Arizona Highways & Vintage Kodachrome

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Last night when I checked the mail, waiting inside the metal box was the September issue of Arizona Highways. For those who may not know, this magazine has a long history of  publishing great photographs, and many renown artists have been found in its pages throughout the decades. The newest issue of Arizona Highways features many pictures from the 1950’s and 1960’s, including the cover photograph by Allen Reed, so I found it especially interesting.

As I was flipping through the pages of the magazine this morning while sipping coffee, I was drawn to the Kodachromes, which can be seen many times in this issue. I was impressed with how well my Vintage Kodachrome film simulation recipe mimics the aesthetics of these pictures. It shouldn’t be too surprising since I consulted (among other things) some old Arizona Highways magazines when I created it, but it is a bit surprising that it’s possible to get this look right out of camera. Studying this issue was good confirmation that I got those settings right, and it made me want to shoot with it more. Perhaps later this week I’ll use Vintage Kodachrome for my Film Simulation Challenge.

If you can, pick up a copy of the latest issue of Arizona Highways so you can view these pictures for yourself. Look carefully at the vintage photographs captured by Ansel Adams, Ray Manley, Chuck Abbot and others. Esther Henderson’s pictures were especially impressive, and this was my introduction to her work. It was great inspiration for me, and perhaps it will be for you, too.

 

Film Simulation Challenge – 1st Roll: Kodachrome 64

Last week I introduced the Film Simulation Challenge, which is where you pick one film simulation recipe and shoot either 24 or 36 frames before changing settings. It’s kind of like loading your camera with a roll of film, and you are stuck with whatever film you loaded until that roll is completely exposed. This challenge is the digital equivalent of that analog issue. I thought it would be a fun experiment to encourage photographic vision while sharing the joy of Fujifilm X cameras.

For my first attempt at the Film Simulation Challenge, I chose my Kodachrome 64 recipe. I “loaded a roll” of “Kodachrome” into my Fujifilm X-T30, which had a Fujinon 35mm f/2 lens attached to it, and shot 36 exposures at a park in Layton, Utah. I did this in the late morning, and unsurprisingly the light was quite harsh, which wasn’t the best match for this particular film simulation recipe. But I stuck with it, just like I would have done in the film days. I used quite a few of the middle frames attempting hand-held slow-shutter exposures to blur moving water, making a number of tries, and ending up with a few frames that were sharp and a bunch that weren’t. I didn’t capture any spectacular pictures, but sometimes that happens with a roll of film, too. I will try another day in a different light and hopefully get better results.

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Frame 1: Sprinkler Rainbow #1

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Frame 2: Sprinkler Rainbow #2

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Frame 5: Sun Tree

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Frame 6: Grasshopper

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Frame 8: Ducks Beyond The Fence

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Frame 12: Branch Over River

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Frame 25: Water Over Rocks #1

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Frame 31: Water Over Rocks #2

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Frame 34: Bright Yellow Blooms

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Frame 35: Lots of Yellow Blooms

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Frame 36: Bright Seagull

Roll 2: Kodacolor

 

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?

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Vintage Kodachrome

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Kodachrome II

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Kodachrome 64

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Vintage Kodachrome

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Kodachrome II

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Kodachrome 64

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Vintage Kodachrome

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Kodachrome II

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Kodachrome 64

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Vintage Kodachrome

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Kodachrome II

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Kodachrome 64

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Vintage Kodachrome

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Kodachrome II

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Kodachrome 64

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Vintage Kodachrome

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Kodachrome II

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Kodachrome 64

My Fujifilm X-T30 Kodachrome 64 Film Simulation Recipe

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Kodachrome Slides – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – “Kodachrome 64”

Kodachrome 64 is probably the most requested film that people have asked me to create a recipe for. Kodachrome has a long history, with the first successful version debuting in 1935 (film simulation recipe here). In the early 1960’s Kodak replaced that version of the film with Kodachrome II and Kodachrome X (film simulation recipe here). In 1974 Kodak made the final version of Kodachrome, available in ISO 25 and ISO 64 (and later ISO 200) versions. This Kodachrome was discontinued 10 years ago. Kodak also discontinued the chemicals to process Kodachrome, and nine years ago the last roll was developed. This film simulation recipe is meant to mimic the aesthetics of Kodachrome 64.

In the early 1970’s there was a movement to end Kodachrome. The process to develop the film was toxic and complex. Kodachrome is actually a black-and-white film with color added during development, which you can imagine isn’t a simple procedure. Instead of discontinuing their most popular color film, Kodak made a new version that required a less-toxic (but still toxic) and less complicated (but still complicated) development process. This appeased those who wanted the film gone, but the new version of Kodachrome was not initially well received by photographers, many of whom liked the old version better. William Eggleston, for example, who used Kodachrome extensively in his early career, wasn’t a fan of the new version, and began to use other films instead.

The photography community did come around to Kodachrome 25 and Kodachrome 64. Due to Kodachrome’s sharpness, grain, color, contrast and archival characteristics, this film was a great all-around option that worked well in almost any circumstance. The film became incredibly popular, and was found on the pages of many magazines, including National Geographic, which practically made its use a requirement. Steve McCurry was perhaps the best known photographer to extensively use this era of Kodachrome. He said of the film, “It has almost a poetic look with beautiful colors that were vibrant and true to what you were shooting.”

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Onaqui Wild Horses – Dugway, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – “Kodachrome 64”

I shot many rolls of Kodachrome 64, and a few rolls of Kodachrome 25. My favorite was Kodachrome 64 because it had a little more contrast and was slightly more saturated. It was a sad day for me when Kodak discontinued it. I was just getting into digital photography at that time, and in retrospect I wish that I had paused on digital and shot a few more rolls of Kodachrome. Kodak has hinted that they might resurrect it, but I would be surprised if they actually did because of the complex development process.

When I decided to attempt a Kodachrome 64 film simulation recipe for my Fujifilm X-T30, I did some experiments, and after a few tries I thought that I had it figured out. Excitingly, I snapped many frames with these settings, but then I figured that I should consult some actual Kodachrome 64 slides to make sure that it matched. It didn’t. Kodachrome 64 looked different than how I remembered it. I was close, but not close enough, so I went back to the drawing board. A handful of experiments later I got it right, which is the recipe that you see here.

Of course, the issue with all of these film simulation recipes that mimic actual film is that one film can have many different looks, depending on how it was shot, under what conditions, how it was developed, and how it’s viewed, whether through a projector or light table, a print (and how it was printed), or a scan (and how it was scanned and perhaps digitally altered, and the monitor). There are a ton of variables! Kodachrome looks best when viewed by projector, no doubt about it, but that’s not how Kodachrome is seen today, unless you own a projector and have some slides. While I don’t think that this recipe will ever match the magic of projected Kodachrome, I do think it’s a close approximation of the film and it deserves to share the famed name.

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Mayhem – Tooele, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – “Kodachrome 64”

I have Grain set to Weak, but I feel that when using this recipe at higher ISOs Grain should be set to Off. While I chose DR400, in low-contrast situations DR200 is a good Dynamic Range option. For X-Trans III cameras, which obviously don’t have Color Chrome Effect, this recipe will still work and will appear nearly identical, but it will produce a slightly different look. To modify this recipe for Kodachrome 25, I suggest setting Shadow to +1, Color to -1, Grain to Off, and Sharpness to +3.

Classic Chrome
Dynamic Range: DR400
Highlight: +1
Shadow: +2
Color: 0
Noise Reduction: -4
Sharpening: +2
Grain Effect: Weak
Color Chrome Effect: Weak
White Balance: Daylight, +2 Red & -5 Blue
ISO: Auto, up to ISO 6400
Exposure Compensation: +1/3 to +1 (typically)

Example photographs, all camera-made JPEGs using this Kodachrome 64 film simulation recipe on my Fujifilm X-T30:

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Shopping Cart Car – Riverdale, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Traffic Lamp – Bountiful, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Red Tricycle – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Hay Stack – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Pony Express Trail – Faust, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Wild Horse Country – Dugway, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Wild Horse Grazing – Dugway, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Lonely Horse – Dugway, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Wild & Free – Dugway, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Onaqui Horses – Dugway, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Spotted Green – Dugway, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Grassland – Dugway, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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In The Dust – Faust, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Roar Forever – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Jon In The Backyard – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Big Wheel – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Evening Tree – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Look Up To The Sky – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Lavender Bee – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Lavender Sunset – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Sunset Leaves – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Sun Kissed Leaf – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Summer Tree Leaves – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Jar of Coffee Beans – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Beans To Grind – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Sugar Dish – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Morning Coffee – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Processed by Kodak – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

Top 10 Most Popular Film Simulation Recipes

Film simulation recipes are the number one most popular type of article on Fuji X Weekly. These posts are what most people come to this blog to read. In fact, so far this year, the top twenty most read articles are all film simulation recipes. I thought it would be fun to share which are the most popular recipes, based on how many times they’ve been viewed so far this year. The newest ones haven’t been around long enough to make this list, so maybe I’ll periodically revisit this topic.

Top 10 Most Popular Film Simulation Recipes:

#10. X100F Acros

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Walking Man – SLC, UT – Fujifilm X100F

I was surprised to learn that this recipe, which is my original Acros recipe and the second film simulation recipe that I created, is the only black-and-white settings to make this list. I guess B&W isn’t as popular as color.

#9. X100F Astia

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Zions Bank Building – SLC, UT – Fujifilm X100F

This was one of the early film simulation recipes that I created. Honestly, it’s not my favorite, even though I liked it when I created it. I think it requires the right light to be effective, and it certainly can be effective, but it’s a little flat (lacking contrast) for many situations. Still, as I stated in the article, it’s a better option than keeping the camera on Provia with everything set to 0.

#8. X100F Ektar

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Summer Boy – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X100F

This recipe uses Astia, as well, yet produces much different results. While the regular Astia recipe is rather flat and bland, this one is vibrant and bold–sometimes too vibrant and bold. It’s not for everyday photography, but it’s an especially good recipe for the right subject.

#7. X100F Velvia

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Trees, Rocks & Cliffs – Grand Canyon NP, AZ – Fujifilm X100F

This is another early film simulation recipe. It was one that I always had programmed into the Q menu, until I made a new Velvia recipe that I liked more. Still, these are good settings that I used regularly for many months.

#6. X100F Eterna

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Expedition Lodge – Moab, UT – Fujifilm X100F

This was my attempt to create something that resembles the Eterna film simulation for those who have a Fujifilm camera without Eterna. More recently I created an alternative Eterna recipe that I much prefer.

#5. X100F Fujicolor Superia 800

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Caramel Macchiato – Sandy, UT – Fujifilm X100F

What I appreciate about this recipe is that it produces a nice negative film aesthetic with a slightly green-ish color cast. Many of my recipes tend to lean warm, so this one is a reprieve from that. I think it delivers lovely results, and I can definitely understand why it’s a popular recipe.

#4. X100F Portra 400

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Jump – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F

What I don’t appreciate about this recipe is that it requires a tricky white balance setting that’s difficult to get right. If you can get the custom measurement correct, the results are great. I should revisit this recipe and attempt to create this look without requiring a vague custom white balance measurement.

#3. X100F Classic Chrome

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Closed Drive Thru Window – South Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X100F

This was the very first film simulation recipe that I created. It produces a look in the Ektachrome neighborhood. It looks nice and I’m not surprised that it’s so popular, but I have created other recipes that use Classic Chrome that I prefer more.

#2. X100F Vintage Kodachrome

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Old Log In Kolob Canyon – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

Vintage Kodachrome is intended to mimic the look of the first generation of Kodachrome, which was used by photographers like Ansel Adams, Chuck Abbott, Barry Goldwater, and others. It’s a fun recipe, producing a vintage slide aesthetic.

#1. X-Pro2 Kodachrome II

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Pueblo de Taos – Taos, NM – Fujifilm X-Pro2

Classic Chrome is a popular film simulation, so it shouldn’t be too surprising that the top four recipes are all based on it. Kodachrome II is the only recipe in this list not developed on the X100F, although it can (like all of these recipes) be used on any X-Trans III or IV camera. This recipe is intended to mimic the look of the second generation of Kodachrome, which was used by photographers like Ernst Haas, Luigi Ghirri, William Eggleston and others. It’s one of my absolute favorite recipes that I’ve created.

Now it’s your turn. Which of these 10 recipes do you like most? Which recipe not on this list is your favorite? Let me know in the comments!

Kodachrome vs. Ektachrome – A Film Simulation Showdown

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I have two very similar film simulation recipes that both produce results quite close to their namesake slide films: Kodachrome II and Ektachrome 100SW. Even though the settings are nearly the same, the looks that they produce are quite different. As I was thinking about this, I was reminded of the old “Kodachrome vs. Ektachrome” debate from the days of film. There were people who preferred one over the other for various reasons. Kodachrome was more iconic. Ektachrome had more variations. Despite the fact that they were both color transparencies made by the same company, I could probably write a long article about the differences between the two films, but this blog is about Fujifilm X cameras and not Kodak film stocks.

What I wanted to do here is compare the two film simulation recipes side by side. I will show them both, and you can decide which is best for you. It’s kind of a revival of the old debate, but with a modern twist. Kodachrome or Ektachrome? You get to decide which is the better film simulation recipe!

Take a look at the pictures below:

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Welcome to Ogden – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Kodachrome II”

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Winter Mountain – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Ektachrome 100SW”

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Desert Juniper – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Kodachrome II”

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Juniper – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Ektachrome 100SW”

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Pueblo de Taos – Taos, NM – Fujifilm X-Pro2 “Kodachrome II”

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View From Mount Carmel Tunnel – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Ektachrome 100SW”

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Kodak Transparencies – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Kodachrome II”

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Kodak Transparencies – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 “Ektachrome 100SW”

What I like about the Kodachrome II recipe is that it produces a vintage color look that reminds me of the images found on the pages of old magazines, such as National Geographic and Arizona Highways. As I look through my grandparent’s old slide collection (which I have at home), I can see this look in their old photographs from 50 or so years ago. It’s such a fantastic recipe for Fujifilm X cameras, and I just love it!

What I like about the Ektachrome 100SW recipe is that it produces a color look that reminds me of some images that I have captured with the actual film. The film was good for western landscapes or any situation where you needed some color saturation with a warm color cast. It wasn’t around for very long because it was only marginally commercially successful, but it was one of the better variations of Ektachrome film in my opinion.

What do you think, Kodachrome or Ektachrome? Let me know in the comments which film simulation recipe you like best!

Fujifilm Classic Chrome Film Simulation Recipes

Classic Chrome is one of the most popular film simulations available on Fujifilm X-Trans cameras. It produces a look similar to quintessential Kodak color transparency films like Kodachrome and Ektachrome, which graced the pages of publications like National Geographic and Arizona Highways for many years. With all things vintage being in style, there is a huge draw to the analog-esque results produced by the Classic Chrome film simulation.

I love Classic Chrome and I have used it as the base for a bunch of different film simulation recipes. It’s possible to achieve a number of different interesting looks straight out of camera by adjusting the settings. Honestly, I think that I’ve only scratched the surface of what’s possible. I plan to create even more film simulation recipes using Classic Chrome in the coming months. As I do, I will add them to this article.

Below you will find all of my different film simulation recipes that I have created that use Classic Chrome. If you haven’t tried them all, I personally invite you to do so and see which are your favorites! My personal favorite is Kodachrome II, but they each have their own usefulness and charm. Let me know in the comments which recipe you like most!

Even though the different recipes say X100F, X-Pro2, and X-T20, they are completely compatible with any Fujifilm X-Trans III or IV camera. For example, you don’t have to use the X100F recipes exclusively on the X100F. You can use any of my recipes on any X-Trans III camera.

My original Classic Chrome recipe.

My dramatic Classic Chrome recipe.

My Vintage Kodachrome recipe.

My Kodachrome II recipe.

My Vintage Agfacolor recipe.

My Kodak Portra recipe.

See also:

My Classic Chrome recipe for Fujifilm Bayer and X-Trans II.

If you like these recipes, be sure to follow Fuji X Weekly so that you don’t miss out when I publish a new one! Feel free to comment, as I appreciate your feedback. Please share on social media this article or any other that you found useful so that others might find it, too.

Photoessay: Along The Highway, Part 5 – Oklahoma in Color

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Small Green Hill – McAlester, OK – Fuji X-Pro2 & 60mm – Indian Nation TPKE / US HWY 69

Colorado  New Mexico  West Texas  East Texas  Oklahoma In B&W  Wyoming

When we were planning our summer road trip, the one state that I was least interested in was Oklahoma. I’d been to Oklahoma a couple times, and nothing I saw was particularly memorable. But I had never traveled through the eastern part of the state, which is where my family and I drove through, and I was quite impressed with what I saw. Oklahoma blew my expectations out of the water!

I captured a whole lot of photographs while there, mostly in and around the town of Pawhuska. We stayed the night there, so the images were taken over a span of two days. I used my Fujifilm X-Pro2 for the color pictures, utilizing my Kodachrome II film simulation recipe. If Pawhuska sound familiar to you, it’s because Ree Drummond (“The Pioneer Woman”) lives there. She has a gift store and restaurant in the town. The best food we ate on the entire trip was in Pawhuska, hands down!

We drove down many miles of rural highways in Oklahoma, and saw some surprisingly beautiful scenery along the way. We passed through several quaint towns and experienced firsthand some great hospitality. I hope to one day return, but I’m grateful for the time I spent there, even if it was short.

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Foal Shy – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Drummond Ranch – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Open Window Reflection – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Buckin’ Flamingo – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Locked Door – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Oklahoma Flag – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Brick – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Window Grill – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Pawhuska Reflection – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Contemplation – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Paint Ladder – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Backwards Gear – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Window Seat – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Rural Sunset – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – OK HWY 99

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Sunset Through The Branches – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – OK HWY 99

My Fujifilm X-Pro2 Kodachrome II Film Simulation Recipe

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Drummond Ranch – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm “Kodachrome II”

I was asked by a couple different Fuji X Weekly readers if I could create some film simulation recipes that mimic the look of renown photographers Ernst Haas, Luigi Ghirri and William Eggleston, each of which are known for their unique style. As I was contemplating how to go about this, I learned that all three of them used Kodachrome film. Although none of them used Kodachrome exclusively, they all used it extensively at one time. If I could make a Kodachrome recipe, I would have something that covers Haas, Ghirri and Eggleston. To copy their look using this recipe, simply find color and light in the same manor as those famous photographers did (easy, right?).

You might be thinking, doesn’t Classic Chrome already look like Kodachrome? No, it actually resembles Ektachrome more than Kodachrome, but it is a good starting point since it has a general Kodak aesthetic. What about the Kodachrome recipe I already made? Actually, that mimics an earlier version of the film, which has a little different look than what I was going for here. You could use that, as I’m certain that some of Haas’ early color work was shot on that era of Kodachrome. Primarily, the Kodachrome that Haas, Ghirri and Eggleston used was Kodachrome II and Kodachrome-X.

In 1961 Kodak replaced the original Kodachrome 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 of the original) 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 this film simulation recipe “Kodachrome II” I think it more closely resembles Kodachrome-X, but I find it to be a reasonable match for both.

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Chair Shadow – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm “Kodachrome II”

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.

I believe that Haas, Ghirri and Eggleston continued to use Kodachrome even beyond 1974 when the new version came out, but it seems they used it less extensively, especially Eggleston, who became known for his work with color negatives. Still, each of these three photographers captured some of their most recognizable images on the second era of Kodachrome. And that’s the look that the film simulation recipe below is based on.

Classic Chrome
Dynamic Range: DR200
Highlight: +1
Shadow: +2
Color: -1
Noise Reduction: -3
Sharpening: 1
Grain Effect: Weak
White Balance: Auto, +3 Red & -4 Blue
ISO: Auto up to ISO 6400
Exposure Compensation: +1/3 to +2/3 (typically)

Example photos, all straight-out-of-camera JPEGs captured using my Fujifilm X-Pro2 Kodachrome II Film Simulation recipe:

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Roof & Sky – Wichita, KS – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm “Kodachrome II”

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Small Green Hill – McAlester, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm “Kodachrome II”

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Ranch View – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm “Kodachrome II”

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Foal Shy – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm “Kodachrome II”

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Blackberry Lemonade – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm “Kodachrome II”

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From Dust To Dust – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm “Kodachrome II”

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McDiner – Taos, NM – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm “Kodachrome II”

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McTaos – Taos, NM – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm “Kodachrome II”

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Pawhuska Reflection – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm “Kodachrome II”

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Open Window Reflection – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm “Kodachrome II”

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Kitchen Flowers – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm “Kodachrome II”

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White Water Lily – Princeton, TX – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm “Kodachrome II”

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Park Boys – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm “Kodachrome II”

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Rural Sunset – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm “Kodachrome II”

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Weed At Sunset – Montrose, CO – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm “Kodachrome II”

See also: My Fujifilm X-Pro2 Vintage Agfacolor Film Simulation Recipe

My Fujifilm X100F Vintage Kodachrome Film Simulation Recipe

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Kodak Colors – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Vintage Kodachrome”

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.

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Kodak Transparencies – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-E1

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 nearly identical. 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.

Plenty of people have attempted to mimic the Kodachrome look with their digital images. It’s not as simple as it sounds. Alien Skin Exposure software has what is likely the best one-size-fits-all Kodachrome presets, but I don’t think they’re exactly right because the results vary from camera to camera.

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L.A. Trolley – Perris, CA – Nikon D3300, Alien Skin Exposure 1935-1960 Kodachrome preset.

Besides, it all depends on exactly what Kodachrome look you are after. There are different versions, including about a dozen that I didn’t mention above, each with their own slightly varied look. Perhaps filters were used in conjunction with the film (which was more common in the film era than the digital era). How it was viewed, whether projected, light table, printed or scanned, also effected the appearance. Kodachrome has a long shelf life if stored in a dark, cool space, but if not stored properly it can fade or become damaged, and maybe you prefer one of those looks over the other. It’s really tough to pin down exactly what Kodachrome looks like because there are so many variables.

Fujifilm X cameras, such as the X100F that I own, have different Film Simulation options. One of those is called Classic Chrome, which is supposed to mimic the general look of Kodak color transparency film. Some have suggested that Classic Chrome imitates Kodachrome, but I think it more closely resembles Ektachrome.

A couple of days ago I accidentally discovered a vintage Kodachrome recipe for my Fujifilm X100F, based on Classic Chrome. By “accidentally” I mean that I had no intentions of creating a Kodachrome look. I captured a RAW image and played around with it in the camera’s built-in RAW editor. I was trying to see what crazy looks I could get if I really messed around with the settings. One of the versions that I created reminded me of vintage Kodachrome.

I dug out my old Kodachrome slides, plus my grandparent’s really old Kodachrome slides (which I happen to have at my house), looked at some vintage magazines and did some internet searches, and studied what real Kodachrome looks like. Relying strictly on my fading memory isn’t always the best idea, so having actual samples to compare was useful. Thankfully I found plenty of old Kodachrome pictures from many different eras to examine.

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Rubber Boots – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F, original “Vintage Kodachrome” image.

The original picture (above) that I thought looked like vintage Kodachrome was somewhat close to the 1935-1960 version of Kodachrome, but it needed some adjustments. I played around a little more and I think that I have created a pretty good Film Simulation recipe for that generation of the film. Some images seem more convincing than others, but overall I believe it is surprisingly accurate.

One thing that I’m not completely thrilled about with the recipe is the film grain. I think that strong is too strong and weak is too weak. I wish that there was a medium option, but there’s not. On real Kodachrome the grain is not uniform and tends to clump, and so the grain looks much different than Fujifilm’s more regular faux grain. Beginning with Kodachrome II the grain was more fine, and so I definitely wouldn’t pick strong grain if I was trying to simulate a later version. The reason that I chose strong instead of weak is because it furthers the impression of vintage, despite the inaccuracy.

A characteristic of the 1935-1960 Kodachrome is the color shift. Blues veered toward cyan, reds were a bit darker, and skin tones had more of a bronze/orange look. It wasn’t as true-to-life as later versions of the film, but for its time it was considered very accurate.

I think my Vintage Kodachrome Film Simulation recipe is a great way to create in-camera retro-styled images. The example photographs in this post are all straight-out-of-camera JPEGs. It’s pretty darn close to that first era of Kodachrome slide film, and while not 100% accurate, it definitely has the right aesthetic to be convincing.

Classic Chrome
Dynamic Range: DR200
Highlight: +4
Shadow: -2
Color: +4
Sharpening: +1
Noise Reduction: -3
Grain: Strong
White Balance: Auto, +2 Red, -4 Blue
ISO: Auto up to ISO 6400
Exposure Compensation: -1/3 to -1 (typically)

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Books On A Mantel – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Vintage Kodachrome”

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Two Thirds – Uintah, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Vintage Kodachrome”

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Pumpkin – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Vintage Kodachrome”

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Leaves In The Grass – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Vintage Kodachrome”

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Leaves Around A Tree – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Vintage Kodachrome”

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Bicycle Trail – Uintah, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Vintage Kodachrome”

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Through The Fall Forest – Uintah, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Vintage Kodachrome”

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Autumn In The Woods – Uintah, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Vintage Kodachrome”

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Golden Forest – Uintah, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Vintage Kodachrome”

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Changing Leaves – Uintah, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Vintage Kodachrome”

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Changing Forest – Uintah, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Vintage Kodachrome”

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Red Autumn Leaf – Uintah, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Vintage Kodachrome”

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Seeds of Gold – Uintah, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Vintage Kodachrome”

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Boy Unsure – Uintah, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Vintage Kodachrome”

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Respect – Uintah, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Vintage Kodachrome”

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Autumn Canopy – Uintah, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Vintage Kodachrome”

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Weber River Autumn – Uintah, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Vintage Kodachrome”

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Log Above The Riverbank – Uintah, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Vintage Kodachrome”

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Weber River In October – Uintah, UT – Fujifilm X100F “Vintage Kodachrome”

See also:
My Fujifilm X100F Acros Film Simulation Recipe
My Fujifilm X100F Velvia Film Simulation Recipe
My Fujifilm X100F Astia Film Simulation Recipe