Kodachrome vs. Ektachrome – A Film Simulation Showdown

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I have two very similar film simulation recipes that both produce results quite close to their namesake slide films: Kodachrome II and Ektachrome 100SW. Even though the settings are nearly the same, the looks that they produce are quite different. As I was thinking about this, I was reminded of the old “Kodachrome vs. Ektachrome” debate from the days of film. There were people who preferred one over the other for various reasons. Kodachrome was more iconic. Ektachrome had more variations. Despite the fact that they were both color transparencies made by the same company, I could probably write a long article about the differences between the two films, but this blog is about Fujifilm X cameras and not Kodak film stocks.

What I wanted to do here is compare the two film simulation recipes side by side. I will show them both, and you can decide which is best for you. It’s kind of a revival of the old debate, but with a modern twist. Kodachrome or Ektachrome? You get to decide which is the better film simulation recipe!

Take a look at the pictures below:

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Welcome to Ogden – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Kodachrome II”

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Winter Mountain – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Ektachrome 100SW”

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Desert Juniper – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Kodachrome II”

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Juniper – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Ektachrome 100SW”

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Pueblo de Taos – Taos, NM – Fujifilm X-Pro2 “Kodachrome II”

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View From Mount Carmel Tunnel – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Ektachrome 100SW”

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Kodak Transparencies – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Kodachrome II”

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Kodak Transparencies – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Ektachrome 100SW”

What I like about the Kodachrome II recipe is that it produces a vintage color look that reminds me of the images found on the pages of old magazines, such as National Geographic and Arizona Highways. As I look through my grandparent’s old slide collection (which I have at home), I can see this look in their old photographs from 50 or so years ago. It’s such a fantastic recipe for Fujifilm X cameras, and I just love it!

What I like about the Ektachrome 100SW recipe is that it produces a color look that reminds me of some images that I have captured with the actual film. The film was good for western landscapes or any situation where you needed some color saturation with a warm color cast. It wasn’t around for very long because it was only marginally commercially successful, but it was one of the better variations of Ektachrome film in my opinion.

What do you think, Kodachrome or Ektachrome? Let me know in the comments which film simulation recipe you like best!

8 comments

  1. Dr Allan Dodds · April 2, 2020

    Very difficult to draw any firm conclusions when only two images are in any way comparable. I’m currently scanning Kodachrome slides and they look nothing like any of the Fuji simulation that I’ve tried on my X100T.

    Like

  2. Robin · November 13

    These are both my go to recipes. I really like the saturated colours of the Ektarchrome 100SW but I think that Kodachrome II is a safer/more consistent choice if your shooting people and not saving RAW.

    I would like to ask, why the recipes are set to auto WB and not daylight. I’d image that this would prevent the drastic shifts for occurring when shooting daylight balanced film indoors and thus make the simulations a little less realistic, or is there something I’m missing?

    Kind regards, and thank you for another great article.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · November 16

      It’s a great question!
      With color film there are basically two options: Daylight and Tungsten. Back when I shot film, I carried warming and cooling filters to compensate for different light situations. Essentially that’s how you’d change the white balance (didn’t call it white balance back then). So auto-WB makes the use of warming and cooling filters unnecessary. However, feedback that I received is that many people would rather have the film simulation respond to different light situations similar to the film (without filters) than AWB. While some of my newer recipes do use AWB, most don’t. Back when I created these two, I mostly used AWB. I hope this all makes sense.

      Like

      • Robin Pole · November 17

        Yea it does. I know that filers were used to offset daylight balanced film and kinda guessed that would be why you used AWB. But I wasn’t sure if it was to compensate for some quirk in fuji sensors or something.

        Thanks for such a comprehensive reply 👍

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ritchie Roesch · November 17

        You are welcome!

        Like

  3. miked2019 · March 5

    Thanks for this comparison! I love shooting Classic Chrome but sometimes I need a bit more color and warmth for certain images. It looks like the Ektachrome simulation might be the perfect solution. I really enjoy your articles and recently downloaded the app. I will be subscribing soon as I want to support your wonderful work. You have really fostered my creativity!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · March 7

      Awesome! I really appreciate the feedback, encouragement and kind words. Thank you!

      Like

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