Which Film Simulation is Best (and Worst) for Low Light Photography?

There is a misconception out there.

And the misconception is that Fujifilm film simulations are something good only for pure JPEG shooters. But that’s far from true.

When I photographed the wedding of my friend I did shoot everything in RAW (I explained which gear I used here), but when it was time to edit everything in Capture One 21, I did not waste any time with color grading the images. I just scrolled over the various film simulation options in Capture One, saw in real time which color gives me the best mood, clicked on that film simulation and that’s it. Done that, I started to edit the images to taste (except for the colors).

I’ve explained in this article which film simulations I’ve used most in my wedding editing (curiously a film simulation that I’ve rarely used until I’ve shot the wedding).

So that’s how I see it: also hardcore RAW shooters can take huge profits from Fujifilm film simulations.

But it is also true, that in many cases the JPEG output of Fujifilm cameras is that good, that you can skip the RAW editing right away.

It happened to me recently when I was in Ferrara with my family. I took my images in RAW+JPEG and when we were going home by train, I just used the internal RAW converter to try out some film simulations on certain pictures, stored them directly on the SD-card, and once home all I did was to load them into my computer, and that was it, my holiday images look great without any editing effort.

And here comes the connection to the video we share today.

If you are like me, and about 80%* of the images you keep are simply JPEG images (*thanks to the amazing Fujifilm JEPGs, with my previous gear I mostly edited the RAW files), then it might be of interest to know which film simulation works best in which context.

And Chris from Pal2Tech (one of the must follow channels for Fujifilm shooters) tested which film simulation works best (and worst) for low light photography (if you shoot in JPEG).

Chris’ video has been cross posted to petapixel here, where the conclusions is:

  1. Monochrome is much less noisy than ACROS at all higher ISO ranges. In going through my testing, it seems pretty conclusive that Fujifilm adds some additional grain and/or noise to ACROS to help give it that unique look. The problem is, at much higher ISO values, it can start to fall apart at bit. If you are planning on shooting with ACROS, I would not go above 3200 ISO. Also, I’d definitely make sure the grain setting on your camera is turned off.
  2. PROVIA, VELVIA, ASTIA, ETERNA, Pro Negative High and Sepia all performed well and had roughly the same good performance at higher ISO values. Of this group, PROVIA was the overall winner when you start pixel peeping at 300% or above.
  3. If you are shooting at ISO 3200 and above, I would avoid Bleach Bypass, ACROS, and Classic Negative. Once you go above ISO 6400, I would not use any of those three film sims if I wanted to keep my noise to a minimum.
  4. Most interesting of all were the winners. And they were Pro Negative Standard and ETERNA. If you are planning on shooting in low light at very high ISO values, you may want to give them a try. Both Pro Negative Standard and ETERNA gave me the overall best and consistent results.

And if you love Fujifilm colors, then… join our 100% pure Fujifilm Colors Group.

Fujifilm Managers Talk Film Simulations: Origins, Evolutions, Goals, Misunderstandings, Bold Classic Negative and Much More

The Japanese site dc.watch interviewed Fujifilm manager Kosuke Irie and Shinya Fujiwara.

They talk about film simulations in a lengthy, very detailed and technical way.

All in Japanese, which means we are in the hands of google translate. And sadly this does not always work out well.

I will share a summary for you down below, often just taken as google delivered it.

It will get nerdy… happy reading down below :)

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BREAKING: New Fujifilm Film Simulation Coming Early 2021

According to our sources, Fujifilm will launch a new film simulation in early 2021. As soon as I get more details, I will let you know here on FujiRumors.

I recently made a post telling you what’s coming from Fujifilm in early 2021. Now you can add the new film simulation to the list (check out the rest here).

My wish?

It’s hard, but if I’d have to pick one, I’d go for this one. And you?

Will there be even more surprises?

Well, just follow FujiRumors in the next days, weeks and months. All I can say now is that we are going to have a lot of fun! :)

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The Power of Fujifilm Colors: Why I LOVE Fuji Colors and See Them in Action at Our Film Simulations Group

I don’t know you, but when I look at an image, the first thing I notice is not how sharp it is at 400% magnification or how grainy it is at 12800 ISO.


What first grabs my attention are subject/composition and colors. Those are the main “WOW” factors for me.

And while for the first one (subject/composition) no Fujifilm camera can help you and it’s totally up to the photographer to compose a pleasing image, when it comes to colors, Fujifilm cameras can be quite a good support for us photographers, and certainly they are for me.

Since I switched to Fujifilm (after a long journey searching for “my” system), I have quite radically changed (and speed-up) my editing-workflow thanks to Fuji’s film simulations.

I still shoot RAW+JPEG, I still adjust exposure, add sharpening here and there and make some other tweaks. But the more film simulations Fujifilm was releasing over the years, the less I found myself in the need to laboriously edit the color part of my images in order to set the right mood.

Not to talk of all those times, when the JPEG is just right out of the box, and I don’t adjust anything at all.

So yes, for me, Fujifilm film simulation make a whole lot of difference and are one of the main reasons why I love Fujifilm.

In order to celebrate Fujifilm colors, I recently launched the Fujifilm Film Simulation group, which has reached 10+K members in a very short time.

In this group, images can be edited in all their parts (sharpening, shadow/highlight recovery etc), except for colors. The colors must come purely out of your Fujifilm camera (or be applied in post in Capture One / Lightroom).

It is also allowed to share images that use custom presets, which means take a film simulation and fine tune its settings in-camera (increase contrast, add grain etc), creating your own receipts to store as custom profile inside your Fujifilm camera. Those are very fun to try out!

Now, since I am in total lockdown again (see me here chilling with my dog and cat at home), I have a bit more time this weekend and I decided to use it to go though the images at our Fujifilm Film Simulation group and pick out some of the most liked shots for you.

You’ll see images taken with all kind of film simulations, but you’ll notice that Classic Chrome and Classic Negative turn out to be the most shared and liked ones (or receipts derived from those film simulations).

But also ACROS, Velvia, Provia and one of my favorites, Astia, are also present down below.

Feel free to check out the images below and to join the group if you want.

NOTE: if you join the group and share images, do not forget to tell us which film simulation you used in the description of the image.

I wish you a fantastic weekend,

Film Simulation Images Roundup

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