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Classic Chrome vs Classic Neg: Refining my X100V

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I stopped at Manzanar National Historic site for an hour on my recent drive down US395; it’s a stop that I make nearly every time I drive that stretch of highway. If you haven’t seen this haunting place, you owe it to yourself to check it out if you’re ever in the area.

I prefer to photograph this monument using the Classic Chrome film simulation. This time, however, I had my X100V with me and wanted to see how Classic Neg would be different. I don’t have a lot of experience with this film simulation yet and want to change that as I think it has a lot of potential – if you use it correctly.

Classic Chrome vs Classic Neg

If you’re not sure of the differences, you can read all about the film simulation differences in this post and even take a free film simulation course that I created.


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Classic Neg and Classic Chrome are both modeled after “vintage” (if you want to think of it that way) film stocks though neither of them has a real-life Fuji film counterpart. They both have subdued colors and strong contrast, making them a favorite for street and documentary-style photography. Classic Chrome is quite subdued with hints of cyan, while Classic Neg is a bit bolder with warmer hints of magenta.

Would the warmer, harsher Classic Neg be better for photographing this arid, hot place than the cooler Classic Chrome? Would it better project that mood? I used a documentary Classic Neg preset that I just created. And to show you the differences between Classic Chrome, I also processed these photos in X RAW Studio using my Classic Chrome preset, which are here with the Classic Neg photos.

Which one does a better job of representing this…concentration camp? (I know they were officially called “internment camps” to avoid association with places like Auschwitz, but by every definition, they were concentration camps). There is no right answer and I don’t know if I’m sure yet. I’ll need some more time with Classic Neg. I’ll continue to refine this preset as I get some more shutter actuations with it. If you’re in the same rut, you can also try Film Simulation Bracketing.

Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, the buildings are currently locked up.

X100V Documentary Classic Chrome & Classic Neg presets

A note about these presets, these photos, and the X100V: I use different tone curves & color, so it’s not a strict comparison of the two film simulations. You’ll also see that the clouds are nearly blown out in some photos, even with DR AUTO set, which should have enabled DR200 in these scenes. Well, since it was a super-bright day in the desert, I lowered my ISO to 160 without giving it much thought. DR200 only works with a minimum ISO of 320. If you want to take advantage of this, don’t set your ISO below 320 and use the built-in ND filter if you need a large aperture, or use the Electronic Shutter. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, read this post to learn more about the Dynamic Range settings.

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Classic Chrome

  • DR: AUTO
  • Grain: Weak Large
  • Color Chrome: Off
  • Color Chrome Blue: Weak
  • WB: Auto, Shift 0
  • Tone Curve: H +1, S 0
  • Color: +2
  • Sharpness: 0
  • Noise Reduction: -2
  • Clarity: +2

Classic Neg

  • DR: AUTO
  • Grain: Weak Large
  • Color Chrome: Weak
  • Color Chrome Blue: Off
  • WB: Auto, Shift 0
  • Tone Curve: H -1, S 0
  • Color: -1
  • Sharpness: 0
  • Noise Reduction: -2
  • Clarity: +2

The Classic Neg photos are the first in each pair, followed by Classic Chrome

manzanar classic neg
manzanar classic chrome
manzanar classic neg
manzanar classic chrome
manzanar classic neg
manzanar classic chrome
manzanar classic neg
manzanar classic chrome
manzanar classic neg
manzanar classic chrome
manzanar classic neg
manzanar classic chrome
manzanar classic neg
manzanar classic chrome
manzanar classic neg
manzanar classic chrome

Well? Which one does it for you? I’d love to hear your thoughts below, given the fact that photographers are their worst critics 🙂

Alex Gambill

Wednesday 4th of August 2021

Great write up. Yeah, I think my main simulations I use are the classic chrome and and classic negative and of course acrose for bw. I’m still trying to dial in a couple of my own recipes. But basically have just been tweaking a couple that I like from FujiXWeekly while I get a hang of things. I’ve only had my X100V for a month. As far as digital, I had been shooting Canons for the past 15 years but am now a Fuji convert. It’s refreshing to get a punchy and interesting rendition straight out of camera and not having to endlessly tweak my images to get me the film look.

John Peltier

Thursday 5th of August 2021

That's awesome to hear. Yes, FujiXWeekly has some great recipes but I've found the selection to be too overwhelming :) Hopefully, you can sort through all of it and find one that suits you, or build your own from scratch!

Phillip Foster

Monday 26th of October 2020

i'm quite fond of the classic negative simulation but the look is pretty bold and probably not best suited to professional photography. i LOVE what classic negative does to greens and reds though - it changes the hue and saturation just enough to create a true vintage look. the look is perfectly demonstrated at this link:. https://fujifilm-x.com/en-sg/news/2019/1104_2666/

John Peltier

Thursday 29th of October 2020

That begs the question, "what is professional photography"? Perfect color renditions? The trendy color grading techniques of the day? Professional photography is what you want it to be, and if you can build a niche using Classic Neg, don't let the market tell you otherwise :)

Barbara

Thursday 8th of October 2020

Thanks for sharing this simulation comparison. I find myself going back and forth trying to decide which one I like better when I post process in Lightroom. I also spend quite some time editing highlights and shadows because I find that ooc jpg images have too much contrast for my liking so I will definitely play with the different settings you shared (tone curve and clarity) and hope I spend less time editing and more time shooting. I'm a new Fuji user so I still have a lot to learn :)

Anyway! Thanks again :)

Cheers

Barbara

John Peltier

Friday 9th of October 2020

Hi Barbara, thanks for the note! I was having trouble with the contrast too, since I've always processed my photos to have a bit flatter toning, but after using these cameras for a while I've come to love contrast more. I've found myself exposing for the bright areas more and more, putting other areas of the photo deep into shadows. Funny how our tastes change with the equipment we use.

Earl Goodson

Thursday 30th of July 2020

Very nicely done. I've been meaning to do a similar writeup as a recent convert to Classic Neg from Classic Chrome. I'm still trying to piece together why I like CNeg as much as I do; I honestly bought the X100V thinking CNeg was going to see as little use as Eterna does for my images.

But I've since found it to be incredibly versatile. And I love how different the character becomes with even slight exposure adjustments, especially in the sky.

John Peltier

Friday 31st of July 2020

Thanks Earl! Yes, CNEG was a surprise for sure. I can't wait to experiment with it some more to learn all its little quirks. I'll head over and see what you're up to with it!

Richard

Tuesday 28th of July 2020

I would just let like to know which version of the sky color was what you saw in person? Thanks, Richard

John Peltier

Tuesday 28th of July 2020

Hi Richard, good question. The answer is neither, actually. In these photos, the Classic Neg has extra magenta in the sky, and the Classic Chrome has extra cyan in the sky. If anything it was closer to the Classic Neg but not as "warm" as these pictures indicate.