SOOC Episode 06 is This Thursday!

Episode 06 of SOOC is this Thursday, December 9, at 9am Pacific Time, 12 PM Eastern! Please note the new time.

For those who may not know, SOOC is a monthly live video series, with each episode focused on a different film simulation recipe. It is a collaboration between Tame Your Fujifilm (Fujifilm X-Photographer Nathalie Boucry) and Fuji X Weekly (Ritchie Roesch). SOOC is a fun and educational experience where we not only talk about Fujifilm camera settings, but also answer your questions and give tips and tricks. Basically, we’re trying to help you master your Fujifilm camera, with a focus on simplifying your photographic workflow. This is an interactive show, so we not only need you to tune in, but your participation is essential to making the episode great.

This month we will discuss the Cross Process film simulation recipe (a fun one, for sure!), as well as look at your photos captured with it—upload your pictures here to be featured in the next video! We’ll also introduce the next recipe. We have a lot of great things planned, and I know you’ll appreciate this one. Episode 06 will be on December 9th, so mark your calendars, and I look forward to seeing you then!

If you missed Episode 05, you can watch it below:

Fuji X Weekly App is One Year Old Today!

Happy birthday!

The Fuji X Weekly App originally launched on iOS one year ago today! Later, in the spring, it launched on Android. And, less than a week ago, an update was released that made it even better! There’s more coming, too, that will further improve the App. I’m always adding new film simulation recipes, and it’s approaching the 200 mark rather quickly.

It’s been an amazing 12 months!

The Fuji X Weekly App has been downloaded over 180,000 times! Now, some people might have the App on more than one device, or they switched devices and downloaded the App more than once. So I’m not sure how many individuals have downloaded it, but it is absolutely mind-blowing that it has been downloaded that many times! There are about 45,000 active users (meaning, individuals that have used the App at least once in the last month). By far, the vast majority of people use the free version, yet the best App experience is unlocked by becoming a Patron, so if you’re not a Patron, you’re missing out on some great features. Also, Patrons help support the App and other great things within the Fujifilm community. Without the support of Patrons there would be no App, so I want to give a big “Thank You” to all the Fuji X Weekly App subscribers!

If you own a Fujifilm camera, you should have the Fuji X Weekly App on your phone and/or tablet. If you don’t, download it for free today!

Creative Collective 007: FXW Zine — Issue 01 — December 2021

Introducing the FXW Zine, a publication of Fuji X Weekly!

This new eZine is an extension of this website and a part of the Creative Collective. If you are a Creative Collective subscriber, then you can download the inaugural issue of FXW Zine right now (below).

What’s in the December issue? How big is it? There are four articles: Behind the Picture: The Story of Jacob’s Ladder, The Beauty of Grey, Perfectly Pine, and Photograph Before It’s Too Late. There are 17 photographs, including the cover image (above). This issue is 12 pages long cover-to-cover. I hope that you find it entertaining and inspiring. I plan on this being a monthly publication, but I don’t want to promise that in case I have to skip a month here and there, but it should be roughly a once-a-month thing.

If you haven’t joined the Creative Collective (learn more about it here), consider subscribing today to get access to bonus articles and the brand-new FXW Zine.

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Available Now: The Fuji X Weekly App Update!

The big Fuji X Weekly App update is available right now!

If your phone or tablet didn’t automatically update the App, be sure to manually update it right away. Depending on your device and how you have it configured, it’s possible that you might have to delete the App and reinstall, but most people shouldn’t have to do that in order to update it. Hopefully for most of you it happened automatically already, and you’re good to go. The App update is in both the Google Play Store for Android and the Apple App Store for iOS.

What’s in this “big” update? Plenty! Some of the things are for everyone, and some of the things are only for Fuji X Weekly App Patrons. Let’s talk about the improvements that are for everyone first, and then we will get to the good stuff that’s for Patrons.

View Sample Pictures Larger

Normal size pictures.
Tap to view pictures larger.

This is a pretty straightforward improvement: tap on a picture to view larger, and tap again to return to normal size. One request that I’ve received many times is the ability to enlarge the sample pictures in each recipe. Now you can! Of course, you can view them even larger (and see more of them) on the website—there’s a link at the bottom of each recipe.

Sort by A-Z, Z-A, Newest-to-Oldest, & Oldest-to-Newest

Before this update, you could only sort the recipes either alphabetically A-Z or chronologically Newest-to-Oldest. Now I’ve added Z-A or Oldest-to-Newest as options. If you know the name of the recipe and it begins on or after the letter N, sorting Z-A might make it quicker to locate. Or if you know that a recipe you are looking for was published awhile ago, sorting Oldest-to-Newest might make more sense. This should make it a little easier and quicker to locate what you are searching for.

Now, to the good stuff!

All of the improvements mentioned below are available for Fuji X Weekly App Patrons. The best App experienced is reserved for Patrons, so if you are not one, consider subscribing today! Simply tap the Gear icon in the App, and then select Become a Patron.

Filter by White Balance or Dynamic Range

There are two new Filter options: White Balance and Dynamic Range. Some users will benefit from Filter by Dynamic Range, but Filter by White Balance is huge! If your Fujifilm camera is older than the X-Pro3, you cannot save White Balance Shift within C1-C7 Custom Presets, and each time you change Presets, you have to remember to adjust the WB Shift. It can be a little annoying. However, for each White Balance type, the camera will remember one WB Shift, so if each of your C1-C7 presets uses a different White Balance type, when you switch Presets, you won’t have to adjust the WB Shift. For many, this is a game-changer!

Favorite with Colored Stars

One really great upgrade is Favoriting with colored Stars. Before, when you tapped the Star to Favorite a recipe, it came in one color (yellow). But now you can choose between five different colors: yellow, red, green, blue, and purple. The benefit of this is that you can use colored Stars to organize recipes. Maybe yellow represents the recipes currently loaded into your camera, red represents the recipes you want to try next, and green represents the ones you tried in the past and really liked. Or maybe yellow is your favorite portrait recipes, green your favorite landscape recipes, and blue your favorite street recipes. Use the colored Stars to categorize the recipes however is meaningful to you. This is a great organizational tool, and, for some, this makes the App a significantly better experience.

Blank Recipe Cards

If you’ve ever created your own film simulation recipe, or if you’ve found some elsewhere that you like (perhaps on the Fuji X Weekly Community Recipes page, such as AstiAmore in the example above), you can now add them to your App! A new feature is blank recipe cards that you fill out. You can even add your own pictures from your camera roll! At some point down the road the idea is that you’ll be able to export, import, and share these custom recipes; however, that ability isn’t in this update—with any luck it will come before summer. Several of you have asked for blank recipe cards, and now you have them! This is a great new feature that many of you will really appreciate.

There’s one other thing that I want to mention: if you tap the Gear icon in the top-left of the App and look way down at the bottom, you will see Shop The Latest Fujifilm Gear. These are affiliate links to B&H and Amazon. If you are shopping for some new gear and you happen to think about it, I’ll be compensated a small amount if you make a purchase using my links. It’s a simple way to support Fuji X Weekly that doesn’t cost you anything.

Below are even more images of the new and improved Fuji X Weekly App!

I want to give a special thanks to Sahand Nayebaziz for all his hard work on this App update! Without him, not only would the App not be nearly as good as it is, but there wouldn’t be a Fuji X Weekly App at all. Thank you so much, Sahand!

Why I Love The Fujinon 35mm F/2

Chair & Pillow – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2 – “Ilford Delta Push Process

The Fujinon 35mm f/2 was once my most-used lens. It was what you would typically see attached to my Fujifilm X-T30, or sometimes my Fujifilm X-T1. There’s a lot to love about this lens, but I don’t use it nearly as often as I once did, and it has absolutely nothing to do with image quality.

You can read my full review of the Fujinon 35mm f/2 lens here. I don’t want to rehash what I’ve already stated, but simply tell you why I love this lens (and also why I don’t use it much anymore).

The 35mm f/2 is a lovely little lens that’s super sharp, has nice bokeh, has a pretty good maximum aperture of f/2, is fast, small and lightweight. It captures wonderful pictures! There’s not much at all that can be said negatively about it. It’s a solid prime with a very useful focal length. It’s a great example of the Fujinon quality that Fujifilm has become known for, and I would recommend it to anyone.

If it’s all sunshine and lollipops, why don’t I use this lens much anymore? It has to do with the focal-length. Earlier this year I got the new Fujinon 27mm f/2.8, which has a full-frame-equivalent focal-length of 40.5mm—nearly “standard” (as the eyes see), and only barely wide-angle. The 35mm lens is 52.5mm full-frame-equivalent, which is also in the range of “standard,” but is a little telephoto. (For those wondering, roughly 30mm on a Fujifilm camera, or 45mm on full-frame, is neither telephoto nor wide-angle). So these two lenses—27mm f/2.8 and 35mm f/2—are similar and in many ways redundant. The 27mm lens isn’t necessarily “better” but it is my preference because I like the focal-length just a little more. They’re both excellent options, but I only need one.

I do still use the 35mm f/2 sometimes. If I want just a little more reach, or if I need a little larger maximum aperture (such as for low-light photography), the 35mm lens is the one to grab. However, the number one reason why I choose it over the 27mm is because my wife often has the 27mm lens on her camera, so the 35mm—being a close second pick—is what I use on my camera instead. Of course, I have many other lenses to choose from, so sometimes I use the opportunity to try something completely different. In any event, I would be a little sad parting ways with the Fujinon 35mm f/2, but it wouldn’t really change much for me.

If you are looking for a standard prime lens that’s not too big or expensive and just captures wonderful pictures, the Fujinon 35mm f/2 is one to strongly consider. I like the 27mm f/2.8 just a little better, but the new one (with the aperture ring) is tough to find at the moment, so if you are impatient, this is an excellent alternative. The 35mm f/2 is such a good lens that it just seems “wrong” to give it a silver medal instead of gold, but when there are multiple options that are exceptional, things like that happen. Beside, you might prefer it over the 27mm, because you like the focal-length or larger aperture better. Maybe the Fujinon 35mm f/2 would suit your photography just a bit better.

Even though I don’t use it much anymore, I still love the Fujinon 35mm f/2, and would be plenty happy if it were the only lens I owned.

This post contains affiliate links, and if you make a purchase using my links I’ll be compensated a small amount for it.
Fujinon 35mm f/2 (Black) B&H Amazon
Fujinon 35mm f/2 (Silver) B&H Amazon

Man in Red – Fujifilm X-T1 & Fujinon 35mm f/2 – “Kodacolor
Pigeons Over A Roof – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2 – “Kodachrome 64
Mitchell Mesa – Fujifilm X-T1 & Fujinon 35mm f/2 – “Kodak Portra 160
Palm Tree Bees – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2 – “Kodachrome 64
Bright Spikes – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2 – “Kodachrome 64
Saguaro In The City – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2 – “Agfa APX 400
Dramatic Desert Sky – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2 – “Agfa APX 400
Dike Road – Fujifilm X-T1 & Fujinon 35mm f/2 – “Monochrome
Reflection on a Dirt Road – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm – “Dramatic Monochrome
Terrible Ford – Boulder City, NV – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2 – “Agfa APX 400

Creative Collective 006: Blurry Bokeh Balls As Abstract Art

Bokeh Abstract – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Retro Gold” recipe

Bokeh is an often discussed aspect of picture quality. A lot of people use the term, but I don’t know how commonly it is understood. Bokeh is a misspelled Japanese word that means fuzziness. In photography, it is used to describe the out-of-focus portion of a photograph. Good bokeh simply means that the quality of the blurry part of an image is pleasant. Obviously what is “good” is subjective, as different people have different tastes. When there are bright points (such as lights) that are out-of-focus in a picture, the camera will render them as blurry orbs, which are sometimes called “bokeh orbs” or “bokeh balls” or “bokeh circles” (depending on who you ask). Sometimes when people discuss “bokeh” they’re specifically talking about these orbs and not the rest of the blurry part of the picture, even though technically all of it is bokeh, and not just the bokeh balls.

In this article we’re going to purposefully create blurry bokeh balls as abstract art. We’re going to do some things in the name of creativity that might seem photographically unusual or even outlandish.

Hold on tight, because things are about to get fuzzy!

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How To Use The Fuji X Weekly App (Videos)

I’ve been asked a few times recently to demonstrate through video how to use the Fuji X Weekly App. How do you get the most out of it? Some people are visual learners, and seeing it done makes much more sense than reading about it. If that’s you, this post is intended to help you.

I don’t currently have any videos that demonstrates this, as my two (below) only give a brief glimpse. They’re promotional videos and not how-to, although you can likely glean the gist of how it all works from them. I’m not really a “video guy” (just lightly dabble, I guess), so it’s not easy for me to whip something up real quick. However, I hope this article is helpful to you, as I share what is on YouTube regarding this. There are several great resources out there.

The SOOC series is a good starting point. For those who may not know, SOOC is a monthly live video series, with each episode focused on a different film simulation recipe. It is a collaboration between Tame Your Fujifilm (Fujifilm X-Photographer Nathalie Boucry) and Fuji X Weekly (Ritchie Roesch). SOOC is a fun and educational experience where we not only talk about Fujifilm camera settings, but also answer your questions and give tips and tricks. Basically, we’re trying to help you master your Fujifilm camera, with a focus on simplifying your photographic workflow.

As a part of this, Nathalie and I discuss and even demonstrate aspects of the Fuji X Weekly App. So if you are trying to understand how to use the App and how to get the most out of it, you without a doubt want to watch these episodes! They’re quite long, so under each video I’ve put a time that you should skip ahead to if you don’t want to watch the whole thing.

Skip to 48:43 & 1:06:30
Skip to 32:32
Skip to 23:58
Skip to 42:46 & 49:43
Skip to 21:00 & 29:20

Those SOOC episodes are great resources, and if you have the time I recommend watching them in their entirety. But if not, just skip ahead to those times under each video. Be sure to tune in on December 9th to catch Episode 06, as we will certainly discuss the App even more!

While I don’t have videos that show how to use the Fuji X Weekly App, other people have made some great videos that demonstrate how to do it! Yea! You’ll find these below—I’m sure they’ll be helpful to you.

Hopefully those above videos are great resources to you and will help you understand how to use the App. For those who prefer written words, check out these articles:

How To Add Film Simulation Recipes To Your Fujifilm Camera
Fuji X Weekly App: Filtering by Camera or Sensor?
Why You Should Become A Fuji X Weekly App Patron
Current 10 FXW App Patron Early-Access Recipes
Sneak Peek At The Fuji X Weekly App Update

Creative Collective 005: Are You A Better Photographer Than A Middle Schooler? — Photography Challenge

Jonathan capturing pictures for his middle school art project.

Do you remember the television gameshow hosted by comedian Jeff Foxworthy called Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? If not, the premise was pretty simple: answer questions from elementary school textbooks, with the most difficult questions taken from the fifth grade. Actual fifth grade students were on hand to offer help if the contestants should need it (and they always did). It turns out that most adults don’t remember the things they learned in elementary school—only two people ever won the million dollar grand prize. Those who lost had to admit on camera that they were not smarter than a fifth grader.

My 12-year-old son, Jon, is taking an art class in school, and one unit of this class is on photography. A project that he had to complete for this was to capture 10 photographs, each using a different and specific element of art. I let Jon use my Fujifilm X-E4 with a Fujinon 27mm f/2.8 lens attached. I did this same project right along side him, and I used a Fujifilm X-T30 with a Fujinon 35mm f/2 lens attached. Were my pictures going to be better than a middle schooler’s? How about you—are your pictures better than a middle schooler’s?

Let’s do this challenge together! There’s no prize, but it will be fun.

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Creative Collective 001: Stacking Diffusion Filters

In my article No Edit Photography: 7 Tips To Get The Film Look From Your Digital Photos, I suggested that you should sometimes use diffusion filters (Tip 3) in order to better achieve an analog aesthetic. In that article I stated, “You want the effect to be subtle.” I think that’s generally good advice, as in most circumstances subtleness will get you the best results. But what happens when you ignore the “rules” and get crazy? What happens when you use multiple diffusion filters together in order to get a bold effect? This article will explore those questions, and hopefully it will inspire you to do your own experiments with diffusion filters.

Ready to get crazy?

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I Love Getting Analog Looks SOOC

Captured with a Fujifilm X100V using the Fujicolor Pro 400H recipe.

I love getting an analog aesthetic right out of camera! Fujifilm X cameras offer many great tools to get film-like results straight-out-of-camera without the need to edit. By adjusting the JPEG parameters, you can create various looks that I call film simulation recipes—I have published nearly 200 of them! These settings save you time, simplify the photographic process, and make capturing pictures even more enjoyable.

“By making it possible for the photographer to observe his work and his subject simultaneously,” wrote Edwin H. Land, co-founder of Polaroid, “and by removing most of the manipulative barriers between the photographer and the photograph, it is hoped that many of the satisfactions of working in the early arts can be brought to a new group of photographers.”

Ansel Adams called it One-Step Photography, and added, “The effect of one-step processing on both amateur and professional creative photography has been revolutionary. As with all art forms, we must accept the limitations of the medium as well as revel in the advantages.”

Land and Adams were specifically talking about Polaroid pictures, but I think it applies similarly to Fujifilm X cameras and film simulation recipes. The “manipulative barriers between the photographer and the photograph” have been removed! Now you just have to decide which recipe you want to use, like picking which film to load, and start creating, without worrying about how you’re going to later manipulate the pictures, because the straight-out-of-camera pictures are pretty darn good, and don’t require manipulation. Sure, edit if you want—there’s nothing wrong with that—but you don’t have to if you don’t want to, and there’s nothing wrong with that, either. Ansel Adams called it “revolutionary” and said to “revel in the advantages.” There’s freedom in this.

All of the pictures in this article are unedited (except for perhaps some minor cropping) straight-out-of-camera JPEGs that I recently captured using a Fujifilm X camera and a film simulation recipe.

Captured with a Fujifilm X100V using the Kodak Tri-X 400 recipe.
Captured with a Fujifilm X100V using the AgfaColor RS 100 recipe.
Captured with a Fujifilm X-E4 using the Kodacolor VR recipe.
Captured using a Fujifilm X-E4 with the Fujicolor Superia 1600 recipe.

Recipe of the Month: Agfa Optima 200

Golden Oak – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Agfa Optima 200

In the SOOC live video series, Fujifilm X-Photographer Nathalie Boucry and I discuss, among other things, film simulation recipes. If you’ve never watched an episode, we introduce a recipe to shoot with, inviting you to use it and share your pictures. In the last video (which you’ll find at the bottom of this article, in case you missed it), we announced that Agfa Optima 200 was the new recipe-of-the-month. Use this recipe, upload your favorite picture (link here) that you used this recipe to capture, and we’ll share it in the next episode! Be sure to submit before November 18th, which is when the next video goes live.

Nathalie and I, of course, don’t just ask you to try a recipe—we use it ourselves, too. This is a journey that we’re on together, all of us. I wanted to share with you a few fall photographs that I recently captured using the Agfa Optima 200 on my Fujifilm X-T30. This recipe isn’t usually my first choice for colorful landscapes, but trying recipes in various situations is a part of the fun of this—there’s a lot to discover! I’m learning along side you, and that’s a great thing about this project. I look forward to seeing on November 18th what you captured with this recipe. See you then!

Red Leaves in the Forest – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Agfa Optima 200
Vine Leaves in Autumn – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Agfa Optima 200
Pop of Color in the Canopy – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Agfa Optima 200

Top Articles of October (Plus Some You Might Have Missed)

It’s now November, and tricks or treats are officially over. I thought it would be fun to look back at October, and see what the most viewed articles were. I have two categories: most viewed in October and most viewed that were published in October. It’s a subtle difference, but a difference nonetheless. I’ll finish up with a third category: pointing out some posts that seem to have been overlooked—maybe you missed them.

Top 5 Most Viewed Articles During October

1. Of Shadow & Light — Be The Light
2. How To Add Film Simulation Recipes To Your Camera
3. My Fujifilm X100V Kodachrome 64 Film Simulation Recipe
4. History & Poetry of Kodachrome
5. My Fujifilm X100F Vintage Kodachrome Film Simulation Recipe

Top 5 Most Viewed Articles Published in October

1. Of Shadow & Light — Be The Light
2. History & Poetry of Kodachrome
3. Fujicolor X100V (X-Trans IV) Film Simulation Recipe: Pulled Fujicolor Superia
4. No Edit Photography: 7 Tips To Get The Film Look From Your Digital Photos
5. Fujifilm X-E4 (X-Trans IV) Film Simulation Recipe: Muted Color

Top 5 Most Overlooked Articles Published in October

1. Why Should You Become A Fuji X Weekly App Patron?
2. SOOC Episode 04: Kodacolor
3. New Patron Early-Access Film Simulation Recipe: Pushed CineStill 800T (X100V & X-Pro3)
4. New Patron Early-Access Film Simulation Recipe: Pushed CineStill 800T
5. Fujifilm X-Trans IV Film Simulation Recipe: Elite Chrome 200*

*Note: this article was published on October 31, so it’s inclusion in the “overlooked” category is a bit unfair.

Bonus:

Top 5 Film Simulation Recipes Published in October:

1. Pulled Fujicolor Superia
2. Muted Color
3. Silver Summer
4. Eterna v3
5. Elite Chrome 200

No Edit Photography: 7 Tips To Get The Film Look From Your Digital Photos

An unedited JPEG from a Fujifilm X100V using my Xpro ’62 recipe.

Digital photography is convenient. You can review your pictures immediately after they’re captured—no waiting for rolls of film to come back from the lab. You can manipulate the images as much as you’d like in software to achieve any aesthetic that you can dream of. You can get extremely clean, sharp, bright, and vibrant pictures with extraordinary dynamic range that just wasn’t possible in the film era. Perfect pictures are prevalent today—a wonder of contemporary photography, no doubt.

Sometimes I think that digital photography is too good, too flawless, too sterile. Perfect pictures can be perfectly boring. Pulitzer-Prize winning author John Updike stated, “Perfectionism is the enemy of creation.” I think that statement is true in multiple aspects. For example, if you are working hard to create perfect pictures, you will not create very many images. I think, also, that creativity is rarely born out of perfectionism. Creativity is serendipitous. It’s not calculated. Scott Adams (of Dilbert fame) wrote, “Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.”

With film photography, mistakes happen fairly frequently. You don’t know what you have until you have it sometime later. There are a lot of variables that can affect the outcome, which are sometimes out of your control. Occasionally you accidentally and unknowingly discovery something extraordinary. There’s a lot of uncertainty, and when you fortuitously stumble upon something interesting, there’s a lot of joy in that. Film photography is imperfect—it has flaws—and, because of that, it is rewarding. This is one reason why there’s a resurgence of interest in analog pictures.

Film photography is inconvenient. The serendipity of it is fascinating, but I prefer the instant reward of digital. I’m not patient enough anymore for analog. Don’t get me wrong, I shot film for many years. I prefer how film looks, but digital is more consistent, convenient, cheaper (after the initial investment is made), and quicker, so I choose digital. But what if it is possible to get the best of both worlds? What if you could get the “film look” from your digital camera? What if you could do it without editing. Straight-out-of-camera. No Lightroom or Photoshop needed. Would you try it?

The Film Look — What Is It?

Captured on Kodachrome 64 color reversal film.

What exactly is the so-called film look? That’s actually a difficult question to answer, because one film can have many different aesthetics, depending on how it was shot, developed, scanned and/or printed, and viewed. There have been hundreds of different films available over the years, each with unique characteristics. Film can have so many different looks that it could take a lifetime to try and describe them all.

Most simplistically, the film look can be defined as a picture that looks like it was shot on film, but really the answer is more elusive than that. The best way to understand it would be to look at pictures captured with film. Find prints from the 1990’s or 1980’s. Photographic paper (and film, too) fades over time, so the further back you go, the more likely it will appear degraded. Maybe that’s something you prefer? There are as many different film looks as there are tastes, and there’s certainly not a one-size-fits-all answer to what exactly film looks like.

Captured on Elite Chrome 200 color reversal film that has faded.

The biggest difference between film and digital is how highlights are handled. With film, there’s a gradation to white that’s often graceful, but with digital it is much more abrupt. Shadows can also sometimes be more gradual and graceful with film than digital, but definitely not to the same extent as highlights, and definitely not always. Another difference is that film grain is usually considered more beautiful and artful than digital noise. With film photography, there are sometimes surprises that stem from gear (or film) imperfections that don’t typically happen naturally with digital capture. Beyond that, digital images can be effectively manipulated in post-editing to resemble film photographs, especially in the era of Lightroom presets and software filters.

There are two responses that I expect to receive. First, someone will say, “Shoot film if you want the film look.” Nobody is going to argue against that, but this article is not about merely getting the film look—it’s about getting the film look from your digital camera, because digital is more convenient. Second, a person will argue, “I can easily get this look with software, so why bother doing it in-camera?” Getting the look straight-out-of-camera saves time, simplifies the photographic process, and makes capturing pictures even more enjoyable. There’s no right or wrong way to do things—I’m just discussing one method, which you may or may not appreciate. If you enjoy post-processing, that’s great! I personally don’t enjoy it, so I go about things differently, which works for me.

1. Shoot A Fujifilm Camera

Fujifilm X-E4.
Fujifilm X-T30.
Fujifilm X100V.

Step One to achieve the film look from your digital photos without the need to edit is to buy a Fujifilm camera. Which one? It doesn’t matter. If you already own one, you can skip ahead to Step Two.

Why do you need a Fujifilm camera? Why not a Canon, Sony, or Nikon? Because Fujifilm has, in my opinion, the best JPEG engine in the industry. They’ve used their vast experience with film to give their digital cameras an analog soul. In other words, Fujifilm has made it easier than any other brand to get a film look out-of-camera. Could you do it with another brand? Sure—I created JPEG settings for film looks on Ricoh GR cameras. You can do something similar with other brands, but, in my experience, Fujifilm gives you more and better tools to do this. The best brand for achieving a film look that doesn’t require post-processing is Fujifilm, so that is why you need a Fujifilm camera.

I’ll recommend the Fujifilm X100V or Fujifilm X-E4, both of which I own and use often. I also own a Fujifilm X-T30, Fujifilm X-T1, and Fujifilm X-Pro1, and those are very capable cameras, too. Additionally, I’ve shot with a Fujifilm X100F, Fujifilm X-Pro2, Fujifilm X-T20, Fujifilm XQ1, Fujifilm XF10, Fujifilm X-T200, Fujifim X-A3, Fujifilm X-E1, and Fujifilm X-M1. It doesn’t matter which model you buy, but, if you can afford it, I would go for one the newer models (X-Pro3, X100V, X-T4, X-S10, X-E4, or X-T30 II), because they have more JPEG options, and it’s possible to get more looks out of those cameras. Don’t worry if a new camera is out of your reach, as there are many quality used options that are affordable.

2. Use Film Simulation Recipes

Film simulation recipes are JPEG camera settings that allow you to get a certain look straight-out-of-camera. They’re basically a customization of the stock film simulations that come with the camera, adjusted to achieve various aesthetics. I’ve published over 175 film simulation recipes for Fujifilm cameras, most based on (or inspired by) classic film stocks. They’re free and easy to use. I even created a film simulation recipe app for both Apple and Android! If you have a Fujifilm camera, you should have the app on your phone. Film simulation recipes go a very long ways towards achieving a film look in-camera. Programming a recipe into your camera is kind of like loading a roll of film, except that you can capture as many frames as you wish on each roll, and change the film anytime you want. 

There are a lot of wonderful options to choose from, including Kodachrome 64, Kodak Portra 400, Kodak Tri-X 400, Fujicolor C200, Fujicolor Pro 400H, AgfaChrome RS 100, and so many more! There are nearly 200 of them on this website, plus some more on the Community Recipes page. No matter your Fujifilm X camera, there are some great film simulation recipe options for you to use. I even have a number of unusual recipes, like Cross Process, Expired Slide, and Faded Negative, intended to mimic some alternative analog aesthetics. The three example pictures above are unedited (aside from, perhaps, some minor cropping), just to give you a brief taste of what recipes look like.

3. Use Diffusion Filters

10% CineBloom.
5% CineBloom.
5% CineBloom.

As I already mentioned, the biggest difference between digital images and film photographs are how highlights are handled (and, to a lesser extent, shadows). Diffusion filters help with this. They take the “digital edge” off of your pictures by bending a small percentage of the light that passes through the filter, which causes it to be defocused. The images remain sharp, but a slight haziness is added, especially in the highlights, which produces a more graceful gradation to white.

There are various types of diffusion filters by a few different brands. I recommend Black Pro Mist filters by Tiffen or CineBloom filters by Moment. You want the effect to be subtle, so I suggest a 1/8 or 1/4 Black Pro Mist—I used a 1/4 in the picture at the very top of this article—or a 5% or 10% CineBloom, which I used in the three pictures above; however, I have seen some good results with the stronger options (1/2 Black Pro Mist and 20% CineBloom). A slight effect from a diffusion filter in the right situations can subtly improve a photograph’s analog appearance.

4. Shoot With Vintage Glass

Fujifilm X-T1 & Pentax-110 50mm f/2.
Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi-Pentax Takumar 55mm f/2.2.
Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi-Pentax Takumar 55mm f/2.2.

I love using vintage lenses on my Fujifilm cameras, because they often have flaws that give pictures character. Some of the charm of analog photography stems from imperfect gear—that serendipity I mentioned earlier is often from flawed glass. Modern lenses are precision engineered and meant to give you perfect pictures. But they can be too good and too sharp. They’re great if you photograph test charts, but vintage lenses often have seemingly magical qualities that make real-world pictures better, and definitely more film-like. A lot of time you can find these old lenses for pretty cheap, but you do need an adaptor to attach them to your Fujifilm camera.

If you don’t want to buy used gear and adaptors, a great alternative is to get yourself some inexpensive manual lenses, like the Pergear 50mm f/1.8, 7artisans 50mm f/1.8, and Meike 35mm f/1.7. There are, of course, lots more manual options like these, many of which have flaws and character similar to vintage lenses, except that they’re brand-new and don’t need adaptors. Manual lenses are trickier to use, especially if you don’t have much experience with them, but I find them to be a rewarding, delivering wonderfully imperfect photographs.

5. Don’t Always Nail Focus

With digital photography, you have many tools to make sure your focus is spot-on; if you are unsure that you precisely nailed it, you can immediately review the image and zoom in to make sure, and retake if necessary. With film photography, not only are the focus tools much more limited, you don’t even know if you got it exactly right until the film comes back from the lab. If you study classic photography, you’ll notice that many iconic pictures didn’t spot-on nail the focus. You’ll even notice this in old movies and television shows, too. It was common, and nobody cared. It has become a small part of the film look.

Worry more about composition and storytelling, and less about getting perfect focus. In fact, my recommendation is to not review the LCD after each shot to check. Take the picture, and if you got focus perfect, great! And if you didn’t, don’t let the imperfection bother you, but celebrate that a little softness can be a part of the analog aesthetic. A little blur is not always bad, especially if the picture is otherwise interesting or compelling.

6. Use Higher ISOs

One of the big differences between digital and film is that film has lovely silver grain while digital has ugly noise. Grain can be ugly, too, but digital noise is generally regarded as undesirable, and usually it is, while grain is general regarded as artful. Fujifilm has programmed their cameras in such a way that the noise has a more film-grain-like appearance than other brands. It’s definitely not an exact match to any film grain, but it’s certainly better than typical ugly noise. So why not incorporate it into your pictures?

A lot of photographers are afraid to use high ISOs. Back in the film days, I remember that ISO 400 was considered to be a high-ISO film. Some people thought you were nuts if you used an ISO 800 or 1600 film. ISO 3200 film was only for the most daring, or for use under extreme circumstances. Early digital cameras were pretty bad at higher ISOs, too, but camera technology has made incredible progress, and now cameras are pretty darn good at high ISO photography. I routinely use up to ISO 6400 for color photography, and even higher for black-and-white. Those ultra-high ISOs just weren’t possible or practical 10 or so years ago. Now combine high-ISO photography with Fujifilm faux grain (found on X-Trans III & X-Trans IV cameras), and the pictures begin to appear a little less digital and a bit more film-like.

7. Overexpose and Underexpose Sometimes

Transparency film often requires a very precise exposure because there’s very little latitude for overexposure or underexposure. Negative film often has a much greater latitude—generally speaking it can tolerate more overexposure than underexposure. Each film is different. But here’s the thing: you don’t know if you got it right until later when the film is developed. In the moment you don’t know for sure if the exposure is really correct. With experience you can get pretty good, and exposure bracketing can help (not something you want to do all of the time because you’ll go through your film too quickly), but it’s almost a guarantee that you’ll end up with a few overexposed or underexposed frames. Sometimes this can affect the aesthetic or mood of the image, and by chance your picture is actually more interesting because of your mistake—that analog serendipity again. If you discover something you really like, you might even begin to do it on purpose (like overexposing Fujicolor Pro 400H by several stops).

Your digital camera has many great tools to help you get the exposure perfectly correct, which is great. And if you don’t get it right, you can know right away, and capture another exposure if need be, or fix it later by adjusting the RAW file. However, purposefully not getting the exposure just right, whether by overexposing or underexposing, is a good way to mimic the film experience, and sometimes you’ll get an unexpected result, which can be a very happy accident. I wouldn’t do this all of the time, but occasionally it is a fun and fruitful exercise.

Conclusion

An unedited JPEG from a Fujifilm X100F using my Fujicolor Superia 800 recipe.

Step One, which is using a Fujifilm camera, and Step Two, which is using film simulation recipes, are the most critical of these seven tips. You could use Ricoh GR cameras instead of Fujifilm, but I definitely recommend using Fujifilm. Step Three through Step Seven are optional, and they aren’t necessarily intended to be used all together or all of the time, although you certainly can if you want. Pick a couple of them—perhaps diffusion filter and vintage lens or high-ISO and underexposure—and see what results you get.

There are two things that I’d like for you to get out of this article. First, you don’t need software or editing apps to achieve an analog aesthetic. You can do it in-camera. All of the pictures in this article are unedited (except for some minor cropping). This saves you a whole bunch of time, and you might even find the process more fun. Second, I hope that this article inspires you to try something new. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Mistakes can be highly rewarding, and you might even discover something extraordinary.

A few more example photograph:

Vintage Color recipe & 1/4 Black Pro Mist filter.
Fujicolor Pro 400H recipe & 1/4 Black Pro Mist filter.
Kodacolor VR recipe – 5% CineBloom filter.

Find these film simulation recipe and many more on the Fuji X Weekly — Film Recipes App!

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What Future Camera Technology Might Be Like

Barn by the Tetons – Grand Teton NP, WY – Fujifilm X-E1 – Nik Silver Efex edit

What will future cameras be like? More specifically, what do I think they’ll be like? This is an odd topic that has come up a few times recently in various places. I don’t have any inside information. I’ve never laid eyes on any top-secret still-in-development cameras. I only have my own ideas and opinions, which are probably inaccurate. I’ve certainly been wrong before, and I’m probably wrong now. Still, it’s fun to speculate.

I think, in the not-too-distant future, perhaps beginning in roughly five years, we’ll see camera manufacturers team up with software companies to offer more (and better) in-camera filters. We’re going to see more software built into cameras, and with that, I think we’ll start to see VSCO, RNI, Alien Skin, Nik Collection, and others, partner with camera manufacturers to include their popular presets integrated into gear. This will also allow RAW files to match straight-out-of-camera JPEGs (and TIFFs) simply by applying the same preset in-software as in-camera.

Mirrored Mountain – Mirror Lake, UT – Fujifilm X-E1 – Alien Skin Exposure edit

The Zeiss ZX1 camera has Lightroom Mobile built-in. The Pixii camera can be programmed with LUT profiles. It’s not even close to mainstream yet, but you can see the very beginning of this shift start to build. I think it is only a matter of time before you will be able to capture in-camera with (for example) the RNI Kodak Gold v.3 preset. I don’t think Canon, Sony, Nikon, or Fujifilm will be the first company to do this. Maybe Leica. Perhaps a future Panasonic S-series model. I’m not exactly sure, but it will definitely be a marketing strategy for whoever does it first.

I believe that in the beginning it will be collaborations between specific manufactures and software companies. For example, Sony might partner with VSCO, and perhaps Nikon partners with RNI. I personally hope Fujifilm partners with RNI or Alien Skin, but my guess is that Fujifilm will hold onto their film simulations, which, let’s be honest, is a similar concept. Film simulations are kind of like presets, especially since they can be customized with film simulation recipes; however, in its current state film simulations don’t go as far as what I believe is coming. I do think Fujifilm can accomplish in-house their own presets, since they do seem to have a nice head start, but I don’t know if they have the foresight to take it far enough or the R&D resources to keep up once it takes off. We’ll have to wait and see how it all plays out. Currently, Fujifilm’s Film Simulations, with the help of custom JPEG recipes, are the closest thing right now to what I believe is coming.

Eventually I see it morphing into more of an app model, where you can buy any company’s presets and use them on your camera, no matter the brand. Buy a Canon and download the RNI app if you want their presets, or VSCO if you want theirs. If you have a Fujifilm camera, you can use the exact same presets on that camera as you can on your Sony. This might be 10 or more years down the road, but it seems like it is inevitable that it will happen someday.

Whitefish Lake Infrared – Whitefish, MT – Fujifilm X100V – RNI Aero edit

Why do I think all this is the future of photography technology? What I believe is going to happen is a stronger movement towards straight-out-of-camera. Not for bragging rights, but for three reasons: 1) it saves so much time, 2) it can be more fun, and 3) it opens up photography more to those who don’t have the desire, skills, or time to post-process their pictures. Technology will make getting post-processed-like-looks more accessible without the need to actually do it. It’s going to be easier and more automatic. You, the photographer, will have to select which look you want, and the camera will do the work for you and will deliver to you out-of-camera that look without any need for Lightroom, etc., to achieve it. Upload the picture to whatever social media or cloud storage you want right from the camera. No need for a computer, as it’s all handled by the camera. You won’t even need your phone, unless camera companies figure out that they can harness the phone’s computing power to do the work for them, and the phone becomes (wirelessly) integrated into the camera.

I could be completely wrong about all of this. I’ve certainly been wrong many times before. Nobody knows the future. I do see things moving in this direction, and in a very small way, because of my film simulation recipes, I’ve had a hand in moving it.

Sentinel & Merced – Yosemite NP, CA – Fujifilm X100V – SOOC “Vintage Color” unedited

Of Shadow & Light — Be The Light

The Art of Photography – Fujifilm X100V – “Kodak Tri-X 400

The first time that I saw Bruce Barnbaum‘s Chair & Shadow photograph was over 20 years ago in college during Photography 102. Most of those classes began with a look at well-known or really good photographs, with a discussion of why these pictures were special, and Bruce’s photo was one of those. At the time I had no idea who he was. I remember being struck by how this simple image could be so moving. The Zone System was mentioned, as well as dodging and burning and perhaps some other technical stuff.

I didn’t see Chair & Shadow again for more than a decade, when it was featured on the cover of The Art of Photography: An Approach to Personal Expression. I bought the book and read it cover-to-cover. It’s a great resource for those wanting to be more artful with their images. Note that the current edition of the book has a different cover photo.

Bruce’s picture is of a simple folding chair inside a large empty room with a door cracked open. The building looks old. The picture leaves far more questions than answers. Where is this? What is the significance of this place? Why is the chair in this large and otherwise empty room? Who sits in it? Why is the door partially open? What is outside? Is this a good place or bad place? These and other unanswered questions are likely why this image produces an emotional response, and, depending on the answers your mind invents, it might be good feelings or uneasy feelings—either way, you likely had an emotional response to the photo. Ultimately the picture is about shadow and light—more shadow than light, with light piercing the darkness—and utilizes a simple (yet effective) composition to make that point.

Yesterday I visited PetaPixel and saw that they published an article (which apparently first ran in Medium Format Magazine) in which Bruce Barnbaum explains the story behind his famous photo. It was such a fun read for me, because of my own experiences with the image. Many of my unanswered questions were answered in an interesting way. I very much enjoyed it!

Then I read the comments section. Big mistake. It’s amazing how people can be so negative yet full of unsubstantiated pride. You see it everywhere on the internet, including photography websites. I suppose it is easy to do that when you can hide behind anonymity. I learned awhile back not to Google my own name, because people have said some really awful things about me, largely because they simply disagreed with something I said. You can imagine, since I encourage people to shoot JPEGs, that it rocks the boat a little.

What’s great about the Fuji X Weekly community is that you’ll find very little of this nasty negativity here. Yeah, it’s seemingly everywhere else, but not among you. You guys and gals are extraordinarily kind, and it shows. You are like the light shining through the door in Chair & Shadow, illuminating the room. It’s really refreshing, and seemingly uncommon. Thank you for being a light in the “darkness” that is the internet. You are the best community in all of photography—I’m certain of it—and I appreciate you!

Photoessay: Fujifilm X-Pro3 + 18mm f/1.4 + AgfaChrome RS 100 Recipe = A Photowalk To Remember

Rental boats at Lake Schluchsee. Photo by Thomas Schwab.

Thomas Schwab, who has helped create (and downright created) a number of film simulation recipes on this website, recently went on a 12-mile photowalk through the Black Forest in the beautiful German mountainside between Hinterzarten and Lake Schluchsee. The weather was “Octobering” (as Thomas put it), which means that it was overcast and rainy. Thomas carried his Fujifilm X-Pro3 camera with the new Fujinon 18mm f/1.4 lens attached—both are weather-sealed, so a great combination for the conditions. He used the AgfaChrome RS 100 film simulation recipe, which Thomas said is “the best for color photography on rainy days.” He “seasoned to taste” the recipe with Sharpening set to 0 (instead of -2) and Grain Weak (instead of Strong). He used ISO 640 for all of the images.

The adventure began with a train ride to Hinterzarten, then a hike down the Emil-Thoma-Weg trail. After visiting Lake Mathisleweiher, Thomas trekked through Bärental (Bear Valley)—thankfully he didn’t encounter any bears—all the way to Lake Schluchsee, passing Lake Windgfällweiher and a small unnamed lake on the way. The adventure ended with a train ride back home. This really was a photowalk to remember, through some incredible rural scenery!

The pictures in this article were captured by Thomas Schwab while on his mountainside adventure. They aren’t in chronological order, but they do tell a story. Thank you, Thomas, for allowing me to share your wonderful photographs on Fuji X Weekly! Please follow Thomas on Instagram if you don’t already, and leave a kind note to him in the comments to let him know you appreciate his pictures!

Through Bärental. Photo by Thomas Schwab.
Houses in Hinterzarten. Photo by Thomas Schwab.
Traces of forest work. Photo by Thomas Schwab.
Forest work. Photo by Thomas Schwab.
Lonely Path. Photo by Thomas Schwab.
Stone steps in Bear Valley. Photo by Thomas Schwab.
Big equipment in Bear Valley. Photo by Thomas Schwab.
Between Bärental and Lake Schluchsee. Photo by Thomas Schwab.
Small nameless lake. Photo by Thomas Schwab.
Grass meadow. Photo by Thomas Schwab.
Little leaves. Photo by Thomas Schwab.
Raindrops on leaves. Photo by Thomas Schwab.
Bee on thistle flower. Photo by Thomas Schwab.
Leaf captured with large aperture. Photo by Thomas Schwab.
Water droplets, at Lake Mathisleweiher. Photo by Thomas Schwab.
Small blossoms at Lake Mathisleweiher. Photo by Thomas Schwab.
Pine branch at Lake Mathisleweiher. Photo by Thomas Schwab.
Umbrella at Lake Mathisleweiher. Photo by Thomas Schwab.
At Lake Mathisleweiher. Photo by Thomas Schwab.
Boat at Schluchsee village. Photo by Thomas Schwab.
Lake Schluchsee beach. Photo by Thomas Schwab.
Lake Schluchsee from the village. Photo by Thomas Schwab.
Blue boats on Lake Schluchsee. Photo by Thomas Schwab.
Boat dock at Lake Schluchsee. Photo by Thomas Schwab.
Dock on Lake Schluchsee. Photo by Thomas Schwab.
Lake Schluchsee. Photo by Thomas Schwab.
Glass bottle at Lake Schluchsee. Photo by Thomas Schwab.
Old hotel in Hinterzarten. Photo by Thomas Schwab.
Passing train. Photo by Thomas Schwab.
Train stop at Himmelreich Station. Photo by Thomas Schwab.

Fujifilm Live Workshop by Moment

Moment has a live workshop on August 19th that’s all about Fujifilm! If you want to learn more about your camera, this is a great opportunity. Four instructors over 4.5 hours will discuss things like Fujifilm camera features, best Fujinon lenses, best film simulation recipes for different situations, menu customization, and commercial, portrait, and street photography using Fujifilm gear.

This workshop is regularly priced at $149, but right now is only $99! I think this is a great opportunity for those who want to take their photography to the next level. I think you’ll get a lot out of it, especially if you’re fairly new to photography. If you aren’t doing anything else on August 19th, consider signing up (click here). By the way, I’m not sponsored by Moment, I’m just passing this along to you because I believe some of you will really appreciate it.

The 5 Worst Fujifilm Cameras That You Should Never Own

There are five Fujifilm cameras that you should never, ever own. Don’t even think about it! These cameras have qualities that are downright awful. If you should buy one, you’ll certainly regret it. How do I know? Because I have personally used all five of these Fujifilm cameras, and trust me, you should never own one. Ever. They’re the worst!

What are these five foul Fujifilm cameras? What makes them so bad? Read on to find out!

#5 – Fujifilm X-E1

“…performance lags in its class.”

CNET

Never judge a book by its cover. The X-E1 might be one of the most stylish cameras ever made, but on the inside you’ll find sluggish low-light autofocus and an unbearably antiquated menu. Where’s the focus joystick? There isn’t one. You won’t find any film simulations with the name Classic in it, either. The camera is almost 10 years old, which in digital terms is ancient. It received plenty of criticism when it was brand-new, and cameras weren’t nearly as good back then as they are now, so it must be especially awful when judged by today’s standards.

Besides, are 16 megapixels really enough? I mean, we’ve got 100-megapixel cameras now! Nobody is making cameras nowadays with such low resolution. They’re all going to laugh at you with a measly 16; that’s barely enough for social media posts, and not nearly enough for pictures of fluffy the cat. If you’re serious about photography, you need more resolution than this camera has. Lot’s more.

It’s best to avoid the Fujifilm X-E1, even though you can find it sometimes for super cheap. You get what you pay for, so it’s better to spend as much money as possible on your gear. The more you spend, the more successful you’ll be, or at least the more successful other people will assume you are. Remember, perception is reality.

Barn by the Tetons – Grand Teton NP, WY – Fujifilm X-E1
Snake River Fog – Grand Teton NP, WY – Fujifilm X-E1

#4 – Fujifilm X-A3

“…the autofocus system is way too slow….”

PCMag

Fujifilm X-A cameras are essentially cheap X-E copycats. You can buy Lucky Charms or you can buy Marshmallow Mateys; they might look similar, but do they taste the same? No. The X-A3 might resemble an X-E3, but don’t be tricked! X-E is X-Trans, yet X-A is Bayer, which might as well be Sony, and Sony isn’t Fujifilm.

When you judge books by their covers you are usually right. The X-A3 has a lot of plastic on it, and plastic cameras are basically toy cameras. No serious photographer would ever use a toy camera, because toys are for kids. The X-A3 might as well be a Holga or Diana; unfortunately, the Fujifilm model doesn’t have any of that lo-fi sugary goodness that attracts lomographers. This camera sits in a weird spot: too cheap on the outside to be loved by real photographers, too good on the inside to be loved by hipsters.

Feeling Blue – Canyonlands NP, UT – Fujifilm X-A3
La Sal Through Mesa Arch – Canyonlands NP, UT – Fujifilm X-A3

#3 – Fujifilm X-M1

“…it just feels wrong….”

Photography Blog

The X-M1 is an X-E1 trapped inside the body of an X-A1.

What happens when you combine the worst parts of an X-E1 with the worst parts of an X-A1? You get this Frankenstein camera. Fujifilm took all of the bad points of #4 and #5 on this list and mixed them together in what can best be described as a mistake. There’s a reason why Fujifilm never made an X-M2.

Trust me, you’ll regret putting a charged battery inside this camera to bring it to life.

Vibrant Autumn – Fruit Heights, UT – Fujifilm X-M1
Lit Autumn Leaves – Fruit Heights, UT – Fujifilm X-M1

#2 – Fujifilm XQ1

“…it has a number of problems.”

PhotographyLife

The XQ1 is a pocket zoom. Remember those? They were all the rage eight years ago. Were is the keyword. Nobody uses cameras like this anymore. It was trendy for a time (not necessarily this particular model), but they’re just not cool anymore.

Besides, it has a 2/3″ sensor. Yeah, yeah, I know it’s X-Trans II, and produces results similar to the much larger and heavier and more expensive X-T1, but the sensor is so itty bitty. A postage stamp looks large in comparison! Nobody will suspect you’re a photographer if you use it—they’ll just ignore you as an out-of-town tourist or an out-of-date amateur. What’s the point in being a photographer if nobody knows it just by looking at you?

Reaching Leaves – Mirror Lake, UT – Fujifilm XQ1
Logs in the Lake – Mirror Lake, UT – Fujifilm XQ1

#1 – Fujifilm AX350

 “Changing the film simulation is pretty much all you can do….”

Fuji X Weekly

The AX-what?! This pocket point-and-shoot is a camera you likely don’t remember, because it’s entirely forgettable. Intended for the tenderfoot, the AX350 was made obsolete by the cellphone. You might find one at a thrift store for the same price as a cup of coffee. Maybe a friend or relative has one in the back of some junk drawer or at the bottom of a storage box in the attic. If you find one, just leave it be. If someone offers to give you theirs for free, politely decline. Not even those who it was made for want it, and neither should you.

If you had to choose between this camera and your cellphone camera, you wouldn’t choose this one. I mean, what kind of image quality could you possibly get from such a cheap, amateurish, old, obsolete piece-of-junk? It’s best that the AX350 remains a forgotten relic of a time long past, the good ol’ days when only expensive DSLRs were capable of capturing good pictures, and you knew who was a pro (and who wasn’t) by the gear they carried.

Green Summer Leaf – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm AX350
Red Trike – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm AX350

This, of course, is satire. You probably figured that out awhile ago. I’m poking fun at negative articles and videos with titles like: The Absolute Worst Camera, Cameras You Should Never Own, Top Cameras To Avoid, The Most Hated Camera, Things I Hate About This Camera, Why I’m Disappointed With My Camera, Why I’m Selling My Gear, etc., etc.. Negativity is popular, and titles like those get views.

Any camera in the hands of a skilled photographer is a capable photographic tool. As Chase Jarvis coined, “The best camera is the one that’s with you.” Do the best you can with what you have, and you’ll be surprised at the results. It’s more important to have photographic vision than expensive gear. It’s better to invest in experiences than new things.

All five of the cameras mentioned above—the X-E1, X-A3, X-M1, XQ1 and AX350—are fully capable artistic tools. Even the AX350 can produce beautiful results. There’s nothing wrong with using any of them. No matter what your camera is, it’s plenty good enough. Spend less time worrying about the gear you own, and spend more time considering what you can create with it.

Fuji X Weekly 2020 Quick Recap

2020 wasn’t great in general (understatement of the year?), but it was a great year for the Fuji X Weekly blog! Let me share with you some of the highlights and statistics from this last year.

In 2020:
– There were 3.7 million page views on this website—that’s more than four times as many as 2019!
– I published 178 articles, almost one every other day (I only promise one per week, hence the name…).
– The #1 most viewed article, My Fujifilm X-T30 Kodachrome Film Simulation Recipe, had 79,939 views.
– This blog was mentioned in videos by Andrew & Denae, Vuhlandes, Omar Gonzalez, and The Snap Chick, among others.
– The Fuji X Weekly App made an appearance on FujiRumors and PetaPixel, among others.
– Oh, and the Fuji X Weekly app for iOS came out on December 1st! Android coming soon.
– Back in October I redesigned the website, making it easier to find film simulation recipes.

How did I find the time? I do all this “on the side” in the spare moments of my day. So many people have helped my photography over the years, and this is my way to pay it forward. Sometimes I wish that I had more time to dedicate to this website and photography, because there’s so much more that I could do.

While 2020 was definitely a big year for this blog—which was only possible because of you, the greatest audience in photography—I know that 2021 will be even bigger. There’s so much in the works, and so much that I hope to accomplish, that it’s bound to be a big year! Some great things for the Fujifilm community await, and I can’t wait to share them with you!

The two pictures below are examples of what will be the first new film simulation recipe of 2021—it’s coming soon!

Fish on a Wall – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V – My last exposure of 2020
Leaning into the Frame – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V – My first exposure of 2021

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.