Kodak made Kodachrome color-reversal (slide) film from 1935 through 2009. There are three era’s of Kodachrome: 1935-1960, 1961-1973, and 1974-2009. Each era has its own look; the second and third eras are probably the most similar. Kodachrome is actually a B&W film, with color dyes added during development. It was a unique and complicated process. Because of how the film works, it’s the most difficult emulsion to scan, often producing a blue cast that doesn’t exist when viewing the slides through a projector or on a light table.
Professional labs will have a profile to color correct Kodachrome scans, but even that’s not usually a 100% match. As it used to be said, “There’s nothing like projected Kodachrome!” If the scans aren’t carefully corrected, the results are often significantly more blue than the slides. The feeling that all the world’s a sunny day (as Paul Simon sang) is completely gone. Once you know what to look for, it’s easy to spot these incorrectly color corrected Kodachrome images, and they’re prevalent.
Over the last few weeks I’ve stumbled across several sets of these incorrectly color corrected Kodachromes while perusing the web, mostly from the second era of the film. I thought that the look was interesting, so I set out to recreate it on my Fujifilm X-E4; however, the process was more challenging than I had anticipated. I had assumed that Classic Chrome would be the best film simulation to base this new Film Simulation Recipe on—it was the obvious choice, right?—but I couldn’t get it to look right. It was actually the fifth film sim I tried before I decided that I was finally on the right track.
After four different modifications, I felt I got it as close as I could, and had a reasonable facsimile of the film when not appropriately color corrected. Interestingly, I compared my Recipe to some incorrectly colored Kodachrome 64 film scans in my collection—some frames I captured on a Canon AE-1 back in 1999 that (when I later had them scanned) the lab rendered too blue—and the resemblance was striking. I made one more small change to the Recipe to get it even closer, and called it good. One thing that I wish was possible is a little more color saturation, but +4 is the highest option; if +5 or maybe +6 were available, I’d have bumped Color just a tad higher.
This Kodachrome Blue Film Simulation Recipe is compatible with the Fujifilm X-T4, X-S10, X-E4, and X-T30 II cameras. For X-Trans V models, set Color Chrome FX Blue to Weak. You can use it on newer GFX cameras, but it will render slightly differently, and I recommend setting Shadow to +1. This isn’t a Recipe that I suspect will be anyone’s go-to for everyday use—I’d look at Kodachrome 64 or Kodachrome II for general photography—but it’s a fun one that I think some of you will really appreciate in certain circumstances. I personally like the retro feelings that Kodachrome Blue produces.
The Fuji X Weekly App is free, yet becoming a Fuji X Weekly Patron unlocks the best App experience! One benefit of being a Patron is you get early access to some new Film Simulation Recipes, such as this one. These Early-Access Recipes will eventually become available free to everyone in time. Patrons help support Fuji X Weekly and, really, without them there would be no App. So I want to give a special “thank you” to all of the Patrons!
Find Kodachrome Blue in the Fuji X Weekly App! If you are a Fuji X Weekly App Patron, it’s available to you right now.
Example photographs, all camera-made JPEGs captured using this Kodachrome Blue Film Simulation Recipe on my Fujifilm X-E4: