3 Fantastic Cameras with Image Quality That Looks Like Film

If you want the film look, you’re going to love these cameras.

There is nothing like the look of film. Some people think they know what it looks like using editing presets, but you’re better off doing it in the camera. Luckily, a few companies have begun to recognize this and built those looks right into their cameras. We dove into our Reviews Index to find some of the most unique and highest quality choices. There are more that can give you the look of film, but here are some of our favorites and the best we’ve tested.

The Phoblographer’s product round-up features are done in-house by the staff. Our philosophy is simple: you wouldn’t get a Wagyu beef steak review from a lifelong vegetarian. And you wouldn’t get photography advice from someone who doesn’t touch the product. We only recommend gear we’ve fully reviewed. If you’re wondering why your favorite product didn’t make the cut, there’s a chance it’s on another list. If we haven’t reviewed it, we won’t recommend it. This method keeps our lists packed with industry-leading knowledge.

Pro Tips on Getting the Look of Film in Camera

If you want to film render, here are some essential tips:

  • Most film was white-balanced to 5200 or 5500 Kelvin. Go into your settings and manually do that. Don’t do it in post-production: you’re not always going to get the same effect. Shooting film is about getting it right in-camera. If you’re editing in Lightroom or Photoshop, it won’t render the same.
  • The Blade Runner look is done by white balancing to 3200 Kelvin. This is known as Tungsten. Do this by also looking at Daylight balanced light. That way, it looks super blue.
  • Just get ready to embrace some very warm or very cool lighting. Work with it. 
  • Don’t be afraid of what a flash can do. Flashes are balanced to daylight, so they can handle mixed lighting situations incredibly well. 
  • Want more haze? Try a Pro Mist filter.

Fujifilm X Pro 3: The Film Approach in a Body

How to do it: Set your camera to Provia, Velvia, Classic Negative, Classic Chrome, or anything else. Then lock your white balance to 5500 Kelvin daylight. 

In our review, we said:

“The Fujifilm X Pro 3 is all about embracing flaws in some ways while playing around with the idea that you don’t need to edit your photos. The Fujifilm X Pro 3 has a lot of great enhancements to it like the addition of the clarity setting to your images. Beyond that, the Classic Chrome effect is enhanced by a few menu slot additions. Further, Fujifilm’s addition of the Classic Negative look will make everyone really overjoyed. Looks that were only possible with Mastin Presets and those from RNI or VSCO are now accessible right out of the camera.”

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Panasonic S5: The Cinema Film Look

How to do it: The Panasonic S5 has CineLike D2 and V2 color profiles. These are designed to look like Kodak cinema film. V2 is our personal favorite.

In our review, we said:

“Photographers know and love this sensor. It’s incredibly capable and balanced in many ways. The high ISO output is solid while delivering decent details. The dynamic range is so very good.”

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Fujifilm GFX 100S: Nostalgia Embraced

How to do it: The GFX 100S has a pretty cool thing in the form of a Nostalgic Negative. But otherwise, set your camera to Provia, Velvia, Classic Negative, Classic Chrome, or anything else. Then lock your white balance to 5500 Kelvin daylight. 

In our review, we said:

“If there is one thing Fujifilm knows how to do, it’s making nice JPEG files. Despite this camera using a Bayer sensor instead of X-Trans, the Fujifilm simulations look as good as ever. Playing with RAW files is nice, but sometimes just shooting JPEG is fun. If you want to do that, just know that you’ll get great images, with stunning colors all the time. The GFX100S also comes with a new film simulation; Nostalgic Negative. This film sim tries to recreate a look from 70s film stocks. Oranges, yellows, and reds take on a unique look, and overall images become much warmer. It’s a nice look that many will enjoy. Of course, this is all subjective as everyone has different tastes. Still, it’s nice that you have these options baked right into the camera.”

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Chris Gampat

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