Fujifilm Vs Film Photography: Which Is Best for Photographers?

The Phoblographer has long been a host to writers and photographers who shoot film. Here’s the thing; I’m one of the few here that’s chosen not to adopt the photographic practice of analog photography. I mean, after all, I don’t need it because I shoot Fujifilm, right?

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Why I Don’t Shoot Film Photography

Let me be honest with you; I’m impulsive and impatient. I’m everything the old school photographer loathes: needy and entitled. Why wait for something when you can have it now? And while I’ve mastered patience in most of my life, photography is one area where I’m not even trying to perfect it. Who has time to be loading up rolls of film, making photos, taking them to a lab, waiting for the lab to develop them, and then having them back in your hand? Dude, I’ve got Netflix to watch.

Plus, all I’ve ever known is digital photography, and it’s always served me well. That, and I have a Fujifilm camera, of course.

Fujifilm Vs Film Photography: The Process

I think there are two reasons photographers flock to film photography: the process and the aesthetic. I also believe it’s possible to love one and not the other. When I walk around with my Fujifilm XT2, those not in the know ask me if it’s a film camera. It makes sense; Fujifilm did model its XT series on the classic analog build.

And that’s one of the main reasons I shoot with Fujifilm. I love programming the dials on the body and moving the aperture ring on the lens. For me, it makes the process of using the camera more enjoyable and I feel like I’m more invested in the process. Other digital cameras I’ve used have never given me that same experience. So, if we’re asking the question of why I don’t shoot film photography for the physical process, it’s because Fujifilm gives me everything I need.

Fujifilm Vs Film Photography: The Images

Beyond the process, people shoot film photography because of how the images look. They lust over Kodak Portra 400 and Fujifilm’s Superia X-TRA 400. I totally get it. Personally, I adore the film aesthetic and have spoken to several photographers who use it for their work. However, Fujifilm has its own film simulations available as profiles inside its digital cameras. I like to use Pro Neg Hi for my street work and Astia for portraits. With that said, I don’t think Fujifilm’s film simulations are as good as they could be. Most of them blend into one, offering such a subtle difference that one doesn’t outdo the other. And, try as it may, I don’t think Fujifilm has yet developed a film simulation to truly match the film photography aesthetic.

With that said, I try to make my images look more film-like when I process them in Capture One. I play with the color tone, reduce the contrast, and always apply some form of grain to the final edit. I think I get closer to the film look than Fujifilm, but still, it’s never the same final product that comes out of a roll of film.

Final Thought

Fujifilm and editing tools can’t compete with the look of film photography, although I appreciate that they try. The reality is I don’t overly yearn for the film look. Of course, I like it–I like all types of photography. However, I’ve never felt the pressure to delve into the practice on a short or long-term basis.

The title of this piece created the battle: Fujifilm vs Film Photography, but there isn’t a competition. They’re different mediums that offer different looks; it comes down to what you prefer. For me, it’s always going to be Fujifilm.

What do you think of Fujifilm’s film simulations? Can they rival the film look? And which practice do you prefer, film or digital? Let me know in the comments below. Thanks for reading.

Dan Ginn

Dan Ginn is a content writer and journalist. He brings with him five years' experience writing in the photographic niche. During that time he has worked with a range of leading brands, as well as a host of professional photographers within the industry.