Ektachrome was a line of color transparency (slide) films made by Kodak that used the E-6 development process. Some people preferred it to Kodachrome because of the faster ISO (100 vs 64 or 25), more saturated colors and easier development (although Kodachrome had finer grain, a larger dynamic range and didn’t fade as easily). A lot of National Geographic photographs were shot on Ektachrome back in the day.
There were a number of varieties of Ektachrome produced over the years, and I’ve used five of them myself. My favorite was Ektachrome 100VS (VS = “very saturated”), which was Kodak’s attempt at Fujifilm Velvia. Occasionally I used Ektachrome 100SW (SW = “saturated warm”), which was introduced in 1996 and produced vivid photographs with a warm color balance. Kodak stopped production of Ektachrome 100SW in 2002 and all Ektachrome film in 2012. Just a few months ago a brand new Kodak Ektachrome film was released, although I have not tried it yet.
A Fuji X Weekly reader, Ilya Struzhkov, took my Kodachrome II recipe and made a simple modification: he used Velvia instead of Classic Chrome. He shared the results on Instagram and I immediately felt like the images had a Kodak Ektachrome 100SW aesthetic. I had to try it out myself! Sure enough, the results looked a lot like the film: saturated colors (not as much as Velvia but more than most films), a warm color balance, and shadows that easily turned black. It’s amazing that this one change to the recipe could transform it from 1970’s Kodachrome to 1990’s Ektachrome.
The title of this film simulation recipe says “Fujifilm X-T20” but it can be used on any X-Trans III or IV camera. In fact, at the bottom of this article you’ll find some Fujifilm X100F examples. The only other change I made (besides Velvia instead of Classic Chrome) is that I set sharpening to 0 instead of +1 on the X-T20, but it’s set to +1 on the X100F. That’s just how I set up the cameras, and there really isn’t much of a differences between 0 and +1 sharpening, so either one is fine. Because the settings are essentially the same as my Kodachrome II recipe, it’s super easy to toggle between the two when out shooting. Really, it’s just brilliant!
Dynamic Range: DR200
Noise Reduction: -3
Grain Effect: Weak
White Balance: Auto, +3 Red & -4 Blue
ISO: Auto up to ISO 6400
Exposure Compensation: +1/3 to +2/3 (typically)
Example photos, all camera-made JPEGs using my Fujifilm X-T20 Kodak Ektachrome 100SW Film Simulation recipe:
See also: My Fujifilm X-T20 Aged Color Film Simulation Recipe
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Thanks for the recipe. I’ve just picked up a X100F and I’m playing around with the film presets. Up until now I’ve been shooting RAW with my Sony RX100 IV and then using VSCO’s Kodak Ektachrome 64 preset:
I love the look of this and would like to carry on getting those colours. At the same time, one of the things that drew me to the X100F was the high quality JPEGs and easier workflow so I’d like to find a Ektachrome 64 recipe. Clearly trial and error is the way to go, using the original VSCO preset as the model – but is there a particularly good starting point?
My instinct is to desaturate Velvia or up the saturation of Classic Chrome? I guess there’s some white balance tweaking to be done too.
Thanks for your help!
I would begin with Classic Chrome and increase the saturation a little. Classic Chrome is already very close to Ektachrome, although there have been a ton of different Ektachrome films over the years. Even “Ektachrome 64” isn’t as straight forward as one specific film, as there were a few different variations. I hope this helps!
This is very interesting. I love Steve McCurry’s work and his choice of processing. Moving from his film days to the digital age he appears to have kept his “look” in digital images. I know he too as a NatGeo photog shot a lot of Ektachrome in his day but I have never been able to come remotely close to his “look”. I find it very compelling. Your thoughts on this?
Do you believe this film sim is close or would you perhaps change a few things to the recipe?
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I would be shocked to learn that McCurry didn’t shoot Ektachrome 100SW at least occasionally, but I do believe he went through tons of rolls of Kodachrome regularly. Try this recipe:
You’re correct on the Kodachrome. I think I read that he actually used more Ektachrome in his later years though. I shot a ton of Kodachrome 64 in my early years, along with Ektachrome. Thanks for the tip. I will try several of your recipes, including Kodachrome 64, on my trip to the Florida panhandle next week. It should be fun!
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Sounds like a good time! Let me know what you think of the settings.
Hi- great simulation recipes! i have been shooting fuji for 6 years now but haven’t really used the simulations modes much (and never used any custom ones). I am having fun with several of the recipes but am stuck on how to adjust the blue and red channels in WB. Any suggestions?
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When you are in the white balance menu, with whatever white balance you select, arrow over to the right and it will take you to the white balance shift menu. Hope this helps!