Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Kodachrome 64, a film fetish

I haven't shot much film in my life .. in fact maybe not more than 20 - 30 spools of B&W and so much of color. This is probably why the discovery of the famed Kodachrome 64 via scanned slides (some of which in high res), came as one of the biggest "photographic events" last year and the film, the emulsion quickly became sort of a fetish. And since the K64 lab development was officially suspended on 1 January 2011 (?) i was left with only choice which did not prove an easy task at all - to simulate this emulsion in PP of digital frames.

I did some work last year and this year too, to a varying degree of success, and also investigated the offerings from Color Efex Pro and DXO - was not very happy with the end results but was getting confidence that one day i'll be able to replicate the red infested green and blues, the warmth and contrast as well as the beautiful film texture - of the original Kodachrome 64 - the way i've seen it in some 300 - 400 original scans, exhibiting clearly "its flaws" and it's magic ..

Well, thanks to Mark, who sent me a preset 2 days ago - i got  me immediately thinking of K64, and did not wait long before sitting down again and modifying this preset - using it as a baseline and coming up with something, which i think mostly resembles the original Kodachrome, or shall i say - creating my, 2011 Kodachrome 64 look.

You be the judge .. I have placed 25 random insignificant images below from 4 cameras : L1, LC1, LX5 and G11 .. I prefer the L1 & LX5 rendering and resemblance most, closely followed by the G11 & LC1.

In no particular order :

And in the end of this post here is a thought i might develop further at some point, in a dedicated post of its own : 

I'd rather have a small (but not smaller) sensor camera, with very fast and sharp lens, that starts the sweet spot wide open and that has a very well tuned demosaic / denoise algorithm in Aperture, then have a APS-C sensor DSLR or Sigma camera with a lens that needs to be stopped down to get to sweet spot, which does not have much noise in high ISO, but may not have a well tuned demosaic algo in the tools ..

Till next time ..


  1. I like these..beautiful film look! These look much like some of the Kodachrome 64 scans I have seen.


  2. Thanks Mark! As you know things evolved a bit further with having a closer look of the K64 treatment of RPP - having slightly tweaked the original preset, these now would look a bit lighter, but this will be seen in the the next sets

  3. Dear Sir,

    Outstanding conversion (and pics, for that matter..) to say the least! Bravo!
    I've been trying myself to emulate K64 magic but I've always ended up with over-saturated or over-contrasted results...Your K64 is right there but subtle enough it doesn't scream "digital!" all over.
    Do you mind sharing your flow/preset, if it is possible? :-)