My Fujifilm X-T30 Kodachrome 64 Film Simulation Recipe

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Kodachrome Slides – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – “Kodachrome 64”

Kodachrome 64 is probably the most requested film that people have asked me to create a recipe for. Kodachrome has a long history, with the first successful version debuting in 1935 (film simulation recipe here). In the early 1960’s Kodak replaced that version of the film with Kodachrome II and Kodachrome X (film simulation recipe here). In 1974 Kodak made the final version of Kodachrome, available in ISO 25 and ISO 64 (and later ISO 200) versions. This Kodachrome was discontinued 10 years ago. Kodak also discontinued the chemicals to process Kodachrome, and nine years ago the last roll was developed. This film simulation recipe is meant to mimic the aesthetics of Kodachrome 64.

In the early 1970’s there was a movement to end Kodachrome. The process to develop the film was toxic and complex. Kodachrome is actually a black-and-white film with color added during development, which you can imagine isn’t a simple procedure. Instead of discontinuing their most popular color film, Kodak made a new version that required a less-toxic (but still toxic) and less complicated (but still complicated) development process. This appeased those who wanted the film gone, but the new version of Kodachrome was not initially well received by photographers, many of whom liked the old version better. William Eggleston, for example, who used Kodachrome extensively in his early career, wasn’t a fan of the new version, and began to use other films instead.

The photography community did come around to Kodachrome 25 and Kodachrome 64. Due to Kodachrome’s sharpness, grain, color, contrast and archival characteristics, this film was a great all-around option that worked well in almost any circumstance. The film became incredibly popular, and was found on the pages of many magazines, including National Geographic, which practically made its use a requirement. Steve McCurry was perhaps the best known photographer to extensively use this era of Kodachrome. He said of the film, “It has almost a poetic look with beautiful colors that were vibrant and true to what you were shooting.”

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Onaqui Wild Horses – Dugway, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – “Kodachrome 64”

I shot many rolls of Kodachrome 64, and a few rolls of Kodachrome 25. My favorite was Kodachrome 64 because it had a little more contrast and was slightly more saturated. It was a sad day for me when Kodak discontinued it. I was just getting into digital photography at that time, and in retrospect I wish that I had paused on digital and shot a few more rolls of Kodachrome. Kodak has hinted that they might resurrect it, but I would be surprised if they actually did because of the complex development process.

When I decided to attempt a Kodachrome 64 film simulation recipe for my Fujifilm X-T30, I did some experiments, and after a few tries I thought that I had it figured out. Excitingly, I snapped many frames with these settings, but then I figured that I should consult some actual Kodachrome 64 slides to make sure that it matched. It didn’t. Kodachrome 64 looked different than how I remembered it. I was close, but not close enough, so I went back to the drawing board. A handful of experiments later I got it right, which is the recipe that you see here.

Of course, the issue with all of these film simulation recipes that mimic actual film is that one film can have many different looks, depending on how it was shot, under what conditions, how it was developed, and how it’s viewed, whether through a projector or light table, a print (and how it was printed), or a scan (and how it was scanned and perhaps digitally altered, and the monitor). There are a ton of variables! Kodachrome looks best when viewed by projector, no doubt about it, but that’s not how Kodachrome is seen today, unless you own a projector and have some slides. While I don’t think that this recipe will ever match the magic of projected Kodachrome, I do think it’s a close approximation of the film and it deserves to share the famed name.

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Mayhem – Tooele, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – “Kodachrome 64”

I have Grain set to Weak, but I feel that when using this recipe at higher ISOs Grain should be set to Off. While I chose DR400, in low-contrast situations DR200 is a good Dynamic Range option. For X-Trans III cameras, which obviously don’t have Color Chrome Effect, this recipe will still work and will appear nearly identical, but it will produce a slightly different look. To modify this recipe for Kodachrome 25, I suggest setting Shadow to +1, Color to -1, Grain to Off, and Sharpness to +3.

Classic Chrome
Dynamic Range: DR400
Highlight: +1
Shadow: +2
Color: 0
Noise Reduction: -4
Sharpening: +2
Grain Effect: Weak
Color Chrome Effect: Weak
White Balance: Daylight, +2 Red & -5 Blue
ISO: Auto, up to ISO 6400
Exposure Compensation: +1/3 to +1 (typically)

Example photographs, all camera-made JPEGs using this Kodachrome 64 film simulation recipe on my Fujifilm X-T30:

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Shopping Cart Car – Riverdale, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Traffic Lamp – Bountiful, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Red Tricycle – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Hay Stack – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Pony Express Trail – Faust, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Wild Horse Country – Dugway, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Wild Horse Grazing – Dugway, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Lonely Horse – Dugway, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Wild & Free – Dugway, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Onaqui Horses – Dugway, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Spotted Green – Dugway, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Grassland – Dugway, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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In The Dust – Faust, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Roar Forever – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Jon In The Backyard – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Big Wheel – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Evening Tree – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Look Up To The Sky – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Lavender Bee – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Lavender Sunset – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Sunset Leaves – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Sun Kissed Leaf – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Summer Tree Leaves – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Jar of Coffee Beans – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Beans To Grind – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Sugar Dish – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Morning Coffee – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Processed by Kodak – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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29 comments

  1. chan.kit.sg · August 2

    You are my hero! Am running out to shoot with this over the weekend. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Fugeelala · August 2

    Good sir, you are amazing! Your recipes have inspired me to shoot more. Looking forward to more great content.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. fragglerocking · August 2

    I’ll have a go with this one too!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ricardo Richon Guzman · August 2

    Hi!

    so this is meant for daylight only (fixed WB with reddish greenish) ????

    I found that all Kodachrome work “less than spectacular” in low light (not bad , but not as good as in daylight)

    maybe is it the way the contrast work when low light , and this is that you recommend even +1 exposure compensation ?

    Like

    • Ritchie Roesch · August 2

      Well, Kodachrome film was in fact daylight balanced. Back in the film days, you would use warming and cooling filters to adjust the “white balance” for the scene you were shooting. AWB makes those filters unnecessary, which is why I like to use AWB in my recipes. In the case of this Kodachrome 64 recipe, I found that selecting Daylight instead of AWB produced a more accurate look, but AWB would still work if you preferred that.
      As far as night photography, I actually have some night (long exposure) Kodachrome slides, and the blacks were definitely deep black. If you don’t like how the recipe works after dark, I would suggest playing with Shadow and Highlight and see if it doesn’t work better for you with an adjustment. I hope this helps!

      Like

  5. ilyastruzhkov walkincircless · August 3

    THANK YOU!!! ❤

    Like

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  7. Vito · August 5

    Hi! Which settings do you suggest for a Fuji xt20?
    Thanks and greetings from Italy

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · August 5

      The same exact settings, except obviously you ignore Color Chrome Effect because the X-T20 doesn’t have it.

      Like

  8. Pingback: Film Simulation Challenge – 1st Roll: Kodachrome 64 | Fuji X Weekly
  9. Dean Fuller · September 9

    Thanks for producing these recipes. So these can be programmed into custom settings under the Q button, except for some of the modified white balances called for, or is there a way to do that also?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ritchie Roesch · September 9

      You are welcome! You are correct, everything can be programmed into the Q menu except for the white balance shift, which will have to be adjusted manually.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Rain · 17 Days Ago

        First I wanted to thank you for your recipes, they’re so inspirational and such a precious help !

        About WB Shifts, I discovered today, switching between two recipes I stored in the quick menu of my X-T3, that white balance shifts are actually stored for each type of white balance. For example in your Kodachrome 64, White Balance is set to Daylight with a shift of +2 Red & -5 Blue, if you switch to another stored recipe with a 3200K White Balance (Fujicolor 100 Industrial) and a shift of +8 Red & -8 Blue, that shift is automatically applied.

        So for each type of White Balance preset you can store one (and only one) shift. As AWB is usually the most commonly used setting, this feature doesn’t seem to be a big help, but now I’m probably going to take advantage of this as I organize my Q menu recipes before shooting sessions.

        Like

      • Ritchie Roesch · 17 Days Ago

        You are welcome, and I much appreciate the feedback!
        Yes, I figured this out a few months back, but (like you said) most recipes use AWB. But that’s also partially why I have tried creating recipes with other white balance settings, with one benefit that it makes things easier when switching between them. Thanks for the comment!

        Like

  10. Pingback: 15 Film Simulation Recipes So Far This Year | Fuji X Weekly
  11. Khürt Williams · September 28

    Hi Ritchie, given that most of the Fuji X cameras have a base ISO of ISO 200, would you be willing to make Kodachrome 200 recipe?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · September 28

      I used Kodachrome 200 once. I remember not being impressed because it was so much more grainy than Kodachrome 64. It has a similar look, probably a bit more contrast, smaller dynamic range, and perhaps slightly warmer, but the strong grain wasn’t pretty. At least that’s what I thought at the time, my opinion might be different now. I would think that ISO 12800 might be a good starting point.

      Like

  12. mohammed samsheer · 26 Days Ago

    I tried using the with my Xe-1 but its just not the same. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · 26 Days Ago

      Unfortunately, this isn’t compatible with X-Trans I and II, and not completely compatible with X-Trans III. But feel free to play around with the settings on your camera to see how close you can get.

      Like

  13. Pingback: DR400 Film Simulation Recipes | Fuji X Weekly
  14. Nick Dyson · 23 Days Ago

    Love this! Is there a way to apply this recipe to a RAF file in post processing? Would I need to download Fuji X Raw Studio?
    Thanks

    Liked by 1 person

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