How Fujifilm Natura Can Become the Greatest Film Simulation

We’re streaming daily on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts, and Spotify!

If you’ve looked at Fujifilm’s stable of films, you’re probably wondering what the next Film simulation will be. In our minds, there’s only one big one left: Natura. It’s nowhere as famous as the company’s other film emulsions. The reason for this is it was only available in Japan. But I’d argue that this is the most revolutionary high-speed color film ever made. I adore the look of Portra 800. And CineStill 800T is also pretty dope. But Natura 1600 was even better.

One could argue that if you shoot the Classic Negative film simulation, you can get the Natura look. But that’s not quite the case. Natura 1600 was a daylight film. It was also designed to be shot in low light. Specifically, Fuji wanted you to pair it with the Natura S point and shoot. The grain on it was pretty darn fine for a film this fast. And the colors were incredibly true to life. 

It’s time to bring this film back. Now, I’m positive that Fujifilm won’t bring the actual film back, but it could enjoy a new life in the form of a film simulation. However, Fujifilm has to make this one truly special!

We’ve done some coverage of that film here on the website. Here’s our review. But by far, the best photographer I’ve known to use it is Simon Chetrit. We’ve interviewed him a few times. Here’s one, and another. It even came to RNI Films a while back.

So how could Fujifilm make the Natura film simulation very special? Here are a few ideas.

  • Lock it to only daylight white balance. If Fuji is brave enough to create the X Pro 3, then they can do this.
  • Like the Acros mode, let the photographer add a color filter effect. A warming filter, blue filter, or a haze filter could be VERY cool!
  • Grain built into it, similar to the way the Blue Chrome sky effect works. Otherwise, embrace digital and make this the cleanest high ISO simulation.
  • Embrace the characteristics of film and make a photographer have to expose completely different for this film simulation. For example, you’ll need to give it a stop more light to make it look better. Algorithmically, all you’d need to do is tell the processor if>Natura then>metering.
  • Using the In-Camera Raw development process, let a photographer do cross processing, bleach bypass, push/pull, etc. Fujifilm has these modes built into their cameras anyway.

I know lots of photographers have hated the limitations of X Pro 3, but there’s a cult that loves it. I’m in this cult. At the same time, I know many photographers who want to spend less time editing in front of a computer. Just think about how much time folks spent during the pandemic in front of devices. So, give us the tools in the camera to get the work we want.

To make this a true success, Fujifilm will need to work with photographers who’ve used the film a lot. So that would mean a ton of Japanese photographers get featured. But lots of others have worked with Natura too, and it would be a great way to push some sort of awesome sensor development with high ISO photos. Look at all the stuff folks have done with the film online!

Let’s hope for Natura!

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.