PEOPLE FREQUENTLY ASK WHY FUJIFILM NEVER OFFERED CLASSIC CHROME AS A RENDERING OPTION FOR THEIR X-PRO1 AND X-E1 CAMERAS. I confess that I’ve googled to see if this update is available on a few occasions.
It isn’t, or at least the availability is not obvious.
Classic Chrome didn’t appear as an in-camera option until the X-Trans II sensor appeared in later cameras. The lack of firmware upgrades for it on the for the X-Pro1 and XE-1 are thought to be connected with the way in which the newer sensor works.
But, both the X-Pro1 and X-E1 are boxed with a custom version of SilkyPix a RAW converter that is specially adapted for the Fujifilm X-Trans sensor. Kodachrome was included within the rendering options available even before the end of February 2015. I am currently using SilkyPix version 220.127.116.11. The Kodachrome option is often overlooked because the .jpg files from all the X-Series cameras are so good many, especially professionals, avoid using RAW. RAW processing increases workflow time, and when you’re busy, rather than a hobbyist, time is money. Also the option is marked ‘K’, rather than Chrome.
If you really want a ‘chrome experience’ from your X-Pro1 or X-E1 processing a RAW file using SilkyPix is a fast and painless way of achieving one version of this classic look. Not everyone is happy with the result from the default SilkyPix K setting. You may want to play around with it.
The following image is a Standard (Provia) .jpg from my XE-1, and the images below it are variations processed using the different methods described in the texts below them.
SilkyPix Kodachrome RAW Conversion
Three Versions of Kodachrome 64 from Alien Skin
The colors in the default image are quite nice, but they’re not anything like Kodachrome. This is emulated far better with SilkyPix. But, as an experiment I fired up Alien Skin Exposure. It offers many versions of the classic film. Using Alien Skin’s Exposure also defaults to adding film grain to your file, an in-camera feature only just released on the Fujifilm X-Pro2.
I well remember this film from my childhood, and also Kodachrome II, which replaced it during the 1970s. Originally, the movie version of this film, this was balanced for artificial light and an amber filter was used to correct the color for daylight.
The final version of Kodachrome was popular with photographers, such as Steve McCurry, working for National Geographic. Here the film was at the top of its game. This is the version produced using Alien Skin Exposure.
A Quick and Dirty in-camera Classic Chrome tweak
Alien Skin provides very nice renditions across a range of films, including the three versions of Kodachrome illustrated above. One advantage of using Alien Skin Exposure is that it can also add film grain to your files, adding realism to the film simulation. But, SilkyPix and Alien Skin can’t produce Classic Chrome in the camera. After some Googling I came across a report of someone achieving a very approximate workaround by using custom settings on their X-Pro1 and X-E1 cameras. To achieve the result below select Astia and toggle Color to -2 and Higlight and Shadow to +1. I’m unsure that the result looks like Kodachrome, but it is quite pleasing.
For those wishing for the more vintage look it’s possible to process the RAW file in the camera. To get this antiqued effect make your RAW conversion settings: Film S Astia, Color -2, Highlights +1, Shadows +1, WB Shift + 2 Red -1 Blue. This takes just a few seconds 🙂
Processing RAW images in your camera is both quick and simple. The only problem with the method is that you cannot see the result until after you press the button. You may not be able to achieve the exact look of Classic Chrome boxed with the X-Pro2, X-E2s or X 100T, but if you own the X-Pro 1, or X-E1, you don’t need to throw your camera away because it lacks Classic Chrome in the menu. Just experiment with SilkyPix or in Camera conversions until you achieve an effect that suits your style of photography.