Film Simulation test by Dave Jackson

By Dave Jackson

My wedding workflow for the past few years whilst shooting with Nikon DSLR’s has consisted purely of shooting RAW and processing the files initially in Lightroom and with some additional tweaks in Photoshop with Nik and OnOne software plugins. The aim is to produce a set of colour and exposure corrected JPEGS for supply to our clients. Since switching to Fuji for most of our wedding work I wanted to compare the film simulations in ‘real life’ shooting situations. Just to clarify, this is not about shooting JPEG only which I know some photographers do but this is part of a bigger picture in exploring the possibilities of producing ‘in camera’ JPEGS from the RAW files for supply direct to the client with little or no external processing after the wedding.

The original RAW files were transferred back to a memory card and then processed in camera. All other settings eg colour. shadow,etc. were 0. The images are in the same order from top to bottom L-R as the film simulation selections in the camera’s menu, starting with the unprocessed RAW file then Provia, Velvia, Astia, Pro Neg Hi, Pro Neg Standard, BW, BW Yellow, BW Red, BW Green, Sepia.

Bridal portraits

bridal portraits 1
X-T1 / 18 -55 F2.8-4 F4 @ 1/250 1250 ISO +0.33 Exp comp. Auto WB

The first set of images (above) are some Bridal portraits taken in the reception room as we were rained off for outside shooting.

There was a large expanse of windows with natural, overcast daylight behind me.

Of the colour versions I don’t think it will come as any great surprise that Velvia is just a bit too saturated for this type of image and personally I find Pro Neg Standard to ‘flat’. That leaves Provia, Astia and Pro Neg Hi. Of these Astia has produced the warmest image, closely followed by Provia and then Pro Neg Hi. Astia will be my first choice for similar lighting / subject in the future.

So far as the black and white versions, my choice here for skin tone would be the Red filter but the overall contrast has reduced with Green producing the darkest lips. I think I might be wary in using the green filter as a ‘redder’ skin tone could cause the skin to darken more than I would wish.

X-T1 / 18-55 F2.8-4 F4 @ 1/150 3200 ISO +0.33 Exp comp Auto WB
X-T1 / 18-55 F2.8-4
F4 @ 1/150 3200 ISO +0.33 Exp comp Auto WB

This was at Bride’s home before the wedding (above). There was a window to camera right but it was quite dull outside and it provided very little light so we set up our Lupolux LED650 with a showercap diffuser to camera right.

Once again the winner for me is ‘Astia’, however they are all acceptable, even ‘Velvia’ hasn’t gone too far with a nice boost to the flowers. Of the black and whites, ‘Red’ has given the lightest skin tones and ‘Green’ the greatest contrast. Yes, you guessed – still a thumbs down for ‘Sepia’.

Wedding Couple

wedding couple
X-T1 / 18-55 F2.8-4 F4 @ 1/640 400 ISO Auto WB

 

The lighting was gorgeous here, with the sun low and diffused slightly through clouds to camera left. (Above) 

Would be quite happy to use ‘Velvia’ here. It hasn’t affected skin tones too much – and wow! – those Fuji greens! I was a bit surprised at the very little difference with the black and white filters. Understandably the ‘green’ filter has produced the lightest image with ‘red’ providing the most contrast – just. Still wouldn’t use ‘sepia’

Classic Chrome

Whilst putting this test together it became possible via an update to apply ‘Classic Chrome’ to existing X-T1 RAW files using Lightroom (5.7). Below are the 3 files with this mode.

classic chrome

For me ‘classic chrome’ is just a little on the ‘grungy’ side and I’m not quite sure yet where it might fit in with our current style of wedding shooting / editing. However, I can’t wait to use this in lots of other genres, especially ‘street’ and some ‘urban portraits’.

Conclusions

As mentioned at the beginning of the post, the aim here was to find out how usable the film simulations are straight out of camera in ‘real life’ wedding shooting. I am working on switching film simulation modes during the wedding to suit particular lighting and subject matter and then using the resultant JPEGS as part of our workflow to supply direct to our clients with no further post processing. DR settings are also going to play a big part in this, especially when shooting high contrast scenes. We will continue to shoot both RAW and fine JPEG and will of course use the RAW files as needed for post processing if the need arises.

To be honest I’m knocked out by the quality of JPEGS produced in camera, the noise reduction is also truly amazing. I would prefer a stronger filter effect with the black and whites as there isn’t a great deal of difference between them all.

For me the Sepia simulation is very limited for our particular requirements and I don’t envisage using it at all.

For full resolution image examples, please click here. 

David Jackson’s Twitter & Blog

Fujifilm at Photokina 2014!

Last week we were at photokina, the world’s largest imaging fair, from Tuesday 16th to Sunday 21st September. It’s been a complete blast and this post will hopefully highlight the bits you missed if you couldn’t make it to Cologne this year.

Our booth was big. It was made up with lots of different sections covering many different areas of our business, all with the same common goal – helping people with photography.

The X-Photographers Gallery

We had images from many different photographers displayed how they were always meant to be seen – printed.

Some were printed on FUJIFLEX Crystal Archive Printing Material and others on Fujicolor Crystal Archive Digital Paper but they were all amazingly good to look at. We’ve combined our X series cameras with many years’ experience of printing and finally the creativity of real users of our cameras to create a truly awe inspiring array of beautiful prints. Many visitors to the stand told us that they thought these were the best prints on display at the show.

The X-Photographers Stage

For me the stage was the real star of the show.

We had 23 photographers from all over the world talking about a wide range of subjects. Some were very inspirational, other educational, but all were very interesting. We will post another blog post shortly with more detail on each of the photographers and what their talk was like. Sign up at the top-right of the page to receive notifications when it is published.

“Touch and Try” section

On the stand we had the new X100T and X30 cameras and the new XF50-140mm F2.8  and XF56mm APD lenses available in our “Touch and Try” section for people to use. We also made sure there was something beautiful to shoot in the way of a BMW i8 and some lovely models so everyone had something to shoot.

The X100T is an evolution from the X100 and X100S with the main upgrades being a 1/32000th electronic shutter, digital rangefinder and new Classic Chrome film simulation.

Shot by Kevin Mullins at f/2 and 1/32000th in bright sunlight using Classic Chrome film simulation
Image by Kevin Mullins using the X100T at f/2 and 1/32000th using Classic Chrome film simulation

The X30 takes the popular X20 and gives it a new high-resolution Electronic Viewfinder, tilting LCD, new control ring, lots of new customisable Function buttons and the same awesome Classic Chrome Film Simulation as sported by the X100T.

Image by Alex Lambrechts using the X30 with new Classic Chrome film simulation
Image by Alex Lambrechts using the X30 with new Classic Chrome film simulation

The XF50-140mm is our first weather resistant constant aperture lens. It boasts f/2.8 throughout its focal length range and contains a lot of amazing technology to make sure the results are comparable to prime lens quality

The XF56mm APD is a fast, sharp prime lens that contains an Apodisation filter that helps produce an even smoother bokeh affect than the standard XF56mm.

The final new product people could get their hands on was the new X-T1 Graphite Silver Edition pictured below.

The full X line-up

Additionally, behind a glass cabinet we had the entire range lined up (click the image below for a larger display)

Full X series lineup. Click to enlarge
Full X series lineup. Click to enlarge

Notable products were:

The XF16mmF1.4 has the same focus ring as the XF14 and XF23 with focus distance and depth of field guide on the barrel itself.

The XF16-55mmF2.8 appears to have OIS dropped from its name suggesting that the final lens will not have OIS, but instead aim for absolute optimal image quality. This is still to be confirmed though.

The XF90mmF2 looks like it’s going to be a big bit of glass. Similar in length to the XF56mm but a bit thicker.

Finally, previously known as the Super Tele-Photo Zoom Lens on the roadmap, a lens with no label underneath. However, it had an inscription bearing the specifications “XF 140-400mmF4-5.6 R LM OIS WR”. I’d like to point out that these are not 100% final specifications. They just needed to put something on the front of the mock-up lens to give a better idea of what the final lens would look like. Either way this gives us a guide as to what sort of spec the final lens is likely to be, and also how big it will be.

Free maintenance and camera loan service

maintenance

We offered a FREE maintenance service and a FREE camera loan service for the six days of photokina, In total we were able to service 510 cameras and loaned 433 cameras and lenses combined.

Technologies

We showcased a few of our technologies – some current and some in development

Film simulation
Fujifilm Film Simulations
Film is our heritage and therefore we spend a lot of time developing (pun not intended) our film simulation modes for our digital cameras. The latest film simulation mode we have released is Classic Chrome and it is available on the new X100T, X30 and will be made available via a firmware update for the X-T1 later this year.

Electronic rangefinder
tech-x100t-viewfinder
Here’s what the Hybrid Viewfinder in the X100T looks like. Learn more about the X100T Electronic Rangefinder here.

Lens coating demo
Nano GI comparison demoAlthough it’s pretty hard to see in this photo, here we demonstrate the lens coating on the new XF50-140. It has a special coating applied to reduce the amount of light that is reflected away.
Learn more about the technology that goes into the XF50-140mm lens, including Nano GI technology, here.

Remote “Multi-shooting” application
tech-multi-shoot Here’s a new app we’re currently working on that allows you to wirelessly control and shoot up to three cameras at one time using the same tablet computer.

Applications for this could be for recording video, creating 3D imagery or shooting event photography.

Since the launch of the X-T1 we have seen some amazingly creative uses people have found for the existing remote shooting app so we hope that this will allow people to be even more creative with their photography.

 

The Cologne photokina Photowalk

photowalk

On Saturday night we held a photowalk with X-Photographers Elia Locardi and Ken Kaminesky. 213 people showed up, despite the threat for heavy rain beforehand. Most people brought their own equipment to shoot with and Fujifilm X-T1s and lenses were available for people to borrow if they wished.

We met at the Dom and then walked as a very large group around the cathedral and then across the river to watch the sunset from the East bank. It was a great event and we’re sure everyone enjoyed themselves and made a few new friends that share their love of photography.

These guys even won some prizes by having their names drawn at random:photowalk-prize-winners

FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Fabiano Dallmeyer , Richard Powazynski, Jens Fricke, Ken Kaminesky, Carl Nasman, Patrick Mayon, Elia Locardi, Florin Lucian Patras and Michael Magner

Participants soohting the padlocks on the bridge (image by Naomi Locardi)
Participants shooting padlocks on the bridge (image by Naomi Locardi)
An after-dark image by Naomi Locardi
After-dark (image by Naomi Locardi)
Me, being mocked by Justin from Fujifilm USA... (image also by Naomi Locardi)
And finally me, being unwittingly mocked by Justin from Fujifilm USA… (image also by Naomi Locardi)

Many more photos from participants of the event have uploaded and will continue to be added to the Google Plus public event here: https://plus.google.com/events/chu5ri84smk6smt9ags8inu36l4

Fujifilm X Live

For more photos from the whole photokina event, and to keep up to date in real time with future events like this, please check out our Social Media accounts:

– http://www.facebook.com/FujifilmXLive
– http://twitter.com/FujifilmXLive
– http://instagram.com/FujifilmXLive