Shoot Mode Tone Control

Picking up where I left off last time. Besides the Film Simulations themselves, The Fuji-X cameras offer additional controls for customizing the look of the in-camera jpegs!

The Fuji-X cameras have what they call “shoot modes” that can be used to alter the way the in-camera jpegs are processed. These can add significant value to your creative options, and pre-visualization during capture. The available options are:

  • Image size & quality
  • Film simulation
  • Grain Effect
  • Dynamic Range
  • White Balance
  • Highlight Tone & Shadow Tone
  • Color, Sharpness & Noise Reduction

Some of these are obvious, but Dynamic Range, and Highlight & Shadow Tone deserve some explanation.

Dynamic Range
Dynamic Range

Dynamic Range is a global contrast setting which elevates the shadow values similar to the way you can using the Shadow slider in Lightroom/ACR – In practice its useful when shooting at higher ISO, where you are more likely to encounter high-contrast lighting situations.

Highlight Tone
Highlight Tone
Shadow Tone
Shadow Tone

Highlight Tone and Shadow Tone offer control over the value (lightness or luminosity) AND the local contrast within their respective value ranges, so they operate in a subtly different way than the controls in Lightroom/ACR. Adjusting multiple Shooting Mode parameters is made easy with the Q menu on the back of the camera…

The Q button gives you access to the Quick Menu
Quick Menu
The Quick Menu

The Quick Menu allows for easy & quick adjustment of any of the shoot mode parameters, as well as the ability to select pre-set Custom Settings or collections of multiple parameters.

The In-Camera Shoot Modes in Practice

To take advantage of this new way of creatively seeing like the camera you need to set up your camera to shoot Raw + Jpeg, even if you insist on post-processing the raw files. If you only shoot raw, you will see the effect of the camera settings in the EVF, but you will have no reference for what you saw recorded in the raw file. Its like re-inventing the wheel—save your self the trouble and import the jpegs as well. Then at least you have a visual reference for what inspired you in the first place! Here is a sequence of images that illustrates the creative visualization process using in-camera settings to inform your vision…

I went on a boat tour around Manhatten recently, around sunset—a beautiful way to get shots of the New York skyline! The light was a little hazy, and I was using Velvia & a Shadow Tone of +1 to try and cut through the haze a bit.

New York Skyline Regular
Velvia w/Shadow Tone @ +2

But then I thought “what would happen if I enhanced the haze…

New York Skyline Soft
Velvia w/ Highlight & Shadow Tone @ -2, Color @ +1

So I set the Highlight & Shadow Tone to -2, and interesting things started to happen. I could lower the exposure just a little and dial up the color just a little to +1… the city took on a kind of glow…

While I was in B&W, I shot a lot of silhouettes into the sun, but as we approached this bridge, I thought…

Skyline into the sun
Acros – R w/Tone settings at zero

what if I really opened up and went for a softer rendering…

Setting the Highlight and Shadow Tone to -2, I saw this… and captured a bunch of images this way.

Setting the Highlight and Shadow Tone to -2, I saw this… and captured a bunch of images this way. Later… in Lightroom…

De-Haze with minus setting in Lightroom

I thought… why not really push the hazy dreamy look ! So I used the de-haze “effect” to add haze with a minus slider setting… Then I took both versions into Photoshop…

Blended version

…and blended it back into the sharper original so that only the skyline was fogged—this really pushed the more distant buildings back. You can see here that I am not advocating that it is unnecessary to use post-processing to enhance your images. But setting up the camera a certain way allowed me to recognize a creative interpretation at the time I was capturing. This provides a sort of creative feedback loop that enhances the photographic process!

I made another little video that examines the creative application of Fuji’s Shoot Modes in a little more detail:

Remember EVF=WYSIWYG=See Better with Fuji-X !!!