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Film simulation: looking for some guidance for a neutral setting

Discussion in 'X-Pro2 and X-Pro1' started by Pcoloma, Feb 13, 2018.

  1. Pcoloma

    Pcoloma New Member

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    Hello, new user of the Fuji Xpro2!
    and my questions are probably been partly / mostly answered, I have read a lot of posts and visited many photographers blogs, and also found a lot of interesting info on the Fuji web site about film simulation modes.
    I have been playing with some since, I still use 120 film with my middle format camera, I’m quite used to the individual character of each manufacturer from Kodak, Ilford and of course Fuji. Over the years I have been using a lot of Ns160 and Porta400 and find both films excellent. I get the films processed most of the time via Fuji Frontier and I get scanned negatives that are excellent. I get my work printed in labs with real color enlargers and don’t go via scanning the negative (only to publish on internet).

    With the Fuji, I find the simulation excellent and get very impressive jpeg, and I use raw files if I need to (that's another story..).

    But I’m having trouble getting the Ns setting or the Provia Standard working for me, as I’m looking to get the pictures closest to what I’m actually seeing. And no matter of what I do I either get too contrasty or too flat with a weak image

    I want no color saturation, just real color, neutral or plain or boring call it what you like ;), and I want highlights or shadow the way they are.

    I have tried the following settings that are very close:

    Ns
    Highlights: +1 or 0
    Shadows: +1 or 0
    Color: +1 or 0
    Sharpness: 0
    Noise reduction: -4

    Std
    Highlights: 0
    Shadows: +1 or 0
    Color: -4 or -3
    Sharpness: 0
    Noise reduction: -4

    On both versions Ns and Std shifting the shadow +1 gives too much contrast, on a cloudy day the pictures looks like a a lot of black has been added, but that contrast unnatural as it might be, makes the picture a bit more interesting.
    On the other hand if I set the shadow to 0 the image is so flat that is doesn’t look right either.

    I’m kind of stuck looking for half values or even thirds to have a natural contrast.

    As anyone as experienced similar problems when tweaking settings for films?
    I did try also the Nh path lowering colors and contrast but I reach the same problem. Classic Chrome I did not like the way the sky is rendered and is too cyan...
    If you can share some of your settings to achieve a plain neutral look I’ll greatly appreciate.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Richard_R

    Richard_R Eclectic eccentric Staff Member

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    You have not said what software you are using to convert the RAW files to jpeg.
     
  3. Pcoloma

    Pcoloma New Member

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    Hello, thank you,
    sorry: onboard fuji jpeg engine conversion using the camera.
    I'm not using raw, only on rare occasions with either Lightroom or Capture One
     
  4. fzdp

    fzdp Premium Member

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    Sometimes I am overexposing image by 1/3-2/3 and I am setting highlights -1 and shadows +1. With this settings shadows are more opened but not washed away, highlights are not burnt out.
    It surprised me how much you desaturate colour. I usually do the same but not so much, just -1, rarely -2. This is fun to tweak all those settings when redeveloping image from raf ;)
     
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  5. Richard_R

    Richard_R Eclectic eccentric Staff Member

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    When you use those products you are getting the software vendors version of the Fuji simulation not Fujis version so whilst the simulation presets are close they are not exact with what the camera produces.
     
  6. Pcoloma

    Pcoloma New Member

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    I think film simulation have different "latitudes" a +1 or +2 is more noticeable on Velvia than on Ns. On Nh I need to lower the color -3 to get to the Ns +1 both of them are very close. I don't know the Nh doesn't look very natural at times. I forgot to mention that I'm looking for an all rounder film (cityscapes, landscapes, portrait on occasion), no color poping or saturation. Plain boring ;). I'll try the highlights -1 but when mentioning contrast I'm sorry not the general contrast but the blacks in the shadows too blacks (even at +1)
     
  7. Pcoloma

    Pcoloma New Member

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    Yes I know... Close but no cigar.
    I'm using the jpeg from the camera. I might have better handling of the shadows in the software, but I don't like using the computer that much to do the processing.
     
  8. Pcoloma

    Pcoloma New Member

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    I think also that the blacks become annoyingly noticeable on +1 because, you are correct, the other colors channels might be too desaturated. So the blacks pop out more. And the Ns all zeros is too soft for me. I even add +1 to the color, but still the blacks are too present.
     
  9. fzdp

    fzdp Premium Member

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    Yes, I know what you mean. That is why I need to add some exposure to open shadows a bit when they are set +1. But I understand that it may not work for you.
     
  10. Pcoloma

    Pcoloma New Member

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    OK! I’ll try to overexpose, highlights -1. It won’t harm and the blacks might be less noticeable and still give some contrast.
    Thanks again for the tip
     
  11. WhoisDoubleA

    WhoisDoubleA New Member

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    You might want to fiddle with the DR settings, dependent on whether you are shooting in bright sun or times you have a wide dynamic range. You could then set up a couple or 3 Q presets to reflect slightly different formulas based on your shooting conditions, including tweaking your film formulas along with the dynamic range setting. Be advised, the DR200% operates from ISO400 and the DR400% from ISO800. The DR400% is likely overkill for your needs but the DR is probably worth a try, along with your other settings.
     
  12. specLegacy

    specLegacy Premium Member

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    If you end up liking DR-200 (as I did), then I'd recommend using DR-Auto. The camera will usually choose DR-200, but Auto allows the camera to fall back on DR-100 if ISO200 is needed.

    Would also suggest trying the Astia film simulation. You may have to dial down Saturation more, but I've liked what it does with the shadows and highlights.
     
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  13. JimFenner

    JimFenner Premium Member

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    Hi PColoma :)
    I suggest shoot the RAWs as well (RAW+JPEG) and save the RAFs in a folder on your PC/MAC and otherwise go on doing what you are doing.
    A month or three later you might return to do a clean-up, if after review you decide you are not going to need one of those RAF shots for submission to a prize contest or to preserve a never-to-be-repeated personal moment, then blow away the entire RAW folder. But every so often that RAF will save you!

    Rambling comments not all about Film Sims
    I have seen the assertion in this forum that Fuji auto-WB is pretty poor. Contrast that with assertions on the web (eg KR) that Fuji just nails skin colours in SOOC JPEG in any crazy light so you don't need the raw. These days I incline to the former opinion...one reason I shoot RAW+JPEG

    My colour vision is poor + I am no pro + I don't have a Fuji flash unit so usually I am at the mercy of whatever horrible ambient light there is for casual happy-snap portraiture.
    I like my X-Pro2 with a prime lens for portraits (once I work out whether to use OVF or EVF, manual flash or no flash, do I need EVF eye recognition or do I need to catch the split-second moment with this person? I wish eye recognition could work with the OVF too ...)

    Like you, I do not enjoy spending all my time in front of the PC retouching photos
    These days I incline to shove my amateurish RAW portrait photos through the free Fuji SILKYPIX RAW processor to batch adjust white balance and film simulation especially for indoor photos (I often use "Portrait Colour 1" ). You might love SILKYPIX's output or hate it. But for a free raw processor it should be able to do a reasonable job on Fuji colours. How reasonable I'll leave to those with better colour vision to say. Whether it's wonderful or awful, I have the RAFs for when it matters.

    For important scenic outdoors shots, I have had some success sharpening with Iridient X-whatever for windows. SILKYPIX may be as good.
    After 2 1/2 years with an X100S and 1.5 years with an X-Pro2, I now rarely shoot in Velvia for nature shots, it's too wild in the red (my old eyes think!) mostly just STD or Provia
    I have also wound back shadows to +1 or 0, no more drastic plunge to black although that was one of the reasons I liked Fuji so much in the first place.
    I shoot with sharpening = -2
    I have Lightroom 5.7, NIK plugins and Athentech Perfectly Clear but never use it/them on Fuji for either RAF or JPEG, only on my old Canon.

    Enjoy your X-Pro2 & film sims
     
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  14. JonPB

    JonPB Premium Member

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    This is something that confused me when starting with Fuji: I assumed "+" for shadow meant "push" or "add exposure," but it doesn't. Rather, +1 shadow means increase the darkness of shadows, or pull the exposure in that part of the curve. Try -1 or -2 shadow and see if that helps. :)
     
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  15. F2Bthere

    F2Bthere Premium Member

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    I prefer the flexibility of RAW and Capture One for processing the RAW file.

    If you are getting part of what you want in one image and part in another (wanting a partial "in between" value), it might be worth considering blending two images together as layers in Photoshop or Affinity Photo. There are blending apps available in tablets such as Image Blender.
     
  16. Pcoloma

    Pcoloma New Member

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    Yes ok I’ll do,
    But then this needs raw files?
     
  17. Pcoloma

    Pcoloma New Member

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    Yes I was confused too but +1 makes the blacks more black to me it works a bit like sharpening and if you push it too much you get an unatural feeling. Setting to 0 makes the image too flat.
     
  18. WhoisDoubleA

    WhoisDoubleA New Member

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    No, the results will show up in your jpg.
    I would shoot in raw (+fine) anyway. If you capture an amazing image but get a little something not quite right with the exposure, you can re-do it in the camera. Just a +1 here, -2 there, try a different film sim altogether. It’s just insurance.
     
  19. Pcoloma

    Pcoloma New Member

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    Yes I’m already trashing my raw folders! And jpeg too ;) actually to find the style I wanted I decided to shoot all films for each shot. At home I would look on the computer without knowing what they were and selected the shots I liked best. At the begining it was Classic Chrome, Astia and Nh but CC has a vintage feel that I find annoying after a while. So after a lot of shooting and selection I was left with Ns and Standard Provia. Ns gives the most natural look to me for everything. I don’t really like fiddling the camera. Exposure, white balance, speed aperture, film modes... exposure is crucial to get the right thing and sensors are more sensitive to a 1/3 stop than modern films that are more tolerant to +/- 1 or even 2 stops. So I find shooting with the Fuji actually difficult, but one I get passed this it will probably be better!
     
  20. Pcoloma

    Pcoloma New Member

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    good suggestion, I’ll try Astia again and see if I get a more natural look than Ns with shadow+1. Use DR 200 also. Thanks!
     

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