Wednesday, June 28, 2017

How to take fantastic colour images with Fuji Film Simulations


One of the great attractions of going with Fuji cameras such as the Fuji X-T2, is the built-in Film Simulations. Fuji was well-known for its fantastic film emulsions for reversal (slide), colour negative and black and white. In all, Fuji provides 15 film simulations ( 6 color, 1 Sepia simulation, and 2 Black and White simulations with 3 additional ‘filter’ versions for each of them - that is, green filter, yellow filter and red filter - very reminiscent of when we used to keeping changing lens filters, depending on whether we wanted to have really dark skies!).

Here is a breakdown of the film emulsions currently available in the UK from Fuji (with those available as film simulations on Fuji X-series cameras in bold):

Reversal film (slides):

  1. Velvia: a saturated and fine-grained slide films, loved by nature and landscape photographers. It was my favourite film once Kodak had ceased production of the great Kodachrome 25. I personally would use this when taking landscapes when the weather was a little dull, to help boost the greens. Today, it's available in both ISO 50 and ISO 100 variants.
  2. Provia: this slide film gave a more natural look than Velvia and I often used it for editorial work when I freelanced in the early 1990's. Available today as FUJICHROME PROVIA 100F, designed to produce medium color saturation and contrast compared to other films. It has ultrafine grain structure.

Colour negative film (for prints):

  1. Fujicolor Pro: - 160NS and 400H are films targeted at professionals. These are the same as PRO. Neg. Std and PRO. Neg. Hi on Fuji -X-system cameras. The tonality is very soft, and the skin tone appears very soft. Today, it's available in 160NS and 400H film stock. Typically, you would use the 160NS variant in the studio where you had plenty of lighting, and the 400H were you either didn't have lots of lighting or there might be some action, such as in wedding or fashion work on location.
  2. Superia: intended for non-professional use. Currently available as either Fujicolor Superia 200 or Fujicolor Superior X-TRA400. The difference between the two is that the former is suitable for sunlit scenes or where flash is being used, whilst the latter would be used if there was action or in low light situations.
  3. Fujicolor C 200: Fuji describe this as working well outdoors or indoors with flash, and having great colour for natural portraits or group shots.
You can read more about each film stock (that is actual film emulsions, rather than the film simulation modes) on Fuji's site here. You can also read in more depth about all their film simulations on their dedicated X-System site here.

Below is a graphic that Fuji have created, showing where each of their film simulations lie in terms of tonality and saturation. It should prove very helpful when considering which film simulation to sue in any particular scenario.

So, when it comes to actually using any of the film simulations, what can you expect? Well, below I have a series of images with different film simulations applied. Its actually the one image, it's just that I then applied a different film simulation to copies of the image. The great thing about this I did it all in camera! This is what I love about Fuji cameras. You can take any shot on your memory card and without a computer, you can create copies of it (as many as you like - until you applied each of the simulations in turn) and apply different film simulations to them.

This is just what I did. I was sitting outside a cafe in Harrogate, Yorkshire recently and just took the shot with this little project in mind. At first, I was thinking of taking several images with the film simulation applied when I took the shot. However, I realised that it was simpler to take just one shot and then create copies later in camera and apply the film simulations then. Such a time-saver. Thank you Fuji!

Now, you may find it hard to distinguish the ASTIA one from the CLASSIC CHROME below. However, if look closely you will see that the ASTIA has slightly more saturation in the green leaves than the CLASSIC CHROME image below.If you look back at the chart created by Fuji you will see that ASTIA lies further to the right on the saturation scale than CLASSIC CHROME (listed as just CLASSIC on the chart).


Moving onto the PRO. NEG. HI you may see that it's ever so slightly more saturated than CLASSIC, but not as much so as the ASTIA image. Again, this si what one would expect from the chart.

In examining the PROVIA we can see it is similar in saturation to the ASTIA image but the tonality is slightly harder. It might not be as clear with this particular subject matter (and the day was somewhat overcast) but if you open each image in another browser tab and view them enlarged, I think you will agree with me.


VELVIA is the most saturated of the images, which isn't surprising when we examine where it lies on the chart! This is why it's great for landscapes on a dull day, when you need a boost to the saturation and tones in your image.

I have barely scratched the surface about what Fuji film simulations can mean for your photography. I have only covered the colour ones for now, but will cover the black and white ones in another post soon. I will also find some more examples of each of the colour ones 'in action' so to speak.

Also, as well as film simulations, Fuji has a host of other settings that can alter how your final image looks. We will also, look at these in more depth in a subsequent post. For now, thank you for reading and do leave your comments below. 

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