Kodachrome is probably the most iconic photographic film ever made. It was legendary, and many people saw the world through its colors. Kodak produced Kodachrome film from 1935 through 2009, when it was suddenly discontinued.
The Kodachrome name has been used for many different films over the years. The first Kodachrome product was a two-glass-plate color negative that was introduced in 1915. Like all other color photography methods of its time, the results weren’t particularly good and the product not especially successful.
In 1935 Kodak released its next Kodachrome, which was a color transparency film with an ISO of 10. This Kodachrome was the first color film that produced reasonably accurate colors and was the first commercially successful color film. It became the standard film for color photography for a couple decades, and was even Ansel Adams’ preferred choice for color work. The December 1946 issue of Arizona Highways, which was the first all-color magazine in the world, featured Barry Goldwater’s Kodachrome images.
Kodak made significant improvements to Kodachrome, and in 1961 released Kodachrome II. This film boasted more accurate colors, sharper images, finer grain, and a faster ISO of 25. While it was still similar to the previous Kodachrome, it was better in pretty much every way. A year later Kodachrome-X was introduced, which had an ISO of 64.
Another generation of Kodachrome, which came out in 1974, saw Kodachrome II replaced by Kodachrome 25 and Kodachrome-X replaced by Kodachrome 64. The differences between this version and the previous weren’t huge and image quality was very similar. The biggest change was going from the K-12 to the K-14 development process (which was a little less toxic and complex, but still toxic and complex). This generation of Kodachrome is what most people think of when they picture (pun intended) the film, gracing the pages of magazines like National Geographic.
While I’ve published a number of recipes with the Kodachrome name, I’ve never made one for X-Trans I because Classic Chrome is necessary to replicate the look, and X-Trans I doesn’t have Classic Chrome. Well, Thomas Schwab got himself a Fujifilm X-E1, and he figured out a pretty phenomenal Kodachrome facsimile using PRO Neg. Std! Unbelievable! It’s amazing how good this recipe looks considering that it doesn’t use Classic Chrome. The X-M1 doesn’t have PRO Neg. Std, so this recipe isn’t compatible with that camera, but if you have an X-E1 or X-Pro1, this one is sure to become an instant favorite! Thank you, Thomas, for creating and sharing this recipe!
PRO Neg. Std
Dynamic Range: DR400
Highlight: +1 (Medium-High)
Shadow: +2 (High)
Color: -2 (Low)
Sharpness: +2 (Hard)
Noise Reduction: -2 (Low)
White Balance: Auto, +1 Red & -2 Blue
ISO: Auto, up to ISO 3200
Exposure Compensation: +1/3 to +2/3 (typically)
Example photographs, all camera-made JPEGs captured using this “Kodachrome II” film simulation recipe on my Fujifilm X-Pro1:
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Hello, I’m always looking for recipes, luts or presets to add to my “largest collection of…” lists.
Recipes for the very first X Trans sensors are always hard to find and scarce, so is it ok if I reblog this article on my site?
Sure! I appreciate you asking. Thank you!
And what other film has a song written about it? 😀
I think it would be interesting to see some side-by-side comparisons of various simulations; same image, same time, same settings just change the ‘film’.
But then I’m an engineer and we tend to find boring things interesting. :p
That’s actually something that I have been wanting to do, and I hope to do. Thank you for the suggestion!
Hi… I guess I remember my Kodachrome slides being more contrasty and with more brilliant coloration than these samples, but I’m old and my recollection is probably skewed because of that. For me, Kodachrome was always my go-to film, and the slides it produced were amazing (an overused word, but applicable here). Most of my travels worldwide on business allowed me weekends free to shoot photos, at the time using my Nikon F2, and while I did shoot a few rolls of Ektachrome, I never strayed very far from the Kodachrome products. These days, with Lightroom and the multitude of excellent sensors available to us, capable of great shots at ISO it’s fun to look back on how well we did with cameras shooting ASA 10 film. I’m currently still using a Nikon (Z 6ii), but anxiously awaiting my new x100v on which I intend to try a lot of your recipes. Come on, Fuji…. get us our cameras! ha. Thanks for all you do for all of us, Ritchie. Much appreciated…. Bob
I have the same memories; more contrast, greater saturation, and leaning towards red. Ektachrome tended to be lower contrast, less saturation, and a bit bluish. Perhaps that’s just one referencing the other? Or we were so impressed by any colour we recall it more vividly than it was!
There were a lot of different emulsions with the Ektachrome name. Kodachrome had–what?–seven or eight over nearly 75 years. Ektachrome had easily double that, maybe triple, including the current E100. So a lot depends on the exact Ektachrome you’re talking about (for example, some Ektachrome was more vivid than Kodachrome, some warmer), but I think overall you are right in your assessment of Kodachrome vs Ektachrome. Thanks for the comment!
I saw a few variations other people didn’t as my Dad used to field test new films for Kodak. But over-all Kodachrome and Ektachrome were two different “flavours” that they tried to maintain the same characteristics of even as they update the emulsions. In other words the tonal qualities were aimed at specific ideals and they tried to keep them that way even as the films got faster.
Wow, amazing! How fortunate for your dad! I was thinking Ektachrome E100SW and E100GX being warmer, Ektachrome E100VS being more vibrant, but, yeah, outside of a few examples, your assessment is correct.
I would have said the opposite, but i used in the late 2000s so the most recent films.
Kodachrome: high contrast and yet as low saturation as possible without being unnatural, plus a sort of cyan-greeny warmth to it
Ektachrome (e100): more like Fuji, higher saturation yet warmer. Plus VS variant super saturated and GS for even warmer. Normal contrast.
I think many people’s “color memory” of Kodachrome is more vibrant than it really was, for a couple reasons. First, in the digital age, vibrancy is common, so we’ve become more accustom to it. Second, we forget that, as digital technology began, some film photographers began incorporate it into their workflow, include McCurry and his Kodachromes. Third, Kodachrome 64 was more vibrant than Kodachrome 25; both were commonly used, but people tend to forget about the lower-ISO emulsion.
This is not to say that Kodachrome was dull. It rendered reds especially nicely. But I think some people (not talking about anyone here in this conversation) have a memory of the film that’s slightly off from reality. I’ve encountered this within myself where I thought I had recreated some film aesthetic based off of “memory color” but when I compared it to the actual film, I was significantly off. Fujifilm talks about this phenomena and how it affects their own “color science” within Fujifilm X cameras. It’s an interesting topic.
Regarding Ektachrome, there were 40 different emulsions that carried the name, including some that were cool and some that were warm, some that were vibrant and some that were dull, so it’s very difficult to generalize it.
All of this is to say in a roundabout way that I largely agree with your points. Thanks for the comment!
This is more in line with Kodachrome II than Kodachrome 64, but, with that said, an accurate Kodachrome look is hard to achieve with Classic Chrome, but even more difficult without it. Like you, I shot a lot of Kodachrome. It was a solid option, good for a variety of situations: landscapes, portraits, still life, street, etc.. Such a great film, and it’s a shame that it’s been discontinued for so long now. Thank you for the comment!
Unrelated but i made some x-trans simulations of a sort…
Well, more like black and white ‘white balances’ i have stored in a note. The other settings are flexible.
Came from trying to simulate Acros, however i think the actual ‘acros mode’ does do what i did and rather adds grain/contrast changes.
So let’s say, they are part of a film simulation.
The aim was to go through spectrum profiles of different types: ortho, iso, acros (isopan?), TriX (pan), and superpan (delta, tmax, rollei retro).
Who knows how accurate but for sure ortho has the stranger reduced contrast and superpans have the cripsness and whites they seem to need.
Especially with colour filters which i use both internal modes and real glass.
For some reason iso+yellow filter has grabbed me a lot and might actually be a fixed ‘simulation’.
All basically white balances as best estimated from an article with spectral graphs. (If course, that is quite imperfect with the adjuster but seems ok)
Just gives a little more without all the extra functions!
If interested could always share.
I’m very interested! I’d love to see what you’ve done. My email is email@example.com .
I’ll get them types up. Would be interesting to hear some feedback, as certainly i haven’t commonly used black and white film variants. I mostly shot the c-41 type, some delta, sfx
I like direction the results go though.
*Meant to say Fuji x Acros mode has little or no colour shift, i think this is film isopan colour shift without the grain or microcontrast (whatever the mode does!)
I look forward to seeing what you’ve come up with!
Thank you so much for your efforts, which in this case has given my X-Pro1 a welcome extra option and there aren’t too many others about. Provia is an OK alternative for landscapes, but frankly a bit of a bore and Velvia far too saturated for my taste. I really don’t care if this resembles Kodachrome or not because the genuine article is, after all, dead and buried and as one of your other readers has also admitted, the mind plays tricks with old memories at times and colours are never, ever, the way we remember them anyway.
Awesome! I appreciate the comment. More X-Pro1 recipes will be coming!
Will this Kodachrome simulation work on the X Pro 3 ?
It’s not intended to, and would look a little different. Feel free to try and see what you think.
Let me recommend this recipe:
And this one: