If you are looking for a new film simulation to try with your Fujifilm camera, then check out this Fujifilm film simulation review Kodachrome 64. In this article, we will first cover a brief history of Kodachrome. Afterwards, we will look at some results achieved with the recipe. Which will be accompanied by some commentary on features of the photographs.
If you are a fan of Fujifilm film simulations, then this article is for you. We would especially like to hear your thoughts on the recipe in the comments section at the bottom of the page. Especially if you have had the opportunity to spend some time shooting with the simulation.
1. What Is Kodachrome?
Kodachrome was first released in 1935 by Eastman Kodak and was the first 3 colour reversal film. It soon became the favourite film of choice for both cinema photographers and still photographers alike. Before its discontinuation in 2009, it was the oldest surviving brand of colour film. Lasting for a total of 74 years. It was popular in many publications throughout the 20th century. Most notably in National Geographic. And was the favourite film of choice for photographers such as William Eggleston and Steve McCurry.
2. A Brief History Of Kodachrome
Before the introduction of Kodachrome in 1935, many photographers used additive methods to develop their colour film. This process required materials such as Autochrome and Dufaycolour. The development process suffered several disadvantages, including visible colour elements on projections. (this was before television screens). Fortunately, the subtractive process did not require these additional materials.
2.1. First Iterations
John CapStaff was the first person to introduce a Kodachrome film that used a subtractive development method in 1913. However, this only used two colours: Blue-green and red-orange. Made commercially available in 1915 for film and still cameras. The film did not render images how we understand todays 3 colour photographs to look.
Despite this, they still offered users surprisingly good colour renditions of skin tones in portraits. Due to the 1935 release of the same names Kodachrome film by Kodak, this original version has been all but forgotten.
2.2. Passing The Torch
The pair became interested in film during their high school years after agreeing the two-tone process used rendered terrible results. They decided to develop a new method. And first begain by experementing and understanding the two tone process. These experiments would continue throughout their college years.
By the time the pair had finished college, they had arrived at the stage of using multiple layered films to isolate each of the primary colours. The use of multi-layered film had been first invented in 1912 by German inventor Rudolph Fischer. However, Fischer was unable to develop the means of stopping the layers bleeding into one another in the development process.
Learning from Fischer, Mannes and Godowsky continued to pick up the development of this technique. However, the two struggled due to the lack of money, supplies, and facilities. In 1922 Kodak offered the two a temporary placement in their lab to continue their experiments.
2.3. Kodak Take Notice
In 1924 the two developed a method of controlled diffusion in two-tone film. This time-controlled way of processing one layer at a time began solving the problem Fischer could not. After several more years of experimentation with this process of using separate emulsion layers to develop each colour, the two also figured out how to combine this into a single layer. The last piece in the puzzle was figuring out how to isolate the sensitising dies in the film’s development process.
2.3. A Lifeline
While attempting to solve this problem, the pair finally ran out of money from their original business loan. However, impressed by the pair, Kenneth Mees, the lead technitian at Kodak, offered the two a salary job at the company. He also paid off the loan the two had secured to pay for their initial time in the Kodak labs.
This offer came with the condition that the two must produce a commercially viable product ready for distribution in 3 years.
In 1933 the two had still not been able to figure out a successful 3 colour process. Mees did grant a one year extension. Unfortunately, at the end of this year, the process was still not ready. And in a desperate bid to ensure their survival at the company, they presented a two colour movie process.
2.4. The Finish Line
However, just before Kodak introduced this two colour process Mannes and Godowsky finally managed to successfully complete their 3 colour film project. On April 15, 1935, Kodak’s full-colour film was released.
3. The Kodachrome 64 Recipe:
- Classic Chrome
- Dynamic Range: DR200
- Highlight: 0
- Shadow: 0
- Color: +2
- Noise Reduction: -4
- Sharpening: +1
- Clarity: +3
- Grain Effect: Weak, Small
- Colour Chrome Effect: Strong
- Colour Chrome Effect Blue: Weak
- White Balance: Daylight, +2 Red & -5 Blue
- ISO: Auto, up to ISO 6400
- Exposure Compensation: 0 to +2/3 (typically)
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4. First Impressions
Now lets get into this Fujifilm film simulation review. Overall impressions of this recipe are that this film simulation renders colours that are close in likeness to that of the original Kodachrome film. However, certain things such as the sky typically does not chrome as much as the traditional film. This leaves the sky appearing slightly less blue than would be expected. One may also detect a dominant theme of green throughout the mid-tones and highlights of the images.
The recipe also renders images with an overly warm white balance in indoor situations and under artificial lighting. For this reason, it is advisable to only use the simulation for outdoor use. Or indoors if there is enough natural light in the scene.
Furthermore, the skin tones shot in the simulation are noticeably more orange than those in kodaks Kodachrome prints. Artificial light exaggerates this warmer tone further.
The whites in the image appear distinctively matte, resembling those found in the Kodachrome film prints. However, the blacks fall beyond those you would find in an authentic Kodachrome print. For people seeking an accurate simulation, try reducing the blacks in the camera’s tone curve and reducing the contrast.
The level of contrast may not resemble the original film. However, it is more realistic. The reason for Kodachrome popularity was its close resemblance to how the human eye sees. So those who value this may appreciate the increased level of contrast.
The settings used for this simulation produce distinctly digital images. Regardless of the 64 ISO, the simulation has been modelled on, it could be argued that to create a closer likeness, one should raise the grain. This will come down to personal preference. Furthermore, if shot in low light, the images will produce enough grain to appear more authentic.
These photographs were shot on the Fujifilm XT-4 26 megapixel trans 4 sensors. And even with the slight addition of grain in the recipe the photographs still render huge amounts of detail. The place where details seem to be more muted is in the sky. however, the day these photographs were taken was exceedingly hazy, which would have ultimately left the sky and the planes with less detail than things closer to the sensor.
The details in the photographs appear to show more muting of highlights in the sky. The hazy weather conditions would have caused this to be exaggerated.
7. Recommendations For Where and How to Use The Simulation
Last in this Fujifilm film simulation review is where this recipe could shine best. Kodachrome was a popular film choice among all cinematographers and film photographers for its versatility and true likeness. This simulation does fall short of offering people that level of versatility as it has a more stylised appearance.
The scenarios where this simulation may shine would firstly be in an outdoor environment. Furthermore, due to the white balance settings the simulation uses, it will not offer good results when used in indoor environments without large amounts of natural light.
Sunny summer days outside with clear blue skies will see this simulation perform to its potential. Also, outside of urban environments where the green tones will confuse and create discomfort for a viewer. Because of its green tones, it may be suitable for photographs relating to health and vitality.
The overall quality of this simulation is superb and like many others, it is worth programming into your FujiFilm for a few outings. You may decide that it is precisely what you’re looking for and find it remains at the top of your simulation list.
It definitely gives off a retro aesthetic but with a digital finish. If this is what you’re looking for, then give it a go.
What do you think of this Fujifilm film simulation review? Are there any tweaks you would recommend? If so, let us know in the comments section below.
Fujifilm Film Simulation Review: Kodachrome 64, Fujifilm Film Simulation Review: Kodachrome 64