in blog, guide, photo post, street


Having read recently read Kevin Mullins’ article detailing how he set the custom film profiles on his Fujifilm X-series cameras I was keen to give it a go on my new Fuji XT1. Although I’ve been shooting with my X100s for some time it’s mainly been in RAW.

Fujifilm X-T1 jpeg file of a cup of coffee in Tap Coffee, London.

I was in Soho yesterday and decided to forgo the RAW, shoot JPEG and see how they came out. Let me be the first to say none of these are going to win any awards but they give a good cross-section of lighting situations.

Fujifilm X-T1 jpeg file of a patisserie shop worker admiring his wares

The commonly accepted wisdom is that JPEG files just don’t give the necessary flexibility in editing.

By virtue of the fact a RAW file includes all the available data and a JPEG doesn’t, then the RAW file has to be the safer way to shoot. However do we always need that additional data?

If I’m shooting for a client then, yes, I’m going to buy the insurance of a RAW file. But if I’m just shooting some street photography as I wander Soho on a Saturday afternoon, then on the evidence of these shots, for me, JPEG is good enough.

Fujifilm X-T1 jpeg file of a darkly light London street scene

Kevin details how he sets his custom settings in his post. I found when I used his settings on my X100s I was losing all the detail in the blacks. As the XT1 has the same sensor as the Fuji X100s I decided to back off the shadow settings a little. These are the settings I used:

Black & white (using the B&W+R film simulation)
Highlights -1
Shadows +1 (KM: +2)
Sharpness +1 (KM: +2) – this change more to see the difference than any science.
Dynamic Range (Auto)
White Balance (Auto)
Noise Reduction -2

Fujifilm X-T1 jpeg file of a man drinking in the Milk Bar, London

Generally, I’m really happy with the look. It’s far more to my liking than JPEGs from my Nikon D700. The blacks in these shots aren’t as dark as on the test with the X100s. If I were going to use these elsewhere I’d like to increase the contrast a little, so it could be my metering that was at fault on the first test. Maybe I’ll give Kevin’s settings another go.

If you’re using the Fujifilm simulations I’d be interested in hearing the settings you’re using?

I'd love to hear what you think.

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  1. Hi Nigel, nice little article. It’s odd having to place one’s faith in JPEG, isn’t it? It’s like handing your baby over or something. My black and white settings are pretty similar to yours, though sometimes I go -2 on the highlights. As for colour, almost always Classic Chrome with an occasional Pro-Neg Std/Hi for portraits. I tend to have normal shadows on colour and very soft highlights. I personally love the noise from my Fuji files when it appears up to ISO 1600, and sometimes even at 3200, so I go very light on the NR too.

    I’ve never minded losing shadow detail though, funnily enough. In fact, I do like a good cloudy shadow feel. I tend to try to go for one of the following in my looks as I pose the question, what sort of day is it?

    An Alec Soth day: Pro Neg Standard, medium contrast.
    A Wililam Eggleston day: Classic Chrome, high saturation.
    A Steve McCurry day: Velvia (Pretty damn rare in the UK!)
    A Gary WInogrand day: BW Green, low contrast.
    A Robert Adams day: BW Red, very high contrast.
    A Stacy Kranitz day: Provia, high contrast.

    A Saul Leiter day: God, I wish.

    I’m quite happy to be a wee bit sloppy with metering, usually. So long as I get something. Anyway, laters!

    • Hi Pete, thanks for the kind words. I like your photographers colour chart very much. I always get up hoping it’s going to be a Saul Leiter day and it never has so far – but we live in hope.

      I really like some of the work on your website. We have a lot in common! Keep up the great work.

      best wishes, Nigel