As you’ve no doubt noticed, I’ve been using the Acros film simulation quite a bit on my photo walks with the X-T2. The film simulation modes are a big part of what I love about the Fuji system, and I’ll use them (or the Adobe profiles when working with RAW files) on the majority of my non-landscape shots. So when Fuji comes out with a new film simulation mode I’m always eager to try it out. And the fact that Acros was Fuji’s first black and white film simulation made me particularly excited.
I’ve enjoyed using the Acros + red filter simulation so far, but I can’t say I’ve noticed a big difference between it and the normal monochrome mode that I’ve used in the past. I’ll have to do some side-by-side comparisons and see if I can tell a difference. In particular, I’m curious to see if the orthopanchromatic nature of the real Acros film is mirrored in the film simulation Fuji created. If so, I’m not sure there’s really any reason for me to use the Acros film simulation over the monchrome setting since I generally prefer shooting with a red filter…which kind of negates the purpose of orthopanchromatic films. More on that in blog posts to come.
This shot, clearly, was not taken with the Acros film simulation. I used the Classic Chrome film simulation, which was originally released in the X100T era. Many have drawn comparisons between Classic Chrome and the legendary Kodachrome film. Sadly, I got into film too late to be able to shoot Kodachrome (it has since been discontinued and can’t even be processed any more), so I can’t really comment on any similarities.
What I can say is that Classic Chrome produces a very aesthetically pleasing color palette that somehow manages to be both subtle and vibrant. To my eye, the colors are generally true to the eye aside from the blues, which tend to lean green. It seems to handle reds and oranges especially well, which makes it perfect for shooting the exposed brick and cobblestone streets in the Omaha Old Market district where I’m currently living (and where today’s image was shot). I really struggle to find good digital colors for shots made in this area, and I often resort to using a VSCO Portra film simulation of some kind (Portra 800 +1 Over is my current favorite). These simulations work very well, but have a softer and less vibrant feel than Fuji’s Classic Chrome that doesn’t quite fit for certain images.
It may seem a bit strange that I pay so much attention to the film simulation settings of the camera and other post-production software. A lot of people may completely ignore the in-camera settings and focus on managing the colors in post-production. For me, though, I like to visualize how I ultimately want the colors to interact while I’m setting up the shot. This helps me ensure that I’m using the color purposefully, as opposed to simply capturing it accidentally. I want color to be a part of the story I’m telling, and mentally sketching out the color interactions while making the image helps me achieve that. This is why good color film simulations go a long way in helping me craft a color image. If the in-camera color settings are pedestrian or far off from the image I have in my head, it’ll make it that much tougher to produce a quality color image that tells a cohesive story.