This film simulation recipe is one that I’m particularly excited for because I’ve been after this look for a long, long time. The timeline goes as follows: September 2017 I suggested that Fujifilm should make a Fujicolor Pro 400H Overexposed film simulation, October 2018 I made this same suggestion again, December 2018 I published a Fujicolor Pro 400H film simulation recipe for X-Trans III cameras, February 2020 I made a Fujicolor Pro 400H recipe for X-Trans IV cameras, and February of this year I made a Fujicolor NPH recipe (available as a Patron early-access recipe on the Fuji X Weekly App), which is very similar to Pro 400H (NPH was basically an earlier version of the film). Now, I’ve finally made a Fujicolor Pro 400H recipe that I’m quite pleased with. This is an immediate favorite recipe of mine!
After George Coady shared with me his wonderful Fujicolor C200 recipe, he showed me his initial attempt at a recipe for Pro 400H, which inspired me to try my hands at a better Fujicolor Pro 400H Overexposed recipe using the new JPEG options found on the newer cameras, such as Classic Negative, Color Chrome FX Blue and Clarity. At first glance I was disappointed with my results because it didn’t look exactly like what I was hoping for, but then I realized what I actually had created (which I’ll talk more about in just a moment); however, first let’s briefly discuss the film that this recipe is based on.
Fujifilm introduced Fujicolor Pro 400H in 2004 and it’s been a popular color negative film ever since. Photographers often overexpose this film by as many as four stops. When overexposed, the film turns from a somewhat ordinary high-ISO (that’s what the “H” stands for in the name) portrait film into something almost magical. Colors become vibrant and pastel. The exact look of overexposed Pro 400H varies, depending on how much overexposed, how developed, and how printed or scanned, and the effect can range from subtle to pronounced, but generally you know overexposed Pro 400H film when you see it.
It was that pastel look that I was hoping to achieve with this recipe, and at first I thought I had failed—it looked more like Pro 400H overexposed by one stop or maybe two, but not three or four where the pastel colors are found. Even though I didn’t get that wonderful pastel aesthetic, the recipe looked really great nonetheless. Still, I wondered if it would be possible to get closer to that overexposed look simply by increasing the exposure. Sure enough, it worked! The two images below are examples of this, with exposure compensation set to a whopping +2 2/3!
As you can see, there are pastel colors in those two pictures, much like well-overexposed Pro 400H film. Does it closely match the film results? It’s closer than my previous attempts, but it’s not perfect. It’s as close as you’re likely going to get straight-out-of-camera. It’s fun to do this, but you’d have to be pretty brave to shoot a wedding with this much overexposure—I’d do it, but, then again, I’ve sandpapered a camera; I have a history of doing some risky (stupid?) things in the name of art.
What about Fujicolor Pro 400H that’s not overexposed? Can this recipe mimic that, too? Yes, sort of. By not overexposing this recipe, you get results that don’t look overexposed (imagine that), but does it closely resemble the film? It’s not as exact as I’d like it to be, but not far off, either. It’s more convincing as an overexposed recipe, but it also does well when not mimicking that. The two pictures below are examples of this, with exposure compensation set at +1/3.
As you can see, there’s a certain beauty in not overexposing when using this recipe.
The two sets of pictures below are examples of +1/3 exposure compensation, +1 1/3 exposure compensation, and +2 1/3 exposure compensation. In my opinion, the best results are found in the middle category, with exposure compensation in the +1 to +1 2/3 range, but sometimes reducing or increasing the exposure produces interesting results. In other words, oftentimes the best results are with exposure compensation set to +1 to +1 2/3, but try anywhere from +1/3 to +2 2/3, because, depending on the light and subject, you can get good results across a large range of exposures.
This film simulation recipe (as of this writing) is only compatible with the Fujifilm X-Pro3, X100V, X-T4, X-S10 and X-E4 cameras. I used a Fujifilm X100V to capture all of the images in this article. For some of the pictures I used a Tiffen 1/4 Black Pro Mist filter to diffuse the highlights, particularly the ones with a bright light source; because you are bumping up the exposure so much, this recipe pairs especially well with a diffusion filter, producing a more film-like result.
Dynamic Range: DR400
Noise Reduction: -4
Grain Effect: Strong, Small
Color Chrome Effect: Strong
Color Chrome Effect Blue: Weak
White Balance: 4900K, 0 Red & -4 Blue
ISO: Auto, up to ISO 6400
Exposure Compensation: +1 to +1 2/3 (typically), but try between +1/3 to +2 2/3
Example photographs, all camera-made JPEGs using this new Fujicolor Pro 400H film simulation recipe:
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