classic negative with the fujifilm x-t2
Photography

A Look at the Classic Negative Film Simulation on the Fujifilm X-T2

Ever since the X-Pro3 was announced and even more so now with the X100V, I’ve been obsessed with images shot in the brand new ‘Classic Negative’ film simulation. This is something that, right now at least, is only available on the X-Pro3 (for both JPEGs and RAW processing) and doesn’t look as though it will be coming to older generation cameras. I’m not planning on upgrading my cameras just yet (though the X100V is almost impossible to resist) so I’ve been trying to find out how to try the Classic Negative film simulation on the Fujifilm X-T2.

So here is a little journey on my quest to get the Classic Neg look straight out of my camera. I know the X-T2 is getting old but it’s still such a good camera so I can’t justify buying one of the latest models purely for this film simulation. Ok, let’s be honest, many of us Fujifilm users would do just that. Surely then I’ll be able to take shots like Jonas Rask?

To me at least, this is the best looking of all the film simulations produced by Fujifilm (though Classic Chrome and Acros are close behind) It just screams ‘you are shooting film’ and makes you forget you have a digital camera. This simulation is based on Superia 100 and, from what I’ve seen, this is all about the slightly teal and orange look. Combined with the new feature on the new cameras, Color Chrome FX Blue, you can really create some beautiful images.

The Real Classic Neg

First things first, if you haven’t managed to catch a glimpse of this new film simulation just quickly cast your eye over the following:

X-Pro3 – A Different Breed Jonas Rask

Classic Negative: in-camera or Capture One 12 – An Early Look laRoque

Beautiful right?

One thing that Jonas notes is that the simulation changes character if you either under or over expose an image. This is something that us using older cameras will never be able to experience by creating a recipe for Classic Neg but at least we might get somewhere close. That should keep the GAS at bay for a little longer.

So here are the simulations I’ve found floating around on the internet. I don’t have the time unfortunately to sit down and see if I can work out my own recipe so I’ve tested each of these to see which one I prefer. The photos aren’t going to blow your socks off I’m afraid as I’m just shooting whenever I find the time at the moment so expect quite a few of random items around the house! Hopefully you’ll get the idea though.

Simulation 1

Straight from everybody’s favourite recipe maker, Fujixweekly, this is his version of Classic Neg. Ritchie’s recipes are fantastic and every Fujifilm user should have at least one dialled into their custom settings.

PRO Neg. Std
Dynamic Range: DR400
Highlight: +3
Shadow: +2
Color: -3
Noise Reduction: -4
Sharpening: +1
Grain Effect: Weak
White Balance: 6700K, -2 Red & +7 Blue

The only amendments I made to this were leaving grain effect at none (just my personal taste) and using Auto WB with -2 Red & +7 Blue so I could use it in a variety of scenes. As with all of my JPEGs, I do apply some very slight post-processing.

classic negative with the fujifilm x-t2

classic negative on the fujifilm x-t2

classic negative on the fujifilm x-t2

classic negative on the fujifilm x-t2
Classic Negative Sim 1
classic negative with the fujifilm x-t2
Classic Negative Sim 1
classic negative on the fujifilm x-t2
classic negative with the fujifilm x-t2
Classic Negative Sim 1
Classic Negative Sim 1
classic negative with the fujifilm x-t2

Simulation 2

Classic Chrome
Dynamic Range: DR400
Highlight: 0
Shadow: +2
Color: -1
Noise Reduction: -4
Sharpening: -4
Grain Effect: Strong
White Balance: Auto, -2 Red & +4 Blue

The only amendments I made to this were leaving grain effect at none and setting sharpening at +2 instead of -4. Again just my personal taste, it’s good to adjust the simulations to what exactly what you prefer. The Noise Reduction in both is set to -4. I will always leave it here thanks to the X-T2’s inherent problem with producing waxy skin when applying noise reduction. As with all of my JPEGs, I do apply some very slight post-processing.

Classic Negative Sim 2
Classic Negative Sim 2
Classic Negative Sim 2
Classic Negative Sim 2

A RAW Preset

I also found a free RAW preset in the Fujilove Facebook group which, I believe, Jonas Rask actually commented on saying that it was very close to that found in the X-Pro3. You can download this for free right here.

This can be used straight from Lightroom or Capture One and immediately you can see that this is close to the original. There’s also a LUT if you’re into shooting video!

All I’ve changed on the preset is in respect of sharpening. I like it at Amount 65, Radius 1.0, Detail 10 & Masking 30.

Classic Negative RAW Preset
Classic Negative RAW Preset
Classic Negative RAW Preset
Classic Negative RAW Preset
Classic Negative RAW Preset
Classic Negative RAW Preset

My Verdict

I love these versions of the Classic Negative film simulation on the Fujifilm X-T2 and I’m willing to give one of the JPEG recipes a full run out on my honeymoon in the not so distant future. Which do I prefer? Honestly, it’s difficult. I love the cool tones of Simulation 1 and I wonder whether this was made with consideration given to the Color Chrome FX Blue. I also quite like the RAW preset which has much warmer tones but is equally as beautiful. This is the one that Jonas Rask thought matched quite closely to the original. On the streets, I found it a little too warm for my tastes.

For the honeymoon, I’ll be returning to a city I’ve shot extensively before and a brand new country which I cannot wait to get my teeth into. I will be shooting RAW and JPEG so I have a bit of freedom with the final edits but I’ll update this post at some point with more photos.

I think I’ll go with Simulation 1 for the JPEG recipe on my X-T2 though as I’ll be taking two identical cameras I might go for something different like Kodachrome 64.

I had settled myself on Simulation 2 until I nipped across to Sunderland to check out a closing down sale at a camera shop. There happened to be no discounts available so I just took to the wet and windy streets with the 35mm f/2 and Simulation 1 dialled in. At first I thought the look was too ‘cold’, too blue, but actually looking at them now I’m very happy with them.

I’m very interested to hear from others who have tried these recipes as well as the RAW preset and from those who actually have the X-Pro3. I’d love to know if any of these are close? Which do you prefer? Let me know what you think in the comments below!

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