I’ve been a movie junkie for years and understandably hate anyone who claims to have done something before it was cool, but here I go – I was in cinema before it was cool, and the prices have become unaffordable for anyone who regularly tours who isn’t a trust fund influencer.
However, my heavy box of movies taking up half my fridge and constantly annoying my partner dwindled to a few solitary rolls.
• Think digital can’t replace analog? Check best film cameras
This is for two reasons: firstly because the majority of movies are so hard to find now, and many popular stocks have just been discontinued (look at you, Fujifilm). The Kodak Portra 400 finally seems to be making a comeback after being unavailable for months, but I just can’t afford to buy the available rolls as a side hobby.
This price fluctuates often, but a Kodak Portra 400 35mm 5-pack is currently $75 on Amazon (or £88 here in the UK). After factoring in development, plus optional scanning and printing, that’s a pretty hefty price per image – and that’s provided you’re lucky enough to have every image on the roll as a keeper. Even Kodak used to be very cheap, buy it per case ColorPlus is now $50 for a triple pack of 36 laying rolls.
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Above: selection of photos taken on various 35mm films
So what’s a movie-loving guy to do? Well, as someone who lives too much on social media, I’ve seen countless photographers rave about how close custom film recipes on Fujifilm cameras are to reality. Movie purists are probably honing their forks, and I was skeptical too, but thought I’d give it a shot – and readers, it changed my (photographic) life.
Fujifilm camera images can’t quite match the feel or atmosphere of real film. There is always a digital dimension to the images, a sharpness and clarity of years where Fujifilm tries to do the best digital pictures he can. But if you can look beyond that, then filming with movie recipes is a lot of fun, and you can add a fake movie border in apps before you post to really complete the illusion.
To be clear, the film recipes are not the same as Fujifilm’s built-in film simulations. Film Simulations are included in all Fujifilm cameras as a quick way to change the style of an image much like a filter. The film simulations on Fujifilm cameras are amazing, but are just the tip of the iceberg in film reproduction.
Film recipes can rely even more on Fujifilm film simulations with altered colors, highlights or shadows, overexposure and film grain which can all be combined to create some of the most compelling digital film photos I have ever seen.
Of course, this can be achieved with Lightroom Presets applied to a RAW photo, but there is no equal to the simplicity of doing everything directly in the camera at the press of a button. I’ve also tried many Lightroom presets, as well as countless of my own, and I’m convinced (well, at least convinced myself) that Fujifilm cameras can simply do better.
I love Fujifilm’s color science or the unique way its X-Trans sensors work to process digital noise. I am more satisfied with the JPEGs of my Fujifilm X-T5 than the countless presets I’ve created (or paid for) for Lightroom.
Highly recommend checking out FujiX weekly for the latest and greatest movie recipes. It’s not a catch, I really appreciate what they’re doing. They have a huge archive to choose from, as well as versions for different generations of Fujifilm camera sensors. And if you don’t have a Fujifilm camera yet, check out the best cameras below.