Film Simulation test by Dave Jackson

By Dave Jackson

My wedding workflow for the past few years whilst shooting with Nikon DSLR’s has consisted purely of shooting RAW and processing the files initially in Lightroom and with some additional tweaks in Photoshop with Nik and OnOne software plugins. The aim is to produce a set of colour and exposure corrected JPEGS for supply to our clients. Since switching to Fuji for most of our wedding work I wanted to compare the film simulations in ‘real life’ shooting situations. Just to clarify, this is not about shooting JPEG only which I know some photographers do but this is part of a bigger picture in exploring the possibilities of producing ‘in camera’ JPEGS from the RAW files for supply direct to the client with little or no external processing after the wedding.

The original RAW files were transferred back to a memory card and then processed in camera. All other settings eg colour. shadow,etc. were 0. The images are in the same order from top to bottom L-R as the film simulation selections in the camera’s menu, starting with the unprocessed RAW file then Provia, Velvia, Astia, Pro Neg Hi, Pro Neg Standard, BW, BW Yellow, BW Red, BW Green, Sepia.

Bridal portraits

bridal portraits 1
X-T1 / 18 -55 F2.8-4 F4 @ 1/250 1250 ISO +0.33 Exp comp. Auto WB

The first set of images (above) are some Bridal portraits taken in the reception room as we were rained off for outside shooting.

There was a large expanse of windows with natural, overcast daylight behind me.

Of the colour versions I don’t think it will come as any great surprise that Velvia is just a bit too saturated for this type of image and personally I find Pro Neg Standard to ‘flat’. That leaves Provia, Astia and Pro Neg Hi. Of these Astia has produced the warmest image, closely followed by Provia and then Pro Neg Hi. Astia will be my first choice for similar lighting / subject in the future.

So far as the black and white versions, my choice here for skin tone would be the Red filter but the overall contrast has reduced with Green producing the darkest lips. I think I might be wary in using the green filter as a ‘redder’ skin tone could cause the skin to darken more than I would wish.

X-T1 / 18-55 F2.8-4 F4 @ 1/150 3200 ISO +0.33 Exp comp Auto WB
X-T1 / 18-55 F2.8-4
F4 @ 1/150 3200 ISO +0.33 Exp comp Auto WB

This was at Bride’s home before the wedding (above). There was a window to camera right but it was quite dull outside and it provided very little light so we set up our Lupolux LED650 with a showercap diffuser to camera right.

Once again the winner for me is ‘Astia’, however they are all acceptable, even ‘Velvia’ hasn’t gone too far with a nice boost to the flowers. Of the black and whites, ‘Red’ has given the lightest skin tones and ‘Green’ the greatest contrast. Yes, you guessed – still a thumbs down for ‘Sepia’.

Wedding Couple

wedding couple
X-T1 / 18-55 F2.8-4 F4 @ 1/640 400 ISO Auto WB


The lighting was gorgeous here, with the sun low and diffused slightly through clouds to camera left. (Above) 

Would be quite happy to use ‘Velvia’ here. It hasn’t affected skin tones too much – and wow! – those Fuji greens! I was a bit surprised at the very little difference with the black and white filters. Understandably the ‘green’ filter has produced the lightest image with ‘red’ providing the most contrast – just. Still wouldn’t use ‘sepia’

Classic Chrome

Whilst putting this test together it became possible via an update to apply ‘Classic Chrome’ to existing X-T1 RAW files using Lightroom (5.7). Below are the 3 files with this mode.

classic chrome

For me ‘classic chrome’ is just a little on the ‘grungy’ side and I’m not quite sure yet where it might fit in with our current style of wedding shooting / editing. However, I can’t wait to use this in lots of other genres, especially ‘street’ and some ‘urban portraits’.


As mentioned at the beginning of the post, the aim here was to find out how usable the film simulations are straight out of camera in ‘real life’ wedding shooting. I am working on switching film simulation modes during the wedding to suit particular lighting and subject matter and then using the resultant JPEGS as part of our workflow to supply direct to our clients with no further post processing. DR settings are also going to play a big part in this, especially when shooting high contrast scenes. We will continue to shoot both RAW and fine JPEG and will of course use the RAW files as needed for post processing if the need arises.

To be honest I’m knocked out by the quality of JPEGS produced in camera, the noise reduction is also truly amazing. I would prefer a stronger filter effect with the black and whites as there isn’t a great deal of difference between them all.

For me the Sepia simulation is very limited for our particular requirements and I don’t envisage using it at all.

For full resolution image examples, please click here. 

David Jackson’s Twitter & Blog

Guest post: My Wedding Photographer Mindset. Or: How I learned to stop worrying and Love Fujifilm.

By Mick Servodio

Ok. Let me start by saying: that this is not another fanboy drooling over his Fujifilm gear. I won’t be talking Tech in this Post. I will be talking from the heart. About me, my experiences. I know you know about the cameras (those Fujifilm cameras). So, no drooling here. This is a bit more than that (and hopefully not less than that!).

Let me start by telling you who I am. I’m a bit like you. I love photography. I love the arts. I sort of fell into it. You see, I’m a cook by trade, and have had photography as a hobby. But I do now consider myself a working, semi-professional, whose main focus is wedding photography. I lived in Brisbane, Australia, where I built up my business, but now I live in Perth (for about 18 months). I’m working under the name of Velvet Photography (Check out my website)


In that short time in Perth, I have pretty much built up my business from scratch. It’s doing Ok. But luckily I know how to cook for a living while I continue to lock in those bookings (and I am).
I’ve come from Team Nikon. Starting with a d80, then a D700, and all that great glass that came with the cameras. It was my gear, and I was used to shooting with it.

So what happened?

I wanted a personal camera. Something for my own. Something that didn’t remind me of a workhorse. That’s when I found the Fujifilm X100. It was the camera that got me totally hooked. I loved everything about it. The retro Chic styling: the Hybrid viewfinder. Just everything. And once I got used to it, I even got used to its quirks. But you know, most of all, it got me loving my craft again: Photography felt passionate again to me. It was more than just work

Now I’ve read this a lot from other photographers. But why do we hear it over and over? We seem to hear this commonality because it’s a common truth for so many of us. I can say for certain that it was 110% true for me.

Initially this was just going to be a camera just for me. I needed something to be separate from the job. Something to take to all those family functions without cringing every time someone asked me to bring my camera with me.

The X100 was my loved personal camera right up until I sold it, and bought a 2nd hand X-E1. This camera made the addiction serious. When I brought it along to a wedding, I became surprised with how much it was getting used. The client ended up getting about 40% of their images with the X-E1, and the 35mm lens.

But the transition for me wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. The real challenge was breaking away from the headspace of what it means to be a Professional Photographer, and how one should look. And in my mind, it had to be a guy with BIG cameras, and massive, long, heavy lenses. That was it. There was no other look. And all I could think for ages was what would people (that is: paying clients) think when I rocked up shoot their Lush wedding with some tiny cameras that were smaller than Uncle Bobs Gear. It was on my mind so much and often that I almost put it out of my mind. There was no way I could pull this off. How could I be taken seriously as a pro? It shouldn’t have mattered, but it did. I wanted to work through this. And this is how it did it:


I used my D700 as a security blanket of sorts. It was hung over my shoulder as I shot with the x-e1 at my next wedding. This was my way of working through this Image I was (self) programmed to project. For me, the Image of Velvet Photography (me) was everything. I had to look the part. But in the end, I worked through it. The new mindset was: “I’m making choices for both myself and my client. These cameras make me happy, and so, if I’m happy to shoot a wedding like this, then my clients will benefit”. Or something like that.

But like any addict, I wanted more. That’s when the X-T1 came in. And then that WAS it for me. This was the game changer for me, and I didn’t care about Nikon. Suddenly it was a paperweight. Suddenly I was drooling (but not like a fanboy). I was enamoured with the dials. OMG: the dials spoke to me. And suddenly I wished I had grown up shooting on Film. Because this was what it would have been like. All this control at one finger tips.

The images coming from the X-T1 were great, and best of all the response time from this camera was something that I could finally take more seriously than the previous two cameras I had owned.

There seems to be a consensus that the focusing of all the Fujifilm cameras just are not fast enough (well, this is what I keep reading on forums and blogs), but for me, and for what I’m doing, the X-T1 is fast enough for me. And this is what this line of cameras has taught me: to slow down as a photographer, and to think about everything I shoot a little more. There is no more “spray and pray” mentality here. This camera was all about increasing the percentage of keepers. And there were more keepers than ever before, even though I was shooting less than before (totals, I mean).

So what’s my new line-up now?

Well, there’s the X-T1, with the 18-55 the 35mm 1.4 (which gets a lot of use), and the 56mm 1.2 which is without a doubt the nicest lens I have even owned. I don’t have to worry about shooting wide open because I know the images will be tac sharp. TAC. SHARP.


Back by my side is the X100S with its fixed field of view (23mm). I had forgotten how much I loved shooting with this. After all, it was a little sentimental buying this camera that looked identical to the first camera that had started it all for me. And yes, I admit it, I LOVE the retro chic look of it.
At the time of writing, I’ve just ordered the 23mm Prime for my X-T1. I’ve only heard good things about it, and I can’t wait to add it to my bag.

Having this new line-up of gear means a little retraining for myself. You see, I was used to shooting with the Nikon 24-70 , and the 70-200. The longest lens in my bag now is the 56mm, but I have found this to be enough reach. It just means I have to think differently. Time to freshen up the approach to my business, and my craft as an artform.

And as far as what people think? Well, all I know is that the X100S was a great conversation starter at a couple of weddings. Stuff like: “How old is that camera?” and “Is that a leica?”


The transition wasn’t smooth sailing, but it’s been great. For me and the Photographic journey I’m on, it’s all been about getting out of a rut, getting into a new mindset, and believing in a new system. The system may not be right for everyone. Some may not even have an interest in what else is out there, but the Fujifilm range of Bodies and Lenses works for me. It really does. It’s not about Pepsi or Coke anymore, I keep saying to anyone who will listen. I needed to change the way I was working, because I’m not getting any younger, and the idea of carrying around gear that was optically on par with what I was using, not to mention lighter was more than appealing. But in reality it was a lot more than that. I needed to find that spark again. I didn’t have it (even though I was producing some very fine work with my Nikon line up). I’ve found it now, and I stand tall and proud with these cameras over my shoulders as I work. I thank Fujifilm. My back also thanks you.

Related links:

View Mick’s site here:






All of the images in this blog post are © Velvet Photography.

Interview with Dave Jackson – a recent convert to the Fujifilm X-T1 for professional wedding work

Dave JacksonDave started as a full time professional photographer in 1993 using a medium format Bronica. He made the switch to digital in 2005 using Fujifilm S2 and S3 cameras. From 2008 he’s been using Nikon D300’s and D700’s.

Dave and his wife Janice now specialise in weddings (40-50 per year), with a blend of classic, traditional, contemporary and reportage. They are pretty obsessed with lighting and locations. and use Graphistudio exclusively for their albums.

Recently they made the switch over to Fujifilm and offered to write about their reasons for doing so.

“My love affair with Fuji X cameras started like many professionals with the X100 which I’ve had now for a couple of years. I had yearned after an X-Pro1 for a while and took advantage of the great deal at The Photography Show in Birmingham this year which included the grip, 18mm F2, an extra battery and the chance to claim a free lens from Fuji I chose the 60mm F2.4 macro and also purchased a 35mm F1.4 shortly after.

“I really don’t know why but I didn’t take a lot of notice of the X-T1 on it’s launch but after another trade show and attending Damien Lovegrove’s Concept to Print tour I was hooked.

“I began to consider how the X-T1 could fit into our current range of Nikon D700’s and pro lenses and even on a longer term could it become our main camera(s)?

XF18-55mm – ISO 640 – 1/160 – f/8

“We are a 2 shooter husband and wife team currently covering between 40 – 50 weddings per year. For some time, we have been concerned about the weight of our equipment and camera bags, today’s weddings are non-stop, very demanding assignments, often with several locations and very little time for actual shooting. I can’t begin to tell you how many camera bags / waist belt combinations we’ve tried (“oh no! Not another camera bag”, sighs Janice!) but nothing can change the actual weight of a D700 with battery grip, 2 batteries and a 70-200 F2.8!

XF35mm – ISO 1250 – 1/160 – f/1.4

“I was taken aback at the weight of the X-T1 with vertical grip and 18-55. Other features that attracted me were the large dials for exposure compensation, ISO selection and shutter speeds, the tilt screen, virtually silent operation (the D700’s are noisy in a quiet church) and of course the best electronic viewfinder available so far. Fuji’s ‘roadmap’ of lens releases was also beginning to make everything look so promising.

“So I went ahead and purchased an X-T1 with 18-55 F2.8 -4. Already owning an x100 and X-Pro1 meant many of the menu settings were familiar and of course the 3 prime lenses I already owned could be put to immediate use if necessary. I already had 2 batteries but purchased another 2 as well as I knew they would be needed for the number of shots we take at an all day wedding. The camera felt so right in my hands and in no time at all I set everything up ready for wedding photography (settings shown in the image captions).

“We had a wedding just 5 days after purchasing the camera. I decided to jump straight in at the deep end and shoot as much of the wedding as possible with it.

“The X-T1 behaved impeccably! It took a while to get used to the EVF, I found a sort of 3 stage evaluation of the images whilst shooting-
1. Assess image with live view (aperture priority with exp compensation). The image can look a little contrasty with dark shadows and / or bright highlights.
2. Check the 0.5 sec preview. This looks better and less contrasty than the live view.
3. Chimp the image on the rear screen if in doubt. The image on the rear screen was confirming all was fine and I found myself ‘chimping’ less and less, knowing if the EVF preview looked ok that was enough.

XF35mm – ISO 400 – 1/3000 – f/1.4

“Use of the EVF provided another advantage that I hadn’t really thought about. When ‘chimping’ with the Nikons the rear screen can be difficult to view. We often find ourselves taking a shot and turning our backs to couples to shade the screen to try and check exposures / blinks etc. The XT-1 solved this immediately with the preview in the viewfinder perfectly viewable regardless of light levels.

“A lot has been said about battery life. I added the vertical grip after the first 2 weddings and purchased another 2 spares. If a battery dies then the one in the body is immediately deployed so no chance of missing any shots and I can change the grip battery at a convenient moment. I am using 8GB Sandisk Extreme cards getting about 200 shots and the batteries are lasting for about 2 cards (400 shots).

“My next task is to sort using flash. Conditions were such that I didn’t need to use fill flash for these weddings. I used a Nikon SB22 and Nikon SB900 on Auto Aperture for a couple of in car shots and one cake cutting shot and used the D700 for first dance.
At the time of writing we have now shot 4 weddings with the XT-1 and I am completely convinced we have made the right decision.

“So, another XT-1 for Janice with 55-200 F3.5 (until the 50-140mm F2.8 arrives!) and probably an X-E2 each as well + 56mm F1.2, 10-24mm F4 lenses, – Oh dear the bank balance is going to take a hit!”

Check out more shots in the slideshow below:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

To see even more of David’s work, click on the following links:
Lulworth Cove, Dorset

Saying ‘I do’ to the X-E2

I start to get nervous about two weeks before I shoot a wedding. It’s around this time that I start taking an unhealthy interest in the weather forecast, start worrying about whether I’m going to get enough time to shoot everything and start limiting the use of my camera because I’ve convinced myself it only has a few more shots left in it before the shutter combusts. This all happens because I don’t shoot weddings very often, I’m what fellow photographers would call a ‘Weekend Warrior’ and what pros lovingly refer to as ‘a pain in the arse’. I shoot weddings for friends and acquaintances and don’t charge much; I see it more as part job, part wedding present. You may be the same.

18-55mm @55mm, 1/60sec at f/4, ISO 800
18-55mm @55mm, 1/60sec at f/4, ISO 800

My most recent part job/part wedding present represented two firsts for me. It was the first same-sex marriage I’d photographed (congratulations Gemma and Fiona!) and it was also the first time I’d added an X-E2 to my camera line-up. I’ll be honest from the outset and admit that the X-E2 wasn’t my primary shooter. Although I’m well versed in its capabilities, having previously blogged about using the same camera on a trip to Rome, I still don’t feel I know it well enough to use it as Camera 1. Instead, I’d earmarked it – along with the 18-55mm, 60mm and 55-200mm XF lenses – for specific tasks throughout the day, plus it would also double as a more than capable backup option should Camera 1, as prophesied, burst into flames during the nuptials.

Of all the things to have sleepless nights about before a wedding, camera gear shouldn’t be one of them. My search continues for methods of controlling the weather and bending time, but I prepared the night before safe in the knowledge that my camera gear was ready; firmwares updated, batteries charged, lenses polished, straps attached.

The X-E2 was the first camera out of the bag the following morning when I arrived early at the reception venue to shoot details on the tables. It quickly established itself to be a reliable focuser and exposer, while the image previews looked sharp and full of colour. As planned, it then came out on a number of other occasions throughout the day. Its near-silent operation and more discreet appearance enabled me to wander around and capture a whole host of shots that, had I attempted to shoot with Camera 1, would inevitably have resulted in wedding guests standing bolt upright while affecting cheesy grins. Not so the X-E2 which, with the 55-200mm attached, is the perfect combination for candids.

Its hushed credentials also proved their worth during the speeches at the reception. After selecting the Silent mode I was able to capture a wide variety of images, without causing the assembled guests to turn around every time I pressed the shutter. In short, the X-E2 and I got on famously during the day, even though it did show a larger than expected appetite for battery power.

18-55mm @55mm, 1/60sec at f/3.5, ISO 250
18-55mm @55mm, 1/60sec at f/3.5, ISO 250

The bigger news was to come in post-production. I’d shot nearly 1500 images, so editing in Lightroom was a lengthy affair, especially when you consider everything was captured in Raw. But while general tidying up of images is to be expected, I found myself spending far less time on the X-E2’s files. They were supremely sharp straight out of camera, wonderfully vibrant and showed impressive quality at high ISOs. The speeches, for example, were shots at ISO 3200 and 6400 because of the low light levels at the reception, yet noise was well under control – far better, in fact, than Camera 1.

55-200mm @156mm, 1/90sec at f/4.5, ISO 3200
55-200mm @156mm, 1/90sec at f/4.5, ISO 3200

So what did I learn? Well, I’d certainly pack the X-E2 if I was shooting a wedding again – it’s agile, easy to use and cuts down post-production time, all of which are huge positives. Its retro charms didn’t go unnoticed by guests at the wedding, either. As I mingled at the reception, a DSLR-toting attendee came over and asked about the X-E2. ‘Is it a Leica?,’ he asked. I explained what it was, showed him some shots I’d taken and invited him to have a try. He took a couple of shots and handed it back, gave it the one over and said, quite simply: ‘Lovely’.

I’d have to agree.

Neil Torr shares his thoughts on the X-A1

“Would I recommend this as a good place to start for someone ready to move on from a bridge camera? Absolutely.”

I have been fortunate enough recently to have had a Fujifilm X-A1 on review, so now I come to share my thoughts, but first of all to put this in perspective here is a bit of history about my photographic background.

Before Jan 2012 as much as I enjoyed taking photos my cameras had consisted of film compacts, simple point and shoot jobs. I had access to some digital cameras belonging to my wife after that, but again they were point and shoot compacts.

Having been to RAF Waddington International Airshow in 2011 with a compact I soon decided I wanted something that allowed me to do more with photos. As much as I fancied the idea of a DSLR I couldn’t justify the cost with so little proper experience in photography so I opted for the HS20EXR bridge camera in December 2011.

Since then I have found myself enjoying photography more and more finding my favourites subjects to be airplanes, birds (particularly birds of prey) and architecture, as well as the obvious family photos. So when I was given the chance to try the X-A1 (together with the XC16-50mmF3.5-5.6 OIS lens) I jumped at the opportunity.

X-A1 072 copy1

X-A1 Oxburgh Hall 190

As an introductory level CSC it does not have all of the high tech wizardry of some of it fellow X-series siblings, but I soon found it was a great camera and performs significantly better than the HS20. So what were the key differences between the HS20 and X-A1?

Physically it is a much smaller camera in all respects and the build quality seems much better, though the HS20 is by no means of poor build quality. One thing in particular that was quite nice was the metal tripod screw – on the HS20 it is plastic and so can be a bit of a worry for damage.

One thing that I did miss on the X-A1 was the EVF. However, on using the camera it became apparent the LCD panel was of a good quality and although there are situations I would have preferred to have the EVF it was certainly not the end of the world. Most people coming from compact cameras would not notice the EVF missing as they tend not to be on compact cameras anymore.

Using the X-A1 felt like a very natural progression from the HS20, the menu layout was very similar but with some improvements made to navigation – the Q-button was a particularly handy addition for quick changes when needed.

Having a much larger sensor the X-A1 was able to utilise a much wider range of light levels and capture far more detail. In my time with it there were a number of occasions I would have had to resort to using the flash on the HS20 but the X-A1 took the low light in its stride and simply took great pictures at higher ISO values. For once I was using auto ISO usually with an upper limit of 3200, though 6400 was also still quite acceptable, a big improvement of the 400 which is the highest I would normally use on the HS20. This was particularly noticeable in trips to Oxburgh Hall (a National Trust property) and Peterborough Cathedral. The good low light performance, allowing pictures to be taken handheld that would have needed the tripod with the HS20. This allowed a far more productive time as I was not having to set up the tripod, adjust angles, settings, fiddle with a remote release, etc, etc. It even allowed for easier capture of sunsets whilst being driven around in a car.

X-A1 080 copy1

Visiting The Raptor Foundation, a near by raptor sanctuary, I needed a lens with a larger zoom to make the most of the visit but found in action, it performed well, being able use higher ISO settings for faster shutter speeds for the in flight shots. Even with the limited zoom of the XC16-50mm lens I was still able to get some great images of the birds. Even birds I couldn’t get very close to the images were high enough quality to be able to crop in.

As a simple amateur I have never done an official wedding shoot, and yet I found myself being asked to do just that for my brother-in-law. As I had the X-A1 this became a far less nerve racking thing for me to do than might have been the case. I was however worried about battery life as I had no spare. Even in this department thought the X-A1 performed beyond my expectations. I had expected no more than the 350 shots it is rated for so I had my HS20 on stand by for emergencies. However, almost 500 shots in and the single charge was only just beginning to show signs of running out.

X-A1 wedding 090

As well as all of this, with my two children – one of whom was only 2 weeks old at the time of receiving the X-A1 – there were a number of cheeky shots made easy simply by the quick start up and focus, catching moments that might otherwise have been missed.

X-A1 004 copy1

As you may have guessed I rather liked the X-A1. As much as I love my HS20 there really is no comparison. Despite being a different breed of camera, the X-A1 is no more difficult to operate than the HS20EXR, in fact if anything there are improvements of the controls with the X-A1.

I have now returned the X-A1 to the kind people of Fuji who allowed me to review it. Even at essentially the bottom of the X-series range it is an amazing camera to work with and a great introduction to CSCs.

Do I miss it? Yes, and it’s only been a few days.

Would I recommend this as a good place to start for someone ready to move on from a bridge camera? Absolutely.


Guest post: Fujifilm X for Destination Weddings

By V.Opoku

I just got back from documenting a destination wedding in Montego Bay Jamaica, and I can’t help but think that the Fujifilm X cameras have an enormous potential to be incredible wedding cameras. I have been shooting exclusive with two X-Pro 1’s + an X100s for the past year and I have gotten to know these cameras quite well.

They are a joy to work with, I love them but this past week something clicked – every destination wedding photographer needs a Fujifilm X camera in their bag – X100s, X-E1/2 X-Pro 1 and the newly announced X-T1 ; pick your poison.

Here is why :

Processed with VSCOcam with b1 preset
1. Travelling light, I pack my kit in my carry on bag, I don’t have to check in and it’s easier to carry smaller luggage around once I arrive at my desired destination.

3. sunset image
2. Wedding days are long hours, for this wedding I started documenting from 10am and it wasn’t until after 12am that I packed it all in. Over 14 hours of coverage – anything heavier, especially as a two-body set up will kill me.

4. pre-wedding
3. Documenting events pre and post the wedding day. This is where the x100s comes into a league of its own – I am able to hang out with my clients, their family and friends effortless, I am able to capture moments without a photographer sticker on my forehead.

I am not saying ditch your entire DSLR setup like I did, but I will highly recommend all my fellow wedding photographers out there, especially those who travels around the world, to add one of these gems to their arsenal.

Here is preview of the wedding I documented, images are either the X-Pro 1 + 35mm or the X100s. I can’t wait to add the 56mm & 14mm lenses into my setup during the course of the year.

About Me:

I am a Creative, Contemporary Wedding Story-teller. I love to travel, experience different cultures and discover awesome stories. London is home (for now).

blog :