The Fuji X100F
One of the many successes of the Fuji X series cameras is the superb quality of the Fuji jpeg files, straight out of camera.
This is a guide to some of my favourite Fujifilm X camera film simulations. When Fuji first introduced their X series cameras they decided to try to emulate the qualities and characteristics of their renowned films from the film era. So here we take a glance back at the film qualities and how some of the film simulations (jpegs) of today compare. You will notice the film simulation images have subtle differences in colour toning, sharpening, shadows and saturation; similar to the film they derive from.
NB. Fuji’s film simulations only apply to the jpeg images straight out of the camera.
- Fujichrome Provia from Fujifilm was a daylight-balanced colour transparency film that exhibited a super-fine grain structure with vivid and natural appearance of colours and rich tonal rendering. Excellent reciprocity characteristics made this film highly suitable for long exposures. It displayed medium overall contrast/saturation. Provia film had a wide range of photographic applications and was especially well-suited for use in landscapes, nature, portrait and fashion photography.
DIGITAL – PROVIA Simulation
Fujifilm have produced a very even and balanced rendition of the original film. I would recommend shooting in Provia Std for general photography. It is sharp, produces good contrast and delivers vibrant images (but not too vibrant).
The Royal Crescent & Gardens, Bath
- Fujichrome Velvia was made possible through the development of new production technologies and substitutes for raw materials vital for the manufacture of the then current Velvia but now hard to procure. In addition to the world’s highest level of image colour saturation and vibrancy. The result is a well-tuned, vivid colour reproduction with a high photo quality. A wide-range of uses including nature photography, fashion, products, interiors and general artwork. It is especially suited to subjects that emphasis strong colours.
DIGITAL – VELVIA Simulation
As much as I like it, my personal view of the VELVIA simulation is probably soured somewhat by the extent in which it over-saturates colour. Personally I struggle with its ‘over-the-top’ delivery of vibrancy. I find myself scrolling in a -1 or -2 or even a -3 colour setting to compensate for that over richness. (much too vibrant for my liking). That said, the overall quality of the image can often not be beaten in post production techniques. A lot depends on what you are photographing of course, but natural? …. it’s not! (IMHO)
- Designed to display the softest tones and subdued colours, enabling skin tones to be reproduced with smooth and naturally continuous gradation from the highlights to the shadows. MCCL (Multi-Color-Correction Layer) technology and new color materials that give this film a high level of color fidelity ideal for the reproduction of costumes, accessories and other subtly colored subjects.
DIGITAL – SOFT ASTIA Simulation
Labelled as Soft Astia and probably the most understated simulation Fuji provide for the digital medium. Although the original film was designed for portraits with specific attention to skin tones, this later incarnation has many more uses including Landscapes, wildlife and portraits. As the name suggests it is a little softer than the its film namesake; creating a very natural looking image without too much saturation.
- Neopan 100 Acros from Fujifilm was a black and white negative film. It had a orthopanchromatic quality; apparently this means it had a colour sensitivity matching that of the human eye. It was designed for general use in a wide variety of shooting conditions. It featured a medium speed sensitivity of ISO 100/21° when developed in standard black and white chemistry. Acros exhibited a broad tonal range with a super fine grain structure and strong sharpness. It also featured excellent reciprocity characteristics, making it suited to long exposures.
DIGITAL – ACROS Simulation
By far the jewel in the crown of the Fuji X cameras. Fuji have excelled in their second generation of X cameras (24MP sensor) with their ACROS black and white emulation. It is simply superb! It renders high contrast and beautiful tones right through the image. With a little shadow and highlight adjustment, the monochrome images that are produced straight of camera, can be sublime. In fact I would highly recommend shooting in ACROS with the red filter set and pushing those highlights up +1 or +2 and the shadows up +2. Using this mode can seriously help with composition. Often seeing in black and white will un-clutter an image. If you are shooting RAW of course, you will also get a colour copy. Looks great with a bit of added grain!
FUJICOLOR PRO 160NS (PRO Neg Std/Hi) FILM
- A professional-quality, medium-speed fine-grain colour negative film. Especially suited to portrait photography. It had a wide exposure latitude and provided excellent skin tones with a smooth continuous gradation from shadows to highlights with a faithful colour reproduction. Widely accepted as a studio photographer’s first choice. Both the PRO Neg modes concentrate on skin tones and will mute colours to balance the overall image. PRO Neg Std produces a flatter looking image. PRO Neg Hi on the other hand is more dynamic and delivers a tad more colour and contrast; as if the tonal curve has already been edited and adjusted.
DIGITAL – Pro Neg Std Simulation
Both have their uses. They are pretty much similar to the film descriptions above although the Pro Neg Std simulation is probably as near to a digital flat RAW file as you may get on any DSLR camera (providing no sharpening adjustments have been made). If your intention is to shoot in RAW and then edit afterwards, I would recommend using Pro Neg Std with no additional tonal or sharpening set in camera.
DIGITAL – Pro Neg Hi Simulation
Is basically the same as Pro Neg Std but with added saturation and sharpening. I tend not to use it as I prefer the Provia Std in those instances.
And finally Fuji’s newly developed CLASSIC CHROME … Fuji’s answer to Kodak’s Kodachrome Film.
DIGITAL – Classic Chrome Simulation
The Classic Chrome film simulation has many of the characteristics of yesteryear and in particular the natural and yet gritty performance of Kodachrome film. The Fuji simulation is much more versatile and flexible than Kodachrome with the ability to punch (with a few in-camera adjustments) the image for a more dynamic affect; akin to a 1960’s magazine look. The best way to describe Classic Chrome though, for me, is a weathered look, subtle in colour but with a delivered punch. Push the shadows/highlights/colour +1 or +2 and you are guaranteed gritty and dynamic results. I like to shoot in Classic Chrome and convert the RAW file afterwards into black & white – you then get the best of both worlds. Classic Chrome is a Marmite simulation and if at first glance you don’t like it … I urge you to give it a go… I use it often!
A few pointers:
- Setting up your favourite film simulations on your custom settings is a great way to access them quickly when shooting. I recommend setting up a function button for your custom settings.
- If you use Adobe Lightroom for editing, the Fuji film simulations can be applied to the RAW files during processing. In DEVELOP MODE – CAMERA CALIBRATION – PROFILE – Choose desired film simulation.
- Even if you are an avid RAW shooter, setting the camera to record RAW+JPEG’s and using your film simulations is a great way to visualise your final image. You still have the RAW image to edit.
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