My Fujifilm X100F Vintage Kodachrome Film Simulation Recipe


37836257681_aa4dea16f0_z

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.

31390732704_c462c12909_z

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.

24404434855_3f08ef66c1_z

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.

37752860612_f2368ac573_z

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)

37790388542_7d45cdcea5_z

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

37151985303_06467977ba_z

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

37149811934_d45c06204f_z

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

23969462808_b6cc24c8ef_z

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

37790333822_23936972e2_z

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

37111885564_425392e165_z

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

37790193392_3b1a9d8713_z

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

37773434766_e7622d2fc5_z

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

37112008024_ee835d0d5c_z

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

37822164741_43a1935b49_z

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

37112003284_890d9220f9_z

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

37563927200_f27c136de1_z

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

37563958660_e75832a94b_z

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

37563975040_2f7bd1dea6_z

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

37152112963_d759a37cf6_z

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

37773443396_59e0eea535_z

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

37563846320_0e5c57a7bb_z

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

37790171532_3ca69b85bd_z

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

23969416848_5535821430_z

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

Help Fuji X Weekly

Nobody pays me to write the content found on fujixweekly.com. There's a real cost to operating and maintaining this site, not to mention all the time that I pour into it. If you appreciated this article, please consider making a one-time gift contribution. Thank you!

$2.00

88 comments

  1. Pingback: Top 20 Most Popular Film Simulation Recipes of 2020 | FUJI X WEEKLY
  2. Claudio · January 18

    Hello. Thank you for your work and for sharing it with everyone. I wanted to ask you if it is possible to apply these simulations in some way in capture one. Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · January 19

      Unfortunately, no, not exactly. Capture 1 doesn’t interpret some of the JPEG settings. It’s possible, with enough work, to get close, but it definitely takes some fiddling.

      Like

  3. Xavier · February 25

    Do you set Classic Chrome as the simulation and than apply the settings above? Or do you select the STD simulation and than apply the film simulation settings?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · February 25

      Classic Chrome. You could try it with Provia, and it might be interesting, but it will definitely look significantly different.

      Like

  4. Justin · March 14

    Hi Ritchie

    Would you be able to adapt this to X-Trans II? I prefer this out of the other Kodachrome simulations. I would love to try it on my X-T1.

    Thanks
    Justin

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · March 15

      You know, it’s not directly compatible, but I’d love to try and get close. Thanks for the suggestion!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Justin · March 15

        That would be great to see. Thanks

        Liked by 1 person

  5. benfidar · April 1

    Thank you for doing this. Can’t wait. One thing I don’t understand: how to set the White Balance: Auto, +2 Red, -4 Blue. I set the WB to auto, but do not see how to change the red or blue. Noob question, I am sure.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: New Patron Early-Access Film Simulation Recipe: Old Kodak | FUJI X WEEKLY
  7. Rolo · May 8

    Hi, this might sound silly but are these settings applicable when shooting RAW files on the camera? Or will these only work when in JPEG mode specifically?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · May 9

      They’re made for JPEGs. You can always shoot RAW+JPEG, or use X RAW Studio.

      Like

  8. Pingback: Fuji Features: Kodachrome on Fujifilm | FUJI X WEEKLY
  9. Pingback: Best Fujifilm Film Simulations | FUJI X WEEKLY
  10. Pingback: Fujifilm X-Pro1 (X-Trans I) Film Simulation Recipe: Kodachrome I | FUJI X WEEKLY

Leave a Reply to Rolo Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s