A recent morning stroll around the fish quay at North Shields yielded this image of moored fishing boats, and the first image that I’ve personally shot that I feel suits Fujifilm’s new Classic Neg profile.
When Fujifilm launched the X-Pro3 last year, they added a new film simulation: Classic Negative. A lot of the reviews I read at the time spoke of it becoming an instant favourite, or even default, profile for many. I don’t have an X-Pro3, but Fuji did recently add Classic Neg to the GFX line with a firmware update and more recently, Lightroom picked up that support.
Being honest, I’ve really struggled to find images that (for me) have suited Classic Neg in my few early attempts. A trip down to the beach on a partly cloudy day resulted in some rather post-apocalyptic colours that almost put me off the profile altogether.
A few days after that disaster (not really a disaster: they’re raw files and I could just switch profiles) I went down to the North Shields fish quay with my kids for a change of scene and here, with the more industrial colour palette and on a grey day, Classic Neg totally worked. All I’ve done to the file is crop to the X-Pan ratio of 65:24, pull up the whites to lift the image slightly while dropping the highlights back down to protect the nice low contrast of the base profile, also dropping contrast itself a little.
For the second image below I did the same, although I also lifted the very darkest end of the tone curve slightly in order to better match the first image.
These two images have done enough to encourage me that there’s a place for Classic Neg as a starting point in some of my images, and I’ll continue to experiment a bit to see where else it works.
At the same time it’s a good reminder that early hype often needs to be offset somewhat. No film profile will solve all problems or suit all styles.