Reala Ace: How Does the X100VI’s New Film Simulation Compare?

One of the things I was most excited about when I saw the launch of the Fujifilm X100VI was the new color film simulation Reala Ace. I was keen to find out how this new film sim compares to other favorites on X Series cameras.

I put together a video comparing Reala Ace to four other color film simulations: Pro Neg Hi, Classic Negative, Nostalgic Negative, and Classic Chrome. The images were shot on location in China in March 2024. So, how does it compare and is it worth the upgrade? 

Why I Bought the Fujifilm X100VI

First of all, let me say I wasn’t going to buy the X100VI, but I admit I got caught up in the hype. After all, I’ve owned all but one of the X100 line of cameras ever since they came out in 2010. When I rang a local electronics store and by a stroke of luck, they had a brand new black one just come in, how could I resist? I jumped in my car and got there as quickly as I could.

There were two things that I was most interested in with the Fujifilm X100V:

  • the new five-axis IBIS system with up to 6 stops
  • the new Reala Ace film simulation.

I'm not saying that I bought the X100V for Reala Ace, but it certainly was something I was excited to play with. You might be wondering why a new film simulation would draw me to a new camera. The reason is simple: I’m a color shooter - always have been and always will be. The X100V is the first X Series camera to feature Reala Ace, having first debuted in September 2023 on the Fujifilm GFX 100 II.

What's Behind the Name?

Like other film simulations on Fujifilm cameras, Reala Ace is the name of a classic film emulsion. Reala Ace was a 100-speed color negative film introduced by Fujifilm in 1998. It was an improved version of its predecessor, Reala.

Reala Ace was designed to provide more accurate color reproduction and finer grain. It was pitched at portrait and landscape photographers who required high-quality color negative film. Fujifilm discontinued the production of Reala Ace in 2012, but the film is fondly remembered by many for its excellent color rendition.

Decorations in Beijing. Fujifilm X100VI Reala Ace © Matt Murray

What Does Reala Ace Look Like?

Let's start off with Fujifilm's official description: "Reala Ace mode offers faithful color reproduction and high-contrast tonality, making it suitable for a wide variety of subjects and situations." I think that's pretty bang on, without telling you too much at all.

Another way to describe what Reala Ace looks like is to look at the graph of film simulations Fujifilm published. Two axes run through the graph: saturation (X-axis) and tonality (Y-axis). Provia sits right in the middle of the two axes, with Reala Ace just to the left of Provia. This means that it's similar in theory, but slightly less saturated.

Of the other film simulations compared in my experiment, Classic Neg and Chrome sit in the top left quadrant of the graph (less saturated, more tonality), Nostalgic Neg is the opposite in the bottom left quadrant (more saturation, less tonality), and Pro Neg Hi sits a little under Reala Ace.

The graph only goes some way to explaining things, though. For example, it doesn't really explain color shifts: although close together on the graph, Classic Neg and Classic Chrome are vastly different in the way they render reds.

Let's take a look at the photos.

Reala Ace Versus Pro Neg Hi

Forbidden City, Beijing. Fujifilm X100VI (Left: Reala Ace, Right: Pro Neg Hi) © Matt Murray

In this outdoor portrait, the Reala Ace image is slightly warmer, more saturated, and has more shadow detail.  


Chestnuts for sale in Beijing. Fujifilm X100VI (Left: Reala Ace, Right: Pro Neg Hi) © Matt Murray

The differences are subtle in this image, though again, the Pro Neg Hi image is less saturated and the shadows are darker.

Reala Ace Versus Classic Negative

Firefighting vehicle, Beijing. Fujifilm X100VI (Left: Reala Ace, Right: Classic Negative) © Matt Murray

Reds are one of the hallmarks of the Classic Neg look, with their color shifted towards orange. Also, note the green vehicle on the right of the image looks brighter in the Reala Ace version.

Rollerblading, Beijing. Fujifilm X100VI (Left: Reala Ace, Right: Classic Negative) © Matt Murray

This is another good image to see the color shifts between the more neutral Reala Ace and the Classic Neg look. The colors of the girl's rollerblades and jacket are distinctively different in each photo. The paving is also much warmer in the Classic Neg image.

Reala Ace Versus Nostalgic Neg

Anyone for eggs? Suzhou. Fujifilm X100VI (Left: Reala Ace, Right: Nostalgic Negative) © Matt Murray

The differences are a little subtle here, but the color of the eggs is much warmer with Nostalgic Neg. 

Hainan Airlines, Beijing. Fujifilm X100VI (Left: Reala Ace, Right: Nostalgic Negative) © Matt Murray

Nostalgic Neg has a much warmer look, note the differences in the sky and runway. 

Reala Ace Versus Classic Chrome

Forbidden City, Beijing. Fujifilm X100VI (Left: Reala Ace, Right: Classic Chrome) © Matt Murray

After comparing Reala Ace to warmer film sims like Classic Neg and Nostalgic Neg, I had to double-check the first photo was actually Reala Ace. Compared to this Classic Chrome image, it's looking a lot warmer in the skin tones in particular. Reds are less saturated in the Classic Chrome version.

Card game, Suzhou. Fujifilm X100VI (Left: Reala Ace, Right: Classic Chrome) © Matt Murray

Here, the differences are a little subtler, but after comparing the two, the yellows and reds are less saturated in Classic Chrome, and the highlights are not as bright on the white shirt.

Final Thoughts on Reala Ace

Reala Ace is a welcome addition to the Fujifilm lineup of film simulations. Over the 100 photos I chose for the video at the top of this post, I think it worked best for the entire set of images. Having said that, I love a lot of the images shot in both Classic Neg and Nostalgic Neg. The film sim that I liked the least was Pro Neg Hi.

Make sure you check out my full video to see how all five film sims look across 100 images shot in China in March 2024. The video also explains how I got five JPEGs for each image I shot. More of my travel photography is coming soon here on Fstoppers and also on my free photography newsletter on Substack.  

I Don't Have the X100VI: How Can I Get Reala Ace?

There’s good news and bad news about the future availability of Reala Ace for other Fujifilm camera owners.

If you own the Fujifilm X-H2S, Fujifilm X-H2, Fujifilm X-T5, or Fujifilm X-S10, it’s been reported that a firmware update will bring Reala Ace to those models sometime in 2024.

If your X Series camera doesn’t appear in the list above, all hope is not lost. You can always try out a Reala Ace film simulation recipe from various sites or buy an X100VI.

Matt Murray is a travel and portrait photographer from Brisbane, Australia.

Matt loves shooting with compact cameras: both film and digital. His YouTube features reviews of film cameras, film stocks, and travel photography with the Ricoh GR III, Fujifilm X100V, and Olympus OM-1.

See more of Matt's photography and writing on his Substack.

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How about comparing the sims of film with real film? (if at all possible).

I'd love to do that. Sadly, the only films I have that would match up are Acros and Superia (Classic Neg).