Is Fujifilm Losing Its Soul?

After the announcement of the Fujifilm X-H2S, which has a PASM dial instead of the traditional dials of the X-H1, many people asked, “Is Fujifilm losing its soul?” I’ve had a number of Fujifilm photographers tell me that they believe so, and some have inquired if I believe so, too. What’s my opinion? Is Fujifilm indeed losing its soul?

Fujifilm has already lost its soul. It’s done gone. Elvis left the building awhile ago. The design decisions during development of the X-H2S are simply the manifestation of that lost soul.

What was this “soul” that Fujifilm lost? How can a company even have a soul?

A whole book could be written on this topic, but to summarize in a short sentence, Fujifilm’s philosophy for their X-series cameras was analog-inspired innovations with a focus on the photographer’s experience (both while using the camera for photography, and as customers of the brand). This was their soul. That philosophy, which seemed to be clearly understood, is what drove the camera department of the company (remember, Fujifilm’s main business is not photography nowadays). From the design decisions to the Kaizen firmware updates and everything in-between, this philosophy oozed out—it was both obvious and attractive, and is why Fujifilm was suddenly successful, quickly overtaking other brands, including iconic Nikon.

Fujifilm didn’t need to have a photography department at all, but they decided that, even if it was a bust, they’d still fund it and keep it going, because photography had been such an important part of their company’s heritage, and had been an important aspect of Japanese culture. They were merely the caretakers of this thing that was bigger than themselves. That’s how they looked at it, anyway, and it was noticeable and refreshing.

Somewhere along the line, however, Fujifilm began to view this differently. The photography division needed to be built bigger. It must grow. It must become more profitable. It must gain more marketshare. It must become as big as—or bigger than—Canon and Sony. I think there are actually two competing sides within Fujifilm (and maybe this battle has been taking place for awhile now): one is profit-first driven, and the other is nurture-first driven. The side I would like to see win is the latter, but the side that seems to be winning is the former.

Where this lost-soul has most obviously manifested itself is Kaizen, or the lack of it. This is a word that I hadn’t heard of until I owned a Fujifilm camera. It’s something that attracted a lot of people to the brand. It means continuous improvement—making something better over time, even though it was already purchased. Why? Part of it is duty (what you are supposed to do), and another part of it is that it creates loyalty, because it shows the customer that you care about them, and not just their money. That care will cause the customer to overlook shortcomings, because the caring is more important to them in the whole scheme of things. And long-term loyalty is more valuable to the company than short-term gains. I don’t know the exact timeline of when Fujifilm stopped caring (or, more accurately, began caring less about their customers in favor of caring more about profits), but it seems to be during the development of X-Trans IV. That’s when the profit-first people seemed to first get an upper hand on the nurture-first people. I don’t know for sure, though. What I am confident in is that, as X-Trans V rolls out, the profit-first philosophy is the current mantra of Fujifilm’s photography division—it’s Fujifilm’s current soul, unfortunately.

Am I overreacting? After all, the X-H2S is just one camera, right? There are two points that I’d like to make. First, Fujifilm removed the traditional dials on the X-H line in favor of PASM. For Fujifilm, PASM cameras are intended to attract new customers who are not interested in or are otherwise intimated by the traditional controls of their other X models. They don’t put PASM on cameras that they intend to market to their current customer base. The X-H2S is their top-of-the-line “flagship” model, the first X-Trans V… and it’s not for you. It was never intended for you. Screw you! It’s for them. Those guys with their Sonys and Canons, that’s who it’s for. We give our best to them. Our current customers who have been so loyal over the years will have to be happy with the crumbs that fall from the table. Second, X-Trans V is rolling out, while the X-T3 (their all-time top-selling model) and X-T30 are still on an island, and the X-Pro3 and X100V (premium models) don’t have as good of JPEG features as the X-S10, X-E4, and X-T30 II (mid or lower tier models). That’s shameful, in my opinion. Take care of your current customers first before working so hard to bring in new customers. Fujifilm is making their customer base less loyal, which will only hurt them in the long run. Nurture first.

If you build it, they will come. Fujifilm built it and they came; however, not enough for the profit-first people. They want more, but they’re barking up the wrong tree. Instead of becoming Sony in order to attract current Sony users who are unhappy with their gear (how does this makes sense to anyone?), Fujifilm should double-down on what makes them unique. What’s special about Fujifilm? Analog-inspired innovation and the photographer’s experience—that’s what’s special, or at least it used to be. There’s one other thing that’s unique, and that’s community. Fujifilm didn’t build it—instead it was built around them; however, they have not done nearly enough to embrace it and engage it. In fact, at times they’ve been standoffish to it. That needs to end, because community is Fujifilm’s greatest asset, yet they seem unsure of how to engage it, so they do so halfheartedly and from a “safe” distance.

I didn’t mean to write a negative article. When I sat down at the computer, I had no intention of typing out this post; however, it’s something that has been circling inside my mind for a few weeks now, so I suppose that it was inevitable. I really hope that it doesn’t make you feel angry towards Fujifilm. This article’s aim is to, on the off chance that this is actually read by Fujifilm, inspire reflection and perhaps even change, and secondarily put into words something that maybe you have felt but weren’t sure how to express. Perhaps this is somehow therapeutic. For me it feels good to say, even though it is negative, and I hope that getting it out in the open will somehow produce something positive.

Route 66: Sun n Sand Motel⁠ — Trying Recipes (That Are Not Mine…)

Sun n Sand Motel – Santa Rosa, NM – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Kodak Portra 66”

The possible number of potential Film Simulation Recipes is almost unlimited. For example, on my Fujifilm X-E4, there are 750 different Kelvin White Balance options that could be selected, and 361 unique White Balance Shifts that could be assigned to each of those different Kelvin options, which means that, if all other settings were identical, you could create over 270,000 different recipes just by changing the White Balance and Shift. Granted, many would look extremely similar to others, but they’d be at least a little different. My point is that there can be millions and millions of potential recipes for Fujifilm cameras, particularly the newer cameras which have more JPEG options. I’ve “only” created just under 250 recipes for Fujifilm cameras⁠—I’ve barely scratched the surface!

Some of you have created your own Film Simulation Recipes. A handful of you have even had your recipes included on this website and in the Fuji X Weekly App. I love that you are diving into your camera settings, getting creative, and sharing the results with the community⁠—it’s all so wonderful! I’m very honored to be a part of all this, and to have a front-row seat.

I’ve shared before where you can find many of these Film Simulation Recipes that were created by others (recipes that are not by me), but today I want to point you to some specific ones: “C1 Classic Neg” by Luis Costa (Life, Unintended), “Aged Negative” by Justin Gould (Fuji X Weekly Community Recipes), and “Kodak Portra 66” by Justin Gould (Film.Recipes). Why these ones? They looked particularly interesting to me for the subject that I wanted to use them for.

The photographs in this article were not captured with these recipes, but instead were RAW files reprocessed in-camera to apply the recipes to exposures already captured. I used my Fujifilm X-E4 and Fujinon 27mm lens (originally with my Fujicolor Natura 1600 recipe) to photograph the burnt Sun n Sand motel in Santa Rosa, New Mexico. This hotel first opened along Route 66 in the 1950’s, had major renovations in the late-1990’s, and closed for good in 2013 after a severe storm caused major damaged. Apparently homeless moved in after it closed, and sometime later (although I couldn’t find exactly when) fire damaged much of the property. It seems to be in the process of being demolished, albeit slowly. The Sun n Sand motel has been left in a sad state, and the opportunities to photograph this somewhat-iconic site along The Mother Road are fleeting. I’m glad that I had the opportunity.

C1 Classic Neg by Luis Costa

“Ironically, I think it resembles Slide film much more than Negative film!” ⁠—Luis Costa

Motel Window Reflection – Santa Rosa, NM – Fujifilm X-E4 – “C1 Classic Neg”
Family Units – Santa Rosa, NM – Fujifilm X-E4 – “C1 Classic Neg”
Red Arrow – Santa Rosa, NM – Fujifilm X-E4 – “C1 Classic Neg”

Aged Negative by Justin Gould

“It reminds me of prints I made from 35mm film in the 1980s.”—Justin Gould

Historic Route 66 Motel – Santa Rosa, NM – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Aged Negative”
Burnt Junk in a Bathtub – Santa Rosa, NM – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Aged Negative”
Burnt Door – Santa Rosa, NM – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Aged Negative”

Kodak Portra 66 by Justin Gould

“Some things seem to be made to go together, and in our world of film simulations and recipes, it’s Kodak Portra and fading Americana.” ⁠—Justin Gould

Cheap Desk – Santa Rosa, NM – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Kodak Portra 66”
TV & Chair – Santa Rosa, NM – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Kodak Portra 66”
Oh, Deere! A flat tire – Santa Rosa, NM – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Kodak Portra 66”

If any (or all) of these Film Simulation Recipes look interesting to you, please visit Luis’ and Justin’s websites⁠—they have many more! I haven’t personally used most of them, but there are plenty that look pretty good to me, based off of the sample pictures. I’m sure many of you will appreciate them. If you have the Fuji X Weekly App, tap the circle-with-dots icon at the top-right, and you can manually add these (or any other recipes) into the App, if you want to take them with you on the go. Don’t have the Fuji X Weekly App? Download it for free today!

5 Best Travel Cameras (2022)

It’s summer, and if you can afford to put gas in your car’s tank, you might go on an excursion someplace. If you do, you probably want to take a camera with you—one that’s particularly good for travel—to capture the experience.

What makes a camera good for travel? In my opinion, it has to be small and lightweight, so that there are no issues taking it with you wherever you go—it doesn’t get in the way—yet it has to be able to deliver good image quality, so that when you get back home you can hang a picture you’re proud of on your wall to remember your great adventure.

If you’re not sure which cameras are good for travel, I have five suggestions below. These are just my opinions—if you ask five photographers which cameras they recommend for travel, you might get five very different answers. My perspective is that I prefer simplicity—less is often more—and I don’t like to edit my photographs anymore (instead, I use Film Simulation Recipes), so it has to deliver solid results straight-out-of-camera. If that resonates with you, perhaps take this advice seriously, and if it doesn’t, take all of this with a grain of salt.

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

1. Fujifilm X100V

Fujifilm X100V

The Fujifilm X100V (full review) is my top recommendation for travel photography. It’s my all-time favorite camera, but it’s especially great for travel, as if that’s its intended purpose. The X100V has a fixed 23mm (roughly 35mm full-frame-equivalent) focal-length lens, which is a very useful focal-length. You cannot change the lens (it’s permanently attached), which is a limitation that you have to be willing to embrace. While the X100V is pocketable, it’s only barely so, and more than likely you’ll carry it in a camera bag or around your neck and not in a pocket. If you don’t mind those things, this is the camera for travel photography, and you’ll definitely want to consider buying a Fujifilm X100V.

Fujifilm X100V Black    Amazon   B&H
Fujifilm X100V Silver   Amazon   B&H

Unfortunately, the X100V is nearly impossible to find, and you’re very lucky if you can get your hands on one. As alternatives, consider a used X100F, or even an X100T, which are easier to get ahold of and less expensive. If a used camera doesn’t interest you, perhaps consider the Ricoh GRIIIX, which is probably the X100V’s closest competitor.

Lower Falls – Multnomah Falls, OR – Fujifilm X100V – “Kodachrome 1

2. Fujifilm X-E4

Fujifilm X-E4

The Fujifilm X-E4 (full review) is very similar in size and design to the X100V, yet it’s an interchangeable-lens camera, which makes it more versatile. It’s a minimalistic model, and pairs especially well with the Fujinon 27mm pancake lens. If the X100V’s fixed-lens won’t work for you, the X-E4 might be the right alternative. This camera doesn’t have quite as many buttons, switches, and knobs as other Fujifilm cameras, which you might prefer or you might not appreciate, so keep that in mind. This is currently my most-used camera, travel or otherwise.

Fujifilm X-E4 Black    Amazon   B&H
Fujifilm X-E4 Silver   Amazon   B&H
Fujifilm X-E4 Black + 27mm f/2.8    Amazon   B&H
Fujifilm X-E4 Silver + 27mm f/2.8   Amazon   B&H

Like the X100V, the Fujifilm X-E4 can be very difficult to find. As alternatives, consider a used X-E3, or even an X-E2, which are easier to get ahold of and are less expensive. If a used camera doesn’t interest you, perhaps consider the slightly larger X-T30 II.

Ozark – Hot Springs, AR – Fujifilm X-E4 + Fujinon 27mm – “Magenta Negative

3. Ricoh GRIII

Ricoh GRIII

What’s great about the Ricoh GRIII is that it’s very small and pocketable, yet it delivers excellent image quality similar to bigger cameras. Oh, and like Fujifilm, I have JPEG recipes for it, too! If the X100V and X-E4 are too big, this is a must-try option—even if you own those Fujifilm models, you might consider adding this one, too, to take with you on your adventures. The GRIII has a fixed 18.3mm (28mm full-frame-equivalent) lens, which is a good wide-angle focal-length, but it also means you need to be close to the subject, which can be a challenge.

Ricoh GRIII    Amazon   B&H

If the Ricoh GRIII is too expensive, as alternatives you might consider a used Ricoh GRII, Ricoh GR, Fujifilm X70, or Fujifilm XF10.

Shop & Save – Fillmore, UT – Ricoh GRIII – “Americana Color

4. Instax Neo Classic Mini 90

Instax Neo Classic Mini 90

If you are looking for something different, the Fujifilm Instax Neo Classic Mini 90 is one to consider. Really, any Instax camera will do, as they’re a lot of fun, and you get rewarded with an immediate print. I only suggest this particular model because I own it and have experience with it. Of all the cameras recommended in this article, this is the largest, which means it is the least travel-friendly, but instant film photography brings so much joy, and is especially great if you have kids, so it might be worthwhile anyway.

Fujifilm Instax Neo Classic Mini 90    Amazon   B&H

If lugging around an Instax camera is just too much, as an alternative consider an Instax Mini Link Printer instead, which might actually be better than using an actual Instax camera.

Instax Mini picture captured at Goosenecks SP, Utah.

5. iPhone (or any cellphone)

iPhone 11 + Moment 58mm

Of course, the best camera is the one that’s available to you in the moment when you need it, and sometimes that’s your cellphone. I have an iPhone 11, which does the trick well enough. I also have my very own iPhone camera app, called RitchieCam—if you have an iPhone, download it from the Apple App Store today! If you don’t have an iPhone, I’m sure whichever make and model you do own is plenty good enough (although you can only use RitchieCam on an iPhone). I don’t recommend using only your cellphone for photography when you travel (although I’m sure many people do), but it’s a decent tool to supplement your other cameras while traveling, especially during those times when it’s what you have available to you in the moment you need a camera.

What alternative can I suggest to your cellphone? There’s a line in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, where this photographer, Sean O’Connell, is in the Himalayas in Afghanistan waiting with his camera for a snow leopard to appear. When the cat finally shows itself, Sean O’Connell doesn’t do anything with his camera, so Walter Mitty asks, “When are you going to take it?” The photographer replies, “Sometimes I don’t. If I like a moment, for me, personally, I don’t like to have the distraction of the camera. I just want to stay in it.”

Natural Bridge Arch – Bryce Canyon NP, UT – iPhone 11 + RitchieCam + “Standard Film”

Review: Moment Tele 58mm Cellphone Lens

This review of the Moment Tele 58mm cellphone lens is long overdue. When I started developing the RitchieCam iPhone camera app about a year ago, I figured it would be a good idea to get some external lenses for my iPhone 11, which would come in handy when needing to capture the example pictures. While there are a number of companies that offer lenses that can be attached to your cellphone, the Moment offerings stood out to me as the “better” option, so that’s what I chose.

To use Moment’s lenses, you must also use their phone case, because that’s how the lenses mount to your phone. They have a case for many phone makes and models, so there’s a good chance there’s one available for your device. The case is good quality, and has survived nearly a year of heavy use and abuse. I cannot tell you how many times that I’ve dropped my phone and thought it was done for, yet it survived unscathed, without even a scratch! While I’m sure there are cases that offer more protection, I’m pretty darn impressed with how good the Moment case has been.

One cool thing about the Moment case is that it has the “MagSafe” stuff built-in. I have this tripod-mount accessory that attaches to the case (via magnetism), which has come in handy a number of times. It’s a really good method to mount your cellphone to a tripod, if that’s something you do. There are a number of other accessories that you can buy that also use magnets to attach to your case, but the only one that I personally have used is that tripod accessory.

I had never used an external lens before with a cellphone, so I was definitely a novice when I started—I didn’t really realize how it all worked. On my iPhone 11 case, the lens mounts only over the main camera. The iPhone 11 has two rear facing cameras: 1x (26mm full-frame-equivalent) and 0.5x (13mm full-frame-equivalent). The Moment lenses cannot mount over the 13mm lens, only over the 26mm lens.

I have two Moment lenses: 18mm and 58mm. The Moment lenses are actually “conversion” lenses, and the millimeter numbers don’t actually mean anything. The 18mm is a 0.5x wide conversion lens, and the 58mm is a 2x tele conversion lens. Using the 18mm lens on the 26mm camera actually makes it 13mm, which is the same focal length of the second camera. In other words, the 18mm lens is pointless for the iPhone 11; however, I’m sure it makes sense for other cellphones. The 58mm lens makes the main camera 52mm, which is a very useful focal-length. The focal-length that these lenses will be on your cellphone depends on the focal-length of the cameras on your cellphone (either times by .5 for the 18mm lens or times by 2 for the 58mm lens). Clear as mud? I think if Moment had simply called the one lens 2x teleconverter and the other .5x wide-converter (instead of using millimeter numbers) it would save a lot of confusion. As you can imagine, the Moment Tele 58mm lens is the one that I used by far the most.

Initially I was disappointed by these lenses. I think my expectations were significantly askew. I figured that I’d be impressed by the image quality when using these lenses vs. not using them; however, the image quality will never be greater than that of the lens permanently attached to your cellphone. These lenses won’t improve on what the manufacturer installed on your device. Instead, what you get is either a longer or more wide-angle focal length without a loss in image quality. It’s much better to use the 58mm lens than “zoom by cropping” (a.k.a. digital zoom). The image quality produced by these lenses is determined mostly by the image quality produced by your phone.

iPhone 11 + Moment 58mm – RitchieCam App – “Instant Color 3” – Arches NP, UT

The reason to use the Moment Tele 58mm lens is to double the reach of your built-in cellphone lens without degrading the image quality (or, if it does degrade the image quality, it’s extraordinarily minimal and not really noticeable). That’s what this lens does, and it does it well. It doesn’t do much else, so keep your expectations in check.

When I carry the 58mm lens with me, I get three focal-length options on my iPhone 11: 13mm (using the 0.5x camera), 26mm (using the 1x camera without the Moment lens), and 52mm (using the 1x camera with the 58mm lens). Those are all excellent focal-lengths to have available. While I prefer to use my Fujifilm cameras over my cellphone, as Chase Jarvis coined, the best camera is the one you have with you, which is sometimes my cellphone. When I do use my cellphone for photography, I appreciate having the Moment Tele 58mm lens, because it affords me additional flexibility.

I said two paragraphs ago that this lens “doesn’t do much else” which isn’t completely true. There’s a small amount of pincushion distortion, which, when combined with the distortion in the iPhone 11 camera, can do some weird things to straight lines when photographing brick walls. The solution: don’t photograph brick walls. There’s also some interesting lens flare that shows up sometimes (see picture below), which I personally like, but maybe you won’t, depending on how you feel about lens flare. The Moment lens is also softer in the corners than the 1x iPhone camera.

iPhone 11 + Moment 58mm – RitchieCam App – “Faded Film” – Canyonlands NP, UT

The build quality of the Moment Tele 58mm lens is excellent, made of metal and glass. It has six elements in four groups, and the glass has multi-layered anti-reflective coating. It comes with a lens cap and carrying bag. The lens is small enough that you can easily take it with you, although when attached to the phone, it’s unlikely that the phone will fit into your pocket (unless you have particularly large pockets).

I have used the Moment Tele 58mm lens for nearly a year now. It’s not an essential cellphone accessory, but it’s certainly nice to have around. I found the lens and the Moment case (that you are required to have in order to use the lens)—plus the tripod-mount accessory—to be useful to me. If you do a lot of cellphone photography, you might want to take a closer look at these Moment products, and consider if they might be useful to you, too. Like a lot of things in the photography world, these products are not cheap, but if you think you’ll use them regularly, they might very well be worth the cost. The best place to find these products is on Moment’s website.

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

Moment Tele 58mm lens B&H
Moment MagSafe Tripod Mount B&H

Gallery:

iPhone 11 + Moment 58mm – RitchieCam App – “Vintage Kodak” – Arches NP, UT
iPhone 11 + Moment 58mm – RitchieCam App – “Sunny Day” – Canyonlands NP, UT
iPhone 11 + Moment 58mm – RitchieCam App – “Instant Color 3” – Canyonlands NP, UT
iPhone 11 + Moment 58mm – RitchieCam App – “Standard Film” – Canyonlands NP, UT
iPhone 11 + Moment 58mm – RitchieCam App – “B&W Fade” – Arches NP, UT

What is RitchieCam? It’s an easy-to-use streamlined camera app intended to bring one-step photography to the iPhone. You’ll find 18 analog-inspired filters so that you don’t have to edit your mobile pictures if you don’t want to. I think you will appreciate the app, yet it is designed for anyone and everyone with an iPhone, and not just photographers. You can read all about it at RitchieCam.com. The app is intended to be a useful free tool, yet for $9.99 (USD +Tax annually) you can unlock all of the filters and features for the best app experience.

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

Find this film simulation recipes and over 200 more on the Fuji X Weekly — Film Recipes App!

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Have an iPhone? Be sure to download the RitchieCam camera app!

Fujifilm X-Trans IV Film Simulation Recipe: Bright Kodak

Stringed Lights – Gilbert, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Bright Kodak”

Fujifilm cameras have a feature in Advanced Settings called “High Key” that I recently discovered is based on the Provia film simulation, and can be mimicked. While this “High Key” setting can produce nice-looking images, it’s not really my style, 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 generic overexposed Kodak color negative film aesthetic, perhaps Portra-like (or at least Portra-inspired), which is why I call this recipe Bright Kodak.

Bright Kodak might look familiar. It’s actually similar to a couple of other recipes, namely Bright Summer (a.k.a. “Preetra 400”) and Kodak Portra 400 Warm. If you like those recipes, you’ll certainly like this one, too. The key to using this Bright Kodak recipe is to increase the exposure⁠—almost overexpose⁠—to make the pictures nice and bright.

Palm – Goodyear, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Bright Kodak”

This 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. If you have an X-T3, X-T30, or X-Trans III camera, you can get similar results by ignoring Grain size and using a diffusion filter (such as 10% CineBloom) in lieu of Clarity. This recipe is also likely compatible with newer GFX cameras, although the results won’t be completely identical.

Classic Chrome
Dynamic Range: DR400
Highlight: -2
Shadow: -2
Color: +4
Noise Reduction: -4
Sharpening: -2
Clarity: -3
Grain Effect: Strong, Large
Color Chrome Effect: Off
Color Chrome Effect Blue: Off
White Balance: Daylight, +3 Red & -7 Blue
ISO: Auto, up to ISO 6400
Exposure Compensation: +1 to +1 2/3 (typically)

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

Cactus Evening – Goodyear, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4
3 Tall Cacti – Goodyear, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4
Cacti Reaching to the Moon – Goodyear, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4
Palm & Flowers – Goodyear, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4
Pink – Goodyear, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4
Bougainvillea – Goodyear, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4
Palm Moon – Goodyear, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4
Neighborhood Palms – Goodyear, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4
If You Know, You Know… – Gilbert, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4
Red Stripe – Buckeye, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4

Compared to “High Key”:

“High Key”
“Bright Kodak”

Compared to “Bright Summer” & “Kodak Portra 400 Warm”:

“Bright Summer”
“Kodak Portra 400 Warm”
“Bright Kodak”

Find this film simulation recipes and over 200 more on the Fuji X Weekly — Film Recipes App!

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Creative Collective 024: FXW Zine — Issue 07 — June 2022

The seventh issue of FXW Zine is out, and if you are a Fuji X Weekly Creative Collective subscriber, you can download it now!

What’s in the June issue? The cover story is Culleoka Kodachrome, which is a photography project that I undertook last month while in rural Texas using the Kodachrome 64 Film Simulation Recipe. There are a total of 28 photographs this month, including the cover image (above). I hope that you find it enlightening, entertaining, and inspiring!

If you haven’t joined the Creative Collective, consider subscribing today to get access to bonus articles and the FXW Zine—not just this issue, but the first six issues, too!

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Fujifilm Announced X-H2S + Lenses at X Summit Today

Body Shop – Childress, TX – Fujifilm X-E4 & Fujinon 27mm – “Fujicolor Natura 1600

There was a Fujifilm X Summit today? Guess I missed it.

I’m on a long road trip right now, and I was driving when the big announcements were made. That’s not entirely true. I was actually photographing an abandoned car garage in Childress, Texas, at that time. Originally a gas station built in 1940, this building spent its last active days as an auto body shop. I think it’s been abandoned for at least a couple of years. I suppose I could have tuned into the X Summit instead, but this was a better use of my time, as I prefer to invest in experiences over gear.

I’m sure you’ve heard by now, but Fujifilm announced the X-H2S. Everyone already knew this camera was going to be announced, and what exactly it is. Now it is all official. This is the first of two new “flagship” cameras that will come out later this year. If you need the fastest Fujifilm camera or the best video specs, this is the camera to buy. It’s intended to convince those who are unsatisfied with their current brand to consider Fujifilm instead. I’m not personally interested in this camera, and I already gave my opinions on it.

Ballyhoo – Childress, TX – Fujifilm X-E4 & Vivitar 135mm – “Fujicolor Natura 1600”

Apparently Fujifilm will have two different X-Trans V sensors on their future models: the fast 26mp and the high-resolution 40mp options—the 40mp sensor will be the “normal” one. I wish that Fujifilm would focus on other advancements and improvements instead of resolution. And I’m not talking about autofocus speed, either. People complain about autofocus speed, but consider all of the amazing photographs (and movies) that were made well before autofocus even existed, and in its infancy, too. The X-E1’s autofocus is plenty capable, just so long as the photographer is capable. The autofocus on my X-E4 is amazing, yet some people think it’s not all that good. I’ve come to the conclusion that this complaining is just an excuse, and doesn’t have any true merit. Autofocus could improve by 400% and somebody would complain, because autofocus isn’t the real problem. And it’s definitely reached the point of diminishing returns, as it’s already well beyond what most people need for their photography.

Fujifilm announced two new zoom lenses, too: 18-120mm F/4 and 150-600mm f/5.6-f/8. I’m sure plenty will get excited for the 18-120mm for travel and the 150-600mm for wildlife, but I don’t have a desire for either. I suppose zooms just aren’t my thing. Fujifilm did add an 8mm f/3.5 and 30mm f/2.8 Macro to the roadmap, both of which seem like interesting lenses, but no date was given for when they’ll be released. More than anything, I’m excited for an M42-mount Vivitar 135mm f/2.8 that I found at an antique store for $15. It’s been so much fun to use, yet highly challenging. I’d like to see Fujifilm release a prime longer than 90mm (but less than 200mm)—that would be something to get excited for!

Vivitar 135mm – Fujifilm X100V – “Kodak Tri-X 400

I suppose that I should be more excited than I am at this moment. Maybe once my road trip is over and I’m all settled into my new home, I’ll feel a little more positive about these upcoming releases. I think it’s good to have options. This camera will serve many people very well. These two zooms will open up photographic possibilities for hundreds. That’s truly great! They’re just not for me, and that’s ok, because I don’t need new gear right now. What I “need” is to use what I have, which is what I’ve been doing, and the reason why the X Summit came and went and I didn’t notice.

Why even write this article? It’s 10 PM where I’m at right now. I’m spending the night in a cheap hotel. It kind of smells funny. I have to get up early in the morning and drive for a whole bunch of hours. I could be in bed, and maybe I should be. I’m writing this article because I’ve received a dozen or so messages from people wanting to know my opinions on today’s announcements. A lot has been said already by those on the internet, including those who were given a chance to use the preproduction models. I don’t think I have much to add. If something seems interesting to you, and you believe it might help with your photography (or videography), then by all means get your preorders in. But if you are on the fence, spend the money on experiences instead, and use the gear you already own as best as you can. That’s my advice. Now I’m off to bed.

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

Preorder the Fujifilm X-H2S at B&H
Preorder the Fujinon 18-120mm at B&H
Proeorder the Fujinon 150-600mm at B&H

Photoessay: 10 Frames of an Old Police Car

Classic Police Car – Branson, MO – Fujifilm X-E4 + Fujinon 27mm – “Fujicolor Natura 1600”

I stumbled across an old police car while in Branson, Missouri. If you’ve never been to Branson (I hadn’t), it’s a quirky tourist town, so finding unusual things—such as a 1950’s Ford police car—parked along a road for seemingly no reason isn’t unusual. I had my Fujifilm X-E4 with the Fujinon 27mm f/2.8 lens with me, so I decided to snap a couple of pictures. I used the Fujicolor Natura 1600 Film Simulation Recipe for these images.

To my surprise, the car was unlocked, so I opened the doors and captured some pictures of the inside. One of the windows was broken, and it smelled strongly of mold inside, so I didn’t climb in; instead, I stood outside while reaching inside with the camera. Most of my pictures are of the inside—the outside had a ton of reflections, and I didn’t have a polarizer, so it was extremely difficult to capture the car without capturing myself, too.

I’m not an automotive expert, so I could be completely wrong, but I believe this is a 1957 Ford 300 (if you know, let me know in the comments!). Because Branson is a weird town, it’s possible that this never was an actual police car, but was simply made to look like one. Whatever the case, it’s kind of a shame that it is left the way it is because it’s clearly deteriorating. This would be a great restoration project for someone, but it’s probably not for sale. I’m just glad that I stumbled upon it, and decided to photograph it with my Fujifilm camera.

Red Light – Branson, MO – Fujifilm X-E4 + Fujinon 27mm – “Fujicolor Natura 1600”
Interior & Reflection – Branson, MO – Fujifilm X-E4 + Fujinon 27mm – “Fujicolor Natura 1600”
Car Phone – Branson, MO – Fujifilm X-E4 + Fujinon 27mm – “Fujicolor Natura 1600”
CB Mobile Radio – Branson, MO – Fujifilm X-E4 + Fujinon 27mm – “Fujicolor Natura 1600”
Car Radio – Branson, MO – Fujifilm X-E4 + Fujinon 27mm – “Fujicolor Natura 1600”
Gauges – Branson, MO – Fujifilm X-E4 + Fujinon 27mm – “Fujicolor Natura 1600”
M is for Motorola – Branson, MO – Fujifilm X-E4 + Fujinon 27mm – “Fujicolor Natura 1600”
Police Special – Branson, MO – Fujifilm X-E4 + Fujinon 27mm – “Fujicolor Natura 1600”
Sheriff – Branson, MO – Fujifilm X-E4 + Fujinon 27mm – “Fujicolor Natura 1600”

The New Resolution Revolution

Historic 25th Street Dragon – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-E1 – 16-megapixel

I think there’s a new resolution revolution about to be unleashed on the photography world.

Fujirumors is reporting that the X-H2S will have a 26-megapixel X-Trans V stacked sensor, which will be much like the X-Trans IV sensor but faster; however, the X-H2 will have a 40-megapixel X-Trans V sensor that’s not stacked, and the X-H2 will be less expensive than the X-H2S. My interpretation of this is that “regular” X-Trans V cameras will be 40mp. Wait, what? The upcoming Fujifilm cameras will be 40-megapixels?!

I saw today that Canon Rumors is reporting that an over-100-megapixel full-frame camera is in the works to be released next year—I also saw that Sony “may have” a 102mp camera coming later this year. Yesterday I saw that, according to 9to5Google, Motorola will release a cellphone with a 200-megapixel camera.

Morning Drive – Fort Stevens SP, OR – iPhone 11 – RitchieCam app – 12-megapixel

While many people will get very excited over this, and I do find it a bit fascinating, I’m not all thrilled about it. Why? I would prefer to see advancements in dynamic range (particularly highlights) and high-ISO performance over resolution. I haven’t encountered many situations where I found my cameras lacking the resolution required for what I needed. Honestly, 16-megapixels are more than enough for the average person, and 26-megapixels are more than enough for 99% of people. Very few people (although there are some) actually need 40mp, and even fewer (although there are some) actually need 100mp. Yeah, it’s fun to pixel-peep a 100mp picture, or even a 50mp picture, but in a practical sense, it’s not “better” than 26mp or even 16mp. And, of course, the bigger the file, the more storage is required, and the longer it takes to upload/download.

Instead of extra resolution, I’d actually prefer a new film simulation or two, and a couple new JPEG options, that allow me to achieve in-camera some things that I currently cannot. I’d get really excited for that! I bet a number of you would, too. I think there are a lot of improvements and advancements that could happen that don’t require any increase in resolution, but megapixels are easy to market—it’s the tried and true method to gain sales—so that’s what we get.

Ready or not, the next resolution revolution is here. I certainly won’t complain as I pixel-peep, but I might have to replace my SD cards, buy a larger external hard drive, and get more memory on my next iPhone….

Photograph Wherever You Are — Seeing the Extraordinary in the Mundane

Two Caballeros – Culleoka, TX – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Kodachrome 64”

I had an epiphany today. It’s been building in my mind for several days now, but it was only today that I believe I fully understood it: photograph wherever you are. Whichever place it is that you find yourself, capture it with your camera.

When I was 16-years-old, my family moved to a small unincorporated community in Texas called Culleoka, which is north of Dallas near Lake Lavon. At that time it was in the middle of nowhere—and it still is—but the city has been inching closer and closer, and is now at its doorstep. I finished high school while there and enrolled in college. I studied photography for two years before leaving home—and Texas—at 19. That was a long time ago; however, my parents still live in the same house in Culleoka.

I bring up all of this because I realized that, despite learning photography while I lived there, and despite all of the times that I’ve visited over the years, I’ve never photographed Culleoka. I never thought this place was photographically interesting. I always traveled elsewhere with my camera, whether it was McKinney, Plano, Dallas, or any number of other towns in the region. I never photographed where I lived.

Courtesy Dock Closed – Culleoka, TX – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Kodachrome 64”

Visiting my parents now, for some reason—maybe because I’m older—I find Culleoka to be a much more interesting place. Yes, there’s still not much to see. If you blinked while driving through you’d miss it. There’s a gas station. A Dollar General, which is a fairly new addition. An auto body shop. A fireworks stand. A couple of churches. Maybe a couple hundred people live in Culleoka, many in mobile homes. There’s access to Lake Lavon at the far edge.

I regret now not photographing where I was, because there’s actually a lot of opportunity, if only I had had an open mind. I didn’t see it before. I just thought it was a boring place. Those “other places” were much more fascinating. I had to drive somewhere else to capture interesting pictures. Perhaps you can relate. Maybe you believe that wherever it is you are isn’t worth your camera’s attention, and because you see it day in and day out it is difficult to view it with fresh eyes.

How do you view a highly familiar location with fresh eyes? For me, I think it was just being away for a few years. Actually, I saw some interesting sunlight on the gas station, and a lightbulb went off in my mind. I was reminded of Wim Winders book Written in the West, which inspired me to photograph Culleoka using my Fujifilm X-E4 programmed with the Kodachrome 64 Film Simulation Recipe. Some ideas are to envision yourself as a tourist experiencing the place for the first time, simply keeping a photographic eye out for interesting light, or reading photography books where some pictures are similar to your current location.

W.S.C. – Culleoka, TX – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Kodachrome 64”

Just because you believe that where you are is uninteresting, doesn’t mean there aren’t things worth photographing. You have to keep a constant eye out. Maybe you need to view it through a fresh perspective. Perhaps you just need to get out with your camera on a regular basis and keep at it until you finally “see it” as some new inspiration hits you—I think just getting out with your camera is the best advice that I have.

Don’t be like me and fail to photograph where you are. Just because you don’t think it is worthwhile doesn’t mean that it’s not worthwhile—with a fresh perspective, you’re likely to find things that actually are interesting, things you maybe passed by hundreds of times and it never caught your attention. You have a great opportunity, and perhaps an interesting series of pictures will emerge from it.

It’s an easy trap to think that you have to go someplace else in order to capture interesting pictures. I certainly believed that for awhile, even though I used to say that the job of a photographer is to find the extraordinary in the mundane. I didn’t always practice what I preached—I assumed that where I was wasn’t interesting enough—but my statement was correct: it’s my job to find what others overlook in the places I find myself, and create compelling pictures with my camera. I hope that I’ve accomplished that this time around.

Some of the pictures that I captured in Colleoka, Texas, over the last few days:

Abandoned Houses – Culleoka, TX – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Kodachrome 64”
Boaters Warning – Culleoka, TX – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Kodachrome 64”
Man at Lake Lavon – Culleoka, TX – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Kodachrome 64”
Abandoned Shack – Culleoka, TX – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Kodachrome 64”
Red Taco Trailer – Culleoka, TX – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Kodachrome 64”


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PASM is NOT for Me

I hate PASM.

I think PASM is a terrible camera design idea, and I cannot understand why it became a standard feature in photography. Yes, different strokes for different folks—many people like it—but PASM is not for me. It’s probably not for most of you, either, and one thing that likely attracted you to Fujifilm cameras is that they don’t have one.

What is PASM? I’m sure most of you know, but for anyone who might not: it’s a shooting-mode knob (or sometimes a switch) almost always placed on the top of the camera. The “P” is for Program (can vary a little by brand, but is essentially nowadays ISO-Priority), “A” is for Aperture-Priority, “S” is for Shutter-Priority, and “M” is for Manual. Turn the knob to switch between the different modes. Usually the command wheels are what you use to adjust the settings, and (brand dependent) sometimes you have to dig through the menu to make adjustments.

My first experience with PASM was over 20 years ago, way back in my early days of photography. I was shooting all-manual with a Canon AE-1, and someone let me try their Canon EOS-3, which was a “modern” SLR with a bunch of buttons and a little electronic display. I was pretty lost and frustrated with the camera, and only shot one roll of film (I probably would have done less than that, but I wanted to finish the roll) before giving it back. To me at that time, I couldn’t understand the point of this “advanced technology” if all it did was complicate something inherently simple.

Lake Ducks & People – Culleoka, TX – Fujifilm X-E4 & Pentax-110 50mm – “Kodachrome 64

I didn’t have another PASM experience until I finally gave in and purchased my first digital camera, a Pentax DSLR, in 2009. I tried many different digital cameras from a number of brands (Nikon, Sony, Samsung, Sigma, Panasonic) before finally buying a Fujifilm X-E1 in 2016. While I did get used to using PASM, I always found it to be frustrating and miserable, so going back to the traditional controls found on Fujifilm cameras was a breath of fresh air. I literally said out loud to myself, “Why aren’t ALL cameras like this?!”

The traditional shutter knob and aperture ring make a lot of sense to me because that’s how I learned photography. That’s how I did photography for over a decade. The concept is simple, but it does require a prerequisite knowledge of the exposure-triangle to use them in manual mode.

You might be surprised to learn that Canon introduced the very first PASM camera, the A-1, back in 1978. It was a huge hit with “amateur photographers on a budget” due to its “ease of use” and relatively affordable cost. PASM was originally intended to make photography more accessible to the inexperienced. As time went on and PASM became more common, more and more people learned photography on it. I would bet that most people who started photography on or after the year 2000 (and probably a fair amount of people who started in 1990’s, and maybe even some who started in the 1980’s) had PASM on their first camera. Since that is what they learned photography on and what they used day in and day out, PASM makes sense to them. That’s why almost all cameras today have PASM dials.

Fujifilm is unique. While there are some Fujifilm cameras with PASM, most don’t, and instead have traditional controls. I bet that’s one of the main reasons why many of you bought a Fujifilm camera—it was for me! It’s not the only thing that’s unique about Fujifilm, but it is an obvious difference that’s clearly visible just by looking at it.

After I posted my thoughts on the upcoming X-H2S, which according to Fujirumors will have a PASM dial, I received a couple different reactions: Fujifilm needs to appeal to those who prefer PASM, and Fujifilm has forgotten what made them great.

Brendan’s X-T3 – Haslet, TX – Fujifilm X-E4 & Pentax-110 50mm – “Kodachrome 64

The first point is that since most photographers are used to PASM (because that’s what they’ve always had), the traditional dials don’t appeal to them. Fujifilm cameras are intimidating, and the traditional controls are confusing. Probably more than anything, it’s simply not what they’re used to and it’s not what makes the most sense to them. In order to attract these people, Fujifilm should philosophically pivot, and make multiple models that are more appealing to the masses. While I think it’s fine to make some cameras that have PASM, I believe that instead of trying to be just like “Canikony” (a.k.a. everyone else), it makes more sense to me to double-down on what is different about your brand. What makes Fujifilm unique? Those are the things that attract people from other brands. Make those unique things the best that they can possibly be, and have a solid marketing campaign that shows the world why these unique things are something they should desire. That’s my advice to Fujifilm.

The second point is that by replacing the traditional controls with PASM on the X-H line, Fujifilm is losing its analog-inspired soul. Maybe they are. I cringe at the thought of the X-H2S having a PASM dial. But, this is just one camera. I think instead of Fujifilm losing their soul, they’re just shifting their focus for this particular model line. The X-H2S isn’t intended for you, the current Fujifilm photographer. Yes, some of you will buy it and love it, but it will likely be more like the X-S10, which was (generally speaking) a little bit of a disappointment for those who already owned other Fujifilm cameras (I know this because many have told me so), but has sold really well to those coming from other brands. The X-H2S is intended to convince Canikony photographers who aren’t completely happy with their current cameras to look at Fujifilm as an alternative. In other words, for those with a Fujifilm X-H1 who would like to upgrade to an updated version, this probably isn’t the X-H2 you’ve been waiting and hoping for.

My worry is that Fujifilm is going to have a split personality—a customer base with competing desires. On one hand, there are those who want a traditional experience, with manual controls and film simulations and such as essential aspects. On the other hand, there are those who basically want a better Canon or Sony, and they want Fujifilm to create that (somehow, despite the smaller budget). Where is Fujifilm going to focus their time, energy, and R&D? It’s an important question, because it determines the trajectory of the business, which in turns affects future camera models. Yes, there’s room for both, and probably some people sit in-between these two camps; however, I’m concerned that Fujifilm might be shifting their focus away from what matters to me (and likely the majority of you) in hopes to gain market share through morphing models to be more similar to what other brands are making. I think Fujifilm can gain market share by hyper-focusing on what makes their brand unique and better engaging the community, but I’m no expert, so my opinion might not be worth much.

I won’t buy another PASM camera. I have used many, and even currently have a few. At this point in my life, the photography experience is just as important to me as the photographs that I create. Fujifilm cameras with traditional controls are what works for me because they provide the shooting experience that I appreciate (plus the picture aesthetics that I want!). I understand that it’s not for everyone, and probably not for most people, and that’s ok. The X-H2S is not for me quite literally by design, but it is for the masses, and perhaps it will sell very well, and convince many people to try Fujifilm for the first time. That’s great if it is successful—I truly hope it is! I still won’t buy it, though, because PASM is not for me.

Fujifilm X-E4 Film Simulation Recipe: Fujicolor Natura 1600

Tree Blossom Sky – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Fujicolor Natura 1600”

Fujifilm produced Fujicolor Natura 1600, a high-ISO color negative film, from 2003 through 2017. It was only sold in Japan, but it became renown worldwide as word got out about this wonderful film. A lot of speculation has surrounded it. Is it simply renamed Fujicolor Superia 1600? Many people think so. Is it slightly modified Superia 1600 for Japanese skin-tones? Some people think so. Is it slightly modified Superia 1600 made specifically for the Fujifilm Natura camera? Perhaps so. I haven’t found any definitive evidence to conclude if Natura 1600 is unmodified Supera 1600 or a slightly modified variant of it—if it isn’t identical, it’s very similar.

I have a Fujicolor Superia 1600 Film Simulation Recipe already, and it’s a recipe that I personally quite like. I had no desire to remake it, but (you know) one film can have many different aesthetics, depending on a whole host of factors, including (but not limited to) how it was shot, developed, and scanned. With that in mind, I looked at Fujicolor Natura 1600 examples that I found online, and from scratch (not using the Superia 1600 recipe as a starting point) I made a whole new recipe to mimic Natura 1600—not surprisingly, the settings ended up being similar to the Superia 1600 recipe. Alternatively, this could be called Fujicolor Superia 1600 v2.

Clown Truck & Geo – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Fujicolor Natura 1600”

A fun thing that I did for some of these pictures is set the ISO to 1600—I think the results are especially good at that particular ISO; however, it’s more practical to use a larger range of ISOs. So set the ISO to 1600 if you’d like, or set it to Auto (up to ISO 6400) if you’d prefer—I tried both, and found either to be acceptable. This particular recipe is only compatible with the Fujifilm X-T4, X-S10, X-E4, and X-T30 II cameras. If you have an X100V or X-Pro3 and want to use this recipe, I suggest setting Highlight to -1 and Shadow to +2. The results will be similar, but not identical.

Classic Negative
Dynamic Range: DR400
Highlight: -1.5
Shadow: +1.5
Color: -2
Noise Reduction: -4
Sharpness: -2
Clarity: -4
Grain Effect: Strong, Large
Color Chrome Effect: Strong
Color Chrome Effect Blue: Strong
White Balance: 5500K, -1 Red & -2 Blue
ISO: Auto, up to ISO 6400
Exposure Compensation: +1/3 to +1 (typically)

Example photographs, all camera-made JPEGs using this “Fujicolor Natura 1600” Film Simulation Recipe on a Fujifilm X-E4:

Carpet & Curtain – Flagstaff, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4
Crown Railroad Cafe – Flagstaff, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4
Dinner Conversations – Flagstaff, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4
Daily Specials – Flagstaff, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4
Dynalift – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-E4
Ice Cream – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-E4
Concrete Blossoms – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-E4
Tulips for Sale – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-E4
Hazy Blossom – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-E4
Evening Sun Through Leaves – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-E4
Flower Cluster – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-E4
Easter Egg Hunt – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-E4
Pine Tree & Rocks – Bryce Canyon NP, UT – Fujifilm X-E4
Two Bridges – Bryce Canyon NP, UT – Fujifilm X-E4

Fujicolor Natura 1600 recipe compared to the Fujicolor Superia 1600 recipe:

“Fujicolor Natura 1600”
“Fujicolor Superia 1600”

Find this film simulation recipes and over 200 more on the Fuji X Weekly — Film Recipes App!

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Goodbye Utah, Hello Adventures!

Denny’s Days – Beaver, UT – Fujifilm X-E4 & Fujinon 27mm – “Kodachrome 64

Goodbye, Utah.

I’ve called Utah home for six years, but now it’s time to move on. It’s bitter-sweet, as I will certainly miss the unbelievable natural beauty of the state, but I’m excited for the new adventures that await. Utah is a great place to live—I feel very lucky to have called it home.

What you don’t know is that (quite literally) as soon as the last episode of SOOC ended, I began packing. And loading. And everything else that goes along with moving. I’ve been extraordinarily busy, to say the least! I apologize for not being very responsive to comments and emails and such over the last couple of weeks. I’m definitely behind on that, but I hope to catch up soon. I appreciate your patience!

Leaving the Neighborhood – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-E4 & Fujinon 90mm – Upcoming Recipe

What now? Where am I going?

The family and I started out on an epic all-American road-trip. We’ll be traveling for five weeks (!!!), which will allow for some awesome picture opportunities (and probably a few new Film Simulation Recipes). My goal is to keep up with Fuji X Weekly and all the other projects that I have going on, including SOOC, which will be live on May 12. I think some days will be particularly productive, and some days will be especially not, but with some luck it will all work out. I just ask for a little patience during those less-productive periods.

After the road trip is complete, we will end up in Arizona. We’re saying goodbye to mountains and trees and snow and hello to deserts and cacti and sunshine. We’ll get there just in time for the heat of summer, and I hope that we survive (I mean that humorously)—my wife and I used to live there years ago (it’s where we met and got married), so in a way it is a homecoming.

Utah was very good and will be greatly missed; however, many wonderful new experiences are just around the corner, and we’re very excited for that. Be sure to follow my journey on this blog and on Instagram!

Criticisms & Curation

Low Sun over Tetons Grand Teton NP, WY – Fujifilm X-E4 & 90mm – “Ferrania Solaris FG 400

I receive a lot of feedback—while most of it is positive, some of it is negative. Negative feedback isn’t inherently bad—in fact, it can be extraordinarily valuable—so I’m happy to receive it; however, not all of it is equal: there’s constructive criticism and destructive criticism.

Just guessing, about 70% of the negative feedback could be classified as destructive criticism, which is simply a put-down. It’s negativity for the sake of negativity. It’s meant to make the person saying it feel better about themselves by way of making someone else (me in this case) feel worse about themselves. People are mean sometimes, and that’s just the way it is. The world needs less destructive criticism and more kindness—the antidote is to be the kindness that the world desperately needs.

Constructive criticism is negative feedback that is meant well and is given with the intention of being helpful. Roughly 30% of negative feedback is constructive criticism. Within this, there are two sources: those who you should listen to and those who you shouldn’t. Just because someone has a complaint about something and they mean well doesn’t mean that you should listen to them. Do you trust them? Are they an authority or have some specific experience that makes them particularly qualified to offer quality advice? I would estimate that it is fifty-fifty on whether the constructive criticism is something valuable or not. That 15% of negative feedback that is constructive and from a trustworthy source is pure gold and much appreciated—well worth weeding through the 85% that isn’t.

Sometimes there are grey areas. Sometimes it’s not clear if the criticism is constructive or destructive, or whether the source is someone I should listen to or not. I tend to spend a lot of energy on these criticisms because I’m trying to figure out if there is value in it. So I have to process it. One such “grey area” criticism that I recently received is this: the pictures in one of my articles were not good enough for the words and subject—the article demanded better pictures to illustrate the point, and because the pictures weren’t good enough, I shouldn’t have published the article. Ouch!

Teton Blue – Grand Teton NP, WY – Fujifilm X-E4 & 90mm – “Velvia v2

One thing that I’ve always struggled with is curation. Advice that I’ve received over and over and over again is that I should only show the best of the best photographs. If you only show the absolute cream-of-the-crop pictures, people will think you’re a better photographer. Perception is reality, right? People will think you’re a great photographer if all of the photographs of yours that they view are great. But if they start seeing mediocre images, they’ll think you are a mediocre photographer. The truth is that everyone—even the greatest photographers—captures “lesser” pictures sometimes, but some people don’t share those pictures, so nobody knows.

I think sometimes showing these mediocre pictures is more authentic and honest. I’m not sure where the line should drawn when trying to balance perception with vulnerability. Obviously you want people to think the best of you; however, if what you let them see is too carefully curated then you’ll come across as fake, or you’ll leave people disappointed if they do ever find out the truth. I find this to be a tough balancing act. I share more of my frames than most people do, and perhaps I do show too many “lesser” pictures, and that might not be good.

Because I share some of my mediocre pictures with you on this website, I’m able to publish more content. If I waited until I had 12 or more great photographs before publishing a Film Simulation Recipe, I’d have far, far fewer recipes. That’s always a struggle: quality vs. quantity. I have a large quantity of material, but have I not focused enough on quality? Have I sacrificed quality too often for the sake of quantity? Does the quality make the content relatable? These are questions that I ask myself, but I don’t have good answers to them. I hope that I can continuously review and refine what I do, and hopefully this website becomes better and better with time.

Am I not curating enough? I’m I publishing too much content too quickly? What is the right balance? I have to really consider these things. Perhaps these are questions you, too, are pondering. I’d love to hear what you think, especially if this is something you are working through yourself or have had to work through in the past. If you have criticisms, please try to make them constructive and not destructive, but I definitely want to hear your feedback, so leave me a note in the comments!

The Forgotten Fujifilm X-H1

Everyone’s talking about the upcoming Fujifilm X-H2 cameras (yes, cameras, as there will be two of them: X-H2 and X-H2s—visit Fujirumors for all of the latest and most accurate details… it is the absolute best source for upcoming Fujifilm cameras and such, and should be one of the websites you visit often), so it’s easy to forget the wonderful Fujifilm X-H1, which is an absolute workhorse that’s easy to love.

Fujifilm introduced the X-H1 four years ago. At the time of its release, the X-H1 was the most premium model in the entire Fujifilm lineup, and the first to have IBIS. They didn’t hold anything back—the X-H1 is a dream to use—but it didn’t sell nearly as well as Fujifilm had hoped. The initial price point was too high for an APS-C camera, and Fujifilm had to steeply discount it for people to buy it. It was the very last X-Trans III camera, and shortly after its release the X-T3 was announced with a new sensor and processor and pretty much identical specs (aside from IBIS), yet cheaper. Once the X-T4 was released two years ago, which seemed to be an X-H camera in an X-T body, it was clear that the X-H1 was done, and some thought that the X-H line was also defunct, and there would be no X-H2 ever.

I got my X-H1 because someone gifted it to me. They didn’t need it anymore, and they knew that I didn’t have any X-Trans III cameras to create Film Simulation Recipes on, so they gave it to me for the benefit of the Fujifilm community. Wow! I had no idea how incredible this camera is! It’s quick and eager, but with unbelievable endurance. Like the Energizer Bunny, it just keeps going and going and going and going. It wants to be used, and used a lot. If you ask anyone who owns a Fujifilm X-H1, even if they have newer models, they’ll tell you that the X-H1 is their workhorse camera.

It’s too bad that the X-H1 didn’t sell as well as it should have. The camera is legendary among those who have used it, and pretty much forgotten by those who haven’t. While I’m just as excited for the new X-H cameras as everyone else, I want to give attention to the original X-H model—the X-H1—which just so happens to be one of my favorite cameras. If you are searching for a used camera, don’t overlook the wonderful X-H1. It’s the one that just gets the job done.

Below are some straight-out-of-camera photographs that I’ve captured on my Fujifilm X-H1 over the last several months.

Highrise, Reflection & Lamp – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-H1 – “Kodak Gold 200
Vespa Mirror Reflection – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-H1 – “Kodak Gold 200”
Suburban Adventures – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-H1 – “Kodak Portra 160
Last Warm Light on Wasatch Front – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-H1 – “Negative Print
Fading Light On Wasatch – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-H1 – “Improved Velvia
Winter Berries – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-H1 – “Negative Print”
Blossom Remnants 1 – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-H1 – “Kodak GT 800-5
Doll – Bountiful, UT – Fujifilm X-H1 – “Analog Monochrome
Lamp & Side Mirrors – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-H1 – “Ilford XP2 Super 400
A Y – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-H1 – “Ilford XP2 Super 400”

Deal Alert: Fujifilm X-T3 WW Discounted

Fujifilm just discounted the X-T3 WW, which is an X-T3 without a battery charger (USB charging only). The X-T3 used to be Fujifilm’s flagship model until the X-T4 was released two years ago, but they still offer it brand-new because it is a best-selling model, even outselling the superior X-T4. The X-T3 WW is one of the absolute best bargains available today, but now (through June 5th, apparently) the X-T3 WW is an even better bargain! If you’ve thought about buying one, it’s a really good time to do so.

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

The Fujifilm X-T3 WW body-only is $100 off, now only $999.95! Amazon B&H
The Fujifilm X-T3 WW + 18-55mm kit is $200 off, now only $1,299.95! Amazon B&H

A few months back I published an article, Best Fujifilm Cameras Under $1,000, and the X-T3 WW was listed as “Best Value Just Above $1,000,” but now that it’s on sale it would be my best value recommendation for $1,000 or less. The X-T3 also made it to number three on my 10 Most Important Fujifilm X-Trans Cameras list.

Fujifilm X-Trans III + X-T3 & X-T30 Film Simulation Recipe: Kodacolor VR

Inside City Creek – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – “Kodacolor VR”

This Film Simulation Recipe was an experiment. I started out with my Fujicolor 100 Industrial recipe, but instead of using a cool White Balance with a warm White Balance Shift, I did the opposite: I used a warm White Balance with a cool shift. After many adjustments to various settings, this ended up not resembling the Fujicolor 100 Industrial recipe much at all, but it does have a great vintage print-film aesthetic that I really like.

I wasn’t sure at first which film this recipe most closely resembled (since it wasn’t intended to mimic any specific film), although it seemed to have some similarities to Kodacolor VR. I already have a Kodacolor recipe (plus a variant of it), which does a great job at mimicking Kodacolor VR; this recipe and that one look somewhat similar, but definitely different. Then I ran across some pictures that looked very similar to the ones you see in this article, and it turned out that they were shot on Kodacolor VR film that had expired. So I think this recipe, while it does resemble Kodacolor VR, as well as ColorPlus 200 (which is a direct descendant of that film), it most closely looks like Kodacolor VR that’s been stored a little past its expiration date. Of course, one film can have many different looks, depending on how it was shot, developed, scanned and/or printed, and (in this case) stored, so this recipe serves as a nice alternative to my original Kodacolor recipe.

Leaning Tower – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – “Kodacolor VR”

This “Kodacolor VR” recipe was originally a Patron Early-Access Recipe, but is now available to everyone! If you are a Fuji X Weekly App Patron, there is a new Early-Access Recipe that replaced this one, so be sure to look for that. This recipe is compatible with Fujifilm X-Trans III and X-T3 and X-T30 cameras. For those with newer X-Trans IV cameras, set Color Chrome FX Blue to Off, Clarity to 0 (or perhaps -2), and I’d suggest Grain size Large, but use Small if you prefer.

Classic Chrome
Dynamic Range: DR400
Highlight: -1
Shadow: +1
Color: +2
Sharpness: -1
Noise Reduction: -4
Grain: Weak
Color Chrome Effect: Off
White Balance: 10000K, -7 Red & +8 Blue
ISO: Auto up to ISO 6400
Exposure Compensation: +1/3 to +1 (typically)

Example photographs, all camera-made JPEGs captured using this “Kodacolor VR” film simulation recipe on my Fujifilm X-T30:

Summer Reeds – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30
Corner Through Leaves – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30
Stones & Glass Ceiling – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30
Glass – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30
Building a Building – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30
Small Spaces Between – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30
Twilight Telephone Poles – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30
Stoneground – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30
Goes for Gold – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30
Night Parking – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30
Doki Doki – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30
Escalators – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30
Downtown Buildings – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30
Coming Train – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30
Trax – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30
Waiting on the Platform – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30
Glass & Sky – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30
Tall Downtown Buildings – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

Find this Film Simulation Recipe and over 200 more on the Fuji X Weekly — Film Recipes App!

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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Fujifilm X-Trans IV Film Simulation Recipe: Moody Monochrome

Apocalyptic Pavillion – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X100V – “Moody Monochrome”

Of the different faux filter options for Acros, +Y is the one I use the least. I think it goes back to my film days when I used color filters with B&W film. I would select Orange or Red before Yellow, because Yellow is fairly subtle, but the advantage of the Yellow filter is that it doesn’t block as much light. Of course, the faux filters on Fujifilm cameras don’t affect the exposure like real filters with film. Anyway, recognizing that I infrequently use Acros+Y, I set out to make a Film Simulation Recipe that uses +Y and produces an aesthetic that I like. I think it is important to challenge myself sometimes, so if there’s some setting or gear or option that I don’t use often, forcing myself to use it helps me to grow as a photographer. That’s why I made this recipe.

I wanted something with an overall darker curve, so that it would produce a moody look. Maybe deep blacks reminiscent of Tri-X, and maybe a push-process feel. I didn’t have any specific film in mind, but I’m reminded of this time that I push-processed a roll of Ilford Delta 400, but inadvertently got it wrong—I underexposed two stops, and only had the lab push it by one stop, so the pictures were largely underexposed, and they were darker and moodier (yet less contrasty and grainy) than I had intended. This isn’t exactly the same as that, but not too dissimilar, either, so that’s why I call this recipe Moody Monochrome.

Early Blossoms – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V – “Moody Monochrome”

Because this film simulation recipe uses Clarity, it is compatible with the Fujifilm X-Pro3, X100V, X-T4, X-S10, X-E4, and X-T30 II cameras. If you have an X-T3 or X-T30 or X-Trans III camera, ignore Clarity and Grain size, and use a diffusion filter, like a 10% CineBloom or 1/4 Black Pro Mist, to get similar results.

Acros+Y
Dynamic Range: DR400
Highlight: -1
Shadow: +4
Noise Reduction: -4
Sharpness: -2
Clarity: -3
Grain Effect: Strong, Large 
Color Chrome Effect: Off
Color Chrome Effect Blue: Off
White Balance: Fluorescent 3, -4 Red & -9 Blue
ISO: 3200
Exposure Compensation: +1/3 to +1 (typically)

Example photographs, all camera-made JPEGs using this “Moody Monochrome” Film Simulation Recipe on my Fujifilm X100V:

Stop West – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V
Watch For Falling Bikes – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V
Sun Beams – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X100V
Tower in the Middle of Nowhere – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X100V
Path Through The Grass – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X100V
Wetland Boardwalk – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X100V
Wetland Grass – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X100V
Creek in the Trees – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V
Creek, Stick & Vines – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V
Log Above The Water – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V
Grey Brush – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V
Cat on a Log – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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

Fujifilm X100V Black    Amazon   B&H
Fujifilm X100V Silver   Amazon   B&H

Find this film simulation recipes and over 200 more on the Fuji X Weekly — Film Recipes App!

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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RitchieCam Update #1

I just released the first “major” RitchieCam app update. For those who don’t know, I created an iOS camera app to simplify and streamline your iPhone photography. The app is free, and is intended to be a useful free tool, yet becoming a RitchieCam Patron unlocks all of the filters and the best app experience.

There are a lot of features that I want to incorporate into the app, but it takes time and work to implement them all, so they will roll out over time. In other words, RitchieCam is just going to get better and better! I just released the first significant update—if you have RitchieCam on your phone and it didn’t automatically update, be sure to manually do it in the App Store now.

One new feature is the volume button—either up or down—as a shutter release. Depending on how you hold your phone, this is a more convenient way to take pictures. Instead of tapping the circle shutter at the bottom, you can press either volume up or volume down to accomplish the same thing. The ability to use the volume buttons to capture photographs was highly requested, so I’m pleased to be able to include it in this update.

Another new feature is additional aspect ratios. Originally, all RitchieCam photos were in iPhone’s standard 4:3 aspect ratio, which is necessary if you want to use the full resolution of the sensor. But if you prefer a different shape, there are now five aspect ratios to choose from: 4:3, 3:2, 5:4, 1:1, & 16:9.

Here are some photos, all captured using the Standard Film filter on RitchieCam, illustrating the different aspect ratios:

4:3 / 3:4

3:2 / 2:3

5:4 / 4:5

1:1

16:9 / 9:16

RitchieCam saves the pictures in Apple’s High Efficiency Image Container (HEIC, also called HEIF) format, which maximizes image quality while simultaneously taking less space on your phone. It’s also necessary for implementing some new features down the road. The downside to HEIC is that it is less universally compatible with non-Apple programs. For those who prefer JPEG over HEIC, you now have that option—tap the Gear icon, and you’ll find the Format toggle about halfway down.

The other improvements are less obvious. RitchieCam will now remember the last Flash and EV settings used (as well as the aspect ratio), which will hopefully improve the user experience for some of you. There are several behind-the-scenes optimizations to improve speed, stability, and quality, which you’re not likely to notice, but micro improvements add up over time, so they’re important to continuously work on.

And that’s the update! Already work has begun on the next one. If the feature you were hoping for isn’t in this one, with any luck you won’t have to wait too long for it, but I do ask for your patience, because these things do take awhile. In the meantime, I hope there’s something in this update that you find helpful to you.