Modern Documentary Fujifilm Recipe
Looking for a modern-looking, general purpose Fujifilm recipe that still packs some punch? Look no further!
The keyword for this recipe has to be “versatility”. For the past 6 months I have been shooting street photography like a madman. In the process I have been testing just about every film sim under the sun, as well as the stock film simulations that come with my cameras unchanged. I wanted to find something that could be my go-to settings for street photography. For that I wanted something a bit contrasty and with punchy colors that would still control highlights and color gradients in a nice way.
Why not just Classic Chrome?
Yes, Classic Chrome is a fine film simulation. Even with all other settings at their defaults Classic Chrome is a very tempting option, but I have a couple of problems with it:
- It’s too desaturated for my taste.
- It has a tendency for clipping shadows.
- You get cyan blues whether you like it or not.
- Everyone else uses it.
That last point is getting more important for me by the day as Classic Chrome seems to be the darling of every Fujifilm shooter these days. I don’t necessarily want my style to be the same as every other Fujifilm shooter out there.
Classic Chrome and a lot of the Fujifilm recipes you can find online have a very stylized look to them. Most try to emulate a particular film stock. This is kind of ironic since most of the photographers we idolize for the style of images they produced with these films would have loved to have the detail and color accuracy of modern digital sensors. So instead of trying to emulate a particular film stock with this recipe I specifically took inspiration from images that look like they are shot on modern equipment. The only tweaks I made were towards giving the images punch and texture. Like if they were shot on modern film and modern lenses, then scanned professionally and color corrected to look natural.
Let’s begin with Provia
I have to give a shout out to Dave Etchells over at Imaging Resource for this extensive write-up about all the Fujifilm film simulations. It has been my main source of research when trying to decide where to start, both for this recipe and my New American Color recipe.
If you want versatility, you can’t go wrong with Provia. It’s very neutral color-wise, but emphasizes reds and holds on to highlights very well. Exactly what I needed. Actually, after creating this recipe I noticed that Mark G Adams’s Leica-like recipe also uses Provia with almost the exact same settings as this.
Moving on to the individual tweaks, there really isn’t much to say. The key here lies in the use of Color Chrome Effect and Color Chrome Effect Blue (if you have it). I set these both to “weak” because at “strong” you risk loosing saturation. If you only have Color Chrome Effect then setting that to weak is essentially the same. I also crank the saturation up as far as it will go. That means +4 on my X-T4, but for older bodies +2 or whatever is the maximum will be right.
How to handle the highlights
I am very particular about my highlights as it is one of the main reasons I switched to Fujifilm from Nikon. I just couldn’t stand the digital highlight clipping that was so easy to get with my D750. For this recipe I use Dynamic Range at 200, but with a highlight curve at +1. That might seem like the result is going to be zero, but it isn’t. Check this out:
Notice that difference in highlight roll-off on the right. That’s what I want. I almost never use DR400 though. It has a tendency to produce unnatural looking skies and I want the option of going to ISO 320 for bright, sunny days.
In addition to this I use a very subtle push towards warming up the colors and mild sharpening. The use of WB Auto White Priority gives a little better consistency, but if you only have Auto then that’s fine as well. I would normally add my favorite grain setting of “Weak/Large", but since this recipe is all about versatility I decided to leave it off for my use.
Film Simulation: Provia
Dynamic Range: 200
White Balance: Auto White Priority
White Balance Shift: R+2, B-2
Color Chrome Effect/Blue: Weak
Noise Reduction: 0
Exposure compensation: No rule here. Expose for the colors!
Please share your results with me!
If you find this recipe helpful, let me know by tagging me in your Instagram captions. My handle is @oyvindwashere. You can find more examples using this recipe over at Instagram, but here are some right away. Happy shooting!