Word is out, social media is abuzz – you may have heard it too: apparently Fujifilm is launching a new film simulation “Reala” at the upcoming Summit on Tuesday, 12 September, and as you can imagine – this is very exciting news in the land of SOOC!
Fujifilm made an analog film called Fujicolor Superia Reala 100 that was a daylight-balanced colour negative Film for professionals and enthusiasts. It is fair to assume that this original film stock could serve as the base to the film simulation that Fujifilm may develop as a digital counterpart. At this point in time, I obviously don’t know what kind of a look this film simulation may bring to jpegs as Fujifilm film simulation looks don’t necessarily emulate the exact look of the film stock they are named after (like Provia for example). However, with Fujifilm’s dedication to and the continued refinement of their colour science, we can expect that a new film simulation would bring an exciting new look that also triggers the creation of many other new recipes in the SOOC community.
Images shot on X-Pro 3 and X-T5 in Fujicolor Reala 100, a film simulation recipe by Fuji X Weekly
I never shot the actual film stock myself (it was a high quality film and quite pricey, which is why I never used it) and even if I wanted to, I am unlikely to get the chance to do so because it was discontinued in 2013. All the more reason to get excited about a digital alternative.
Curious about what kind of a look I could possibly expect to join the Fujifilm film simulation world, I went on a trip down analog film history to find out more about Superia Reala 100. Here’s a summary of what I found out:
It was the first film that used a 4th colour layer, a technique used to avoid green colour cast when shooting under fluorescent light. That’s pretty amazing, considering that it was a daylight balanced film. Since it also did a great job in delivering natural-looking skin tones, it proved to be a great choice for portrait and wedding photographers.
Images shot in daylight looked amazing, true to life and thanks to a film speed of 100, sharp with no visible grain and great latitude. According to analog shooters’ opinions online, it handled abuse well: you could overexpose it and still retain details in the highlights which resulted in colours often turned pastelly. Sounds familiar, right? Right! Fujicolor Pro 400H, which replaced Reala 100, had similar qualities and continued its popularity. Unfortunately, Fujifilm also discontinued Fujicolor Pro 400H in 2021. I believe it had something to do with the magical 4th colour layer that may have become too difficult or expensive to produce.
I mentioned earlier that I have never shot either of these film stocks in their heyday, so I do not have any real-life samples to show you. However, thanks to Ritchie Roesch and his fantastic work over on Fuji X Weekly, there is a recipe called “Fujicolor Reala 100” which emulates the film stock by the same name. I have shot with this recipe a number of times and, as you will see below, I like it a heck of a lot.
The Fujicolor Reala 100 recipe is based on Classic Negative, and since I’m a sucker for the general look and feel of this film simulation, I’m not surprised that I love it. It delivers lovely, slightly muted colours – especially the greens. I consider the recipe “light hungry” since it shines and produces the most beautiful results in bright, sunny conditions where it brings out lots of detail in the shadow areas. I guess it is only fair as the original film stock had those qualities too. Luckily regularly have sunshine and bright days here in “Sunny South Africa” – another reason why I love it. Along with these qualities, it also makes skin colours look natural, even in cloudy conditions, and with that, gets the stamp of approval from me as a really good all-rounder.
Speaking of cloudy conditions – Fujicolor Reala 100 was one of the recipes that I featured in my article about shooting in rainy conditions and it came out as one of my favourites – surprise, surprise.
So, what expectations do we have for the film simulation Reala if it lands next week? Some people are excited about what may come – Fuji X Weekly, for example, just launched a new version of Fujicolor Reala 100 for X-Trans V cameras. You can check it out here: https://fujixweekly.com/2023/09/06/fujicolor-reala-100-fujifilm-x-t5-x-trans-v-film-simulation-recipe/
I think it could make for an amazing base film simulation to build on and create exciting new looks. Maybe a new recipe for portraiture? Whatever it is, I can’t wait to find out all about it.
What do you think? Are you excited about a new look? What are your expectations? Do you think it will be introduced to existing camera models via firmware update? Let me know in the comments! And don’t forget to tune in on Tuesday for the live broadcast of the Summit:
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