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.
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:
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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.