A Fuji X Weekly reader asked me to recreate the look of some old family prints from the 1970’s that he found. After some investigating, it was determined that the pictures were captured on an Instamatic camera using 126 film (also called Kodapak). 126 film was basically 35mm film, except with a paper back and no sprockets (like 120 film), and in a cartridge that didn’t need to be rewound (similar to 110 film). It was intended for low-budget point-and-shoot cameras, and the cartridge made loading and unloading film easier. Basically, Instamatic was Kodak’s attempt to open up photography to the masses, as it required little to no skill or photographic background. It was very popular in the 1960’s and ’70’s, and became less popular in the 1980’s. A quirk of Instamatic cameras and 126 film is that it captured square pictures.
It’s unknown what film was used on the pictures in question, but most likely it was Kodacolor II, which was by far the most popular color 126 film during the time that these pictures were captured. Kodacolor is a name that Kodak gave to a number of different color negative films going back to the 1940’s. Kodacolor II was the very first C-41 process film. It was introduced in 1972 and discontinued in 1981, replaced by Kodacolor VR, which is the film that my Kodacolor film simulation recipe resembles. The prints likely have some fading and color shifts due to age, but they appeared to be in good condition overall.
This film simulation recipe, which I’ve called Kodacolor II 126, is a bit unusual in that it is supposed to mimic a look that came from cheap cameras. It calls for Image Quality to be set to Normal instead of Fine (I normally use Fine). The only other recipe that I’ve done this with is my Kodak Elite Chrome 200 Color Fade. I keep the ISO high on this recipe to make it look more grainy. While I’ve done that with several black-and-white recipes, this is the first time I’ve done it with color. This is also the only recipe that calls for the 1:1 aspect ratio, although feel free to use 3:2 or 16:9 if you’d like. These settings pair well with vintage lenses, and if you “miss” focus a little sometimes, well, that just makes it resemble Instamatic even more.
Dynamic Range: DR200
Noise Reduction: -4
Grain Effect: Strong
Color Chrome Effect: Strong
Image Quality: Normal
Aspect Ratio: 1:1
White Balance: 6300K, +6 Red & +3 Blue
ISO: 3200 – 6400
Exposure Compensation: 0 to +2/3 (typically)
Example photographs, all camera-made JPEGs using this “Kodacolor II 126” film simulation recipe on my Fujifilm X-T30:
See also: Film Simulation Recipes
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What about a recipe of Saul Leiter’s color work? I have read he liked to use Kodachrome, of which you have plenty of recipes, but he used expired film. Would a change in WB and shadows be enough for it?
I’m not sure, I’ll dig into that a little and see what I can do.
20 exposures, those lovely times…
Odd, isn’t it?
I’m having a blast playing around with your film simulations! Altough my Lumix camera has a different color reproduction and different settings I’m happy with the looks I can achieve with your guidelines. The photos go in the same direction but look noticeably different. That little surprise factor of the results might make it even more fun to try them out. I especially like your film simulations Kodacolor, Kodacolor II and Polaroid II. With them I can photograph the same subject and get three vastly different looks with very interesting colors. Thanks so much for all the hard work you put into this well designed blod, these beautiful photos and these creative recipes!
Wishing you the best
I appreciate this comment so much! Thank you! I am happy to be helpful, and am so glad that you like these recipes. Your encouragement is much appreciated!
First, congratulations on your work, it’s very pleasant and it’s a huge amount of time.
This simulation seems very red to me, is it on purpose or did I misunderstand the white balance setting ?
Is that correct : put the white balance to 6300K, and then tune it even more with +6 red and +3 blue ?
Anyway, keep up the good work,
Thank you for your kind words!
You’ve got the White Balance and Shift correct. It’s supposed to be very red. It’s based on some old pictures that someone sent to me to create a recipe for. The pictures had a red cast like this recipe. It’s an unusual look for sure!