Use Fujifilm Film Simulations In Camera, and on Existing Raw Files

I’ve been writing a lot about my Fujifilm X100F lately. It’s a great compact camera, and the fact that it has a fixed lens actually makes it more practical to use.

One thing people like on these cameras is Fuji’s film simulations. These are profiles that the camera uses to reproduce the look of its film stocks: neutral Provia, vivid Velvia, stark black and white Acros, and more. For many people, these JPEGs created by the camera will make great photos, and you may never need to go to your raw files.

I do shoot raw, though, because of the greater dynamic range, and the better results when you need to adjust exposure. Yet, in many cases, I like the look of these film simulations.

You can set the camera to shoot in raw plus JPEG, and choose a specific film simulation. Or you can bracket film simulations, so the camera creates up to three different versions of a photo. Or you can apply the film simulations after you’ve shot.

To do this, view a photo, then press Menu/OK. Go to Raw Conversion, Film Simulation, and choose the one you want to apply. Press Menu/OK, then press the Q button to tell the camera to create the new image. Press OK to save it.

This is interesting, since you can shoot in Standard (Provia) and then go through your images on the camera to decide if you’d rather use a different simulation. You won’t have to worry about changing the settings when you’re shooting.

If you have already copied raw files from your camera to your computer, you may decide that you want to apply a film simulation. You can do this in some software; the Raw File Converter app that Fuji provides can do this, as can Lightroom, but these simulations are not exactly the same as what the camera creates. (And the Raw File Converter app has one of the most hideous interfaces I’ve ever seen.) Here’s one example. On the left, a Velvia film simulation created by the Raw File Converter; on the right, the same shot created by the X100F. As you can see, the Raw File Converter app’s file has much higher contrast and lower saturation than the file created by the camera.

 

Now this difference isn’t that important, yet it is obvious (and is more so on a full-size photo rather than a crop like above). If you do like the film simulations the camera creates, then you won’t get the exact same tones from software. I’ve looked at other conversions using Raw File Converter, and they’re all a bit off. They are all darker with more contrast, though this is less obvious in the Acros conversions.

But there’s another way. If you have existing .raf raw files, you can copy them back to a memory card (just put the files in DCM > 101_FUJI), and load that card in your camera, then perform the conversions as explained above. You might want to do this if you’ve shot a lot of photos, then chosen the ones you like best, then want to try several film simulations. It’s a bit laborious, since you can only do this for one shot at a time, but it’s a simple process that only takes about 15 seconds for each photo.

Here are some examples of the various simulations created by the camera. The photo at the top of this article is the standard Provia conversion, but here it is again for easier comparison with the others below:

Velvia:

Classic Chrome:

Acros:

Acros with red filter:

6 thoughts on “Use Fujifilm Film Simulations In Camera, and on Existing Raw Files

  1. Great post, Kirk. I shoot RAW+JPEG for the same reasons as you, and have done this with my X100T (copied photos back to the camera for re-conversion). I’ve always wondered why software on the Mac can’t create the same results as the in-camera film simulations. After all, the camera is simply running RAW conversion software in its firmware. One would have thought that the Fuji-supplied Mac software could run the exact same conversion algorithm as its firmware software.

    Completely agree about the interface for the Mac software. I braved it when I thought I might get proper film simulation from it, but have never gone back since I found it doesn’t output the same excellent results as the in-camera processor.

    • I think most software uses a sort of reverse engineering to create the film simulations, and I would have expected that the software that Fuji provides might be more accurate. I was actually surprised to find that it’s different. I don’t think the process is different; there’s essentially a preset with settings such as brightness, contrast, shadows, highlights, etc.

  2. Great post, Kirk. I shoot RAW+JPEG for the same reasons as you, and have done this with my X100T (copied photos back to the camera for re-conversion). I’ve always wondered why software on the Mac can’t create the same results as the in-camera film simulations. After all, the camera is simply running RAW conversion software in its firmware. One would have thought that the Fuji-supplied Mac software could run the exact same conversion algorithm as its firmware software.

    Completely agree about the interface for the Mac software. I braved it when I thought I might get proper film simulation from it, but have never gone back since I found it doesn’t output the same excellent results as the in-camera processor.

    • I think most software uses a sort of reverse engineering to create the film simulations, and I would have expected that the software that Fuji provides might be more accurate. I was actually surprised to find that it’s different. I don’t think the process is different; there’s essentially a preset with settings such as brightness, contrast, shadows, highlights, etc.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.