The last Fuji Features article was about Monochrome, so this one is about color—more specifically, Kodachrome. For those who don’t know, Fuji Features is a weekly series where I Google some topic related to Fujifilm and post what I find. Each week has a different theme, and this week it’s Kodachrome.
Below you’ll find a bunch of articles and videos that are about using one (or more) of these recipes. I’m sure that I missed a few, so if you know of something that I failed to include, please post a link in the comments.
One of the more popular film simulation recipes that I’ve created is Kodachrome II, which was made for X-Trans III sensor cameras. While you can use that recipe on X-Trans IV cameras, the newer models have some JPEG options that the older ones don’t, so it can be fun to utilize those options to produce a different and hopefully better version of an old recipe. In this case, I have two new versions of Kodachrome II for X-Trans IV cameras.
Kodak introduced Kodachrome in 1935, and in 1961 they replaced the original film with a new and improved version called Kodachrome II and a higher-ISO sibling called Kodachrome-X. These films had more accurate color, finer grain and faster ISOs (ISO 25 and 64, respectively, compared to ISO 10) than the previous version. It was a big leap forward for color photography, and so it is no surprise that the innovators of color photography in the 1960’s and 1970’s relied heavily on it. It’s also the version that Paul Simon sang, “They give us the greens of summer, makes you think all the world’s a sunny day.”
Kodachrome II and Kodachrome-X produced a very similar look to each other. The main differences were in grain, contrast and saturation, but overall the variations were quite minor. Kodachrome-X was slightly more bold while Kodachrome II was slightly more clean. Even so, comparing slides, it’s tough to distinguish one from the other (conveniently, I have my grandparents old slides at my home). Even though I have named these two film simulation recipes “Kodachrome II” I think they more closely resembles Kodachrome-X film, but I find them to be a reasonable facsimile for both.
Because of the toxic chemicals used in the development of this era of Kodachrome, plus the complexity of the process, Kodak changed from K-12 development to K-14 development, which ushered in new Kodachrome in 1974, called Kodachrome 25 and Kodachrome 64. This version of the film is the one that I have personally used. Interestingly enough, even though this version wasn’t all that much aesthetically different than the previous, there was a big outcry among photographers, and a large group who used Kodachrome II and Kodachrome-X did not appreciate the change.
While I created the X-Trans III Kodachrome II recipe, it was Thomas Schwab who modified it for X-Trans IV. His version, entitled Kodachrome II, is compatible with the Fujifilm X-Pro3, X100V, X-T4, X-S10 and X-E4. In some of my example pictures below I used a Tiffen 1/4 Black Pro-Mist diffusion filter with my X100V. Why? Because I haven’t used this filter in awhile and wanted to. I don’t think it adds anything essential to the recipe. In fact, you might prefer the results without the filter. Thank you, Thomas, for creating and sharing this update to the original recipe!
I made a slightly modified version, entitled Kodachrome II v2, which is compatible with the X-T4, X-S10 and X-E4. I used this recipe on my X-E4 (without any diffusion filter). This isn’t intended to be a “better” recipe, just a slightly different version using the new JPEG options found in my X-E4. Both of these film simulation recipes can be found in the Fuji X Weekly app!
Classic Chrome Dynamic Range: DR200 Highlight: +1 Shadow: +2 Color: +1 Noise Reduction: -4 Sharpening: +1 Clarity: -2 Grain Effect: Weak, Small Color Chrome Effect: Strong Color Chrome Effect Blue: Weak White Balance: Auto, +3 Red & -4 Blue ISO: Auto, up to ISO 6400 Exposure Compensation: +1/3 to +2/3 (typically)
Example photographs, all camera-made JPEGs using this new Kodachrome II film simulation recipe on my Fujifilm X100V:
Kodachrome II v2
Classic Chrome Dynamic Range: DR200 Highlight: +1 Shadow: +1.5 Color: +1 Noise Reduction: -4 Sharpening: +1 Clarity: -2 Grain Effect: Weak, Small Color Chrome Effect: Strong Color Chrome Effect Blue: Weak White Balance: Auto White Priority, +3 Red & -5 Blue ISO: Auto, up to ISO 6400 Exposure Compensation: +1/3 to +2/3 (typically)
Example photographs, all camera-made JPEGs using this new Kodachrome II v2 film simulation recipe on my Fujifilm X-E4:
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Kodachrome They give us those nice bright colors They give us the greens of summer Makes you think all the world’s a sunny day
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 with nearly identical image quality. The biggest change was going from the K-12 to the K-14 development process (which was a little less complex, but still 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.
I personally have shot plenty of Kodachrome, mostly Kodachrome 64. It was a good general use film that produced sharp images and pleasing colors. I haven’t used it in more than a decade. Its days are gone. Even if you can find an old roll of the film, there are no labs in the world that will develop it.
This Kodachrome 1 film simulation recipe is meant to mimic that first era of Kodachrome. This isn’t your parent’s or grandparent’s Kodachrome, it’s your great-grandparent’s. This Kodachrome 1 recipe is actually an updated version of my Vintage Kodachrome recipe. Since the new Fujifilm cameras have more JPEG options, such as Clarity, Color Chrome Effect and Color Chrome Effect Blue, it’s possible to get more accurate or at least different looks out-of-camera. This recipe is very similar to the original version, but I hope this one is just a tad better. It’s only compatible with the X100V, X-Pro3 and X-T4 cameras; if you don’t have one of those cameras, give the Vintage Kodachrome recipe a try. Both the old and this new version have a great vintage analog look that I’m sure many of you will appreciate. I want to give a big “thank you” to Fuji X Weekly reader Thomas Schwab for his help with updating this recipe.
Classic Chrome Dynamic Range: DR400 Highlight: +4 Shadow: -2 Color: +4 Noise Reduction: -4 Sharpening: -2 Clarity: +1 Grain Effect: Strong, Small Color Chrome Effect: Strong Color Chrome Effect Blue: Weak White Balance: Auto, +2 Red & -4 Blue ISO: Auto, up to ISO 6400 Exposure Compensation: -1/3 to -1 (typically)
Example photographs, all camera-made JPEGs using this Kodachrome 1 film simulation recipe on my Fujifilm X100V:
Nobody pays me to write the content found on fujixweekly.com. There's a real cost to operating and maintaining this site, not to mention all the time that I pour into it. If you appreciated this article, please consider making a one-time gift contribution. Thank you!