OWH Film Fujifilm recipe

A Fujifilm recipe designed to look convincingly like film and makes no excuses about how it gets there.

Øyvind Nordhagen

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Hotel bar in Copenhagen, July 2022
Hotel bar in Copenhagen, July 2022. Shot on Fujifim X-E4 with 7artisans 35mm f/0.95

Film photography is growing in popularity and I think that’s great! For me it’s been kind of a strange journey to this point. You see I started in photography in 1994, having learned the ropes from my father. I shot, developed and printed a lot of black and white in my teenage years. Color too, especially when later in 2001 spent a year working Ina photography store where I had cheap access to the in-store lab. Then I switched to digital. Then came Hipstamatic and later Instagram filters and VSCO which brought back the nostalgia of (bad) film looks for digital photography. But it was too much and people grew tired of it. Now it seems we have converged on an appreciation for certain aspects of the analog look without everyone’s pictures looking like expired CineStill shot on a Lomo.

But I digress. For me the film look means a departure from the clinical and perfect. An appreciation for what the medium adds to the motif. It does not mean that I want my images to have a dominant color wash or be all low contrast. When I shot film I often preferred Kodak Gold or Kodak Ektar. There are already existing recipes that mimic these, but I wanted to see if I could improve on that. I rarely shot slide film because I preferred the dynamic range of negative film.

In working on this recipe I went back and forth between making something that’s dogmatic and unapologetic and something that could be an all-purpose daily driver. In the end I decided on the former, so I pulled out all the stops to try and make this as film-like as I could.

Man taking photo of a fountain in Tivoli Copenhagen, July 2022
Man taking photo of a fountain in Tivoli Copenhagen, July 2022

Distilling the look of film on digital

Negative film resolves highlight detail like nothing else while giving less priority to the shadows. That’s point number one to address. Dynamic range 200 combined with a somewhat hard shadow contrast and highlight at -1 plus over exposure gets us there. The natural shadow contrast of Astia is actually pretty good for this.

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Øyvind Nordhagen

Photographer based in Oslo. I write about photographic technique and editing.