GFX Technologies #6 - Color Chrome Effect: Both a Goal, and a Beginning

GFX boasts the all-new Color Chrome Effect feature. If you have had the chance to shoot with the GFX, then you already know the effect from your hands-on experience. 

The development of Color 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 color than Velvia". It was a limited run, so although many talked about it, only 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 Color +4 in Velvia mode, would it become fortia?"

Unfortunately, no matter what you do in Velvia mode, it will never turn into fortia. The color reproduction ideal is different to begin with. One of the characteristics of reversal color film is that tonality remains even in high contrast range. This is the reason why the color 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 colors 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.

But by analyzing the light and information received on the sensor surface, one can detect slight gradation. Color 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 Color Chrome Effect. If you are single shot user, then this is not a problem. But you cannot shoot continuously or set it to AF-C mode.

We recommend that you turn off the feature while shooting, and only have it on when processing RAW files in camera. GFX 50S 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. 

We asked the image designer who created the Color Chrome Effect whether he could replicate the Color 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 color. Every photographer seeks different color. But if a few clicks on the camera could save you an hour of labor, then you might as well just take advantage of it.  

We aim 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.


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