Fujifilm X-E4 (X-Trans IV) Film Simulation Recipe: Scanned Superia

Brownie on a Shelf – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Scanned Superia”

After Anders Lindborg shared with me his interesting discovery that D-Range Priority (DR-P) is essentially the same thing as Hypertone on Fujifilm Frontier scanners, I immediately went to work creating a couple film simulation recipes that use D-Range Priority, since I didn’t have any. Like many of you, I thought that DR-P was a feature reserved only for extreme situations, and not for everyday use, but (as it turns out) it doesn’t have to be—DR-P can be utilized all of the time if you want.

What is DR-P? It’s basically a tone curve intended to maximize dynamic range. There are four options: Off, Auto, Weak, and Strong. When DR-P is Off, the camera uses DR (DR100, DR200, DR400) instead, and when DR-P is On (Auto, Weak, or Strong), DR is disabled. When DR-P is On, Highlight and Shadow are “greyed out” so those can’t be adjusted—the curve is built into DR-P. You get what you get. DR-P Weak is similar to using DR400 with both Highlight and Shadow -2, but with a very subtle mid-tone boost. This recipe calls for DR-P Auto, and the camera will usually select DR-P Weak unless there is a bright light source (such as the sun) in the frame, such as the picture below.

Big Grass Leaves – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-E4 – “Scanned Superia”

This recipe was inspired by pictures I found that were captured with Fujicolor Superia 100 film scanned with a Frontier SP-3000. Of course, how the film was shot, or even the scanner settings selected, can effect the exact aesthetic of an image. Even the same emulsion captured the same way and scanned on the same scanner can look a little different if the settings on the scanner are different (more on this in an upcoming article). I didn’t spend a lot of time trying to precisely match this recipe to those scans—it was more of a quick attempt, but I liked the results so I didn’t fine-tune it any further. It has a pretty good feel, I think, that produces pleasing results in many circumstances, although it isn’t the best for artificial light, and you might consider using Auto White Balance when not in natural light situations. This recipe is compatible with the Fujifilm X-Pro3, X100V, X-T4, X-S10, X-E4, and X-T30 II cameras.

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

Example photographs, all camera-made JPEGs using this “Scanned Superia” film simulation recipe on my Fujifilm X-E4:

RADAR Peak – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-E4
Colorful Blooms of Summer – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-E4
Last Red Rose – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-E4
White Rose of Summer – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-E4
Yellow Country Flowers – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-E4
Little Yellow Flowers in the Wetlands – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-E4
Suburban Reeds – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-E4
No Parking Any Time – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-E4
Morning Flag – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-E4
Succulent Shelf – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-E4

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

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My Fujifilm X-E4 Focus Switch & ISO Dial Exclusion Solution

Ever since I published my review of the Fujifilm X-E4, I have received numerous requests to explain my focus switch and ISO dial exclusion solution. It can be difficult to know how to best set up this new camera, especially with the changes that Fujifilm made, and perhaps most puzzling are focus mode and ISO. I don’t know if my settings are best, but hopefully this will be helpful to some of you.

In case you don’t know, Fujifilm removed from the X-E4 the M/C/S focus selector switch that most X cameras have. This switch allows you to quickly and easily go between Manual Focus (MF), Autofocus Continuous (AF-C), and Autofocus Single (AF-S). Instead of a switch, you now have to dig into the menu to change this, which is an inconvenience, to say the least. Fujifilm programmed the X-E4 so that the Focus Mode can be, or really must be, set and saved with each Custom Preset. I have all of my presets set to Autofocus Single (AF-S) because that’s the Focus Mode that I most commonly use. No matter the C1-C7 preset that I choose, it is set to AF-S, and whenever I change presets the Focus Mode will be automatically set to AF-S, whether that’s what I want or not. Most of the time this works well, but not always.

I have AF+MF set to On. I also have MF Assist set to Focus Peak Highlight (I prefer Red) and Focus Check set to On. This is important because most Fujinon lenses are capable of Manual Focus Override, and if you have one of these lenses, when you are in an autofocus mode, if you half-press the shutter you can turn the manual focus ring on the lens and manually focus. Yes, you read that correctly: you can manual focus while in AF-S or AF-C, without setting the camera to MF! Not only that, but MF Assist will automatically activate, and if you are using Single Point AF Mode, focus zoom will also automatically activate. So it’s like setting the focus selector switch to M, except that you stay in AF-S or AF-C. By the way, this isn’t a new feature, and many other Fujifilm cameras are capable of this. It’s pretty slick, and if you’ve never used it you should give it a try.

That works well for Fujinon lenses, but what if you are using a third-party or vintage lens that is manual-only? No matter the Focus Mode you are in, you can press the Focus Stick in to activate Focus Check. You don’t need to be in MF Mode to manually focus, and Focus Check helps to achieve a properly focused image; however, MF Assist will only activate in MF Mode, so Focus Peak Highlight (or whatever you have it set to) won’t activate unless MF Mode is selected. If you don’t need MF Assist, keeping the camera in AF-S or AF-C focus mode even when using a manual lens, and using the Focus Stick to Focus Check, is a good strategy. If you do like to use MF Assist, you’ll need to set the camera to Manual Focus Mode, which is found in the AF-MF Menu.

You can program one of the buttons on the camera body or one of the touch-screen gestures as a shortcut to activate the Focus Mode menu. I chose the AEL-AFL button on the back, and that works well for me, but it might not work for you. The unmarked Function (Fn) button on the top is another good option. This is not an ideal solution, but it’s better than digging through the menu. Since most of the time I’m using AF-S, it’s only occasionally that I need to change the Focus Mode to AF-C or MF, so it’s not a huge deal, but it would have been better if Fujifilm had kept the M/C/S switch on the camera body.

The X-E line has never had an ISO dial on the camera body. You’ve always had to dig through the menu to find the ISO menu. I had hoped that Fujifilm would add an ISO dial around the Shutter knob like the X100V, but they didn’t. My solution to this lack of an ISO dial is simple: the front wheel, which is called The Command Dial. The little wheel on the front can be programmed for only a few different things, like aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. A long press will allow you to switch what it controls, but I have it set to, and I leave it set to, ISO. Because I most often use Auto ISO, which can be programmed with each Custom Preset, I don’t change ISO often, but when I do this works very well, probably better than a dial around the Shutter knob.

The Fujifilm X-E4 is a great minimalistic camera, and I really appreciate that aspect of it, but the exclusion of the M/C/S switch went just a little too far, in my opinion. But that doesn’t mean the camera isn’t a great tool or that it can’t be worked around. I found that it has a sufficient number of buttons, and the firmware Fujifilm gave it does make up for some of the exclusions. Changing focus modes is more cumbersome than it should be, but it’s not a big problem, just an occasional minor inconvenience.

If you have a Fujifilm X-E4, I hope that you found this article helpful. If you’ve found a different solution to either the missing focus mode selector switch or the non-existent ISO dial, I’d love to hear about it in the comments! I’m fairly satisfied with my focus switch and ISO dial exclusion solution, but maybe you’ve figured out something even better.

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Review: Fujifilm X-E4 — The Little Camera That Can

The X-E1 was my introduction to the world of Fujifilm cameras. I love the X-E line—the nearly perfect combination of form, function, size and price—it’s easy to understand why people are passionate about it. Fujifilm just released the latest model in this series: the X-E4. This new iteration has received plenty of praise and criticism. Fujifilm made some significant changes to this model, but do they equate to a better camera?

The Fujifilm X-E4, which retails for $850 for the body or $1,050 when combined with the new 27mm f/2.8 lens, is the fifth X-E camera. Fifth? Isn’t the X-E4 the fourth? In 2012 Fujifilm released the X-E1 (X-Trans I), a year later the X-E2 (X-Trans II), in 2016 the X-E2s (also X-Trans II), in 2017 the X-E3 (X-Trans III), and now in 2021 we have the X-E4 (X-Trans IV). Beginning with the X-E2s, this series marks the end of a sensor generation, and most likely the X-E4 will be the last camera with the X-Trans IV sensor.

Fujifilm knows how to make a beautiful camera, and the X-E line is one of their best looking. The X100, X-Pro and X-E series are the epitome of modern-retro fusion camera styling. People will mistake it for a vintage film camera. The X-E4 is indeed one of the loveliest cameras made today! The X100 and X-Pro lines are more premium, while X-E is more mid-level. This camera is not weather-sealed, and there’s no IBIS, which will certainly cause complaints, yet the X-E4 is a wonderful camera that is well-built and well-designed—a solid offering by Fujifilm, no doubt—but it’s not a premium model, so expectations should be kept reasonable.

The X-E4 is Fujifilm’s smallest interchangeable-lens camera with a viewfinder. It’s tiny! Really, though, it’s not all that much more compact than the X-T30 or especially the X-E3, but it is slightly smaller nonetheless. It’s pretty darn lightweight, too. This is why I bought the camera: I wanted a smaller and lighter option for travel, and the X-E4 fulfills that nicely.

Fujifilm’s promotional slogan for this camera is “Make more with less.” It’s clear that the design philosophy for the X-E4 was minimalism, something that I appreciate. They attempted to “achieve simplicity” with it, and indeed they did! But did they go too far? There are a number of buttons, switches, and wheels that have been removed from the camera body. Aside from the Shutter Speed and Exposure Compensation knobs and the On-Off/Shutter-Release switch/button, there are now just seven buttons, a joystick, and the front wheel—and that’s it! I wish that the M/C/S focus selector switch had not been axed (probably the most controversial decision), but I’m alright with all of the other design choices. It would have been a nice touch if Fujifilm had included an ISO ring around the shutter knob, but it’s not a big deal that they didn’t.

The X-E4 has an X-Trans IV sensor, which has been around for about two-and-a-half years now; however, Fujifilm has refreshed the firmware in new models, so this camera feels like a different generation than the X-T3 and X-T30. It’s more similar to the X-Pro3, X100V, and especially the X-T4, yet Fujifilm tweaked it a little, so it’s not exactly the same as those cameras, either. One difference is that literally everything in the menu can be (or, really, must be) set in the custom presets. There are some advantages and disadvantages to this, and it definitely takes longer to set up (there are a couple of new tools to potentially help with this); overall I feel like this was a good change that I hope Fujifilm carries forward into future models.

One positive side effect of this firmware change is that it’s now possible to program eight film simulation recipes into the camera. Yes, eight! There’s still the C1-C7 custom presets that can be accessed through the Q Menu, but whatever is programmed into the IQ Menu is remembered separately from the custom presets. As you scroll through the C1-C7 presets in the Q Menu, you additionally have the IQ Menu settings, which are designated by a P, A, S or M, (depending on the shooting mode you are in) in the Q Menu. This eighth “custom preset” cannot be named, but it’s nice to be able to store another recipe in-camera. Also, the very confusing “Base” designation is now gone.

One negative side effect of the firmware change is that the focus mode, whether Manual, Continuous or Single, must be set from within the menu, and must be programmed with each custom preset. I shoot in Single-AF 80% of the time, so that’s what I have it set to, and most of the time this works well. But, when I need to change it (I have a button programmed to quickly access this), it’s not remembered by the camera, so when I adjust to a different custom preset it’s back to Single-AF, when maybe I want Continuous or Manual instead. When I’m shooting in something other than Single-AF, I find myself having to sometimes reset it to the focus mode that I want to use, which can be a little inconvenient and a bit frustrating. The X-E4 does have the ability to automatically save changes to presets, which is a potential solution, but I can foresee some possible problems with that, so I haven’t tried it. I’m hoping that I’m just overlooking some simple solution to the problem, and this will be a complete nonissue once I figure it out. This curious design choice might be the biggest reason why people don’t buy the X-E4, and the inclusion of a M/C/S focus selector switch would have avoided it altogether. It’s just unfortunate, but it’s not a deal-breaker for me because most of the time the camera operates just as I want it to. It’s only a problem every once in awhile.

The X-E4 has a flat design with no bulges for grips. You can buy an aftermarket grip and thumb rest, which is supposed to help with holding the camera, yet adds a little girth and weight. I have had no issues holding the camera, so I have no plans to use those. I might be in the minority with this opinion, but I actually prefer the flat design; however, some people won’t like it, and this might be a reason to avoid the X-E4, depending on your preferences.

The electronic viewfinder is plenty good enough for me—I believe it’s the same one found in the X-T30. The rear screen is a touch-flip. I actually have the touch capability disabled because accidentally touching it, which happens often, does annoying things. The flip ability is nice, but I have never moved it to the “selfie” position—only 90° for waist-level shooting. Maybe someday the full flip will come in handy.

Image quality on the X-E4, like all X-Trans IV cameras, is outstanding. I said about the X100V, and it’s just as true (if not more true) with the X-E4, is that it’s like shooting with an endless roll of film. Actually, it’s like shooting with up to eight endless rolls of film. You can capture as many frames as you wish on each roll, and change the film anytime you want. Amazing!

The video specs are pretty darn good on the X-E4. I’ve not used the camera much for video yet, but I have no doubts that it would be plenty good enough for most people and most purposes. Most likely it has a similar overheating issue as the X100V, but I’ve not heard any reports or experienced overheating myself. Plan to keep clips under five minutes in length, and give the camera a break every now and then, and it should not be a problem at all. If you are serious about video, I don’t think you’d want the X-E4 as your primary cinema camera, but I believe that it would make a solid second body.

With product reviews, people often look for recommendations. Should I upgrade from the X-E3? Should I choose the X-T30 or X-S10 instead of the X-E4? What should I buy? I can’t tell you what decisions you should make, but, for me, I really like the X-E4 as an interchangeable-lens companion to the X100V for travel. That’s where this camera makes the most sense to me, but you’ll have to decide for yourself if it makes sense for you and how you might want to use it.

For travel photography, I’m trying to go smaller, lighter, and simpler, and a key component to that is the Fujifilm X-E4. I really appreciate the redesign. It’s not perfect—no camera is—but it’s pretty darn close to perfect for what I want it use it for. The X-E4, along with a handful of compact lenses, such as the new 27mm f/2.8 that came with it, fits nicely into a small camera bag, right next to the X100V. The X-E4 really is the little camera that can, and I couldn’t be happier with my purchase.

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

I captured the photographs below using my Fujifilm X-E4 on a recent trip to Arizona:

Sitting Above Horseshoe Bend – Glen Canyon Nat. Rec. Area, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Pergear 10mm
Three Palms – Sun City West, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Fujinon 27mm
That Way – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Fujinon 27mm
SS At 35th – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Fujinon 35mm
Old Cars & Tires – Kamas, UT – Fujifilm X-E4 & Fujinon 27mm
Trash Cart – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Fujinon 27mm
American Motorcycle – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Fujinon 18mm
Spring Seeding – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Pentax-110 50mm
Lemon Tree – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Fujinon 35mm
Blossoming Red – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Fujinon 27mm
Dark Blossoms – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & 7artisans 50mm
Hanging Light Bulb – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Fujinon 35mm
Roundabout – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Fujinon 18mm
Coffee – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Fujinon 18mm
Two Thirty – Surprise, AZ – Fujifilm X-T4 & Fujinon 27mm

See also: My Fujifilm Gear Page

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!