Fujifilm Monochrome in overcast lighting

Exploring Fujifilm Monochrome Photography in Overcast Light

A quick look at Fujifilm and its Monochrome setting in overcast lighting by way of a few samples. I mention the X-Trans II sensor because it is regarded by some as Fujifilm’s best sensor in terms of reproducing film-like qualities. This is precisely why I purchased the XE2S as a first-dive into the Fujifilm world, but honestly, I think much of this is personal opinion.

How Does The X-Trans II Sensor Look More Like Film?

This is the million-dollar question. I wanted to come at you with some science, but I am struggling to find any research on why the early X-Trans sensors have a more filmic look. It seems this is simply a matter of opinion. Of course, these images have been taken with a colour profile that is supposed to look like film anyway, but do they look more filmic than more modern Fujifilm cameras?

XE2S – f/5.6 – 1/240 – ISO400

I was going to write an essay on why the earlier X-Trans sensors have a different look to them, but there is a plethora of discussion on the subject already, and I’m not a Fujifilm expert since I only own one, old Fujifilm camera. I’m not really in a position to comment. Instead I’ll post up these pictures to demonstrate one of the film simulations in overcast light.

Fujifilm XE2S overcast light example
XE2S – f/8 – 1/450 – ISO400 – -0.7Exp

What I was exploring was monochrome taken on a cloudy day. They were all taken after a rare appearance of some rain, so it was quite overcast when I took these at around 8am. They were all taken with the FUJINON XF27mm F2.8 R WR.

XE2S – f/4 – 1/250 – ISO320 – -0.3Exp

At the risk of boring regular readers, I will say I love the look of the monochrome setting on the XE2S. Actually, the simulation I opt for is Monochrome+Ye Filter, which slightly enhances contrast and darkens skies.

Higher constrasts in Monochrome+Ye
XE2S – f/8 – 1/90 – ISO400 – -0.3Exp

I’ve no idea how the more modern Fujifilm film simulations render black and white. My camera only has nine film simulation options, whereas more recent models now have 19. For everyday walk-abouts this suits me fine.

The Fujifilm XE2S for everyday walkabout
XE2S – f/2.8 – 1/2200 – ISO200 – -1Exp

Camera Control and Settings

It’s interesting looking back over the camera settings. I pay less attention to my settings using this camera as I do on my A7C, which I tend to shoot manual (+auto ISO). If it involves people I won’t go less than 1/250, and if I want to throw out the background I open up the aperture of course, but the only ISO setting I have on the XE2S is to max-out at 1600. The shot above was taken in brighter light than the others. I’d opened up the aperture manually and stopped down the exposure, so the camera increased the shutter speed.

Using A and P modes on a Fujifilm camera
XE2S – f/2.8 – 1/210 – ISO400 – -0.7Exp

I’d forgotten how to shoot in A and S modes, it’s something I haven’t done in years, but Fujifilm cameras allow you switch between them by turning either the aperture ring or shutter-speed dial to Auto. Little difference between that and turning the PASM dial on any other camera, but it’s that tactile interaction you have with the settings that make using this camera fun.

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