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This week, my post will differ from my usual ones as I went out with a new camera and tested the out-of-camera JPEGs of the Fuji X100F to publish a post on equipment and tech. To set up the camera, I read through many many blogs, forums, and watched many videos and tutorials. By the way, I particularly liked the X100F videos by Joe Allam and Samuel L. Streetlife and found them extremely helpful in setting up the camera. This will not be a product review here, because, first, there are others more competent than me to talk about that, and, second, there are so many excellent and informative resources out there. Hence, the reason why I write this post is linked to the in-camera work on the JPEGS and the available film simulations.

The out-of-camera JPEGS of the Fuji X100F and its ACROS film simulation: Settings

As I got used to taking photos in RAW to keep full control in post-production, I decided to go for a RAW + JPEG set up for my first sessions in the street. And as almost all of my photos are converted to monochrome (except for rare occasions and experiments), I was really interested in the outcome of the ACROS film simulation that is very much talked about online. Inspired by again a couple of excellent and really helpful articles by other street photographers (The Broketographers, Frank Meffert Photography), I set up the ACROS film simulation as follows:

  • Flim simulation: ACROS + Y (I sometimes switched to R as well)
  • Dynamic range: Auto
  • Noise reduction: -1
  • Highlights: -2
  • Shadows: +2

Switching to the EVF

By choosing the camera’s EVF, I was able to immediately see what the black and white potential of the pictures might be and to get quite close to a rather contrast result that I like very much. Just in one word to wrap up the photo walk with the X100F: absolutely great. I am still a huge fan of the Lumix GX80/85 – which I took out with me as well by the way – but the X100F immediately feels great and you have great and straightforward control over the different settings.

A quick word on accessories

I purchased a couple of accessories like extra batteries (as I keep the camera on all the time; changed batteries once during the full day photo walk), a set of soft release buttons (make it easier to release the shutter on both levels, eye and hip), as well as a lens hood including an adapter and a simple UV filter. The original ring of the lens which need to unwind to install the adapter is difficult to loosen. The solution that best worked for me was to wrap my hand around the lens and fix the focus ring.

Back home: Post-production

Once back home and in front of my computer, I started working on the pictures by scrolling through the JPEGs first. Most noteworthy: the results were just stunning! Most of the pictures were almost ready without working on it in Lightroom. However, as I am only discovering the camera (and street photography somehow as well), I had some issues with over- and underexposed photos and some focusing issues when shooting from the hip. In those cases, I was really happy to have the RAWs as well – for the exposure issues in particular.

To cut a long story short: how did the out-of-camera JPEGs of the Fuji X100F do against the RAWs? Here are some of the photos in JPEG and in RAW (with some minor processing) in comparison:

Waitresses | 2018 (OOC JPEG)

Waitresses | 2018 (processed RAW)

 

City restaurant scene | 2018 (OOC JPEG)

City restaurant scene | 2018 (processed RAW)

Reviewing the Lightroom workflow

In those two examples, it is even difficult to see the differences – which is increased by the fact that I chose some rather minimalistic adjustments of the RAW files and by choosing the ACROS film simulation in Silver Efex Pro. After many experiments within Lightroom and the tools in Silver Efex Pro, I recently came down to the decision to cut the time spent on post-production. My simple workflow now is as follows:

  • straighten the image (useful especially when shot from the hip);
  • decrease highlight tones and increase shadows;
  • increase sharpness and details by a bit;
  • within Silver Efex Pro:
    • add some contrast, chose the Fuji Neopan Acros 100 film simulation, and check if one of the filters improves the main aspects of the image;
  • and finally, add some vignette back in Lightroom.

#FAIL: Exposure issues recovered thanks to the saved RAW files

And to show a picture where I completely failed the exposure and how I was able to recover it thanks to the saved RAW file, here we go:

Bosses | 2018 (OOC JPEG)

Bosses | 2018 (processed RAW)

In a nutshell, I would say that going for the JPEGs (with the ACROS film simulation set up) is an excellent choice as I was able to visualize immediately the potential of the scene in black and white and to quickly share pictures online. However, as for now, I will rely on the JPEG + RAW set up until I might get a better hand on the exposure in the multiple situations in the street to avoid exposure issues.

What about you?

I am still experimenting with the settings for ACROS in terms of highlight and shadow tones etc. Any recommendations from your own experiences? Any experiences with the other film simulations for the out-of-camera JPEGs of the Fuji X100F or other members of the family? 

As a debate is going on about this: I chose the black edition of the X100F as I consider this one to be a bit more discrete in the streets – but it was a long decision-making process between the silver and the black versions…

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