My Fujifilm X100F Vintage Kodachrome Film Simulation Recipe

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Kodak Colors – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Vintage Kodachrome”

Kodachrome
They give us those nice bright colors
They give us the greens of summer
Makes you think all the world’s a sunny day

Kodachrome is probably the most iconic photographic film ever made. It was legendary, and many people saw the world through its colors. Kodak produced Kodachrome film from 1935 through 2009, when it was suddenly discontinued.

The Kodachrome name has been used for many different films over the years. The first Kodachrome product was a two-glass-plate color negative that was introduced in 1915. Like all other color photography methods of its time, the results weren’t particularly good and the product not especially successful.

In 1935 Kodak released its next Kodachrome, which was a color transparency film with an ISO of 10. This Kodachrome was the first color film that produced reasonably accurate colors and was the first commercially successful color film. It became the standard film for color photography for a couple decades, and was even Ansel Adams’ preferred choice for color work. The December 1946 issue of Arizona Highways, which was the first all-color magazine in the world, featured Barry Goldwater’s Kodachrome images.

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Kodak Transparencies – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-E1

Kodak made significant improvements to Kodachrome, and in 1961 released Kodachrome II. This film boasted more accurate colors, sharper images, finer grain, and a faster ISO of 25. While it was still similar to the previous Kodachrome, it was better in pretty much every way. A year later Kodachrome-X was introduced, which had an ISO of 64.

Another generation of Kodachrome, which came out in 1974, saw Kodachrome II replaced by Kodachrome 25 and Kodachrome-X replaced by Kodachrome 64. The differences between this version and the previous weren’t huge and image quality was nearly identical. The biggest change was going from the K-12 to the K-14 development process (which was a little less complex, but still complex). This generation of Kodachrome is what most people think of when they picture (pun intended) the film, gracing the pages of magazines like National Geographic.

I personally have shot plenty of Kodachrome, mostly Kodachrome 64. It was a good general use film that produced sharp images and pleasing colors. I haven’t used it in more than a decade. Its days are gone. Even if you can find an old roll of the film, there are no labs in the world that will develop it.

Plenty of people have attempted to mimic the Kodachrome look with their digital images. It’s not as simple as it sounds. Alien Skin Exposure software has what is likely the best one-size-fits-all Kodachrome presets, but I don’t think they’re exactly right because the results vary from camera to camera.

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L.A. Trolley – Perris, CA – Nikon D3300, Alien Skin Exposure 1935-1960 Kodachrome preset.

Besides, it all depends on exactly what Kodachrome look you are after. There are different versions, including about a dozen that I didn’t mention above, each with their own slightly varied look. Perhaps filters were used in conjunction with the film (which was more common in the film era than the digital era). How it was viewed, whether projected, light table, printed or scanned, also effected the appearance. Kodachrome has a long shelf life if stored in a dark, cool space, but if not stored properly it can fade or become damaged, and maybe you prefer one of those looks over the other. It’s really tough to pin down exactly what Kodachrome looks like because there are so many variables.

Fujifilm X cameras, such as the X100F that I own, have different Film Simulation options. One of those is called Classic Chrome, which is supposed to mimic the general look of Kodak color transparency film. Some have suggested that Classic Chrome imitates Kodachrome, but I think it more closely resembles Ektachrome.

A couple of days ago I accidentally discovered a vintage Kodachrome recipe for my Fujifilm X100F, based on Classic Chrome. By “accidentally” I mean that I had no intentions of creating a Kodachrome look. I captured a RAW image and played around with it in the camera’s built-in RAW editor. I was trying to see what crazy looks I could get if I really messed around with the settings. One of the versions that I created reminded me of vintage Kodachrome.

I dug out my old Kodachrome slides, plus my grandparent’s really old Kodachrome slides (which I happen to have at my house), looked at some vintage magazines and did some internet searches, and studied what real Kodachrome looks like. Relying strictly on my fading memory isn’t always the best idea, so having actual samples to compare was useful. Thankfully I found plenty of old Kodachrome pictures from many different eras to examine.

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Rubber Boots – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F, original “Vintage Kodachrome” image.

The original picture (above) that I thought looked like vintage Kodachrome was somewhat close to the 1935-1960 version of Kodachrome, but it needed some adjustments. I played around a little more and I think that I have created a pretty good Film Simulation recipe for that generation of the film. Some images seem more convincing than others, but overall I believe it is surprisingly accurate.

One thing that I’m not completely thrilled about with the recipe is the film grain. I think that strong is too strong and weak is too weak. I wish that there was a medium option, but there’s not. On real Kodachrome the grain is not uniform and tends to clump, and so the grain looks much different than Fujifilm’s more regular faux grain. Beginning with Kodachrome II the grain was more fine, and so I definitely wouldn’t pick strong grain if I was trying to simulate a later version. The reason that I chose strong instead of weak is because it furthers the impression of vintage, despite the inaccuracy.

A characteristic of the 1935-1960 Kodachrome is the color shift. Blues veered toward cyan, reds were a bit darker, and skin tones had more of a bronze/orange look. It wasn’t as true-to-life as later versions of the film, but for its time it was considered very accurate.

I think my Vintage Kodachrome Film Simulation recipe is a great way to create in-camera retro-styled images. The example photographs in this post are all straight-out-of-camera JPEGs. It’s pretty darn close to that first era of Kodachrome slide film, and while not 100% accurate, it definitely has the right aesthetic to be convincing.

Classic Chrome
Dynamic Range: DR200
Highlight: +4
Shadow: -2
Color: +4
Sharpening: +1
Noise Reduction: -3
Grain: Strong
White Balance: Auto, +2 Red, -4 Blue
ISO: Auto up to ISO 6400
Exposure Compensation: -1/3 to -1 (typically)

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Books On A Mantel – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Vintage Kodachrome”

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Two Thirds – Uintah, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Vintage Kodachrome”

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Pumpkin – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Vintage Kodachrome”

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Leaves In The Grass – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Vintage Kodachrome”

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Leaves Around A Tree – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Vintage Kodachrome”

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Bicycle Trail – Uintah, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Vintage Kodachrome”

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Through The Fall Forest – Uintah, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Vintage Kodachrome”

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Autumn In The Woods – Uintah, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Vintage Kodachrome”

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Golden Forest – Uintah, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Vintage Kodachrome”

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Changing Leaves – Uintah, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Vintage Kodachrome”

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Changing Forest – Uintah, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Vintage Kodachrome”

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Red Autumn Leaf – Uintah, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Vintage Kodachrome”

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Seeds of Gold – Uintah, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Vintage Kodachrome”

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Boy Unsure – Uintah, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Vintage Kodachrome”

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Respect – Uintah, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Vintage Kodachrome”

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Autumn Canopy – Uintah, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Vintage Kodachrome”

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Weber River Autumn – Uintah, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Vintage Kodachrome”

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Log Above The Riverbank – Uintah, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Vintage Kodachrome”

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Weber River In October – Uintah, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Vintage Kodachrome”

See also:
My Fujifilm X100F Acros Film Simulation Recipe
My Fujifilm X100F Velvia Film Simulation Recipe
My Fujifilm X100F Astia Film Simulation Recipe

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58 comments

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  3. Alexander Chernov · December 11, 2017

    Oh!.. Thank you, man! Putting on your settings immediately! Now I should wait for the daylight. You know I used something completely different with Classic Chrome shadows +1, highlights -2, colour +1, noise reduction -2, sharpness 0, and I was unhappy with CC.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · December 11, 2017

      You are welcome! I hope this recipe works out well for you.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Alexander Chernov · December 11, 2017

        Happy to find you blog, Ritchie! I can see there’s yet much more to read from you and to think about. Great stuff!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ritchie Roesch · December 11, 2017

        Thanks so much for your kind words!

        Like

    • Anthony MAHIEU · February 11

      Hello, thank you very much for your great blog and great articles. Could you please me explain how to set a different WB for each JPEG simulation recipe?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ritchie Roesch · February 11

        You can’t save the different white balance shifts. Each time you change recipes you have to go and manually adjust the white balance shift, unfortunately. To change the white balance shift, you must go to white balance in the menu, select auto white balance and then arrow to the right to access white balance shift.

        Like

      • You can set 3 different WB in settings.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ritchie Roesch · 7 Days Ago

        You can make and save three different custom white balance measurements, which may or may not be useful to you.

        Like

  4. Alexander Chernov · December 11, 2017

    Reblogged this on moments and moods and commented:
    Happy!

    Like

  5. Alexander Chernov · December 11, 2017

    One question. Is there a way to set different auto white balance to different film simulations? I only found I could correct general auto wb and then it applied to all my simulations.

    Like

    • Ritchie Roesch · December 11, 2017

      If there is, I haven’t found it. It’s kind of a pain in the neck, so I force myself to examine the white balance settings each time I use the camera.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Alexander Chernov · December 11, 2017

        Yes. It is bad.

        Like

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  12. ismael branciat · April 14, 2018

    I do love your different recipe. I would know if you can help me to make this one: cinestill 800t
    I used that film on street photography by night and I really loved it.
    I tried by myself but the result is disappointing.
    Thank you 🙏

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Jeff · April 26, 2018

    why use dr200? why not use dr100?

    Like

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  18. Mildium · August 2, 2018

    I do not know how to change the red and blue color in the automatic white balance of my X Pro-2.
    I position myself in the corresponding box but I can not enter the gray box corresponding to those two colors.
    Can you help me and tell me how to do it?
    Thank you.

    Like

    • Ritchie Roesch · August 3, 2018

      Select Auto White Balance in the main menu, hit “OK” to shift, use the direction keys to go up, down, left, right, select “OK” to set.

      Like

  19. Mildium · August 3, 2018

    Thanks for your reply.
    But that’s how it modifies the automatic BW for all the configurations and I only intend to do it in a single configuration in particular. It’s possible?.

    Like

    • Ritchie Roesch · August 3, 2018

      Unfortunately, it’s not possible. I wish you could do it for each preset.

      Like

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  23. morgan · October 7, 2018

    hi, can you create tutorial or blog regarding on how colorshift changes the mood of the photo? thank you and your simulations and photos are awesome.. your such a gifted photographer.. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · October 7, 2018

      Thank you so much for your kind words! Your suggestion is something that I’ve thought about recently. Perhaps in the coming weeks I can write that post.

      Like

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  27. tim · July 26

    what a great site! this may push me over the edge into buying an xt30. I shot for decades with a
    spotmatic including many books. wish I still had my Zeiss flektagon 20mm!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · July 26

      Thank you! I hope that you are enjoying your X-T30. The Zeiss 20mm would be a really cool lens to have!

      Like

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  30. oxon · August 6

    Hi Ritchie, it’s a great simulation! Did you try to reproduce the Vintage Kodachrome recipe on the X-Trans IV sensor? I own an X-E3 and while applying the settings above renders good results, I wonder if there are any differences.

    Or, if I could pose a more general question – are the recipes for 3rd gen sensors and for the 4th cross-compatible or did you see some differences when applying them on your X100F and X-T30 respectively?

    Thank you for all the work you put in here, I keep coming back to your posts regularly!

    Like

    • Ritchie Roesch · August 6

      The main differences in the way X-Trans III and IV cameras render pictures is within noise reduction and sharpening, but at web viewing sizes it’s impossible to tell. Aside from things like Color Chrome Effect, which really doesn’t make a big difference, the two cameras will make nearly identical images with the same recipe. So, yes, X-Trans III and IV recipes are compatible with X-Trans III and IV cameras. Hope this answers your question.

      Like

  31. Miroslav S · August 14

    I really enjoy the recipes!
    Did someone try this recipe on X-Trans IV, cose my results are closer to the Eterna recipe, may be darker and muted, I expected something warmer.
    I am sure the problem is in me, but still more opinions are welcome.
    Regards!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · August 14

      I used it on X-Trans IV, definitely nothing close to Eterna. I’m not sure what the problem might be. I guess double check everything, make sure nothing is set wrong.

      Like

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  38. Nicolas · 3 Days Ago

    Hi Ritchie

    as I am still awaiting a firmware update for my XE-3 to be able to save custom automatic white balances in C1-C7 and I’m giving up hope not yet that it could be implemented, I have to think of die impossible.
    Alternatively one could adjust the colour balances later on in C1/PS or Affinity Photo… stupid question: is there a way to get the exact values?
    As an example for the Kodakchrome Vintage
    Highlight: +4
    Shadow: -2
    Color: +4
    White Balance: Auto, +2 Red, -4 Blue

    as I understand it: the automatic white balance (of the camera) senses firstly if it’s daylight, overcast, night time, dawn, dusk and so on and THEN applies the colour shift set by your recipe?

    Right?

    thanks
    cheers
    Nicolas

    Like

    • Ritchie Roesch · 3 Days Ago

      I believe that is true. I have no idea the specifics of how you might replicate that precisely in post, but I am sure it is possible.

      Like

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