Since I wrote a note regarding the settings for my X-Pro2 a little while ago, I've been giving more consideration to the use of JPG files as opposed to RAW files for processing, especially day to day files.  I've always been a RAW+JPG photographer, but pay little regard to the JPG as I tend to simply load the RAW files into Lightroom and work on them from there.

However, it's fair to say, even though I'm not overkeen on the film simulations Fuji cameras have onboard, the JPG output is far better than the JPG.  I'm not technical enough to understand the reasoning behind this and whether that's to do with the way Fuji handles the JPG conversion in camera or how Lightroom handles the RAW conversion, but I know the JPG's straight out of camera do look good, even if the colours don't suit my taste.

I've been goofing around with Fuji JPG's over the past week or so, trying to find a look and palette that suits me. I started with Pro Neg S as this is the film sim that seems pretty neutral for skin tones and the like, however I've switched over to Provia recently, as this seems to offer quite a flat file for use as a starting point to tweak to my own requirements.

Once I get a JPG into Lightroom, I'll occasionally use the Auto Tone option found in the Lightroom General Presets folder just to see what it does with the image.  As I prefer a more muted tone to photographs, I tend to photograph riding the exposure compensation quite a bit and will often underexpose by two thirds or even a full stop under, to get a dark look.  Quite often the auto tone option will bring the JPG file back to where it should be or give me an idea of where I want to go with it. 

Once I've decided if the auto tone looks right or adjusted as I wish to I will then use a saved tone curve preset I have.  

Here's the tone curve I use - The idea of this is to simply create a very gentle S curve with a very slight flattening of the dark and white ends of the curve.  

If needs be I will go in and tweak this very slightly from photograph to photograph.

From there, it's simply a matter of whether or not I wish to add grain which I often do and whether I want to add a little clarity or contrast to the image.  I try to get my JPG's as right as possible in camera but that doesn't always happen.  By tweaking those few things in LR it gets me closer to where I want to be.

The outstanding in camera film simulation for me on my X-Pro2 is Acros. I could happily shoot exclusively with this simulation such is my liking for it.  I often do very little to the Acros JPG image once in LR as it's just about spot on coming straight from the camera, maybe a tweak in contrast and grain added for good measure.

For info. here are the Q settings I have for my in-camera JPG settings - 

Custom 1 - Provia

  • Noise Reduction: -4
  • Highlight Tone: -1
  • Shadow Tone: -1
  • Colour: 0
  • Sharpness: +2

Custom 2 - Astia/Soft

  • Noise Reduction: -4
  • Highlight Tone: -1
  • Shadow Tone: 0
  • Colour:  0
  • Sharpness: 0

Custom 3 - Velvia

  • Noise Reduction: -4
  • Highlight Tone: -1
  • Shadow Tone: -1
  • Colour:  +2
  • Sharpness: +2

Custom 4 - Custom Chrome

  • Noise Reduction: -4
  • Highlight Tone: +1
  • Shadow Tone: +1
  • Colour:  +1
  • Sharpness: +2

Custom 5 - Custom Chrome

  • Noise Reduction: -4
  • Highlight Tone: -2
  • Shadow Tone: -2
  • Colour:  0
  • Sharpness: +1

Custom 6 - Acros G

  • Noise Reduction: -2
  • Highlight Tone: -2
  • Shadow Tone: +2
  • Colour:  0
  • Sharpness: +2

Custom 7 - Acros R

  • Noise Reduction: -2
  • Highlight Tone: -2
  • Shadow Tone: +2
  • Colour: 0
  • Sharpness: +2

Of course these settings are always very personal, but hey give them a try if you're struggling as a starting point.... I've spent quite a while tweaking Fuji in camera simulations to find exactly what I want from a JPG!

A few examples of colour JPG's and Acros B&W JPG's taken on the Fuji X-Pro2

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