Month: August 2021

Cull or Keep your Images – now that’s the question!

When I first created this post I called it “Don’t be afraid to Cull Bad Images”. However, as the post evolved I felt that I needed to look at keeping versus culling in the round. This article therefore discusses my take on what stays and what goes in my photography.

Now, I’m pretty good at deleting images that say nothing of interest. To me they are obvious to spot, they either suffer from poor composition, a lack of meaningful content, duplicate others that are better or just fail for some technical reason, for example poor focus, blown out highlights or over or under exposed. However, I know that many of my photographer friends struggle with this important process with the result that they fill hard drives at a frightening rate with images that really should be binned. While you may have a dozen SSD disks to play with, I prefer to work light so I rely on just two drives for my archives. As such, drive real-estate is at a premium.

The key here then is to be able to make conscious decisions about what has any real value and what is simply clogging up my drives. This basically means is it good enough to share with others. That might be in the form of a photo book, a project, a competition or even as a give away under Creative Commons. This latter option is something I have recently started to do as I know that bloggers etc often need access to images. If the image fits none of these then the axe needs to fall and fall swiftly. Having said all of this, there is one last check that I do undertake and this to ask the question – does the image have any mitigating features? For example, is there a picture within the picture or does it have merit if converted to art. That has to be done on an image by image basis and for me at least, it’s the last throw of the dice!

Now, the first of these tests is obvious. I will know immediately if I like an image enough to consider it suitable for books, projects or competitions. If you are a club photographer then you will know that this doesn’t necessary mean that someone else will like it, just that I like it sufficiently to use it in one or more of the contexts mentioned.

Starting with The Good

So let’s start with something I do like. This example, from a fairground shoot at the weekend, combines a lot of elements that I like. For example, here we have the juxtaposition of static and dynamic items within the frame, the inclusion of people (one of my favourite subjects) and muted colours rather just B&W. That being said, I really don’t think that this image is going to win any competitions, judges with their strict guidlines just won’t get it, but I can see it in a photobook or perhaps as a future project. It’s also the type of image that could be post-processed in a mirriad of ways so again, it has merit.

Now the Bad

Now let’s take a look at an image, which apart from being shown here, has been discarded. Timing as they say is everything and this image demonstrates a complete lack of timing alongside really poor composition and, I hate to say it, poor technical skills. The content is OK, perhaps a little busy and if I had panned left to include the leading lines of the path along with the fairground items to the left of this ride, then perhaps things might have turned out better. However I didn’t and so alongside the blown out sky, which is unforgiveable, the overly busy composition and poor subject matter really didn’t help this one. RIP. By the way, on the issue of the blown out sky, you might like to take a look at my article on highlight roll-off as this is one way to combat digital burnout from bright lights, sun etc.

Of course, bad photos aren’t limited to tricky locations. You can take a bad photo anywhere – I often do! So let’s look at some more images where to be honest, nothing really works. In the first image below there’s plenty of potential and some technical skill in freezing the water. Sadly though, there’s nothing of interest beyond this but fortunately, I did shoot better on the day. The second image fares pretty much the same, nice but bland and unexceptional and again, I certainly have better in my archives. The seaweed image could perhaps be saved – I often photograph objects – but once again, on that particular day, and from other days I had much better beach dendritus shots. The last two images simply lack good composition even though the subject matter, especially of the first of this pair, has some merit. As they are they though, they are simply fails.

Let’s Finish on a High Note – Some Examples I Enjoy

In this next shot I think I have nailed what makes a good photo. Here, we have an almost perfectly symmetrical image, which the eye loves, great colours, an analogue feel plus movement in the chairs which creates an excitement and a contrast to the perfectly still framework. The other thing I like is that I can dive into this image and take out snippets, for example some the riders on their chairs. It just depends on the resolution of the camera being used and the IQ of the RAW file.

This next image is something that I really liked when I shot it, but was not so happy when I viewed it. The colours really detracted from the subject which is clearly the guy in the middle playing with his mobile phone. I couldn’t however bring myself to delete it, too good for that so I decided to try B&W as a way of removing some of the complexity created by the colours in the shot. My go-to favourite for this type of work is Nik Silver Efex and while I don’t think Nik saves it as a competition photo, it works really well for a photo book or for use on the web. Well, to my mind anyway.

In this next set of images the composition is good, the content is good but it’s not quite working for me. I feel, as I so often do, that the colour is making it difficult to see the story. I am so focused on the bright greens and yellows so as to forget that the piano player is the star of this shot. Again then, B&W, with a little brightening of the face, saves the day by forcing attention on the piano player and away from the bright background. An easy but effective fix.

Earlier I talked about how the seaweed image for me just didn’t work. Well, on the same day I captured that shot, I also captured a few others which I have kept and which form part of my archive. Here are those images for reference. Hopefully you’ll agree that these are somewhat better shots.

A Note On Post-Processing

All of the images shown above, except the B&W versions which were edited in Nik Silver Efex, were created using On1 film presets. I personally love analogue film and when shooting digital, I strive to achive this look both in the SOOC jpegs out of my trusty Fuji x-T1, or by converting the RAW images to something less digital as here. For those seeking to do the same or similar, these images were all post-processed using a Classic Chrome in-camera film simulation that I created for SOOC shots. IN some cases here however I chose to use RAW images passing these through a Classic Chrome preset.

That’s it for now, I hope that you found the meanderings of my mind of interest. Either way, drop me a comment below and let’s create a dialog on how you guys deal with the images you take.

Fixing an Epsom SC-P600 with air in the print-head damper

I’ve decided to share this purely because it helped me resolve a tricky problem that took me some time to figure out. If you are in the same position, I hope that it helps you too.

THE PROBLEM
Printer (an Epson SC-P600) exhibits green hue when printing B&W prints using various software. In addition, the nozzle check exhibited degradation in various colours (seen as broken lines in the print) and indeed, in the case of Light Cyan and Yellow, no lines whatsoever.

THE PERCEIVED REASON
I assumed that since the printer had been printing perfectly previously that the problem was associated with blocked print head nozzles. This led to trying to clean the print head using the techniques discussed broadly on the internet and in videos on YouTube. This was to use one of several head cleaning products such as W5 (Lidl) through to Magic Bullet or variations thereof from other suppliers. The technique is to power-up the print head caddy so that it undocks and moves into the centre, then quickly pull out the power cable so that the caddy remains free to move by hand. Once you can do this, cut a thin strip of J-cloth about 40mm wide x 250mm long (three ply is about the right thickness), lay this in the track below the print head caddy and then soak in an appropriate solvent, for example Magic Bullet. Once soaked, position the caddy above this strip and allow the fumes to work on the hard ink overnight. This process, together with a number of head cleans and print nozzle tests does waste a lot of ink so be aware of this. Did this solve the problem? No, it didn’t and I’ll explain why next.

THE ACTUAL REASON
When I bought the printer it was second-hand, in great condition but nonetheless, second-hand. It came complete with both the original Epson OEM ink cartridges plus a full set of Permajet 9 x 125ml inks and associated cartridges and syringes. It did not however contain the all important instructions on how to use the cartridges or an associated DVD with additional instructions / software. I only found this out when I spoke with Permajet later about my problems. More on this later. Without instructions but with what looked very much like “like for like” cartridges (when comparing the original Epson cartridges to the new Permajet ones), I proceeded to fill and fit the cartridges as each original Epson cartridge became empty. This is error number 1.

The second and much more important error was that I had no idea that each of the replacement cartridges need to be primed before fitting. Priming is a simple but fiddly process that ensures that ink is pushed into a special chamber in the cartridge so that no air is sucked into the supply lines from the cartridge to the printhead dampers. By not priming the cartridges properly, effectively I was allowing the printer to suck air into the supply lines rather than ink, something I had no idea about. This was error number 2.

The effect of sucking air into the supply lines and printhead damper is basically to stop any ink reaching the printhead for that particular cartridge. This manifests itself worse case as loss of most of the lines if not the complete block of colour for a particular cartridge in the nozzle print test, or at best some lines but very patchy. If you don’t understand what’s happening, this will lead to repeating the head clean and nozzle checks many times without any improvement whatsoever.

CARTRIDGE PRIMING IS THEREFORE THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT TASK WHEN CHANGING FROM OEM INKS TO 3RD PARTY INKS.

RESOLVING THE ACTUAL PROBLEM
Not realising that this was the real problem I did the only thing possible at this stage and phoned Permajet as I was using their cartridges and inks. Now, when you have a new kit of inks and cartridges from a particular supplier there is an expectation that that supplier will help you resolve any problems. Not so Permajet. The moment that the customer support guy, I won’t name names, heard that the kit was purchased by someone else he really couldn’t have been less helpful. True he outlined the correct approach to using the replacement cartridges, i.e that the cartridge must first be filled and then primed prior to use, but he offered zero help or advice to help resolve my problems other than recommend that I call a specialist engineer (John at Repro Repairs on 01494 882363) who might be able to help. He actually made it sound like I had killed my mother and needed to be locked up. Even when I mentioned that two of the cartridges appeared to be leaking ink he only pointed me at the place on their website where I could buy new ones. No offer of we’ll ship out a couple to you FOC as a good will gesture from Permajet it seems. These BTW were £20+VAT per cartridge so with 2 cartridges needed, plus one I had accidently filled with the wrong colour ink (I know, what a dickhead), that was a potential outlay of £60+VAT for just 3. Ouch!!

Undeterred at this setback, and despite the piss poor support I’d received from Permajet, I decided to look for alternatives. I looked at Fotospeed, Specialised Inks and Marrutt and noticed that a full set of 9 cartridges from Specialised Inks (which are actually Marrutt cartridges), were only marginally more expensive than the 3 from Permajet. Having recently been in touch wth John Reed at Marrutt about paper I thought I’d ask John if he could help and he kindly agreed to sell me a complete set of cartridges for just £30+ VAT (down from £80) which was very generous. I have subsequently found out that you can buy similar if not identical cartridges on Ebay for even less BUT I value help and support and Marrutt have a good name in the printing industry. They also have some great educational videos and documentation relating to printing techniques and some fairly priced consumables such as paper and ink on their website so well worth a look.

Moving on, I now had a set of new cartridges from Marrutt plus some of the original inks from Parmajet so I started to explore how I could purge the air from the supply lines and get the printer working again. In amongst the research I did I found several software tools which provide firmware level operation on various printers, the Epson SC-P600 included. Two of these, WIC Reset, which means Waste Ink Counters Reset Utility.) and the Epson SureColor SC-P600 (EURO) Ver. 1.1.3 Service Adjustment Program are two very useful utilities to help solve a variety of problems with printers such as the Epson SC-P600.

In my case, the Epson SureColor SC-P600 (EURO) Ver. 1.1.3 Service Adjustment Program was what I needed as research had indicated that to clear the air from the supply lines I needed to do an INK CHARGE which is something the printer does when you turn it on for the 1st time after purchase. Effectively, the INK CHARGE draws ink from the cartridges dispelling any air in the supply lines as it goes and charging the dampers with ink ready for use. Once the process has run, any air in the supply lines has been purged and the dampers in the printhead are fully primed. The software is required because the printer only ink charges once, the day you turn it on from brand new so it needs to be forced to repeat this operation.

BARE IN MIND THAT AN INK CHARGE USES A LOT OF INK SO YOUR CARTRIDGES MUST BE AT LEAST 40% FULL BEFORE ATTEMPTING IT. IN FACT, YOUR PRINTER WILL NOT ALLOW YOU TO DO AN INK CHARGE IF THE CARTRIDGES AREN’T AT LEAST 40% FULL.

With regards using the Epson SureColor SC-P600 (EURO) Ver. 1.1.3 Service Adjustment Program, be aware that this is not freeware. You will find it readily in searches with a cost of between $10 – $20. Being tight, I bought my copy on EBAY for just $10 from a company in Bangladesh. To stop the software being transferred to anyone who wants it, it is encoded to your PC although it only runs on Windows, not a MAC so please be aware of this. Thereafter you can use it as often as you need to BUT it will only run on the PC it was purchased for. Of course, at just $10 a go it’s not exactly expensive and bearing in mind it does so much more than ink charge, it’s worth every penny. One other thing I should point out, this software is considered as MALWARE by anti-virus software and your computers firewall so if you want or need to use it, you are going to have to get around that. While it does worry me that my anti-virus tools highlighted the problem and indeed put it in quarantine every time I ran it, I had zero choice but to use it to do the ink charge. This meant putting the executable on a white list!! It’s a huge worry but my printer is working 100% now so I guess the result was worth the risk. The good news is that for those that know about it, it has a good reputation but as always, do your own research as I make no claims whatsoever about these applications or about the suppliers that sell them so you use them at your own risk.

OTHER PROBLEMS
One of the big problems of using 3rd party cartridges is that they don’t necessarily show how much ink is in them. This is a problem because the cartridge may be full yet the printer shows them as only partially full or even empty. Because the INK CHARGE process won’t run if the cartridges aren’t at least 40% full, this is a BIG problem.

There are two ways around this

Firstly, if your P600 printer is running the very latest firmware then it checks to see if you are using OEM ink and secondly it uses a chip to tell the system how much ink is in the cartridge. It’s not actually measuring the amount of ink in a cartridge, it’s working off the fact that the cartridge was full and since then, the printer has used so much ink during printing. It’s a best guess rather than an accurate measurement.

To overcome this problem you can downgrade your firmware to an earlier version where cartridge chips are not validated and therefore your printer thinks that there is 100% ink in the cartridge at all times. To do this you need to use the WIC Reset Utility which means buying a key to enable this at $20. Once you have downgraded the firmware you have to rely on visual checking of ink levels. It does however mean that you can run the ink charge routine without any further concerns other than to ensure you have at least 40% ink in each cartridges.

The second approach, and this is the one I used, is to put empty OEM cartridges in the printer and start it up and when it complains, take out the empty cartridge and put in the full cartridge. The printer will again complain, this time that you appear to be using non OEM ink but providing your firmware allows 3rd party ink, it’s just a warning. Repeat for all cartridges and after some time you should eventually see all your cartridges as showing full. At this point you can run the ink charge. The ink charge takes about 10 minutes to complete. Once initiated it is a fully automatic process and all you will hear is the printer going about it’s business. Time to go grab a tea of coffee. Once complete you should see a message on the screen that it has completed successfully. Close the application and run a nozzle printer check. If the ink charge has been successful, as it was in my case, you should see a perfect set of patterns for every nozzle. If not, run a clean print head followed by another nozzle check and this should hopefully do the trick.

WHAT ELSE IS THIS SOFTWARE USEFUL FOR
The primary function of the WIC Reset Utility is to check and reset the waste counters as this stops a printer, even though still perfectly usable, to continue to be used. It’s a kind of end of life situation. I used it to check mine and I’ve got plenty of free capacity left before I have to start worrying. Having access to this little utility will help me overcome this issue when and if it arises. This particular service within WIC Reset is free so you don’t need to buy a key to enable this option.

THE FINAL COMMENTS
As you can imagine, I am hugely relieved that I was able to recover my printer and to return it to fully working condition. Since recharging the dampers in the print head I have been able to print perfect prints. If there is one lesson learned, other than to prime any new cartridges before fitting and use, it’s not to give up. The internet is an amazing resource and everything I needed to know and do was there. I just had to find it.

THANKS TO
A big thank you to Mike Bond for his help, support and advice. It’s people like Mike that make photography such a wonderful pastime. A big thanks also to John Reed at Marrutt for helping me out with replacement cartridges at such a reasonable cost. I also found the educational vidoes on the Marrutt and Specialised Inks websites invaluable when researching the correct process to follow when priming the cartridges for 1st time use.

Epson SureColor SC-P600 (EURO) Ver. 1.1.3 Service Adjustment Program functionality is as follows:

  • Initial setting
  • Head ID input
  • Head angular adjustment
  • PW / First dot position adjustment
  • Bi-D adjustment
  • PF / EJ adjustment
  • CR motor heat protection control
  • PF motor heat protection control
  • CR Encoder check
  • PF Encoder check
  • APG Function Check
  • CR Belt Check
  • Ink Selector Check
  • Mist Recovery Check
  • Shipping Setting
    Maintenance
  • Head cleaning
  • Ink charge
  • Initialize PF deterioration offset
  • Disable PF deterioration offset
  • Initialize front tray ink counter
  • Disable front tray ink counter
  • Final check pattern print
  • EEPROM dump
  • Printer information check
  • Paper feed test
    If you wish to share this document please feel free to do so but you must include this notice. No advice is given or implied, it purely outlines the process I adopted to make my Epson SC-P600 printer work again after inadvertently allowing air into the printhead damper system. It may work for you, it may not.
  • Dave Collerton, 2019

Why White Balance, Colour & Highlight Roll-off matter in film simulations

Putting aside for a moment the really important requirements for a good photo, that is content and composition, without either of which your photos will immediately fail, if your photo is trying to mimic a particular film stock then to be truly believable it has to provide a believable colour pallet. While there are many photographers out there that think that because you label a photograph as Kodak 64 or Superia 100 or Portra 160 that this is what it is, in truth, this is purely what the author of the recipe thinks it is and that means for you that this is purely a leap of faith in many circumstances. Even if you have researched film, and you do understand about white balance it does’nt mean to say that your photo exhibits all of the correct characteristics of film. You have to work hard to make a good film simulation and for this reason, understanding how white balance and highlight roll-off affect your image is one of the keys to success, although not the only ones, when trying to emulate film.

Now, I’m a member of a good many Facebook groups which focus on Fujifilm jpeg simulation as a creative tool. While many posts get close to vintage colourisation and tones, far too many, in my opinion at least, fail to nail a film look because they simply don’t manage their colour profiles and tones properly. This can result in images which are unrealistic in terms of white balance, overall colour and sometimes even the tone of the image. Working with film is like alchemy, it’s a truly magic process which makes creating exact digital facsimilies practically impossible. You can get close, but it’s really rather difficult to be exact. So with this being said, let’s examine a fact of life. When you look at the world, white is white. Even if it’s a dull grey day, white still looks white. If it’s a sunny day and the sun is blazing, white still looks white. So if white things dont look white in your photos, then your white balance is off and you need to resolve that problem before shooting tons of images which all look off. Now, I’m not a master of colour science, indeed I have no specific skills in colour management or indeed film processing. What I do have though is a good pair of eyes, a good understanding of content, composition and colour and an enquiring mind. I know that if you don’t start with the right basics, nothing else is going to look right. Sure, a lot of facebook photographers will praise your work but these people are often equally colour challanged and who know surprising little about photography! The key is to stop relying on others to tell you that you’ve nailed it and start believing in yourself. Once you can create beautifully compositions with stimulating subjects and great colour and tone, who cares what anyone else thinks.

So, the first step in achieving this enlightenment, other than to study some of the work of inspiring photographers throughout history, is to start nailing your white balance? Nominally, your camera can already do this for you as every modern digital camera today has an Auto White Balance (AWB) setting and this should give good results as lighting conditions change. However, another favoured method, one borrowed from the studio and one which I tend to use, is to use a grey card to set your white balance before you shoot. This is my first tip. Although they come in a variety of forms, the ones I use are 18% grey coloured fabric, about 12 inches in diamer (30 cm) with a white reverse – see image below. These can be folded and stored in your camera bag ready for use. You can buy these from many outlets including Amazon. When you need to use it you simply select a custom white balance setting, for example C1, and then, under ambient lighting conditions, you take a photo of your grey card and store it to C1. Once the photo has been taken you will be offered the opportunity to set colour shifts for red and blue  eg +2B, +3R. Once done whenever you select that particular custom white balance setting will be hard baked into your jpeg. Now be careful, if the light changes dramatically, ie it becomes cloudy when previously there was bright sun, you will need to recalibrate your custom white balance for the new lighting conditions. Don’t worry though, since the whole process takes just a few seconds it’s really no problem to change your white balance when needed.

Typical Grey Card used for White Balance settings

The second of my tips is equally as important. In order to be able to mimic film, you really need to look at photos taken with a film camera. Now, if you are lucky enough to have a film camera, as I do, then this is relatively simple as the photos you take with your preferred film stock are perfect for comparing to your digital simlations. If you don’t have a film camera, or the film you aspire to emulate is no longer available then you you still have an opportunity to fine tune your digital simulations albeit at arms length. Because of the internet, sites such as Google Images, Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram allow you to research 1000’s of scanned and digitised film images. These can help you understand about the colour and tone associated with your preferred film stock as well as allow you to study focus issues, image sharpness and IQ and the way shadows, midtones and highlights are handled. Personally my favourite is Pinterest but I’m sure you’ll find a place you really love too. Now of course, in order to get film into the digital domain someone somewhere has had to digitise the image but hopefully if you look at enough examples you will be able to build up a firm understanding of how to achieve the best simulation for your camera and preferred film recipe as well as what additional post-processing support you may need. Although the aim of most photographers taking images with FujiFilm cameras is to achieve film-like results straight out of camera (SOOC) the truth is that not all Fuji cameras are created equal in this respect so some light post-processing is often required. For example, the Fuji x-T1 that I use doesn’t have a grain option and it also has much less control over sharpness, highlights and shadows. To balance this, a simple preset helps move the resulting jpeg’s a little closer to the desired look. It’s not ideal but it does help achieve the desired look you want.

So, let’s look at some examples of white balance and highlight roll-off in actual film. In the first of these next two images, these are digitised Superia 200 film emulsions, we can see how the emulsion and processing of the film has handled the bright areas in the image. Here we have a very good example of highlight roll-off that is associated with film emulsions, i.e. the transition from bright white to extreme white is generally well controlled. Typically in film, this is really well handled and it is normally quite difficult to completely blow out the emulsion i.e lose all the details in the highlights or create that hard edge we see so often in digital photos pasted to facebook etc. This is because this type of control simply doesn’t exist to the same degree in digital processing and as such we are very likely to see burnt out sections of our image, especially associated with the sun or very bright light sources.  In the film image here the emulsion has provided a much softer transition in the highlights, although I would agree that because this image is digitised at a low resolution, it does to a certain extent look like it’s heading towards being blown out.  In the actual high resolution Tiff file it doesn’t look quite as harsh as this but you’ll have to take me word for this. This look is much sought after by photographers, especially FujiFilm users who are chasing film looks from their digital sensors. Having taken a great many digitial photos of this beach I know that under similar lighting conditions, it is very likely that my digital cameras will have burnt out the right hand side of this image (ie creating a hard transition from whito to blown out) if no action was taken to expose for the highlights.

Superia 200 film
Superia 200 film image shot using a Nikon FE

In this second image, again where the digital camera would have had difficulty iin handling the very bright white of the surfboard, or perhaps even burned a hole in it, film has easily managed to control the highlights. This is the beauty and wonder of film.

Superia 200 film image shot using a Nikon FE

Finally, let’s have a look at a film example with respect to colour, tone and white balance. Again, this image is Superia 200 film stock and conditions on the day were pretty bright ie it was a partially sunny day but with some cloud cover. The rendition of the colours is good in the film version, pretty much as you would expect with a quality film such as Fujifilm Superia They are just as I see them every day so this image as a good guide image when fine tuning my digital recipes. With regards metering, although I have a Minolta light meter I suspect for this image I just relied on the metering in the Nikon FE which I know to be pretty accurate.

Superia 200 film image shot using a Nikon FE

So, let’s now take a look at some digital images where I have made some modifications to the tone curve in camera to help achieve a “similar look” for the jpeg’s to what I might see on film.

This next image, in this case a digital image taken with the Lumix GX-80, which proves the point that you don’t need to shoot Fuji to create filmic looks, is taken from pretty much from the same spot as the previous image. The lighting is slightly different, it’s a different day but so close as to enable us to look at the two images comparitively. Before we go further, the image below is not a jpeg SOOC. That would be impossible as Lumix hard-bake their jpegs using their own technology. Since I have zero control over how shadows, highlights, sharpness etc are handled, I had to create a RAW to Superia 200 preset that takes the RAW file and add’s a little grain, drops the stucture, rolls-off the highlights and very slightly warms up the image. I also tweaked the blues and browns to get them a little closer what I was seeing in film. Overall the effects applied were fairly minor but just enough to make the two images converge. What I will do is to revisit this scene on a day similar to the days here and retake with the Fuji x-T1 using a recipe for Superia 200. That will allow me to compare the jpeg SOOC from the x-T1 directly with the film version. I will share the recipe once done.

In looking at the two images side by side I think that the most notible difference between the two is in the softness of the film image as opposed to the slightly harder digital image although to be fair, it’s pretty close. This is probably because the Lumix GX-80 has a 16MP sensor rather than something bigger like 24MP as found routinely on many newer cameras now on the market. I think that this helps to create a softness which is approaching what we see in our film examples. There is a very slight shift in the colours, the film version is definately a tad warmer than the digital version but again, it’s pretty close. What this means is that the white balance on the Lumix is very slightly off when compared to the film version but in all honesty, small adjustments would help to reduce the differences still further. All in all I think that this is a good example of how digital can get very close to film!!

Lumix GX-80 digital image through a RAW preset I created in On1

This next image is a Superia 100 emulation using the Fuji x-T1. Here I have set the highlights to -2 on the simulation to attempt to achieve a filmic highlight roll-off i.e. a soft transition from bright white to extreme white without loosing any detail in the highlights. This image also has the shadows set to +2 ie hard which in hindsight, could / should have been relaxed to +1. Even so, I feel that the image works really well as a film image despite the fact that it was taken using a digital camera.

Classic Negative (Superia 100) Simulation on a Fujifilm x-T1

The next image is another example of a jpeg SOOC in order to try to deliver a film experience. Again, this image is loosely based on Classic Negative (Superia 100) as I really like the tones and colours in this film stock.

Fuji x-T1 image based on Superia 100 recipe

In summary, the really noticeable thing about digital images is that they can often be overly hard (contrasty) and I think that this has a detrimental effect on the results when trying to emulate film. When cameras were manual and or used vintage lenses, often the results obtained where a little softer because of the lens design, optics and often, coatings. For this reason vintage lenses are often sought out when trying to deliever a true film simulation. So when I see photographers talking about using pin sharp lenses on a film simulation site I tend to smile as this is perhaps the most detrimental thing that I can think of when it comes to taking vintage images. A little softness in your lens can add bags of character to an image. My advice, when you get the opportunity to buy an old vintage lens give it some serious thought because armed with a good vintage lens, plus real film examples to base your recipes on, and a really good understanding of white balance and highlight roll-off you are truly on the way to creating vintage film simulations using any digital camera.