SOOC Kodachrome Simulation Tests

the wood

the wood

I bought into Fujifilm specifically for the straight out of camera jpgs. There is a time and a place to shoot RAW and I do when it's needed. But there is something quite limiting and yet liberating by shooting in jpg. And to be honest, in 2022, after over two decades of digital photography, we shouldn't have to shoot RAW.

That might be an unpopular opinion, but I didn't get into photography to create an image that doesn't represent what I saw or how the camera saw it. Shooting RAW gives a photographer a massive amount of data to work with to create an image.

In complex lighting situations this can be a lifesaver. But it can also make you lazy. I spend enough time using computers to manipulate 3D rendered images professionally. I don't need (or want) to do that with my photography.

I studied Architecture at a time when computers were just starting to be used for visualization and design by using computer generated forms and structures. A question often posed when presenting work was a simple, but loaded one; "did you do this because you wanted too or because the computer allowed you too?"

There was only once acceptable answer and it came down to "intent". What they wanted to know was if the design / form / structure was rooted in principle; the result of research and development. Or, if you just came up with something randomly that was only made possible by utilizing the technology.

I've started to ask myself this same question when it came to post processing my photos. Was I dropping the highlights and boosting the shadows because that is what was needed to (re)create the scene as I saw it? Or was I correcting the camera that didn't see it the way I saw it? Or, was it something else entirely? Was I exaggerating for effect? Or did I just know that pushing certain levels up and others down, simply because I could, would make a more striking image?

The answer was all of the above.

And it was made possible by the massive amount of data (freedom?) that shooting RAW allows. Freedom to not pay attention to the camera at the time of exposure. Freedom to not pay attention to the scene, because I knew, I could just fix it in post. But why fix it when you can make it better? After all, we have the technology.

So, I started playing around with shooting jpgs and seeing if I could get a good and accurate result. I couldn't, not really. And that's when I started to dive into Fuji. I've been playing around with the jpg settings, mostly trying to get two things. A consistent look. And a realistic look.

I'm interested in the film simulation aspect, not from a hipster aesthetic, but rather from a conscience effort to match a film simulation to its suited situation just as I did when I shot film.

Many will say that this is still manipulation and they are correct, it is. But the difference is that answer to the initial question, "intent". Choosing or matching a simulation happens BEFORE the shot is taken, not after. And shooting jpg only means it can't be undone or edited much after the fact. I didn't do it because the technology allowed me too, I did it because I chose too.

The images above are a stage in this process. They were created using the Kodachrome 64 recipe by Ritchie Roesch over at I've tweaked a couple things, primarily the white balance, so it's not quite his recipe, but based on it.

I will post my recipe here once I have it where I want it.

  • No Comments
Powered by SmugMug Owner Log In