Updated: Aug 15
The Kodachrome 64 recipe.
Probably the most popular and beloved film stock to this day. Unfortunately, it was discontinued a long time ago, so youngsters like me had no chance of experimenting with this fantastic film roll. Which makes it even harder to replicate.
All we know for sure, it has deep & well-saturated colors and an amazing dynamic range.
But if you ask 10 different people what Kodachrome 64 looked like, each would probably describe it differently. At least that's my experience when asking experienced users about it.
I asked experienced users on forums and groups how they feel about the Kodachrome 64 and how would they describe it. Surprisingly enough, they all seem to remember it differently. Also, their archive photos all look different - which makes the process of replicating this film even more complicated by raising contradictions.
The old version of the Sony Kodahcrome 64 Film Simulation recipe
shot on Sony a7III
I spent the most time on the Film Simulation recipe for Kodachrome 64, as I had to figure out its authentic look before I could replicate it. It took me two months to create the first version of the film simulation, and I have been updating it monthly ever since. Each update improves the colors and adds more versions to capture the diverse and complex looks of the film.
If you want to read about the first version of Kodachrome 64 recipe and see what it looked like, here is the article.
The old version of the Sony Kodahcrome 64 recipe
shot on Sony a7III
Replicating Kodachrome is not easy due to its complex emulsion development, which requires 8 or more tanks of processing. Plus, it has gone through 4 significant film alterations since the first version has been released.
Therefore, it is not surprising that there are many different opinions and sample photos of Kodachrome 64. The complex film development methods coupled with the different versions of the Kodachrome 64 film, gave birth to many variations of the shots.
That's why I created 3 different film simulations, to replicate the most popular ones!
Here is a website with good Kodachrome 64 references for Medium format film: https://www.shorpy.com/Large_Format_Kodachromes
You can clearly see the differences between photos throughout the years. This further proves the complexity of this film.
The picture below shows the deep velvety blues and rich orange skin tones that Kodachrome 64 can produce. However, the color science of this film is very diverse and complex, depending on various factors.
Check out this highly unrealistic de-saturated look, with pink skin tones, deep teal greens, and de-saturated blues, resulting in unnatural, but interesting colors.
Despite all the variations, the Kodachrome 64 film has some distinctive features that make it stand out from other films. It has a high dynamic range, a punchy look, and rich colors with a blue velvet cast, which gives it a cool and elegant tone.
Leica replicated a Kodachrome Look in their Leica M8 CCD sensors, with the help of Kodak. This version will render Pinkish skin tones, deep greens of teal, and fairly high contrast and saturation.
I've replicated the Leica Kodachrome look with the help of Sony's picture profile menu:
Sony LeicaChrome 64 Film Simulation
The real Kodachrome 64 seems to have had a lot of Blue Magenta cast in all images, making it a predominant characteristic, and people loved it. Look closely at her skin tones and in the background.
Even though it's hard to define the exact way a standard Kodachrome should look like, the main characteristic I've noticed in all of them is a deep dominance in the blues, with slight velvet cast in the shadows, and vibrant orange skin tones. It's based on a complementary Blue-Orange color harmony.
Here are some real Kodachrome 64 shots:
Deep greens and velvety blues bring back memories of nostalgia.
35mm Kodachrome 64 With Deep Blue cast and Amber Skin tones
35mm Kodachrome 64 with a strong Blue Magenta Cast and Golden Skin tones
Large Format Kodachrome 64
The image above best represents the version I will be showcasing today - the Kodachrome 64 V1. Maybe only with slightly increased saturation. No worries, you can easily turn down the saturation by a couple of steps in the picture profile menu.
The first version of Kodachrome is a film simulation with rich, authentic colors and without any color cast. The Kodachrome 64 V2, however, is a toned-down version with warmer tones, skin of golden color, and with a cast of deep velvety blues over the whole image. You have multiple options to choose from.
Sony Kodachrome 64 V1 Film Recipe Samples
All shots were taken with the Sony RX100 VI - Straight out of camera JPEGs
Deep tones of red and not only, creating beautiful color contrast & images that pop.
Sony RX100 VI with Kodachrome 65 V1 Film Simulation
The Sony Kodachrome 64 recipe offers images with a high dynamic range and punchy but faded contrast while also packing deep & well-saturated colors. You won’t find anything like it elsewhere. It always delivers images that will catch your eye.
Let's compare it to Sony's standard colors!
Sony Standard Colors with AWB vs Sony Kodachrome 64 Film Simulation
Improved colors and a clear improvement in highlight retention, as you can notice in the clouds. Incredible how magenta Sony comes out sometimes.
Each Sony camera has a slightly different color science since Sony keeps improving it with each new camera model coming out. For example, my pocket Sony RX100 VI shifts the blues towards teal, while my Sony a7 III shifts blues to magenta, and so goes with all other Sony cameras. With each camera model, color rendition will vary ever so slightly.
Kodachrome had a slight magenta tint in the skies. So if you want to recreate the same old retro look with golden skin tones and velvety blue skies, tweak the Kelvin & Color Filter adjustments. Increase the temperature to 200-300K and shift the color filter very gently towards Blue-Magenta (B:M) until you hit the sweet spot.
The following shots are just quick snaps taken on my nature trip, nothing fancy.
Most of them were taken at noon with the sun being high up in the sky, so this is a great test to showcase the dynamic range even in the toughest conditions with a 1-inch sensor. Full frame sensors should be able to capture more.
Beautiful deep skies with the Kodachrome 64 recipe
I am extremely satisfied with the overall colors coming out of this picture profile. Especially with the greens, which due to this film simulation, are rich and shifted towards teal.
As mentioned before, you can easily adapt this picture profile to the vintage look by shifting the color filter toward Blue Magenta (B-M). That will introduce a velvet color cast over the whole image. Just don't push it too much, be gentle.
Skin tone test ⬇️
You can see the subtle hues of blue and magenta peeking in.
Kodachrome 64 on a Cloudy Day
Even tho' it's not a low-light Film Simulation, you can use it at night time to produce magical imagery - with vibrant colors and high-contrast tonalities. Unfortunately, the Sony RX100 VI does not have good low-light capabilities, so I had no chance of testing it extensively at night time. Maybe next time with a full-frame camera.
Or you can send me your shots with it!
Can we get a Sony camera that is slightly bigger than the RX100, APS-C sensor for a balanced quality, with film aesthetics?
Are we asking too much from Sony?
This was created in 1-2 minutes with the WePik AI Generator. If you check the explore section on Instagram, you know I am not the first one to generate a Sony camera with film aesthetics.
So pardon me if I’m a bit puzzled that Sony is missing out on this.
They don't even have to create something revolutionary for people to be satisfied. Personally, I just need a camera with a film-like design, leather texture, softer corners, and good grip with an APS-C sensor packed in a well-sized body. Maybe add in some grain options for JPEGs, and ka-boom. 💥
Hope springs eternal. But 'till the day comes, let's return to the Kodachrome 64 recipe.
Here are some night shots with the recipe:
What do you think of the New Kodachrome 64 Sony film simulation?
Have you tried it? Show us some samples of your shots on the Forum