Tried Fujifilm’s Film Simulation modes for the first time on the X-T5 – I’m hooked!

In an age when applying an image filter – on Instagram or with presets in Lightroom and Photoshop – takes the press of a button, Fujifilm’s Film Simulation modes could easily be confused with more than the same thing. Just another quick effect to give your photos a retro, vintage or “low-fi” look.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with using presets (opens in a new tab), but I think to label Fujifilm’s Film Simulation modes as the same is to miss the years of heritage and color science that went into creating them. Because Film Simulation modes are based on Fujifilm’s most popular original analog films and mimic tone, contrast and color. They actually are retro.

What are Fujifilm Simulation Modes?

Fujifilm film simulation

(Image credit: Lauren Scott)

Film Simulation modes are available on top Fujifilm cameras, including the X and GFX series, and are easily accessed via the quick menu (or the Q button). When using the X-T5 and X-H2, for example, you can choose from a selection of film simulations based on the company’s traditional films. Provia and Velvia are popular, then you get specialists like Eterna and Acros.

The latest Fujifilm X-T5 has 11 Film Simulation modes, and all of them can easily be applied from the camera’s shooting menu. Now I have to admit, I never cared about the Film Simulation modes until I reviewed this camera for a few weeks – much like my colleague who owned an X-T3 for three years. (opens in a new tab) and never tried. But that’s because I didn’t research them enough, I thought they were a gimmick, and I like to fine-tune the colors and tones of my images using editing software. Photo (opens in a new tab).

But I am hooked on using the Film Simulation modes on the Fujifilm X-T5. They all take years of color science, years of proven film for all subjects, landscapes, portraits, still lifes, nature and even fashion. Well, they look great. Subtle rather than stylish. A foundation to build on when processing, rather than completely replacing it.

There is, of course, an argument that if we all used one manufacturer’s film simulations, our images would all look the same – but in the age of film, to some degree, you were more limited by film actually available.

So whether presets are a quick and convenient invention or a lazy one-click approach to editing that makes our work a bit seamless… I don’t know or don’t need to know. For movie buffs who don’t want to film anymore, I’d say Fujifilm’s film simulations are the closest you’ll get to decent analog looks in any modern digital camera. And I will use them a lot more.

here are the best film cameras (opens in a new tab) you can get right now, and of course you will also need the best movie (opens in a new tab).

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