My stunning XPro-3 and I think all ‘newer’ Fujifilm X-Trans IV sensor cameras, have a ‘Colour Chrome Effect’ feature. If you have had the chance to shoot with the XPro-3 or say GFX, then you already know the effect from your hands-on experience.
The development of the Colour Chrome Effect is derived from a reversal film: fortia. The film was introduced to the market in 2004 with the catchphrase “Higher contrast and more vivid colour than Velvia”. It was a limited run, so although many talked about it, only a few have had a chance to try it out.
Fortia was praised among the enthusiasts. We often received questions like “how can you adjust the setting so that it resembles fortia?” or “if you set Colour +4 in Velvia mode, would it become fortia?”
Unfortunately, no matter what you do in Velvia mode, it will never turn into fortia. The colour reproduction ideal is different, to begin with. One of the characteristics of reversal colour film is that tonality remains even in the high contrast range. This is the reason why the colour never gets saturated and achieves depth in images shot with fortia, even though the contrast is higher than Velvia.
One of the reasons that fortia was a limited run was simply that the perception of this film was that it was only useful in certain situations. But the characteristic of low saturation with high contrast is much needed in the digital era. And if we were able to simulate Velvia, PROVIA, and ASTIA successfully, we had to try fortia.
When expressing colours such as red, orange, yellow, or yellow-green in high contrast, high brightness tends to exist. If contrast and brightness both reach their peaks, there is no room for tonality. As a result, the image becomes very flat.
However, by analysing the light and information received on the sensor surface, one can detect slight gradation. Colour Chrome Effect uses this to create tonality while maintaining high contrast. As a result, an image is achieved without losing its depth.
The effect is universal. Both the Adobe RGB and sRGB users can see the difference. But there is also a side effect: processing power is required. Even the X-Processor Pro needs about 1.0 sec. to process the Colour Chrome Effect. If you are a single-shot user, then this is not a problem. But you cannot shoot continuously or set it to AF-C mode.
Fujifilm recommends that you turn off the feature while shooting, and only have it on when processing RAW files in-camera. The XPro-3 can output Super Fine JPEG mode and TIFF. You can convert the RAW files in-camera first and brush up the final image on your Mac or PC.
Fujifilm asked the image designer who created the Colour Chrome Effect to replicate the Colour Chrome Effect by using image processing software. His answer was “yes, but it would take me an hour for each image. I also need to know the sensor characteristics of each image.”
The image design team does not think the film simulation is the final touch on the colour. Every photographer seeks a different colour. But if a few clicks on the camera could save you an hour of labour, then you might as well just take advantage of it.
Fujifilm aims to perfect the film simulations so that no editing will be required, but if it only means a starting point, that is also perfectly fine.