Fujifilm X-Trans IV Film Simulation Recipe: Low Key

Cactus Spiderweb – Goodyear, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Low Key”

Fujifilm cameras have a feature in Advanced Filter Settings called “Low Key” that I recently discovered is based on the Provia film simulation, and can be mimicked. While this “Low Key” setting can produce nice-looking images, I felt that it could be better, so I set out to create a Film Simulation Recipe to serve as an alternative to it, with an aesthetic that I appreciate a little more. Specifically, I wanted a recipe based on the Classic Negative film simulation instead of Provia because I like Classic Negative better. My “Bright Kodak” recipe is an alternative to the “High Key” feature found in the Advanced Filter Settings.

Low Key photography is purposefully underexposing for a darker image. It works well when the subject is brightly lit, and the rest of the frame isn’t, so the image is predominately dark, and the brightly lit subject stands out in the otherwise dim frame. I hope this explanation makes sense. This “Low Key” Film Simulation Recipe and the Low Key feature in the Advanced Filter Settings work similarly, and produce nice results when used in the correct situations. While not for everyday use, some of you will certainly appreciate this recipe for when the light is right. I did not model this recipe after any specific emulsion.

Petersen’s Ice Cream – Gilbert, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Low Key”

This “Low Key” Film Simulation Recipe is fully compatible with newer X-Trans IV cameras: Fujifilm X-Pro3, X100V, X-T4, X-S10, X-E4, & X-T30 II. Because it uses Classic Negative, Color Chrome FX Blue, and Clarity, it is not compatible with the X-T3 and X-T30. Those with newer GFX cameras can likely use it, too, although results will be slightly different.

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

Example photographs, all camera-made JPEGs using this “Low Key” Film Simulation Recipe on my Fujifilm X-E4:

Cactus & Palm Shadow – Goodyear, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4
Very Tiny Flowers – Goodyear, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4
Green Cactus Pads – Goodyear, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4
Spiky – Goodyear, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4
Blue Sky Cacti – Goodyear, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4
Bougainvillea Sky – Goodyear, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4
Light Bulb Evening – Gilbert, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4
Lit Leaves – Gilbert, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4
Cinderblock Wall Girl – Gilbert, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4
oyride – Gilbert, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4
The Queen’s – Gilbert, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4

Low Key Film Simulation Recipe vs. Low Key Advanced Filter Setting

Low Key Film Simulation Recipe
Low Key Advanced Filter Setting

This post contains affiliate links, and if you make a purchase using my links I’ll be compensated a small amount for it.

Fujifilm X-E4 Black    Amazon   B&H
Fujifilm X-E4 Silver   Amazon   B&H

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Fujifilm Used My Photo!

Did you see this? Fujifilm used one of my pictures!

They, of course, received my permission first. And, yes, that means I have spoken with Fujifilm, and they know that this website exists. I’m not sponsored by them or have any official association—I’m not an X-Photographer, for example. It’s good to know that they know what’s being published on Fuji X Weekly, because this audience is filled with their best customers. I published an article, Shrinking Camera Market: What Fujifilm Should Do In 2021 & Beyond, which contained what I feel is solid advice, but the best suggestions are from you all, found in the comments section. I hope Fujifilm read it, and there’s a chance they might have. I want your voice to be heard.

Back to the picture!

Duskflower – Bountiful, UT – Fujifilm X100V

The image that Fujifilm used, which is the picture above, is from my article, Fujifilm X100V Hack: Turn Daylight Into Blue Hour. It was captured during the day and not during dusk or dawn like it appears to have been. Read my article if you want to know how I did it. The Fujifilm article, Using Low Key To Create High Drama, is about low-key photography, which is basically an overall dark picture where light is emphasized on only a small part of the frame. In my picture, the flower is where the light is emphasized, and the rest is pretty dark.

It’s cool to see my picture used in an educational piece by Fujifilm. I hope that it inspires you to try low-key photography, or maybe even experiment with flash and white balance. But perhaps, more importantly, it is an indication that Fujifilm is aware of what’s happening on this website, and maybe—just maybe—they’ll be influenced by this community in some way.