This paper is a contribution to the understanding of the formation and oxidation of soot in typical Diesel combustion. A common rail ECN spray A injector (single axial-oriented orifice) was tested in a optically accessible test-chamber at engine relevant conditions. High-speed OH* and high-speed 2D extinction imaging were performed simultaneously to link together the flame chemistry and the soot data information. The experiments were carried out for different fuels (EU Diesel, JetA1, n-dodecane) performing parametric variations of the boundary conditions. The proposed analysis methodology enabled the identification of the sooting behavior of each fuel by evaluating the relationship between two of the measured parameters, namely lift-off length and the soot maximum axial extinction value (Max KL). The relationship between these two parameters allowed to distinguish the behavior of the different fuels. For computational fluid dynamic simulation purposes, two surrogate fuels were designed to mimic the behavior of Diesel and Jet A1 matching their CN and sooting index. The experimental analysis of the fuel surrogates enabled to validate/correct the surrogate compositions in order to correctly reproduce the commercial fuels behavior. The surrogates validation/correction experience demonstrated that if the Lift-off length/Max KL relationship is respected, the fuel surrogate well matches the 2D soot measurements for a wide range of test conditions. The fuel characterization methodology, the experimental data gathered as well as the composition of two validated fuel surrogate for soot modeling at typical Diesel conditions are considered three major outcome of this work.