RAW vs JPEG? The Debate Needs To End

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Did I post-processed a RAW file or is this a camera-made JPEG? Does it matter?

There’s a debate in the photographic community that I get really tired of: RAW vs. JPEG. Most of the time, what I find is RAW shooters telling JPEG shooters that they shouldn’t shoot JPEGs for one reason or another. Usually there’s name-calling or a put-down thrown in or a condescending tone. Sometimes it’s the other way around, although I find that to be much more rare. Here’s my opinion: find what works best for you and your photography, and do that.

I wasn’t intending to write this post today, but over the last few days I’ve seen a number of articles and videos that tell me why RAW is really remarkable and JPEGs are just junk. Some make a reasonable argument, while others are absolutely ridiculous. Earlier today I watched a video that falls into the latter category, and that’s why I’m writing this.

Here’s the deal: it wasn’t very long ago that camera makers across all brands did a poor job at in-camera JPEGs. Some were better than others, but by-and-large none of them were great. RAW made sense, since you were going to be editing your pictures. But over the last decade every camera brand has improved their camera’s JPEGs, and some, like Fujifilm, have really made massive strides in this department. Today’s camera-made JPEGs are nothing like they were 10 years ago. Fujifilm’s JPEGs can look like post-processed RAW images, or even film-like. If you plan to edit your pictures, RAW is your best bet. If you don’t want to edit your pictures (or only lightly edit), you can achieve some great looks right out of camera. Neither option is the “right” or “wrong” way, just different means to an end, which is a finished photograph that you’re happy with.

Shoot RAW if that’s what you want to do. Shoot JPEG if that’s what you want to do. One method is not inherently better than the other. One way might be right for you, but wrong for another. You might find that you use both, just depending on the situation. While I almost always shoot JPEG, I do also still shoot RAW sometimes (it’s helpful for developing JPEG recipes). I used to shoot RAW exclusively once upon a time, but I don’t anymore.

RAW vs. JPEG is a tired debate. You don’t need to justify with strangers why you choose one over the other. I don’t want to hear why I’m “wrong” for shooting JPEGs. Don’t try to convince me that RAW is better. I won’t try to convince you to abandon RAW and shoot JPEG only. Both methods have their advantages and disadvantages, and there is a time and place for both. I would encourage you, if you are unsure whether to shoot RAW or JPEG, to try both for a time, and see which you prefer. There isn’t one right path. The debate needs to end—find what works best for you and your photography, and do that!

My Fujifilm X-T30 Split-Toned B&W Film Simulation Recipe


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Vintage Bolsey Camera – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 “Split-Toned B&W”

While creating my “Bleach Bypass” film simulation recipe, which requires double exposures, I also discovered how to split-tone black-and-white pictures in-camera using double exposures. Split toning was originally a darkroom technique where one would give their black-and-white print a bath in two different toning chemicals, which resulted in shadows and highlights having two different colors. There are many different ways to split tone and many different potential results. This Split-Toned B&W recipe loosely mimics the aesthetic of ferrocyanide toning (blue) with diluted sepia (reddish-brown). You can get similar results very easily with software, but it’s fun to achieve a split tone effect straight out of camera.

For this recipe, you’ll capture the first exposure as normal. I find that increasing the exposure by 1/3 to 2/3 stop over what you might normally do produces better results. For the second exposure, photograph blue paper. I used an 8.5″ x 11″ medium-blue construction paper for my pictures. I like to purposefully make the second exposure out of focus, although I’m not sure that it matters much if you do. You can control the strength of the blue tone by how bright the second exposure is. The darker the exposure, the less blue there will be and the less faded the picture will appear. The brighter the exposure, the more blue there will be and the more faded the picture will appear. It’s fun to experiment with this, because you can vary the look significantly by how you expose the second image. If you want the highlights to be warmer, simply increase the tone of the first exposure to be more warm, or even use the Sepia film simulation instead of Acros. You could use a different color paper, or even use a cool tone instead of warm on the first exposure, if you wanted. You could really play around with this and come up with all sots of different looks.

Exposure 1
Acros
Dynamic Range: DR200
Highlight: +4
Shadow: +4
Tone: +6 (warm)
Color Chrome Effect: Strong
Grain: Weak
Sharpening: +1
Noise Reduction: -4
ISO: Auto, up to ISO 6400
Exposure Compensation: +2/3 to +1 (typically)

Exposure 2
Velvia
Dynamic Range: DR200
Highlight: +4
Shadow: +4
Color: +2
Color Chrome Effect: Strong
Grain: Weak
Sharpening: +1
Noise Reduction: -4
White Balance: Auto, 0 Red & 0 Blue
ISO: Auto, up to ISO 6400
Exposure Compensation: -1 to -3 (typically)

Example photographs, all camera-made JPEGs using this Split-Toned B&W film simulation recipe on my Fujifilm X-T30:

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Open Blinds – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Ocean – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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White Faux Blooms – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Monochrome Floral Arrangement – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Lily Bloom – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Throw Pillows – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Dirt Play – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Girl In The Sunlight – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

See also: Film Simulation Recipes

Help Fuji X Weekly

Nobody pays me to write the content found on fujixweekly.com. There's a real cost to operating and maintaining this site, not to mention all the time that I pour into it. If you appreciated this article, please consider making a one-time gift contribution. Thank you!

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SOOC eMagazine

There’s a new online magazine called SOOC that’s dedicated to Fujifilm straight-out-of-camera JPEGs. I encourage you to take a look at issue one and to support James Posilero‘s efforts, and not just because yours truly is in the magazine. There’s been an unfair sentiment within the photography community for some time that you are a second-rate photographer if you rely on camera-made JPEGs. The argument is not true, but unfortunately you will find this attitude spread throughout the internet, and you might even encounter it in person. This magazine turns that preconception on its head and debunks the fallacy, simply by the photographs found within. I personally look forward to seeing more of SOOC, and I wish much success to James.

How To Add Texture To Your In-Camera JPEGs

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Green Mountain On Canvas – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Canvas

A creative option found in many photo editing programs is texture. The texture, which might be canvas, paper, cloth, wood, etc., is added as a layer which can be blended as strongly or subtly as one might want. It’s a fun technique that adds an unexpected element to pictures. I used to occasionally do this when I used Alien Skin Exposure software. There are even some specialty films that have texture built-in, such as Revolog Texture films.

When I was experimenting with my Faded Color and Faded Monochrome film simulation recipes, which use double-exposure photography to create a vintage film aesthetic, it occurred to me that I could use the double-exposure feature of my Fujifilm X-T30 to add texture to my pictures in-camera. I could get a textured look without software. Incredible! So I begun to experiment with textured JPEGs, and the results were interesting.

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Canvas Daisy – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Canvas

You might ask, “I can do this in Photoshop in only a few seconds, so why would I want to do this in-camera?” That’s a good question that deserves a lengthy explanation. I used to shoot RAW, but I rely on camera-made JPEGs now. Why? It saves me tons of time and makes my photographs more honest. Since I started shooting JPEGs, my photography production has gone through the roof while my total time investment in photography has noticeably dropped. I’m creating more with less. It’s all thanks to Fujifilm’s superb JPEG engine. The honesty statement is a little more controversial, but it’s clear that photography in general has taken a large perception hit when it comes to integrity. Non-photographers (photography consumers) don’t take a picture at face value anymore, and “Photoshop” has negative connotations. People ask me, “How much is this Photoshopped?” I answer, “None of it, this is how the camera captured it. This picture is unedited.” You’d be surprised at the overwhelming positive responses that I get from this answer. People find it refreshing. Photographers don’t see anything wrong with photo manipulation; however, many non-photographers feel that it’s not the image that’s being manipulated by the photographer, but the general public. They feel as though they’re being tricked by dishonesty. Whether or not that perception is fair or should exist is a whole different discussion, but you can avoid it altogether by shooting JPEGs. People are looking for authenticity, and this is one way to move in that direction.

To capture a photograph with texture on your Fujifilm camera, you will first need to enable the double-exposure feature of your camera. On the X-T30 it’s found on a knob on top of the camera. You can use any film simulation, but note that double-exposure pictures on the camera will be flatter (have less contrast), so Velvia, Classic Chrome and Acros work best because they have more contrast. Astia and PRO Neg. Hi work alright, as well. You will want to have Highlight and Shadow set no lower than +2, and more might give better results. Don’t be afraid to try +4 on one or both. I also recommend DR100, and DR200 if the scene has a lot of contrast. I find that for the main exposure, exposure compensation typically needs to be in the +1/3 to +1 range. The second exposure, which will be the texture exposure, typically needs exposure compensation set to -1 to -2, and I usually start at -2 and adjust as necessary. The camera will show you what the picture will look like, and it also allows do-overs if you need it.

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Hanging B&W Picture – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Canvas

For texture, I found the best results came from a white stretched canvas for painting. I also tried other things, like burlap, cloth, paper, wood and metal, but the results weren’t as good in my opinion. I recommend trying different materials and seeing for yourself what you like or don’t like. After capturing the main exposure, capture a second exposure of the textured object. It’s really that simple. The camera gives a 50/50 blend of the two exposures, but because the first exposure is brighter and the second is darker, it will appear more in the neighborhood of 70/30, which is what you want. It might appear as though the image is actually printed on a textured surface.

This is a simple but creative way to use the double-exposure feature of your camera. You could really play around with this and get inventive. Try different settings, different subjects and different textures and see what happens. Below are examples of textured pictures I created using this technique on my Fujifilm X-T30:

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Afternoon Mountain – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Canvas

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Crop of the above image.

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Spring Green Hill – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Canvas

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Crop of the above image.

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Backlit Sycamore Leaf – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Canvas

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Crop of the above image.

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Hazy Light Tree Leaf – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Canvas

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Crop of the above image.

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Tree Trunk In The Corner – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Canvas

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Crop of the above image.

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Weed Flower Canvas – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 -Canvas

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Crop of the above image.

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Yellow Flower on Canvas – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Canvas

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Crop of the above image.

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Yellow Blossom Burlap – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Burlap

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Bottle Still Life – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Canvas

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Coffee Still Life – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Metal

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Blue R – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Canvas

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Film on Canvas – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Canvas

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E To H – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Canvas

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Zenit E on Wood – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Wood

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Wood Mountain – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Wood

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Knot A Mountain – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Wood

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Window Birds Texture – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Cloth

Kodachrome vs. Ektachrome – A Film Simulation Showdown

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I have two very similar film simulation recipes that both produce results quite close to their namesake slide films: Kodachrome II and Ektachrome 100SW. Even though the settings are nearly the same, the looks that they produce are quite different. As I was thinking about this, I was reminded of the old “Kodachrome vs. Ektachrome” debate from the days of film. There were people who preferred one over the other for various reasons. Kodachrome was more iconic. Ektachrome had more variations. Despite the fact that they were both color transparencies made by the same company, I could probably write a long article about the differences between the two films, but this blog is about Fujifilm X cameras and not Kodak film stocks.

What I wanted to do here is compare the two film simulation recipes side by side. I will show them both, and you can decide which is best for you. It’s kind of a revival of the old debate, but with a modern twist. Kodachrome or Ektachrome? You get to decide which is the better film simulation recipe!

Take a look at the pictures below:

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Welcome to Ogden – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Kodachrome II”

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Winter Mountain – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Ektachrome 100SW”

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Desert Juniper – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Kodachrome II”

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Juniper – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Ektachrome 100SW”

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Pueblo de Taos – Taos, NM – Fujifilm X-Pro2 “Kodachrome II”

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View From Mount Carmel Tunnel – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Ektachrome 100SW”

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Kodak Transparencies – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Kodachrome II”

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Kodak Transparencies – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Ektachrome 100SW”

What I like about the Kodachrome II recipe is that it produces a vintage color look that reminds me of the images found on the pages of old magazines, such as National Geographic and Arizona Highways. As I look through my grandparent’s old slide collection (which I have at home), I can see this look in their old photographs from 50 or so years ago. It’s such a fantastic recipe for Fujifilm X cameras, and I just love it!

What I like about the Ektachrome 100SW recipe is that it produces a color look that reminds me of some images that I have captured with the actual film. The film was good for western landscapes or any situation where you needed some color saturation with a warm color cast. It wasn’t around for very long because it was only marginally commercially successful, but it was one of the better variations of Ektachrome film in my opinion.

What do you think, Kodachrome or Ektachrome? Let me know in the comments which film simulation recipe you like best!

Fujifilm Acros Film Simulation Recipes

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Taos Tourist – Taos, NM – Fujifilm X100F “Agfa Scala”

Acros is one of the most popular film simulations available on Fujifilm X-Trans cameras. It looks incredibly similar to the black-and-white film that it was named after. In fact, in my opinion, it produces the most film-like results of any settings on any camera! It’s easy to see the draw to the analog-esque results produced by the Acros film simulation.

I love Acros and I have used it as the base for a bunch of different film simulation recipes. It’s possible to achieve a number of different interesting looks straight out of camera by adjusting the settings. I plan to create even more film simulation recipes using Acros in the coming months. As I do, I will add them to this article.

Below you will find all of my different film simulation recipes that I have created that use Acros. If you haven’t tried them all, I personally invite you to do so and see which are your favorites! My personal favorite is Tri-X Push-Process, but they each have their own usefulness and charm. Let me know in the comments which recipe you like most!

Even though the different recipes say X100F and X-Pro2, they are completely compatible with any Fujifilm X-Trans III or IV camera. For example, you don’t have to use the X100F recipes exclusively on the X100F. You can use any of my recipes on any X-Trans III camera.

Original Acros

Acros Push-Process

Agfa Scala

Ilford HP5 Plus

Tri-X Push Process

Fujifilm Classic Chrome Film Simulation Recipes

Classic Chrome is one of the most popular film simulations available on Fujifilm X-Trans cameras. It produces a look similar to quintessential Kodak color transparency films like Kodachrome and Ektachrome, which graced the pages of publications like National Geographic and Arizona Highways for many years. With all things vintage being in style, there is a huge draw to the analog-esque results produced by the Classic Chrome film simulation.

I love Classic Chrome and I have used it as the base for a bunch of different film simulation recipes. It’s possible to achieve a number of different interesting looks straight out of camera by adjusting the settings. Honestly, I think that I’ve only scratched the surface of what’s possible. I plan to create even more film simulation recipes using Classic Chrome in the coming months. As I do, I will add them to this article.

Below you will find all of my different film simulation recipes that I have created that use Classic Chrome. If you haven’t tried them all, I personally invite you to do so and see which are your favorites! My personal favorite is Kodachrome II, but they each have their own usefulness and charm. Let me know in the comments which recipe you like most!

Even though the different recipes say X100F, X-Pro2, and X-T20, they are completely compatible with any Fujifilm X-Trans III or IV camera. For example, you don’t have to use the X100F recipes exclusively on the X100F. You can use any of my recipes on any X-Trans III camera.

My original Classic Chrome recipe.

My dramatic Classic Chrome recipe.

My Vintage Kodachrome recipe.

My Kodachrome II recipe.

My Vintage Agfacolor recipe.

My Kodak Portra recipe.

See also:

My Classic Chrome recipe for Fujifilm Bayer and X-Trans II.

If you like these recipes, be sure to follow Fuji X Weekly so that you don’t miss out when I publish a new one! Feel free to comment, as I appreciate your feedback. Please share on social media this article or any other that you found useful so that others might find it, too.

My Fujifilm X-T20 Kodak Ektachrome 100SW Film Simulation Recipe


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Ektachrome was a line of color transparency (slide) films made by Kodak that used the E-6 development process. Some people preferred it to Kodachrome because of the faster ISO (100 vs 64 or 25), more saturated colors and easier development (although Kodachrome had finer grain, a larger dynamic range and didn’t fade as easily). A lot of National Geographic photographs were shot on Ektachrome back in the day.

There were a number of varieties of Ektachrome produced over the years, and I’ve used five of them myself. My favorite was Ektachrome 100VS (VS = “very saturated”), which was Kodak’s attempt at Fujifilm Velvia. Occasionally I used Ektachrome 100SW (SW = “saturated warm”), which was introduced in 1996 and produced vivid photographs with a warm color balance. Kodak stopped production of Ektachrome 100SW in 2002 and all Ektachrome film in 2012. Just a few months ago a brand new Kodak Ektachrome film was released, although I have not tried it yet.

A Fuji X Weekly reader, Ilya Struzhkov, took my Kodachrome II recipe and made a simple modification: he used Velvia instead of Classic Chrome. He shared the results on Instagram and I immediately felt like the images had a Kodak Ektachrome 100SW aesthetic. I had to try it out myself! Sure enough, the results looked a lot like the film: saturated colors (not as much as Velvia but more than most films), a warm color balance, and shadows that easily turned black. It’s amazing that this one change to the recipe could transform it from 1970’s Kodachrome to 1990’s Ektachrome.

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The title of this film simulation recipe says “Fujifilm X-T20” but it can be used on any X-Trans III or IV camera. In fact, at the bottom of this article you’ll find some Fujifilm X100F examples. The only other change I made (besides Velvia instead of Classic Chrome) is that I set sharpening to 0 instead of +1 on the X-T20, but it’s set to +1 on the X100F. That’s just how I set up the cameras, and there really isn’t much of a differences between 0 and +1 sharpening, so either one is fine. Because the settings are essentially the same as my Kodachrome II recipe, it’s super easy to toggle between the two when out shooting. Really, it’s just brilliant!

Velvia
Dynamic Range: DR200
Highlight: +1
Shadow: +2
Color: -1
Noise Reduction: -3
Sharpening: 0
Grain Effect: Weak
White Balance: Auto, +3 Red & -4 Blue
ISO: Auto up to ISO 6400
Exposure Compensation: +1/3 to +2/3 (typically)

Example photos, all camera-made JPEGs using my Fujifilm X-T20 Kodak Ektachrome 100SW Film Simulation recipe:

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Light Dust of Snow – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Ektachrome 100SW”

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Frozen Fall – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Ektachrome 100SW”

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Frosty Leaf & Grass – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Ektachrome 100SW”

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Sandstone Peaks – Snow Canyon SP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Ektachrome 100SW”

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Evening Moonrise – Snow Canyon SP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Ektachrome 100SW”

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Zion Sun – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Ektachrome 100SW”

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Evening On The Cliffs – Snow Canyon SP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Ektachrome 100SW”

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Amanda & Ritchie – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Ektachrome 100SW”

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Still Water & Rocky Shore – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Ektachrome 100SW”

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Old Dry Lavender – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Ektachrome 100SW”

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Boots – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Ektachrome 100SW”

Fujifilm X100F:

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Autumn Tree Below Bridge Mountain – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Ektachrome 100SW”

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View From Mount Carmel Tunnel – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Ektachrome 100SW”

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Juniper – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Ektachrome 100SW”

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Sandstone Trees – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Ektachrome 100SW”

See also: My Fujifilm X-T20 Aged Color Film Simulation Recipe

Help Fuji X Weekly

Nobody pays me to write the content found on fujixweekly.com. There's a real cost to operating and maintaining this site, not to mention all the time that I pour into it. If you appreciated this article, please consider making a one-time gift contribution. Thank you!

$2.00

My Fujifilm X-T20 Aged Color Film Simulation Recipe


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White Duck – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Aged Color”

During World War II there was a shortage of rubber, and an effort was put forth to create synthetic rubber. There were many ideas and experiments to create rubber in the lab, most of which failed. One of those failures was a silicone-based elastic substance that could bounce, float in water, and lift print off of newspaper. This substance was created by mistake while trying to invent something else. It was a twist of fate. It was a happy accident. It was Silly Putty.

Recently I was experimenting with the JPEG settings on a Fujifilm X-T20, trying to replicate the look of some different films. I’ve been working on four different film simulation settings for several months, only hitting dead ends. I haven’t been able to achieve the desired results, but I did stumble across an interesting look. Like the discovery of Silly Putty, I made a happy accident! Even though I used an X-T20 for this recipe, you could apply these settings to any X-Trans III camera and get the same exact results.

This look doesn’t quite resemble any specific film that I’m aware of. I think it produces an analog film aesthetic, even though I couldn’t tell you which one. There are a couple of films that I can see maybe some resemblance, but overall it’s not an exact match. Actually, what it reminded me of is a group of four Alien Skin Exposure presets under the “Color Films – Aged” tab called Color Photo. These presets are similar to each other but each one has a slightly varied look. My new film simulation, which I’ve named Aged Color, produces a look that resembles those Exposure presets, although I will admit that it’s more of general aesthetic than a carbon copy. It’s just what I think it most closely resembles, by coincidence.

Below are three pictures of mine that were edited with those Alien Skin Exposure Color Photo presets:

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Hidden Waterfall – Lava Hot Springs, ID

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South Pasadena – Pasadena, CA

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Three Kids In The Water – Carlsbad, CA

While Alien Skin Exposure gives you four preset options for this look, and each of those can be heavily customized, I only have one Aged Color recipe, but you are more than welcome to tweak it to your liking. I find that it produces muted yet lovely colors and slightly faded shadows. If the scene doesn’t have a lot of contrast the images can come out a little flat. The skin tones in the pictures below show a lot of red, but some of that can be attributed to cold temperatures, and I think that under normal conditions skin will look a little more natural. This film simulation recipe is an interesting option to achieve a look that is perhaps unexpected from a digital camera and looks a bit more film-like. I doubt that it’s everyone’s cup of tea, but I think some of you will really appreciate it.

PRO Neg. Std
Dynamic Range: DR400
Highlight: +2
Shadow: +3
Color: +4
Noise Reduction: -3
Sharpening: 0
Grain Effect: Strong
White Balance: Auto, +5 Red & -3 Blue
ISO: Auto up to ISO 6400
Exposure Compensation: +1/3 (typically)

Example photos, all straight-out-of-camera JPEGs captured on a Fujifilm X-T20 using my Aged Color Film Simulation recipe:

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Brother & Sister Fun – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Playground Play – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Joshua Throwing Leaves – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Evening Leaves – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Swingset Post – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Oak Tree Autumn Sun – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Last Leaves – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Sunlight Through The Branches – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Ducks Swimming In A Pond – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Late Blooms – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Dry & Yellow – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Old Town Clock – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Little White Pumpkin On The Mantel – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Lego Food Stand Creation – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Boy Reading – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Hot Coffee Brew – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Potted Succulent  – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Asahi Pentax SLR – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Fujifilm X-Trans III Sharpening & Noise Reduction

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About 11 months ago I published an article entitled Fujifilm X100F Noise Reduction & Sharpening, which detailed my opinions on these two features. I felt like this topic needed a quick refresher, but I didn’t want to rehash what I’ve already said. I think I came up with a good way to approach this topic while not repeating myself.

All Fujifilm files, whether RAW or JPEG, have some level of sharpening and noise reduction applied to them. The options found in the camera for sharpening and noise reduction are specifically for in-camera JPEGs. If you shoot RAW you apply whatever sharpening and noise reduction you’d like with the software of your choice in post-production. If you shoot JPEG you decide this using the options that Fujifilm provides inside their cameras. You cannot turn these off, and the lowest setting, -4, still applies some sharpening or noise reduction, even if a tiny amount.

I don’t think Fujifilm named the setting levels very well. It should be +1 through +9. Naming it -4 through +4 just causes confusion. Instead of thinking of 0 as zero, think of it as the middle option. 0 is really 5 on a scale of one through nine.

Sharpening and noise reduction are great because they make your photographs crisper and cleaner. They help give your images a polished look. However, too much of a good thing is not good at all. Apply too much of either and weird things start happening to your pictures. It’s a balancing act, and it’s easy to go too far.

How far is too far on Fujifilm X-Trans III cameras? That’s up to you to determine. I will give you my opinion, and you can take that for what it’s worth. I will say that for internet use or prints no larger than 8″ x 12″ it really doesn’t matter what settings you choose because it’s difficult to notice the difference between -4 and +4 when viewed that small. If you don’t pixel-peep or print large, using the default settings of 0 are a perfectly fine approach. If you do pixel-peep or print larger than 8″ x 12″ you may want to more carefully consider your choices.

Sharpening:

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Sharpening -4

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Sharpening 0

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Sharpening +4

What can be determined from the three crops above? Not much, because to notice anything you have to look much closer. If you do take the time to study them you can spot the differences. The change from -4 to +4 isn’t especially obvious, so, as you can imagine, a plus or minus of one is very difficult to perceive. My opinion is that anything from -2 to +2 sharpening is where the best results are found, and I stay in the -1 to +1 range for my own photography, which I believe is the sweet spot. I used to use +2 all of the time but I haven’t used that high of a sharpening setting in probably a year.

Noise Reduction:

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Noise Reduction -4

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Noise Reduction 0

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Noise Reduction +4

By looking at the three crops above it might seem as though there’s not much of a difference between -4 and +4 noise reduction, and you are correct, but it’s actually a bigger difference than you might initially think. In my opinion, the noise reduction setting is a little more critical than the sharpening setting as Fujifilm applies it a little heavy-handed on X-Trans III cameras. I think the best results are found between -4 and -2. In my opinion -2 can be marginal sometimes so I typically use -4 or -3.

If you aren’t pixel-peeping, and you are just sharing to Instagram or Facebook, none of this matters. Worry about sharpening and noise reduction if you like to zoom way in on your pictures or if you like to print them large. I personally worry about it, but I take great care with all of the settings so that I get exactly the results that I want. Just because I worry about something or like things a particular way doesn’t mean that you should, too. Find what works best for you, even if it’s unconventional or goes against popular opinion.

My Fujifilm X100F Cross Process Film Simulation Recipe


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Silos – Waco, TX – Fujifilm X100F “Cross Process”

Cross processing film is a technique where you develop a film in chemicals intended for another film. For example, the most common cross process is to develop color transparencies, which require the E-6 process, using color negative film chemicals, which is known as the C-41 process. For slide film, the photographs typically increase in contrast and grain and the colors shift dramatically. There are other types of cross processing, as well. I’ve done cross processing before, and the results can be fun. It’s a great experiment if you’ve never done it before!

Different films will look different when they are cross processed. Overexposing or underexposing or even how the development is handled can effect how the image is rendered. The aesthetic can vary significantly, but usually you can spot a cross processed photograph when you see it. Below are a few examples of actual film that I’ve cross processed:

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Westbound CA HWY 58 – Tehachapi, CA – Fujifilm Velvia 50 cross process

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Flare & Flag – Barstow, CA – Fujifilm Velvia 50 cross process

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Old Tractor – Tehachapi, CA – Kodak Gold 400 cross process

Notice how the three photographs are quite a bit different from each other. There is not a singular look that is cross process, but rather an aesthetic spectrum. The images tend to be less literal and more abstract.

There is a significant challenge in developing a film simulation that mimics the look of cross processing. Most notably, which film and process? There are so many, and besides, one film can give many different looks. For example, the two Velvia images above were from the same 36 exposure roll of film, and one has a much more pronounced yellow-green cast than the other. What I decided to do was create something that could conceivably fall within the aesthetic spectrum, while not copying any specific film.

While this film simulation recipe does not copy one specific film, I do think it’s close to Kodak EliteChrome that’s been cross processed, or perhaps Ektachrome 100G. I think it’s close to Fujifilm Sensia sometimes, although I’d emphasis the word sometimes. These settings are never going to produce results that will always match a certain film because one film can vary in look from frame-to-frame. It’s convincing, but should be thought of in generic terms.

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Truck Stop Cross Process – Bowie, TX – Fujifilm X100F “Cross Process”

Because the results of actual cross process film can vary so much, it would be fun to change up this recipe as you shoot. Maybe add a little more to the shadows or highlights sometimes and change the white balance shift a little after a few frames. I haven’t tried this, but it sounds like a good idea. I did change the Dynamic Range setting a number of times, going between DR100, DR200 and DR-Auto. After some playing around I settled on DR200, although I think you’d be fine with whichever Dynamic Range setting you’d prefer.

Provia
Dynamic Range: DR200
Highlight: +2
Shadow: +3
Color: +4
Noise Reduction: -3
Sharpening: 0
Grain Effect: Strong
White Balance: Auto, -3 Red & -8 Blue
ISO: Auto up to ISO 6400
Exposure Compensation: +2/3 (typically)

Example photos, all camera-made JPEGs using my Fujifilm X100F Cross Process Film Simulation recipe:

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Taos Umbrella – Taos, NM – Fujifilm X100F “Cross Process”

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Pentax Shutter Dial – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Cross Process”

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Get 1 Back – Draper, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Cross Process”

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Umbrella Tie – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Cross Process”

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Covered Hoppers – Westlake, TX – Fujifilm X100F “Cross Process”

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Counters – McKinney, Texas – Fujifilm X100F “Cross Process”

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Kitchen Cross Process – Waco, TX – Fujifilm X100F “Cross Process”

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Speaker – Riverdale, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Cross Process”

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Grain Elevator – Kaysville, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Cross Process”

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Two Towers Cross Process – Dallas, TX – Fujifilm X100F “Cross Process”

The Power of White Balance Shift


Truck Stop Cross Process – Bowie, TX – Fujifilm X100F

My Fujifilm film simulation recipes often call for a white balance shift. A couple of weeks ago I was thinking that I’ve never explained what a white balance shift is, how it changes an image, and how to use it. Then last week a Fuji X Weekly reader asked if I would write an article on this topic, so I knew it was time to demonstrate what this is.

White balance is the Kelvin temperature of an image. There are different temperatures so that the image color matches the light in the scene. If the white balance temperature is too cool, your photograph will have a blue cast. If the white balance temperature is too warm, your photograph will have a yellow cast. Most people use auto white balance and let the camera figure it out, but you can set it manually. In fact, some photographers purposefully use a “wrong” white balance to make their images have a cool or warm feel. I could write a whole article explaining white balance, but what I want to talk about in this post is white balance shift, which is related but different.

Many cameras, including Fujifilm, have an option to customize the white balance by shifting the color cast. In fact, Fujifilm allows you to choose between over 300 different color casts! You can shift the colors quite subtlety or obviously. White balance shift is a great tool for creating a specific look, and that’s why I rely on it for creating my film simulation recipes.

Different color films had different color casts. Different films showed color differently, and, because of this, some films were better for landscapes and some were better for portraits. Some people preferred one film over another because of how it rendered images. Not every film is for everyone or every purpose, but one can create a variety of looks depending on which films they choose and how they process those films.

Taos Umbrella – Taos, NM – Fujifilm X100F

White balance shift allows one to create a variety of different looks for different purposes and situations, much like one would choose different films for different looks and purposes. It’s simple to give a photograph an orange cast or green cast or blue cast, etc., etc., which will alter how the image renders colors, by using white balance shift. It’s possible to mimic film aesthetics or create something new using the tools that Fujifilm provides on their cameras.

When you change the color cast, you do a couple of different things to your pictures. The first is that you give your image feeling, either warm or cool. A warm image will portray happiness, like an inviting warm light inside a house at dusk. A cool image will portray sadness, like endless grey skies on a lonely winter day. You can change the emotional response from viewers by adjusting the color cast to either a warm or cool color. The side effect of adjusting the color cast is that it changes how different colors are rendered. Blues, reds, greens–every color–changes slightly to a new shade as one shifts the white balance. You may want to pick a certain color cast because of how it shifts the colors in an image.

I created the image above to demonstrate all of this. The middle picture has the white balance shift set directly in the middle: 0 red and 0 blue. Each of the other pictures show what happens when you pick the extremes of white balance shift. Starting at the top-center and moving clockwise around: 0 red & +9 blue, +9 red & +9 blue, +9 red & 0 blue, +9 red & -9 blue, 0 red & -9 blue, -9 red & -9 blue, -9 red & 0 blue, and -9 red & +9 blue. Normally you wouldn’t choose to adjust the white balance shift to the degrees shown here, but choose something a little more subtle instead. Typically you want it to be barely or at most moderately perceivable. However, there might be times that an image would benefit from a wild white balance shift. You have a lot of color cast options, which allows you to be as creative and crazy as you’d like.

White balance shift is a great tool for customizing the look of your photographs by changing the color cast. You can control the emotion and color shade by adding or subtracting blue and red. You can create looks that mimic classic film stock or you could invent something unique. Unfortunately you cannot save anymore than one white balance shift preset. I hope that someday Fujifilm will allow you to make many different ones that can be assigned to the quick recall presets, because white balance shift is a powerful tool that I use frequently.

My Favorite Fujifilm Film Simulation Recipes

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Fujifilm – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm

I’ve shared many film simulation recipes for Fujifilm X-Trans III cameras, such as the X100F and X-Pro2, and some of them have become quite popular. I’ve been asked a few times to share which ones are my favorites. Which film simulation recipes do I use?

I have used all of them at one time or another, but there are a handful of recipes that I really appreciate and use regularly. I have my favorites! Let me share with you which ones I currently use.

Kodachrome II

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Quaker State – Midway, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm

My favorite film simulation recipe that I created is my Kodachrome II Film Simulation recipe, which I initially made for the X-Pro2 but I also use on the X100F. I really love the way these settings render color images. It gives my exposures a beautiful vintage analog look right out of camera. It takes Classic Chrome to a whole new level of goodness! I use this recipe as much as the scenes allow because I love it so much.

Velvia

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Red Leaves In The Forest – Wasatch Mountain SP, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm

Typically I use my Velvia Film Simulation recipe only occasionally, but with the autumn season I’m currently using it often. However, I’ve modified the original recipe to be Highlight +1, Shadow +2 and color +3 to give it more punch, while also setting Noise Reduction to -3 and Sharpening to +1. This is a better version of the recipe, except when there is a lot of contrast, which is where the original settings will likely produce better results. The great thing about these different recipes is that they can be seasoned to taste.

Upcoming Recipe??

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Sundance Chair Lift – Sundance, UT – Fujifilm X100F

I’ve been working on a new film simulation recipe that I’m currently only moderately happy with. It’s a work-in-progress, and right now it only produces good results occasionally. It seems to be very situation specific, and that means it’s difficult to get enough quality example photographs to publish an article. Even if I get everything ironed out and I find the best settings, it may still be awhile before I can share it. I’ve been shooting with this now and then over the last couple of weeks, and I’ll probably continue to do so over the next several weeks or months.

Honorable Mentions

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Flat Tire – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm

There are other recipes that I use for color photography, including PRO Neg. Hi, Ektar 100 and Portra 400, but as I was going over my recent photographs I realized that I haven’t used these much at all lately. It seems that my Kodachrome II recipe has essentially replaced them. That’s not to say that I won’t use them, as I like these recipes and they have their place, but I just haven’t picked them very often lately.

Tri-X Push Process

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Disc 4000 – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm

This Tri-X Push Process recipe is my favorite black-and-white film simulation option, but it’s not my invention. I stole it from Luis Costa who published it on his blog. It’s absolute genius, but its limitation is that it doesn’t always work in bright-light situations because it requires a high ISO. Whenever I can use it I do use it. It produces the most film-like results that I’ve ever seen from a digital camera.

Acros Push Process

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Clouds Around Timpanogos – Heber City, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 50-230mm

Whenever I want results that are similar to the Tri-X Push Process settings but I need to use a lower ISO, I choose my Acros Push Process recipe. It’s not quite as good as Tri-X Push Process, but it’s a close second best. It was my favorite monochrome recipe until I discovered Luis Costa’s settings.

Agfa Scala

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Epic Zip Line – Sundance, UT – Fujifilm X100F

When I want a black-and-white image with a little less contrast, I use my Agfa Scale Film Simulation recipe. It produces great results in higher-contrast scenes or whenever you need something that’s a little less bold than the two “push process” options. I don’t use it all of the time, but it definitely comes in handy from time-to-time.

Your Turn

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Which film simulation recipes are your favorites? It can be one of mine or your own creation. Please share in the comments what JPEG settings you use on your Fujifilm cameras because I want to know!

My Fujifilm XF10 Film Simulation Recipes


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I have created many wonderful film simulation recipes for X-Trans III cameras, but none of those can be used on my Fujifilm XF10. I had to create brand-new film simulation recipes for this camera. I used my experience with other Fujifilm cameras to create different straight-out-of-camera looks that I would appreciate.

You can only have one custom setting saved on the XF10. The default settings that I have programmed for the camera are my Classic Chrome recipe. If I want a look with more saturation I’ll adjust the settings to my Velvia recipe. If I want black-and-white I’ll adjust the settings to my Monochrome recipe. It’s a little bit of a pain to be constantly switching, so I try to not go back-and-forth any more than I need to.

While I use these recipes on my XF10, they’re compatible with the X-T100, X-A5, X-A3 and any X-Trans I or X-Trans II camera. The rendition might vary slightly from model-to-model, but the overall look should be fairly consistent. These settings won’t translate to X-Trans III or X-Trans IV.

Aside from some minor cropping, the photographs in this article are all straight-out-of-camera JPEGs. I like to keep my workflow as simple as possible, and Fujifilm’s different film simulation options allow me to rely on camera-made JPEGs. Using JPEGs instead of RAW saves me a ton of time. I appreciate being in front of a computer less and behind a camera more.

Below are my Fujifilm XF10 film simulation recipes!

Classic Chrome

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Ghosts of the Past – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm XF10

This is my go-to film simulation option. I use it significantly more often than the other recipes. It has a classic Kodak film look, although not exactly like any one in particular. I think it most closely resembles 1960’s era Ektachrome, but it’s not an exact match. Even so, it looks great and is quite versatile. It has a lot of contrast, just vibrant enough colors and a warm tone.

Classic Chrome
Dynamic Range: DR-Auto
Highlight: +1 (0 sometimes in high-contrast situations)
Shadow: +2
Color: +1
Noise Reduction: -2
Sharpening: -1
White Balance: Auto, +3 Red & -4 Blue

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Kids At The Lake – East Canyon SP, UT – Fujifilm XF10

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Bolsey 100 – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm XF10

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Terminal Windows – SLC, UT – Fujifilm XF10

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Flag On A Pole – Layton, UT – Fujifilm XF10

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FED 5c Window – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm XF10

Velvia

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Vibrant Bloom – Riverdale, UT – Fujifilm XF10

Velvia was one of my favorite films. It produced incredibly vibrant colors. Apparently Fujifilm didn’t intend to make such a wild film, it was more of an accident than anything else, but it quickly become the standard film for color landscape photography. Something interesting that I recently learned is one of the people who helped develop Velvia for Fujifilm also helped develop the Velvia Film Simulation. The film simulation isn’t a 100% match to Velvia 50, but perhaps closer to Velvia 100F. My recipe is intended to produce a look that is closer to Velvia 50.

Velvia
Dynamic Range: DR-Auto
Highlight: 0 (+1 in low-contrast situations, -1 in high-contrast situations)
Shadow: +1
Color: +2
Noise Reduction: -2
Sharpening: -1
White Balance: Auto, +1 Red & -3 Blue

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Historic Dragon – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm XF10

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Scattering of Red – Fruit Heights, UT – Fujifilm XF10

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Sunlight Through The Forest – Bountiful, UT – Fujifilm XF10

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Green Leaves – Layton, UT – Fujifilm XF10

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Yellow Amid Red – Riverdale, UT – Fujifilm XF10

Monochrome

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Shy Horse – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm XF10

The XF10 lacks Fujifilm’s greatest film simulation: Acros. Instead it has the old Monochrome option, which is alright but not nearly as good as Acros. Despite this, it is possible to get nice black-and-white camera-made JPEGs from the XF10. There are four different options, and to understand what each does one must understand what different colored filters do to black-and-white film, as +Y simulates using a yellow filter, +R simulates a red filter and +G simulates a green filter. If you know how to use color filters on black-and-white film then you know when to pick which option on the XF10.

Monochrome (Monochrome+Y, Monochrome+R, Monochrome+G)
Dynamic Range: DR-Auto
Highlight: +1 (+2 in low-contrast situations)
Shadow: +2 (+1 in high-contrast situations)
Noise Reduction: -2
Sharpening: -1

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Wishes Waiting – Fruit Heights, UT – Fujifilm XF10

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Plastic Fingers – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm XF10

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Hat Abstract – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm XF10

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Dream – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm XF10

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Tilted Pier – East Canyon SP, UT – Fujifilm XF10

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[Not] My Fujifilm X-Pro2 Tri-X Push-Process Film Simulation Recipe


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Hail Storm – Kaysville, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 “Tri-X Push Process”

Fuji X Weekly reader Luis Costa shared on his website, Lifeunintended.com, a brilliant black-and-white film simulation recipe for Fujifilm X-Trans III cameras. I’ll get into why it’s genius in a moment, but I wanted to give Luis a big “thank you” for coming up with these settings and sharing them. I strongly encourage you to visit his site and check out his photography and articles, as it’s worth your time to do so.

For most of the 20 years that I’ve been making pictures, one rule of thumb has been to keep the ISO as low as you can get away with. A big reason for this is that high-ISO film typically wasn’t very good. In fact, my favorite choice for high-ISO photography was Ilford Delta 400, and if I needed something higher than ISO 400 I might push that film a stop or two. So, if I really needed to, I’d go as high as ISO 1600. I did shoot Delta 3200 once and found it barely usable. Usually ISO 800 was my limit. Most often I was shooting between ISO 50 and ISO 100.

I was a little late to the digital photography game. Even so, my first digital camera, a Pentax DSLR, didn’t look great at ISO 1600 except for “grainy” black-and-white pictures. At one time I used a Sigma Merrill camera that even ISO 400 was pushing it. The crazy high ISOs that are common today are a recent development. Now ISO 3200 doesn’t seem all that high, and many people use it freely without thinking twice about it. It’s really quite amazing!

I have found on X-Trans III cameras, such as the Fujifilm X-Pro2, that ISO 12800 is the upper limit, and it’s better for black-and-white than color. Even so, I stopped using ISO 12800 and made ISO 6400 my upper Auto-ISO limit some months ago just because I felt that ISO 6400 was a better top ISO for color photographs and I didn’t want to bother changing the ISO depending on if I was shooting color or black-and-white. Besides, ISO 6400 is plenty high for almost any situation. As it turns out, that wasn’t the greatest idea I’ve ever had, and I’ll explain why.

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Shutter Speed – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 “Tri-X Push Process”

Luis made a film simulation recipe that requires the ISO to be high. In fact, he uses ISO 12800, and only moves the ISO down when he has to because there is too much light. In case you didn’t catch that, he purposely chooses ISO 12800 because of how it looks. This is a radical move! It works because of the genius of the Acros film simulation. You see, Fujifilm designed Acros to have a built-in grain effect that automatically increases the graininess of the photograph as the ISO increases. At and near ISO 12800 the grain looks absolutely beautiful, and his recipe takes full advantage of that.

The film simulation recipe that Luis invented produces results that resemble Kodak Tri-X 400 film that’s been pushed one or perhaps one-and-a-half stops, and I would add using Agfa Rodinal. The grain pattern and structure isn’t a 100% match, but for straight-out-of-camera results, it’s pretty darn convincing. I’ve only been using it for a week, but it has already become one of my favorites! It’s better than my Acros Push-Process recipe that I use frequently, and I like that one a lot, too.

The one thing that I do different than Luis is I set Auto-ISO to be between ISO 3200 and 12800, with the minimum shutter speed 1/500. I find that ISO 3200 is the lowest ISO that still gives an acceptably grainy result (but the results are better when the ISO is higher). Using 1/500 as the minimum shutter speed forces the camera to use a higher ISO except for when there is a lot of light. Initially I tried a lower shutter speed, but it wasn’t pushing the ISO up enough, so I found 1/500 to be better. Now the camera will often choose an ISO of 6400 or higher, which is where this recipe shines.

Acros (Acros+Y, Acros+R, Acros+G)
Dynamic Range: DR200
Highlight: +3
Shadow: +4
Noise Reduction: -4
Sharpening: -1
Grain Effect: Off
ISO: Auto between 3200 & 12800
Exposure Compensation: +1/3 to +2/3 (typically) 

Example photographs, all straight-out-of-camera JPEGs made using [Not] My Fujifilm X-Pro2 Tri-X Push-Process Film Simulation recipe:

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Camera Shutter Dial – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 “Tri-X Push Process”

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Aperture – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 “Tri-X Push Process”

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35mm Film Rolls – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 “Tri-X Push Process”

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Strange Plant – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 “Tri-X Push Process”

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Chair Stripes – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 “Tri-X Push Process”

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Canadian – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm “Tri-X Push-Process”

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Storm Building Over Wasatch Ridge – South Weber, UT – Fuji X-Pro2 “Tri-X Push Process”

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Writing Lessons – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 “Tri-X Push-Process”

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Learning The Letter S – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 “Tri-X Push Process”

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Joshua Bowling – Kaysville, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 “Tri-X Push Process”

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Watching The Rainfall – Kaysville, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 “Tri-X Push Process”

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Boy On A Rocking Chair – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 “Tri-X Push-Process”

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Cracker Barrel Checkers – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 “Tri-X Push Process”

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Deer On The Wall – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 “Tri-X Push Process”

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Reverends – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 “Tri-X Push Process”

See also:
My Fujifilm X-Pro2 Kodachrome II Film Simulation Recipe
My Fujifilm X-Pro2 Vintage Agfacolor Film Simulation Recipe
My Fujifilm X100F Film Simulation Settings

Help Fuji X Weekly

Nobody pays me to write the content found on fujixweekly.com. There's a real cost to operating and maintaining this site, not to mention all the time that I pour into it. If you appreciated this article, please consider making a one-time gift contribution. Thank you!

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My Fujifilm X-Pro2 Kodachrome II Film Simulation Recipe


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Drummond Ranch – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm “Kodachrome II”

I was asked by a couple different Fuji X Weekly readers if I could create some film simulation recipes that mimic the look of renown photographers Ernst Haas, Luigi Ghirri and William Eggleston, each of which are known for their unique style. As I was contemplating how to go about this, I learned that all three of them used Kodachrome film. Although none of them used Kodachrome exclusively, they all used it extensively at one time. If I could make a Kodachrome recipe, I would have something that covers Haas, Ghirri and Eggleston. To copy their look using this recipe, simply find color and light in the same manor as those famous photographers did (easy, right?).

You might be thinking, doesn’t Classic Chrome already look like Kodachrome? No, it actually resembles Ektachrome more than Kodachrome, but it is a good starting point since it has a general Kodak aesthetic. What about the Kodachrome recipe I already made? Actually, that mimics an earlier version of the film, which has a little different look than what I was going for here. You could use that, as I’m certain that some of Haas’ early color work was shot on that era of Kodachrome. Primarily, the Kodachrome that Haas, Ghirri and Eggleston used was Kodachrome II and Kodachrome-X.

In 1961 Kodak replaced the original Kodachrome with a new and improved version called Kodachrome II and a higher-ISO sibling called Kodachrome-X. These films had more accurate color, finer grain and faster ISOs (ISO 25 and 64, respectively, compared to ISO 10 of the original) than the previous version. It was a big leap forward for color photography, and so it is no surprise that the innovators of color photography in the 1960’s and 1970’s relied heavily on it. It’s also the version that Paul Simon sang, “They give us the greens of summer, makes you think all the world’s a sunny day.”

Kodachrome II and Kodachrome-X produced a very similar look to each other. The main differences were in grain, contrast and saturation, but overall the variations were quite minor. Kodachrome-X was slightly more bold while Kodachrome II was slightly more clean. Even so, comparing slides, it’s tough to distinguish one from the other (conveniently, I have my grandparents old slides at my home). Even though I have named this film simulation recipe “Kodachrome II” I think it more closely resembles Kodachrome-X, but I find it to be a reasonable match for both.

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Chair Shadow – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm “Kodachrome II”

Because of the toxic chemicals used in the development of this era of Kodachrome, plus the complexity of the process, Kodak changed from K-12 development to K-14 development, which ushered in new Kodachrome in 1974, called Kodachrome 25 and Kodachrome 64. This version of the film is the one that I have personally used. Interestingly enough, even though this version wasn’t all that much aesthetically different than the previous, there was a big outcry among photographers, and a large group who used Kodachrome II and Kodachrome-X did not appreciate the change.

I believe that Haas, Ghirri and Eggleston continued to use Kodachrome even beyond 1974 when the new version came out, but it seems they used it less extensively, especially Eggleston, who became known for his work with color negatives. Still, each of these three photographers captured some of their most recognizable images on the second era of Kodachrome. And that’s the look that the film simulation recipe below is based on.

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

Example photos, all straight-out-of-camera JPEGs captured using my Fujifilm X-Pro2 Kodachrome II Film Simulation recipe:

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Roof & Sky – Wichita, KS – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm “Kodachrome II”

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Small Green Hill – McAlester, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm “Kodachrome II”

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Ranch View – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm “Kodachrome II”

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Foal Shy – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm “Kodachrome II”

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Blackberry Lemonade – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm “Kodachrome II”

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From Dust To Dust – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm “Kodachrome II”

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McDiner – Taos, NM – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm “Kodachrome II”

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McTaos – Taos, NM – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm “Kodachrome II”

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Pawhuska Reflection – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm “Kodachrome II”

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Open Window Reflection – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm “Kodachrome II”

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Kitchen Flowers – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm “Kodachrome II”

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White Water Lily – Princeton, TX – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm “Kodachrome II”

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Park Boys – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm “Kodachrome II”

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Rural Sunset – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm “Kodachrome II”

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Weed At Sunset – Montrose, CO – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm “Kodachrome II”

See also: My Fujifilm X-Pro2 Vintage Agfacolor Film Simulation Recipe

Help Fuji X Weekly

Nobody pays me to write the content found on fujixweekly.com. There's a real cost to operating and maintaining this site, not to mention all the time that I pour into it. If you appreciated this article, please consider making a one-time gift contribution. Thank you!

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My Fujifilm X100F Agfa Scala Film Simulation Recipe


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Kitchen – Waco, TX – Fujifilm X100F “Agfa Scala”

I love the Acros film simulation that Fujifilm included in their X-Trans III cameras. It’s the closest thing to actual film that I have ever found in a digital camera. I made two different Acros recipes for my X100F: original recipe and Extra Crispy Push-Process. I love both; however, I find myself using Acros Push-Process more than my “standard” settings just because it’s more dramatic. I will sometimes adjust each recipe to taste, depending on the situation.

What’s interesting about black-and-white film photography is that all the different film options look fairly similar, yet people have their one or two film stocks that they absolutely love. The differences in contrast, dynamic range and grain aren’t typically wildly different. Black-and-white films are more alike than not alike, but there are indeed differences, sometimes very subtle, sometimes quite noticeable. What is more unique to each film is what can be done in the lab, as each film will respond to different development techniques differently. There’s a lot that can be done in the darkroom to set apart the films from each other. In fact, one film stock could have many different looks, depending on what exactly you do with it.

This film simulation recipe was made by just messing around with the settings. I found something that I liked so I shot with it for awhile. The more I used it the more I liked it. As I was shooting with it, I kept having this feeling that it resembled some film that I’d used before, but I couldn’t put my finger on exactly which one. After a few weeks I finally figured it out: these settings produce results similar to Agfa Scala.

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Taos Tourist – Taos, NM – Fujifilm X100F “Agfa Scala”

Agfa Scala was a black-and-white slide film. It was unusual in that it was a reversal film and not a negative film. Most black-and-white films are negatives, and most reversal films are color. If you shot a lot of slides, this was an intriguing choice. I used it a number of times. The last roll of Scala that I shot couldn’t be developed as it required a special process that had been discontinued (it’s my understanding that there is a lab in Denver that can now develop Scala). There were people who really loved Scala, and there were people who really did not, mostly because it wasn’t a negative film. Since it was a slide, there wasn’t a whole lot one could do to manipulate the look it produced.

It was quite by accident that I created an Agfa Scala film simulation for my Fujifilm X100F. I’m glad that I stumbled upon it, because it produces excellent results. Interestingly enough, it only looks subtly different than my original Acros recipe, and I think that real Acros and real Scala also produce similar results, and the small differences are, to an extent, accurately replicated in the two recipes. It was a happy accident, and sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.

Acros (Acros+Y, Acros+R, Acros+G)
Dynamic Range: DR100
Highlight: +4
Shadow: 0
Noise Reduction: -3
Sharpening: 0
Grain Effect: Weak
ISO: Auto up to ISO 6400
Exposure Compensation: -1/3 to +1/3 (typically)

Example photos, all straight-out-of-camera JPEGs captured using my Fujifilm X100F Agfa Scala Film Simulation recipe:

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Two Towers – Dallas, TX – Fujifilm X100F “Agfa Scala”

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Santuario de Guadalupe – Santa Fe, NM – Fujifilm X100F “Agfa Scala”

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Cafe Flowers – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X100F “Agfa Scala”

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Monochrome Silos – Waco, TX – Fujifilm X100F “Agfa Scala”

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Storm Shelter – McKinney, TX – Fujifilm X100F “Agfa Scala”

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Truck Stop – Bowie, TX – Fujifilm X100F “Agfa Scala”

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Ex Lover – Amarillo, TX – Fujifilm X100F “Agfa Scala”

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Semi & Dinosaur – Santa Rosa, NM – Fujifilm X100F “Agfa Scala”

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Grain Hoppers – Westlake, TX – Fujifilm X100F “Agfa Scala”

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BNSF Alliance Yard – Haslet, TX – Fujifilm X100F “Agfa Scala”

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Kitchen Camera – Waco, TX – Fujifilm X100F “Agfa Scala”

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Apples To Apples – Haslet, TX – Fujifilm X100F “Agfa Scala”

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Forgotten Sandals – Princeton, TX – Fujifilm X100F “Agfa Scala”

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Flower In The Pond – Princeton, TX – Fujifilm X100F “Agfa Scala”

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Apple Tree Fence – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Agfa Scala”

Help Fuji X Weekly

Nobody pays me to write the content found on fujixweekly.com. There's a real cost to operating and maintaining this site, not to mention all the time that I pour into it. If you appreciated this article, please consider making a one-time gift contribution. Thank you!

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My Fujifilm X-Pro2 Vintage Agfacolor Film Simulation Recipe


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Always Moving Ahead – Rawlins, WY – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Meike 35mm

I stumbled across a new film simulation recipe while travelling through Wyoming last month. I saw this peculiar classic car parked in front of a gas station with an old radio station in the background, and an analog-film-esque photograph seemed most appropriate for the scene. Normally I’d go with my Vintage Kodachrome recipe, but I decided to play around with the setting and came up with something new.

At first these settings, which I’m calling Vintage Agfacolor, reminded me of Autochrome, an early color film from France. But after using the recipe for a few images, I decided that it more resembles 1950’s Agfachrome. It’s not exactly Agfachrome, but it definitely produces a vintage Agfacolor look.

While never as popular as Kodak, Agfa produced many great films (and other photography products) for still pictures and cinematography back in the good ol’ days. I used a few of their products, including paper for my black-and-white pictures. I liked Agfa, and it’s too bad that they don’t make film anymore.

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Purple Weed Bloom – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Fujinon 60mm

While the title says “X-Pro2,” this film simulation recipe can be used by all X-Trans III cameras. I have it saved on my X-Pro2, and I’ll likely plug it into my X100F at some point in the near future. All of my film simulations are interchangeable between the latest generation of Fujifilm cameras.

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

Example photos, all camera-made JPEGs using my Fujifilm X-Pro2 Vintage Agfacolor Film Simulation recipe:

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Johanna In A Swing – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Fujinon 60mm

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Scout – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 7artisans 25mm

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Handbag Abstract – South Weber, Utah – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Fujinon 60mm

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Clouds Over Mountain Green – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Fujinon 60mm

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Winnie The Pooh – Riverdale, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Fujinon 60mm

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Red Handles – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Fujinon 60mm

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Left Behind Lunch – SLC, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Fujinon 16mm

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City Sun – SLC, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Fujinon 16mm

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Airport Walkway – SLC, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Fujinon 16mm

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Window Waiting – SLC, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Fujinon 16mm

See also: My Fujifilm X-Pro2 Dramatic Classic Chrome Film Simulation Recipe

Help Fuji X Weekly

Nobody pays me to write the content found on fujixweekly.com. There's a real cost to operating and maintaining this site, not to mention all the time that I pour into it. If you appreciated this article, please consider making a one-time gift contribution. Thank you!

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My Fujifilm X100F Kodak Ektar 100 Film Simulation Recipe


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Peach City Drive-In – Brigham City, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Ektar 100”

When Fuji X Weekly reader Jackie asked if I could make a film simulation recipe that mimics the look of Kodak Ektar 100 film, I thought that it would be a simple task. Classic Chrome is halfway there already, providing a Kodak-esque look right out of the bag. But, as it turns out, creating an Ektar look wasn’t easy for one reason: Classic Chrome isn’t vibrant enough, even with color set to +4. Velvia was my next choice, but I couldn’t make it work. It turns out Astia is the key.

Before I get ahead of myself too much, let’s roll things back a little. Ektar is a color negative film made by Kodak. It’s known for vibrant colors, high contrast and fine grain, and, even though it is a negative film, it is more like reversal (slide) film. I would say that, while the results aren’t 100% identical, there are a lot of similarities between Ektar 100 and Ektachrome 100VS. In fact, when Kodak discontinued Ektachrome 100VS, they recommended Ektar 100 as the closest film.

Ektar is ideal for vibrant landscapes or any situation where you want lots of contrast and saturated colors. It’s not usually one’s first choice for portrait photography because skin tones can be off. Some people use it extensively for portraits, but the general advice is to use Ektar for everything other than people pictures. I’ve shot a few rolls of it in the past, but it’s been probably seven or eight years.

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Summer Boy – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Ektar 100”

I’m actually a little hesitant to call this film simulation recipe Kodak Ektar 100 because it’s not quite right. It’s close, but a little off. The color palette is slightly askew. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get it any closer to being right. I do feel that, if you like Ektar 100 film, you’ll like this film simulation recipe, even though it’s not an exact match.

One thing about this recipe that I’d like to mention is, while I have Dynamic Range set to Auto, almost always the camera selected DR100. If you don’t want to use DR-Auto, set it to DR100 instead and you’ll get the same results. Also, I did not use the faux grain effect for this recipe. I think you could use weak grain if the ISO is 800 or less, but once you get to ISO 1600 and higher the digital noise acts like a convincing weak grain, and adding more grain on top of it is too much. So I elected to set grain to off, but you might consider using weak grain, particularly at the lower ISOs.

Astia
Dynamic Range: DR-Auto

Highlight: +1
Shadow: +3
Color: +4
Noise Reduction: -3

Sharpening: +1
Grain Effect: Off
White Balance: Auto, +3 Red & -2 Blue
ISO: Auto up to ISO 6400
Exposure Compensation: 0 to +1/3 (typically)

Example photos, all straight-out-of-camera JPEGs captured using my Kodak Ektar 100 Film Simulation recipe:

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Ice Cream Sandwiches – Brigham City, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Ektar 100”

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Open Fountain – Brigham City, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Ektar 100”

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Peach City Fun – Brigham City, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Ektar 100”

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Sunlit Sisters – Brigham City, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Ektar 100”

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Happy & Sad – Brigham City, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Ektar 100”

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Splash Time – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Ektar 100”

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Summer Wildflower Blossom – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Ektar 100”

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Birds In The Window – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Ektar 100”

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Crates & Dollies – Brigham City, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Ektar 100”

See also:
My Fujifilm X100F Kodak Porta 400 Film Simulation Recipe
My Fujifilm X100F CineStill 800T Film Simulation Recipe
My Fujifilm X100F Fujicolor Superia 800 Film Simulation Recipe
My Fujifilm X100F Vintage Kodachrome Film Simulation Recipe

Help Fuji X Weekly

Nobody pays me to write the content found on fujixweekly.com. There's a real cost to operating and maintaining this site, not to mention all the time that I pour into it. If you appreciated this article, please consider making a one-time gift contribution. Thank you!

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My Fujifilm X100F Kodak Portra 400 Film Simulation Recipe


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Jump – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F – “Portra 400”

Fuji X Weekly reader Luis Costa asked me if I could create a Kodak Portra 400 film simulation recipe for the Fujifilm X100F. I liked the idea and thought it would be a fun challenge, so I agreed. What I didn’t realize is that challenge was the keyword, as this was extremely difficult to figure out. I gave up a couple of times, but then some inspiration pushed me forward, and eventually I got it right. Or, at least, very close to right.

Portra 400 is a daylight balanced color negative film made by Kodak. There have been four different versions made since it was introduced in 1998: the original film (1998-2000), 400NC and 400VC (2000-2011), and the current version (2011 to present). I’ve used Portra 400NC (“neutral color”) and 400VC (“vivid color”) in the past, but I’ve not shot on Portra film for at least a decade, and I’ve never used the current one. There isn’t a huge difference between the different Portra 400 films, but there are small distinctions as they each have a slightly varied look.

As the name implies, this film is designed for portraits, and has a warm tint in order to enhance skin tones. Being daylight balanced means if you use it on a cloudy day, indoors, under artificial light, etc., it will look different. It’s designed for use in daylight, and using it in other circumstances will skew the white balance (which could be good or bad, depending on the image).

White balance became both the key to this film simulation recipe and the problem. I first tried auto-white-balance (with a white balance shift of +2 Red and -5 Blue), and I got good results a few times and not good results a bunch of times. Next I set it to Daylight (using the same shift) but it wasn’t quite right. Then I tried setting the Kelvin value, starting with 5600K, but couldn’t find one that was correct. Finally, I used Custom White Balance, but it took seven or eight different measurements before I got it right. I did get it right, though.

The measurement that worked was out the back door of my house midday, slightly back-lit, partly cloudy with a lot of green in the scene. Interestingly enough, once I got it right I then tried to get the same custom white balance on my X-Pro2, but it measured slightly different. My suggestion is to use auto-white-balance, and once you capture an image that looks right, use custom white balance to make a measurement of the scene and set it. I think that should work, anyway. Otherwise, just keep trying to get the custom white balance right by taking different measurements until you find one that looks good.

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Hello Summer – S. Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F – “Portra 400”

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Edited using RNI Films app, Kodak Portra 400 preset.

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Country Red – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F – “Portra 400”

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Edited using RNI Films app, Kodak Portra 400 preset.

Nailing down an exact Portra 400 look is tricky business because it depends on which version of Portra 400 film you are talking about, plus whether it was scanned (and which scanner) or printed (and which chemicals and paper). To verify that I was close, I put a couple of images through the RNI Films app on my phone using their Portra 400 preset, and compared it to my Portra 400 film simulation recipe. It was very close, but who knows how accurate their Portra preset is and what exactly it is supposed to be simulating (which film version and process). It was good verification that my recipe is at least in the ballpark, as I’m sure their preset is in the ballpark. I also examined images captured with actual Portra 400 film. I don’t think any film simulation is going to be an exact match because there are too many variables, but I think it’s perfectly alright to not be 100% spot on, as long as it gives the right impression, and this recipe does just that.

There are a few of the settings that I’ve debated, going back-and-forth over what’s most accurate. I think that the white balance shift gives the right color cast, but perhaps a bit too strongly. I’ve tried changing it, but, to me, this is what looks most correct. I’ve tried the shadows at +3 but think +2 is better. I’m still not completely convinced that highlights should be at -1 as sometimes 0 looks better, but more often -1 looks right to me. Sometimes I think that color should be at -2 and not -3, but -2 almost looks too saturated. There is certainly room to play around with the settings if one doesn’t completely agree with what I’ve chosen.

The most difficult part of my Kodak Portra 400 Film Simulation recipe will be getting the white balance correct. I didn’t find an easy way to achieve it. It’s going to take trial-and-error. With any luck you’ll get it on the first try. There are three custom white balance settings, and you can make three different ones and see which gives the best results. Just remember that Portra is a daylight balanced film, so measuring a daylight scene will give you a better chance of getting it right.

Here’s the recipe:

Classic Chrome
Dynamic Range: DR400
Highlight: -1
Shadow: +2
Color: -2
Noise Reduction: -3
Sharpening: +1
Grain: Strong
White Balance: Custom, +2 Red & -5 Blue
ISO: Auto up to ISO 6400
Exposure Compensation: +1 to +1-1/3 (typically)

The photographs labelled “Portra 400” (which are all of them except for the two RNI Films examples) are straight-out-of-camera JPEGs. I did slightly crop a couple of them, but no other adjustments were made, just minor cropping.

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Greens of Summer – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F – “Portra 400”

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Summer Wildflower – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F – “Portra 400”

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Tiny Bugs On A Rosebud – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F – “Portra 400”

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Bloom Alone – S. Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F – “Portra 400”

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A Coffee Cup – S. Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F – “Portra 400”

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Obligatory Cat Pic – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F – “Portra 400”

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Hanging Prints – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F – “Portra 400”

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Window Box – S. Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F – “Portra 400”

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Bottle Vase – S. Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F – “Portra 400”

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Ground Coffee Beans – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F – “Portra 400”

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May Clouds Over Wasatch – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X100F – “Portra 400”

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Window Clouds – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X100F – “Portra 400”

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Standing Tall – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F – “Portra 400”

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Tonka – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F – “Portra 400”

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Bike Repair – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F – “Portra 400”

Click here for my complete list of Fujifilm X100F film simulation recipes!

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