Film vs. Digital: Fuji X-E1 vs. Fujifilm Pro 400H

After trading in my Nikon DSLR for a Fuji X-E1, I thought it would be interesting to compare Fuji’s film and digital color palettes side by side. One of the most important reasons I made the decision for the X-E1 was for Fuji’s colors. I find their palette the most appealing and easy to work with. Many shots look wonderful without processing, and when I do post process for a certain look (such as pastels – more on that in an upcoming post) Fuji colors simply give me the best base to work with.

I wanted to see how Fuji’s color palette for digital compares to one of my favorite Fuji films: Pro 400H. To test this, I went to the harbor in Baltimore, Ireland (near where I live) on a sunny afternoon and took the following equipment:

Fuji X-E1 & Fujinon 35mm f/1.4
Nikon F100 & Nikkor 50mm f/1.8

I shot the Pro 400H film at about 2 stops overexposed and the X-E1 about 1 stop overexposed. The film scans were not color corrected and I did no color work on the digital images. Below are the results (you can click the images to see them in a larger size).

I came to a couple of conclusions after this little comparison shoot. First, the base color palettes of the X-E1 and Pro 400H film are remarkably similar. The X-E1 did a great job retaining shadow and highlight detail – on a level comparable with the film. However, there are differences that are visible. The film has more contrast and “texture” and handles light differently. The light looks a bit softer in the film shots. You can also clearly see a split tone that develops in the 400H film when you overexpose it, the highlights have a peachy-pink tone and the shadows are blue.

Now, just for fun… here is one more example where I applied a preset from my upcoming Pro Set II to the digital image in Lightroom 4. Can you tell which is which?

Rebecca LilyPage 1