Kodachrome Compared

I have made film simulation recipes for all three major eras of Kodachrome film. The first recipe is called Vintage Kodachrome, which simulates the look of pre-1960’s Kodachrome. The next recipe is Kodachrome II, which mimics the look of 1960’s through mid-1970’s era of the film. The latest recipe is Kodachrome 64, which resembles the final version of the film, from 1974 through 2009.

You might wonder how these settings, which all share the Kodachrome name, compare to each other. Well, I made multiple versions of the same images to see. I wanted to place them against each other to observe their differences. It’s interesting to see how they render the same scene differently. Vintage Kodachrome is the most dissimilar. Kodachrome II and Kodachrome 64 sometimes look very similar (much like the real film), and sometimes there’s an obvious difference. One reason why they might be noticeably different is because the Kodachrome II recipe uses auto-white-balance while the Kodachrome 64 recipe doesn’t. You could use warming or cooling filters in conjunction with the Kodachrome 64 recipe (much like the real film) in order to better control the white balance. I sometimes did this back when I shot actual Kodachrome, but I haven’t tried it with the recipe.

I surprised myself in that I prefer the Kodachrome 64 versions more often than the Kodachrome II. I have said many times that Kodachrome II is one of my all-time favorite recipes, but I think I might prefer the new version just slightly more. It’s a close call, though, and in certain situations Kodachrome II would probably be the better choice.  Which recipe do you prefer? Which version of Kodachrome is the winner in this comparison?


Vintage Kodachrome


Kodachrome II


Kodachrome 64


Vintage Kodachrome


Kodachrome II


Kodachrome 64


Vintage Kodachrome


Kodachrome II


Kodachrome 64


Vintage Kodachrome


Kodachrome II


Kodachrome 64


Vintage Kodachrome


Kodachrome II


Kodachrome 64


Vintage Kodachrome


Kodachrome II


Kodachrome 64


  1. Randy T · August 3, 2019

    Think I like the vintage the best. I used your recipe of this a film simulation currently using. TY. Of all you have created what is your favorite?

    • Ritchie Roesch · August 3, 2019

      My favorite? The next one. I really enjoy creating these different recipes. In all seriousness, though, I find that different ones work well for different situations, but (for color) I use my new Velvia and Kodachrome II a lot (although I will probably use the new Kodachrome recipe more). I like Kodacolor and Fujicolor Industrial a lot, as well. I’d like to play more with the “faded” recipes. Eterna is nice sometimes. It’s a hard question to answer.

    • jsam · August 5, 2019

      I’m with you. Vintage is my pick of the lot too. I was surprised to see +4 on the highlights. I’d never have been that brave.

  2. James · August 3, 2019

    Much needed article Ritchie. Funny enough I really like the vintage version because of the highlight control and rendering of oranges and red, the very feature that made me fall in love with Kodachrome. I think best to shoot one version one month at a time to really learn the pros and cons of each. How I wish we can bracket custom simulations.

    Anyway, would you consider creating 2 of my favourite cheap films, Fuji C200 and Kodak Ultramax 400?

    Thanks again for sharing.

    • Ritchie Roesch · August 4, 2019

      I do also wish that you could bracket custom settings. That would be a good feature. I have tried to create both of those films recently, but got distracted before figuring them out, so I need to jump back into them.

      • James · August 4, 2019

        Yes please! Looking forward to both. Thank you again.

      • Ritchie Roesch · August 4, 2019

        No guarantees that I will be successful, but I will try.

  3. Ilya struzhkov walkincircless · August 4, 2019

    I really look forward to testing 64 on the street, but it already seems to me that my beloved «II» will still be a favorite. I think this is just the perfect recipe for everything! Very versatile! (I’m thinking about switching to gfx (this is of course unlikely because of the price, but maybe .. I hope) and I think I would continue to use “II” even with this system, which I find very funny 🙂 you have 50 megapixels and you shoot in jpeg !? what !? haha! What do you think about it?)

    • Ritchie Roesch · August 4, 2019

      If I had a GFX camera, I would still be a JPEG shooter. I hope that you get one. The Kodachrome II recipe is indeed a special one.

  4. fragglerocking · August 4, 2019

    Too hard to choose!

  5. Ricardo Richon Guzman · August 4, 2019

    although I love Kodachrome II(or X) the 64 version got me more into “those colors”

    but here I’m waiting for the B/N comparison 😛

    • Ritchie Roesch · August 4, 2019

      I appreciate “those colors” and I definitely appreciate your feedback!

  6. jacobwixyahoocom · August 6, 2019

    Awesome and fun as usual! What do you think about the Kodak Portra 400 recipe still? Just curious lol

  7. Aycan Gonenc · August 6, 2019

    Kodachrome 64 is the best “film taste” to me so far. Thanks for coming up with this.

  8. Vito Paradiso · August 6, 2019

    I dont know why but the 64 is giving me more warmer photos compared to the vintage, but i really like it. And the Kodachrome II is fantastic. You made me fell in love with my Fuji once again! Can’t wait to try out the recipes next week in Sardinia!thanks again

    • Ritchie Roesch · August 6, 2019

      Awesome, glad you like the recipes! I appreciate the feedback.

  9. Khürt Williams · September 28, 2019

    I have all three of our Kodachrome recipes on my X-T2. My favourite is the Kodachrome 64. I grew up in the West Indies, where it’s always summer (there are no seasons), so perhaps I am just partial to the way Kodachrome 64 looks in warm light.

    • Ritchie Roesch · September 28, 2019

      I think that there’s something special about all three of them, so it’s very hard for me to pick a favorite, but the Kodachrome 64 recipe seems to edge out the others by a hair in my opinion. Thank you for commenting!

      • Khürt Williams · September 28, 2019

        That should have been “your” not “our” in that first sentence.

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  11. bluejean1 · May 15, 2021

    I’m the new owner of an xt4. I’ve been enjoying tremendously getting to grips with it and discovering your world of recipes. I’ve been enjoying the kodachrome II a lot. I do find that the shadows seem quite intense for certain situations. Of course it’s possible to turn them down by a point. I haven’t tried the 64 nor the vintage yet. I was wondering whether you’d have a recipe to recommend, that I should try, that might bring a tiny tad more vibrant colours and less intense shadows than the KII..? I find the Superia 800 to have quite a marked ‘green tinge’ and although i like it I find it quite cold. The 64 seems interesting – maybe slightly fuller colours, judging from your pictures? But contrast/shadows still very strong. The vintage seems to be another level altogether.. if you have any suggestions that would be awesome!! Thank you for your time and work. Jean

  12. bluejean1 · May 16, 2021

    Thank you so much! Will explore all these along with the Kodachrome 64 and vintage too!

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