my Eterna film simulation recipe. The point of this video series is to demonstrate different film simulation recipes for video and still photography, but in a way that’s hopefully entertaining and perhaps even inspirational.

Unlike the last video, which had Amanda behind the video camera, I captured all of the footage for this one. While I was doing it, I did my best to think, “How would Amanda record this shot?” I didn’t do a particularly good job, though, but I did record a lot of content in hopes that there would be something usable. I employed my Fujifilm X-T30 with a Rokinon 12mm lens for both the video and stills. Amanda took all of it into editing software and somehow made this great video. Honestly, I don’t know how she did it. She really did an incredible job!

If you haven’t done so already, please visit the Fuji X Weekly YouTube channel. I invite you to subscribe. Feel free to like, comment and share. Over the coming weeks and months you can expect more video content to be added, thanks to the talents of my wonderful wife, Amanda.

If you are interested in purchasing the gear used for this video, you’ll find my affiliate links below. If you make a purchase using my links I will be compensated a small amount for it.

Fujifilm X-T30 (Body Only)   B&H   Amazon
Fujifilm X-T30 w/15-45mm lens   B&H   Amazon
Fujifilm X-T30 w/18-55mm lens   B&H   Amazon
Rokinon 12mm f/2   B&H   Amazon

Industar 69 Lens + Fujifilm X-T30

Fujifilm Blog

Fujifilm X-T30 with an Industar 69 lens.

The Industar 69 is a terribly great lens! What I mean is that it is a terrible lens and a great lens at the same time. If you judge it simply on charts and technical qualities, it’s clearly a dud, not worthy of attaching to your camera. If you judge it on the It-Factor, the Industar 69 transcends common rationality and produces a difficult-to-define yet highly appealing quality. This lens is full of flaws, but it’s the flaws that make it especially interesting.

The Industar 69 f/2.8 is a Soviet Union 28mm pancake lens designed for Russian Chaika half-frame cameras. It was produced from the mid-1960’s through the mid-1970’s. It’s an M39 screw-mount lens, and is a Zeiss Tessar copycat. To attach it to my Fujifilm X-T30, I used a cheap M39-to-Fuji-X adapter that I’ve had for several years and paid about $10 for. This particular Industar 69 lens was loaned to me from a friend, but my copy is already ordered and currently en route, costing me only $35, including shipping.

One peculiarity of the Industar 69 is that it can’t focus to infinity (or even all that close to it), because it sits too far from the sensor. It can be modified to focus to infinity, and I plan to make that modification with my lens when it arrives, but unmodified it has a limited window of focus. The aperture is controlled by a thin ring around the glass that doesn’t click at f-stops. The focus ring is smooth. The lens is made of metal and feels solid. The Industar 69 is small and lightweight and might seem like a budget alternative to the Fujinon 27mm f/2.8 pancake lens.

Industar 69 Lens Fujifilm X-T30 Camera

Those who judge lenses based on corner softness and vignetting will not like this lens, as there is noticeable softness in the corners and pronounced vignetting, especially when wide-open, but also when stopped down. There’s also some obvious distortion. Lens flare is not controlled particularly well. The Industar 69 is pretty much the opposite of perfect from a technical point-of-view.

What I love about this lens is how it renders pictures. It produces glowing highlights, similar to (but not exactly like) an Orton effect. While the corners are soft, the center is quite sharp. The Industar 69 has nice bokeh; specifically it has swirly bokeh when wide open. It infuses an analog character into the images captured through its glass, made possible by its flaws, which is not achievable from finely-engineered modern lenses.

The Industar 69 is an interesting vintage pancake option for your Fujifilm camera. It could be considered a low-budget alternative to the Fujinon 27mm f/2.8, but I see them as different lenses for particular purposes. They will render pictures much differently, and you’ll likely use them much differently. But if you simply cannot afford the Fujinon lens and want a pancake option, this Russian lens might be your best bet. With that said, the reason to get the Industar 69 is for how it makes pictures look, because there aren’t too many lenses that will do what this one does, which is something you’ll either really appreciate or you won’t. This lens is incredibly inexpensive, so it might be worth trying out for yourself to see whether or not you find it to be terrible or great.

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Glowing Cross – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Industar 69

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Backyard Afternoon – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Industar 69

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Weber Canyon Morning – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Industar 69

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Early Autumn Sycamore – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Industar 69

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Josh Throwing Leaves – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Industar 69

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Smilin’ Jon – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Industar 69

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Refill Please – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Industar 69

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Sitting Joy – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Industar 69

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Glass Window Bottles – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Industar 69

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Light Stripes – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Industar 69

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Corner Seat – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Industar 69

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Jo Cool In Her Carseat – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Industar 69

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Sunlit Tree Monochrome – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Industar 69

See also:
Using M42 Lenses on Fujifilm X Cameras
Fujifilm X-T30 vs. Sony A6000 – A Showdown With Vintage Glass
Fujifilm Gear

Fuji X Weekly Featured on Fujirumors

Fujifilm Blog Fujirumors

Did any of you see this? Yesterday, Fujirumors featured Fuji X Weekly on their website! Specifically, Fujirumors shared my film simulation recipes! I didn’t expect that. It was such a nice surprise, and I’m quite appreciative. I’m happy to make these settings more well-known to the Fujifilm community, and hopefully some people find them useful for their own pictures. It really is my pleasure to be helpful to the community at large, as many people within the photography continuum have been helpful to me over the years.

If you found yourself on Fuji X Weekly because of the Fujirumors article, I want to welcome you, and encourage you to look around. There’s a lot more here than just film simulation recipes, although the camera settings are the hallmark of this photography blog. There are other articles that might be beneficial to you, so be sure to check them out. Also, I will be publishing more film simulation recipes in the coming weeks and months, so please follow Fuji X Weekly (look in the bottom right corner) so that you don’t miss out on it.

Fujirumors is a great website that I regularly visit. It’s a great place to see what’s upcoming and to know what’s currently happening with regards to Fujifilm products. If you don’t already follow them, I would encourage you to take a look at their website. In case you missed it, here are some of the websites of Fuji X Weekly readers, which I also encourage you to visit if you haven’t done so already.

Vintage Market Days with Kodacolor

My wife, Amanda, and I created a new video! Well, Amanda created the video. She was the cinematographer and the editor. I submitted the photographers. Amanda loves to create videos, and she’s a great storyteller. She’s encouraged me for some time now to include more video content on the Fuji X Weekly blog. I’m not especially good at making videos, so I was thrilled when she offered to help. This will be the first of many videos that we will collaborate on together, but they’re mostly Amanda’s creations, which is wonderful. If you like this video, please let her know in the comments!

The idea behind the Vintage Market Days video, and the many others that will be forthcoming, is that we will use one film simulation recipe for the footage and photographs. For this particular video we chose the Kodacolor recipe. In retrospect that might not have been the best recipe for this situation, as it produces a yellow cast under artificial light, but when we decided to do this we didn’t know that it mostly an indoor event. It’s still pretty interesting to see what happens when you use Kodacolor.

Did you know that you can use most of the different film simulation recipes for video? I know many of you aren’t videographers, but some of you are. Using the recipes for video saves time in editing because you already have your “look” and don’t need to adjust it with software. This will be a game-changer for some of you! Some of you might be already doing this.

I used a Fujifilm X-T30 with a Fujinon 90mm lens for the photographs. Amanda used a Fujifilm X-T20 with a Rokinon 12mm lens for the video footage.

Click here to visit the Fuji X Weekly YouTube channel! Don’t forget to subscribe, like, comment and share!

Exposure X5 – My Top 5 Favorite Features for Fujifilm Photographers

Exposure X5 is a solid option for editing RAW Fujifilm files. I shoot JPEGs, but for many years I used RAW. I tried a number of different software options to process my pictures, and by far my favorite was Exposure. This software company, until recently, was called Alien Skin, but with the latest version of Exposure they dropped that brand name, and are now known simply as Exposure. I suppose that it sounds more professional, but the Alien Skin title was fun, while Exposure is a bit bland. Whatever the name, what’s most important is whether or not the editing program is good, and Exposure X5 is indeed good!

Fuji X Weekly is known mostly for my film simulation recipes, which are JPEG settings. I found that oftentimes I can achieve my desired look for a photograph in-camera, and not having to edit my pictures saves me a ton of time. But not everyone is a JPEG shooter, and some of you who follow Fuji X Weekly use RAW, so this article is for those who need a RAW developer.

Below are my top five favorite Exposure X5 features for Fujifilm photographers! 

1. 500+ Presets

Exposure X5 Fujifilm

There are over 500 one-click presets on Exposure X5 to choose from. These presets will quickly give your photographs various looks, mostly based on actual film. Once you’ve discovered which presets you like best, you can “star” those for faster future access. You can heavily customize each preset, and save the customization for use on other pictures. You can make your own presets from scratch. You can batch edit with these presets. The idea is to save you time by speeding up your workflow. In fact, once you’re proficient at this software, it will likely speed up your workflow considerably. Exposure X5 allows you to more quickly achieve your desired look.

2. Retro Film Aesthetic

Fujifilm X-T30 Blog

Vibrant Nature – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – RAW file edited with Exposure X5

What I love most about Exposure X5 are all the fantastic analog-like presets that faithfully mimic the look of many different films, including ones that have been long discontinued. Looking for Kodak Gold 400? They got it. Provia 100F? Got that, too. Neopan 1600? Yep. Polaroid SX-70? Yes sir. The first era of Kodachrome? They have that as well, and many more. They have alternate processes, too, such as push-process, cross-process, split-toning, infrared and others. This goes beyond merely creating a look that more-or-less resembles the different photographic films. The folks at Exposure meticulously studied actual film to ensure they got these settings right, including authentic grain effects. Exposure X5 allows you to more accurately achieve your desired look.

3. Fujifilm Film Simulations

Fujifilm Film Simulation Exposure X5

Fujifilm Film Simulations Exposure X5

All of the Fujifilm film simulations that you know and love, with the exception of Eterna, are found in Exposure X5. That’s not entirely unusual for a RAW editor, but you might notice that these Fujifilm film simulations are the only brand-specific camera looks found in this software. You won’t find any Canon or Nikon or Sony presets, only Fujifilm. That’s because the people behind Exposure X5 love these film simulations and wanted to ensure that you had them as an option, and so you do with this software.

4. They Are Fujifilm Fans

Fujifilm X-T30 Blog

Tree Star – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – RAW file edited with Exposure X5

Finley Lee, the CEO of Exposure, said, “We are fans of Fujifilm cameras and are always keeping an eye out for ways to work with them better. I’m a photography hobbyist, and I love my X-T1 for photographing family and vacations.” It’s no surprise that, since the folks behind Exposure love Fujifilm cameras, they do their best to optimize their software for Fujifilm RAW files. By design, Exposure X5 is an especially good option for post-processing your Fujifilm photographs.

5. Adobe Alternative

Exposure X5 Fujifilm Blog

Exposure X5 can be used as a Lightroom or Photoshop plug-in if you’d like to integrate it into those popular programs that you might already have, allowing you to use the Exposure presets without disrupting your current workflow. However, Exposure X5 is a non-destructive, feature-rich RAW editor that can be used as a stand-alone software, which is how I run it. In other words, you could ditch Lightroom and Photoshop, and use Exposure X5 instead, as this software has many of the tools and options found in those other programs, along with the wonderful presets.

Conclusion

Cactus Fujifilm X-T30

Indoor Cactus – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – RAW file edited with Exposure X5

What I appreciate about Exposure X5 is that it allows me to more quickly and accurately achieve my desired look for a picture. It saves me time, while simultaneously producing a result that I prefer. It’s still not as quick as camera-made JPEGs, but for the RAW shooter this is a great way to speed things up. I almost always use JPEGs, but sporadically RAW is better or necessary for fulling my photographic vision, so I have Exposure X5 on my computer at home for those occasions when it’s necessary.

Download your free 30-day trial of Exposure X5 by clicking here. You only have to supply them with your email address in order to download the software. Exposure X5 is fully-functioning during the trial, so you have unlimited access to all of the features. You can take your time, play around with it, and decide if it works for you or not. If you do decide to buy, it’s only $120 (or $150 if bundled with their other programs), which is a great bargain for what Exposure X5 does.

This post contains an affiliate link, and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking through my link.

Sample Photographs

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Field of Bloom – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – RAW file edited with Exposure X5

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Summer Blossoms – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – RAW file edited with Exposure X5

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Autumn Begins – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – RAW file edited with Exposure X5

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Light Thru The Fall Tree – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – RAW file edited with Exposure X5

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Golden Forest – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – RAW file edited with Exposure X5