Mastin labs presets review

Mastin labs presets review DEFAULT

The Ultimate Mastin Labs Review — Fuji Pro, Portra, Ilford

You won’t find a ton of reviews for Lightroom presets or Photoshop actions on this blog. But this is my second Mastin Labs review (read the first one here).
The majority of presets packs, while powerful, tend to be very broad and distracting for new photographers. But Mastin Labs help to serve a very niche audience of photographers, myself included.
I used to shoot on film every week. I’d burn through dozens of rolls of film, and spend hundreds of dollars on development. Why? Because there’s a magic to shooting on film. A texture, a dynamic range, a colour, which I found impossible to reproduce with digital.
But then in January 2015 I started long-term travelling. Film had to take a back seat for two reasons. I don’t have space for extra cameras and film in my bag. And it’s impossible to find a high-quality lab that will produce hi-res scans onto a memory stick in every city I visit.
Not to mention the cost!
I no longer shoot on film. And for the longest time, I craved it. That is until I discovered Mastin Labs. They’re possibly the best film emulation presets for Lightroom.
Joshua Tree, February 2016-February 29, 2016-19-2
[Note: ExpertPhotography is supported by readers. Product links on ExpertPhotography are referral links. If you use one of these and buy something, we make a little bit of money. Need more info? See how it all works here. — Ed.]

What You Need to Know About Lightroom Presets

Lightroom presetscan save you a ton of time when it comes to processing photos. And if you’re not an expert editor, chances are they’ll help you do a much better job than you’ll do on your own.
However, before you start using any presets, there’s a few things you need to know.

Software

You will (rather obviously) need your own copy of Adobe Lightroom. There will also be a minimum version of Lightroom that the presets will work with.
For example, Mastin Labs require Adobe Lightroom Version 4.0 or higher (circa 2012). Some other presets require the latest version of Lightroom, CC (6.0).

Shooting Formats

Presets are designed to process RAW files. JPEG files are already processed in-camera and will not be accurate after the presets are applied. You have to shoot in RAW.

Camera Compatibility

Most presets will work with any camera brand. Kirk Mastin is such a perfectionist that each set of presets comes with slight adjustments for different camera brands. So although these presets will work with any camera, they’re specifically designed for Nikon, Canon, Fuji, and Sony.

Refunds

It’s fairly common for retailers of Lightroom presets not to offer refunds, as they can’t be ‘returned’. So if you’re unsure about whether you want the presets, reach out to support and have them process one for you.
Or in the case of Mastin Labs, you can join the huge 20k+ FB community. You can then ask someone in there to process one for you, to help you decide.
Salvador, Brazil 2015-November 27, 2015-72

Fuji 400 Blue, All Hard

What Are Mastin Labs Presets?

Mastin Labs are Lightroom presets developed by Kirk Mastin. He has meticulously spent hundreds of hours ‘hybrid shooting’ with both film and digital. Then he scanned the developed film using his own Fuji Frontier scanner, and made hundreds of micro adjustments, to make the photos look exactly the same.
Film is timeless and beautifully subtle. It takes a trained eye, a restrained hand and a lot of effort to achieve the same effect in digital.
There seems to be a misconception that these presets are only for photographers who shoot on film or both film and digital. The reality is that they also serve as a fantastic way for digital-only shooters to discover a new format, as well as their favourite films.
Personally, I fell in love with Ilford Pan F, Delta 3200, and Portra 160 — three films I’d never even shot before.
Seoul, South Korea-February 18, 2015-293200 highlight hard

Pros of Mastin Labs Presets

  • So far, they’re the most accurate film emulation presets I’ve ever used. And they’re not just ‘hey this looks like film’. They’re ‘oh wow, that’s Ilford Pan F’.
  • They’re incredibly easy to use. I’m personally not trying to exactly match the look of film. I don’t require that level of accuracy, so I can be done in 1-4 clicks.
  • The community is huge, and inspiring. Over 20,000 users in one Facebook group. And they all share the kinds of photography that will make you drool.
  • I can find a preset to process almost every photo I take (the only real exception is astro), regardless of lighting.
  • They work on Adobe Camera Raw as well as Adobe Lightroom (although you’ll find this review focused on LR).

Cons of Mastin Labs Presets

  • They’re (and you could say justifiably) expensive. One pack retails $99. Although that’s a lot cheaper than film, it’s still expensive for three presets.
  • They’re camera-specific. You can use these presets with any brand of camera. But they work best if you use Nikon, Canon, Fuji, or Sony.
  • No refunds. They have a good point as to why they don’t offer refunds, and I know they’re a trustworthy company. But I always feel more comfortable when one is offered.
  • New packs take a long time to be produced. I’ve been using these three packs for about a year now. No new ones have been released in that time. I’ve had my eye on some Kodak Gold for about 6 months now, but nothing yet!

Mastin Labs Product Image

Mastin Labs Film Packs

Mastin Labs currently offer three different film emulation packs. This gives you plenty of choice to suit your style. Personally, my favourite is Portra, followed by Ilford, and then Fuji. But I know a ton of photographers who live and breathe Fuji.
In this next section, I’m going to show you some examples of the presets in action, when you may want to use them, and who they’re best suited for.
Before we get started through, it’s important to note that the following tone profiles are available:

  • All Hard
  • All Soft
  • Highlight Hard
  • Highlight Soft
  • Shadow Hard
  • Shadow Soft

And these grain & lens optimizations:

  • 35mm Grain
  • Medium Format Grain
  • Reset Grain
  • Lens Corrections On
  • Lens Corrections Off

The Ilford pack has more options, but we’ll get to that.

Fuji Pro

Popular choice for: Wedding and portrait photographers.
This pack comes with three different Fuji films: 160NS, 400H (Neutral) and 400H (Blue). It seems that the reason they’re such popular presets for wedding and portrait photographers is because of the fantastic greens and blues.
Out of the three packs, Fuji has the most beautiful highlight roll-off, and a very complimentary grain (although you’ll find my favourite grain in another pack).
Lets have a look at some of the presets in action…

Fuji 160NS

fuji 160, shadows hard

Berlin, Germany 2015-July 31, 2015-193

Notice that the preset warms the skin to an almost rosy glow, while bringing out the greens, and darkening the shadows.

Fuji 400H Neutral

400H Neutral, All Hard, 35mm Grain

Josh

Even with soft shadows, the shadows are darkened, my skin is warmed, and the blue of my shirt starts to pop.

Fuji 400H Blue

Barcelona, Spain 2015-October 06, 2015-363

fuji blue highlights hard shadows soft lens correction

Although you’d typically find this preset used on a portrait, it really is very versatile. I love to use it when I see blue in a photo.

Portra

Popular choice for: Landscapes, Portraits and Fine Art
Portra films are known for their excellent skin tones and natural warmth. While this is a popular choice for portraiture, I love using them on landscapes too.
And that’s part of the beauty of the film emulation packs — you have the choice, but you’re not spoiled by it.
With only nine expertly executed presets, instead of spending 15 minutes scrolling through 100 different presets, the choice can be made in a matter of seconds.
Personally, I scroll over the presets to see what they’ll look like in the preview window, and that speeds up the process.

Portra 160

 

Uruguay, December 2015-December 11, 2015-346

There is no preset better suited to sunsets than Portra 160. I went horseback riding at sunset with a bunch of friends in Uruguay. I processed every single photo from the evening using this preset. You’ll notice I did nothing to the tone profiles either.

Portra 400

Cinque Terre, Italy, 2015-August 17, 2015-48-Panoportra 400 all soft 35mm grain

The Portra 400 works great in bright light, allowing the colours to pop, and the highlights to glow.

Portra 800
untitled-July 01, 2015-43800 all soft lens correction grainWhen there’s a lot of greens and blues in a scene, this is a popular choice for me. The colours look more vibrant, while maintaining the same tone (whereas the Fuji pack tends to alter it).

Ilford

Popular choice for: Fine art, portraits, editorials.
Ilford films create the most stunning black and white films in the industry. They are perfect for making your photography look like art.
Time after time, I will take a photo in stunning colour, and think of the Portra or Fuji preset I’ll use to develop it. And then just out of curiosity I’ll click on an Ilford one to preview it, and I’ll fall in love all over again.
Unlike the packs above, the Ilford presets also come with the following filters and paper types, and these help to contribute to the stunning look of the images:
Filters:

  • Red Filter
  • Green Filter
  • Yellow Filter

B&W Print Paper Types:

  • Ilford Multigrade Warmtone Paper
  • Ilford Multigrade Cooltone Paper
  • Neutral Tone Paper

This actually provides you with a ton of versatility, and it may shock you how much of a difference a colour filter will make.

Ilford HP5

HP5, Highlights Hard, Shadows Soft, Yellow Filter

Busan, South Korea-February 25, 2015-116

HP5 is a very honest film, with a deep dynamic range. It allows you to see a true representation of the colour scene, in black and white. When I shoot in black and white, I prefer to have a more dramatic effect, so I tend to only use HP5 on overcast days.

Ilford Pan F
Pan FPan F red filter

Pan F is my religion. It’s shocking how stunning photos can look with the right light and the click of a button. A red filter also really helps to make the sky pop on a partially cloudy day.

Ilford Delta 3200

Shanghai, China-March 07, 2015-46-23200 35mm all soft
This is my favourite grain of all three packs, and it works fantastically well for street photography. Of all the photos I’ve shown you in this review, this has had the most dramatic transformation, but it’s probably one of my favourites too. Simply stunning preset.

How I Use Mastin Labs Presets (Video)

User Feedback

Kirk has testimonials on the Mastin Labs website, but random comments always seem so anonymous. So I searched through the user group to see what other users had to say, and here’s what I found:
Mastin Labs Review 5Mastin Labs Review 3Mastin Labs Review 2
Of course, it would be unrealistic to expect everyone to be 100% happy. There can be a learning curve, and sometimes your style may not completely suit a particular pack. However, other users will usually be happy to provide you with feedback on how you can tweak your images:Mastin Labs Review 1
This does tend to be the overwhelming response from the community though:Mastin Labs Review 4

Three Alternatives

Mastin Labs isn’t the only player in the Lightroom and ACR film emulation preset game. Although they’re my personal choice, you may prefer to explore these alternatives:

VSCO

VSCO is an online photo community similar to Instagram, although without the ability to comment or like images. You can still follow other users, build a following, and use filters. This is where the film emulation comes in.
VSCO offer eight different packs of film, in various styles, all retailing for $59 each.
Aside from the quality and accuracy of the packs, which you can decide on for yourself, VSCO appeals more to a consumer audience, whereas Mastin Labs is aimed toward professional photographers.

Replichrome

‘Get Totally Rad’ also offer three different packs of film emulation presets, with 13-22 different films in each, including some of the films covered by Mastin Labs.
There’s certainly more choice with Replichome, and they’ve taken a similar approach to Kirk, but for me, they don’t quite come as close to perfection as Kirk has.

Alien Skin

Alien Skin offers a bundle called Exposure X, and within that, they have their own Lightroom plugin (note, this is an external app, not a preset) for film emulation.
It may be worth considering, but in my opinion, they take processing too far, and start to dramatically change the look of the original image, rather than making slight adjustments to compliment it.

Conclusion

Yosemite Valley, April 2016-100

The result: The most accurate film emulation presets I’ve ever used.
Look, I’m not subtle. I try, but I’m not. I only review products I love, and this is very high on the list. It’s hard for me to be impartial.
I think that Kirk is a perfectionist and the results speak for themselves.
That ‘film look’ that was costing me hundreds of dollars a year, and which I once thought lost, is now just a couple of clicks away.
This is utterly unlike any other pack of presets I’ve tried, where you’re provided with as many presets as possible. Instead, Kirk focuses on providing the most stunning, and accurate presets possible. In this case, less really is more.
If you buy all three packs, you’re provided with nine different films, and although that may not seem like many, it really is all you need. (Kirk will tell you to, but) you don’t even have to follow the rules and use only the Mastin Labs adjustments. But they do make for a great starting point for any photo processing.
Unlike me, these films are subtle, and I truly believe they will compliment your photography, while still letting it stand up for itself.
No, they’re not cheap, but they also haven’t been thrown together in an afternoon behind a computer. They will provide you with that film look you’ve been craving.
This is more than just a preset system. It’s a community, a movement of hybrid photographers, and a way to shoot on film in the 21st century, using the fantastic technological advancements we have at our disposal.
For me, it’s a no brainer.
Check them out here, and I hope to see you soon inside the Mastin Labs Facebook Community 🙂

 

Sours: https://expertphotography.com/mastin-labs-review-film-emulation-fuji-pro-portra-ilford-discount/

Film is not dead, folks. For some time many thought that film would eventually die out since digital is so much easier. Surprising to some, film is back, and on the rise. It's not likely that film will be used more than digital, do to cost and time. However, I am beginning to see more and more hybrid photographers that use both film and digital professionally.

Over that past year or so I have began to integrate film into my professional workflow. However, my editing style in digital never really matched up well with the profiles of film I was shooting. My film endeavors first began with Ilford's HP5 and Kodak's Portra. I have really come to love the profiles of these films and began to look for ways to simulate that in digital. 

At first I went with VSCO, since it was the only company I knew of that made film presets. I used some VSCO filters here and there to get that true film look I was seeking. Unfortunately VSCO didn't quite hit the nail on the head with their presets in my opinion. I wasn't wanting the hipster style of editing associated with VSCO today, it's too cliché. The images looked somewhat like film, but it wasn't quite there for me.

A fellow wedding photographer told me about Mastin Labs. I was apprehensive because each film preset pack was one hundred dollars. I had my fair share of getting tricked into spending money on garbage presets. After some time of searching more, I came back to Mastin's site as I could not find anything that matched film closely, the way I wanted. I put forth the money, tried them out, and was blown away. They have a subtle film look, and don't look over-edited. They didn't have that hipster vibe to them. The just looked stunning.

Below I have created some before/after images. For each image I have applied the preset, and made some minor adjustments to my liking. Remember, presets can enhance your work, but don't necessarily make one a better photographer or make one's photos better.

Without further ado, lets dissect a few of these film presets, and why I love them so much.

Kodak Portra (160, 400, 800)


Kodak Portra will always be one of my favorite films. It is a great film for portraits, and almost anything really. I use both film and Mastin presets for weddings and portraits, as well as skiing and landscape photography. I love the way the greens look in Portra. They are vibrant, but not too vibrant. Portra really makes photos pop with out having too much saturation or too much of an over contrasty look. I have noticed that with the Mastin preset, the oranges are often a bit too orange for my liking. I just bring the orange saturation slider down a few until it looks right. You don't want everyone looking like they got a bad spray tan! Overall, a very great film preset.

Kodak Portra Pushed (160 +1 +2, 400 +1 +2, 800 +1 +2)

The pushed look has never really interested me.  Through my experience it seems that this pushing only looks good in certain situations. When it is done right, it's breathtaking. I would not suggest using these in harsh light. These tend to work best in the soft light (above) and strategically slight over-exposed images. The Portra Pushed pack add a lot more contrast to the images and can be too contrasty if not used right. With the correct lighting and exposure, adding the Portra Pushed film presets can really make an image pop.

Fuji Pro (400H Neutral, 400H Blue, 160NS)

Fuji's Pro films have been praised and used by wedding and portrait photographers for quite some time. They are a really good all around film and are well-known for their greens. Mastin has done a great job of replicating Fuji's color in their Fuji Color Pro Pack. Fujifilm makes skin tones look great, especially here. This film and film pack is really great for photographing people. The Fuji presets are super great overall. However, depending on the image being edited, the purple color tones may get overhauled on the luminance and look a bit odd. Luckily it is a simple fix, just slide the purple luminance slider back to desired location. Since this image above contains a lot of lupine (purple alpine plant), I did have to adjust the luminance slider slightly.

Ilford (Pan F, HP5, Delta 3200)

I love Ilford. Ilford films were some of the very first films that I learned how to shoot film on. The grain, the subtle contrast; theres just something about a good black and white photo, shot on Ilford. I have used VSCO's version of these film presets and they just don't do it justice. However, I think Mastin did a really good job at simulating the Ilford profile with their presets. Contrast will likely have to be adjusted to personal preference. The grain is pretty visible in the black and white film presets. I typically remove the grain before exporting, but have left it on (above) for viewing.

All of the preset packs come with the listed film presets as well as a few other editing tools. These tools include: hardening and softening of shadows and highlights, 35mm grain profiles, medium format grain profiles, and lens corrections on/off. It's a pretty simple and easy set up. Do not forget to select which camera manufacturer(s) you shoot with, so the presets stay accurate to the films the simulate.

Keep an eye out for a follow-up article in weeks to come where these film presets will go head-to-head against their real-film counterparts. 

This article is not sponsored content. All words, opinions, and thoughts are that of the author.

Link Disclosures

Sours: https://improvephotography.com/48722/mastinlabs1/
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03. Overall Look

When you push film in development, you get two main effects: More contrast (Blacks stay black, shadows get slight bump, midtones/highlights get most of the bump in exposure) and color casts, usually in the shadows.

The first thing I did when I installed this pack, was apply my favorite film in real life Portra 160 +2. I instantly knew this pack was a winner. The exact skin tones, contrast, and shadow color shift (red!) was there.

The marketing slogan for these presets is “Moody, not muddy” and they deliver. You get the contrast and deep shadow look, but with skin tones that maintain a natural tone, instead of looking like underexposed film.

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Skin tones look like pushed Portra, warm and punchy.

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Blues and greens look incredibly like film, desaturated and lower luminance.

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Portra 800 +2 / Shadow Soft / 35mm grain - Photo: Dylan M Howell

Sours: https://goodpresets.com/reviews/mastin-labs-pushed-portra/

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Quality results with a few clicks

Has made editing super quick. Previously I would dread editing photos as it would take so long to achieve my desired look and I would never be 100% happy. Now with a few clicks I’m able to edit a whole session in minutes rather than hours.

Francesca Leite

Mastin Labs helped me transform my editing!

Mastin Labs helped me transform my photography to give me the exact film-like look I was going for! I purchased these presets during my first year in business and noticed a huge difference in my editing. I had been trying to achieve the look on my own and with other presets in the past. Also Kirk and his team truly have THE BEST customer service. I had accidentally made two different accounts (I did this twice 🤦🏻‍♀️) and they helped me merge all my presets under once account both times. They’re super responsive and kind!

Their Facebook community page and their YouTube channel also have the best resources for how to use their presets and how to take better photos in general. Presets can’t fix bad photos so they give you tips on how to improve your photography in general and what preset packs are best for which style of photos (light and airy, dark and moody, etc). If you’re following their tips on how to take better photos in camera and their 3-step editing workflow, these presets will make magic for you!

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Absolutely love these presets

Absolutely love these presets! I was trying to find something natural nut also with a pop of color and these were PERFECT! These days there's a ton of golden and brown toned presets and no more of these beautiful natural toned. So happy with them 🙌🏽🙌🏽

I had left my photo career behind…

I had left my photo career behind feeling burnt out from long nights spent in Lightroom tweaking curves and sliders, but after 10 years of serving in the Navy it was time to get back into game. I reached out to a dear friend from photo school and expressed that I could not afford to be spending countless hours meticulously editing every photo like I had done in the past. Hearing about presets, I asked her if she had any particular recommendations. I was looking for something simple and consistently classic and it was then that she turned me on to Mastin Labs and changed my life for the better. Time, it's the one thing we're all trying to get more of and the three step editing process in the presets Mastin Labs created has given me more time to do more. Not only are these presets a great value to your workflow, they are just wonderful. If you're still uncertain about what preset to select, check out the Mastin Labs community on Facebook and surround yourself with good vibes, support and inspiration from other photographers in the field.

I love Mastin Labs!!

I love Mastin Labs. Their customer support is amazing. Mastin could take all my money just by their support. Love it. So far I bought two presets and I am so happy with my investment. Mastin Labs presets are beautiful and tools help my workflow. I am in love with Kirk's videos explaining how to use the videos not to mention the inspiring and mind blowing work posted on Mastin labs community. Just amazing. Please keep up the great work guys!

Faith McCallister

The presets have been GAME CHANGERS!

The presets have been GAME CHANGERS for me. I had to take a break from photography after a very complicated pregnancy with my 2nd born. So when I started back up I wanted to streamline my business and take the guessing out. Mastin Labs has been the biggest blessing! Y’all have upped my confidence and brought back that spark I was missing.

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Really bad presets.

Really bad presets.. thought I would invest in these to make my life easier and let the experts handle the colour work.. turns out my own presets work significantly better for Fuji files. I purchased the Portra originals pack and Portra 160 looks like Portra 400, and Portra 400 is over saturated and over contrasted to the point where I just deleted them. Would not recommend at all!

Brendan Lynch

Perfect for those wanting to create film inspired images!

I have been using the Mastin Labs presets for a few months now, and they've revolutionised my work practices and the quality of images I am producing. To call them presets doesn't do the system justice, it's more realistic to say that you have film loaded into your computer, as opposed to being in the camera itself, with minimal effort having to be put in during post processing, and this results in consistent images every time. Having tried for years to emulate film in my edits, this is the perfect solution for those who want to shoot digital but produce a film inspired finished image.

These presets are amazing!

Above all, the Mastin Labs presets give me consistency over all of my images. They free me from all the tedium of having to meticulously adjust every setting manually. Moreover, they’ve become indispensable to my workflow because they provide me with a baseline for the images that need extra attention. Nonetheless, my RAW and jpeg files have never looked better, thanks to these presets. As far as film emulation goes, Mastin Labs has got it right; whether beginner or professional, these presets are an excellent springboard or tool for better editing and film-like results.

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Perfect for pro work

I'm a full-time photographer working in two markets: interior design and events. I think I own all of the presets now. I like how useful they are for both private and client work. The process is easy to follow and adapt even to pro work. The quality of colours is excellent.

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Mastin Labs has an amazing product

Mastin Labs has an amazing product. I love the ease to use as well as the overall product it produces. The quiz in the set up also allows for not just what your style might be (I literally had never thought about it) but possibly what you -want- your style to be. Huge love for Mastin Labs and Kirk Mastin for being so present within his company within the photography community. Owner: Goldiepix Photography

Michelle Denton

These presets has changed my life and…

These presets has changed my life and my editing workflow completely. With just 3 simple steps my images are transformed into amazing images.My editing is so much quicker! Mastin Labs has truly changed my life, this is what I have been wanting for My look and could just never get the look. I just don't know how I only came across Mastin Labs now. It's really a life changer and a must have for any photographer

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Sours: https://www.trustpilot.com/review/mastinlabs.com

Presets mastin review labs

Bridging Tech and Creative Photography

Review and images by Daniel Schaefer. 

Editor’s note: we’ve also provided more samples to better illustrate our points.

Over the past few years, we’ve seen a slew of companies claiming a be all end all digital solution to mimicking film emulsion through a simple yet effective preset process. While many of these companies essentially slap your images across the face with a practically instafantastic palette riding saturation, fade and clarity like bucking broncos, others take the time to take a subtle approach, leaving the tuning up to you.

In testing the Mastin labs family of presets, I found this company to definitely be in the second camp. The Fuji and Portra packs both have a very minimally noticeable effect on each image. While the tones changing visibly for sure, I’ve found more often than not, in my pursuit of a finalized image I ended up correcting away from the preset functions. The treatment of shadows especially unpleasant, the highlights shifting minimally, really the only difference being odd and typically undesirable shifts in color. the Ilford Black and white pack while equally iffy at times has a saving grace in the addition of a solid emulsion of Delta 3200, and a very useful red filter emulator for fans of high contrast skies.

Granted, Mastin also states that these presets are a starting point and designed to be manipulated.

Features

There are three Packs: Fuji, Portra and Ilford

Fuji

Specs taken from their website

Green biased film with medium contrast and high saturation.
Known for a unique, airy pastel look.
A variation on Fuji 400H that tames overly neon greens in very bright conditions.
All Canon, Nikon, and Sony DSLR cameras.
All Fuji X-Series cameras (except Fuji X100).

Portra

Specs taken from the website

Low saturation and a brown/yellow undertone, making it ideal for darker, moodier images.
An extremely versatile film to use at home in all kinds of light. It has medium saturation and contrast, with undertones of orange and yellow.
The most saturated Portra film, perfect for landscapes and images where bright colors are the focus.
All Canon, Nikon, and Sony DSLR cameras.
All Fuji X-Series cameras (except Fuji X100).

Ilford

Specs taken from the website

A high contrast, low grain B&W film with a wide tonal range and high edge contrast. This is the most dramatic B&W film in Ilford’s lineup, suitable for dramatic portraits and landscapes.
A medium grain, medium contrast B&W film that works well for a wide range of photography. It has a classic look well suited to documentary work and photojournalism.
A medium contrast low-light panchromatic B&W film with glowing highlight grain and dark shadows. This film excels with low light portraiture and is very flattering to skin.
All Canon, Nikon, and Sony DSLR cameras.
All Fuji X-Series cameras (except Fuji X100).

In Use

HP5

HP5

Each Mastin pack consists of at most three emulsion emulators, and a handful of single click actions that sadly I found almost utterly pointless and typically relatively damaging to the final image rather than a solid stepping stone with the exception of the red filter action in the BW pack.

In testing the packs, I used three images to test different strengths/weaknesses of most preset systems, each image has been tested with every preset except for the medium format alternates in the BW pack, which the only visible change is grain size. My personal published edit, as well as an unedited version, is also included of each image.

The Car shot shows how each preset responds to a varied range of muted colors in frame, presets often cast too wide a net and end up toning all the colors too similarly, leading to odd shifts in the overall tone.

Mastin_Wheels-RAW

RAW

Mastin_Wheels-Portra 800

Portra 800

Mastin_Wheels-Portra 400

Portra 400

Mastin_Wheels-Portra 160

Portra 160

Mastin_Wheels-Personal

Personal

Mastin_Wheels-Pan F

Pan F

Mastin_Wheels-Fuji 400h Neutral

Fuji 400h Neutral

Mastin_Wheels-Fuji 400h blue

Fuji 400h blue

Mastin_Wheels-Fuji 160ns

Fuji 160ns

Mastin_Wheels-Delta 3200

Delta 3200

One of the most common weaknesses of digital cameras and presets vs film is the color green. Digital sensors more often than not produce a color that feels unnatural, or electric while film keeps the varied tonality of grass or trees much more naturally.

Fuji 160s

Fuji 160s

Fuji 400h blue

Fuji 400h blue

Fuji 400h neutral

Fuji 400h neutral

HP5

HP5

PAn f

PAn f

Personal edit

Personal edit

Porta 160

Porta 160

Porta 400

Porta 400

Porta 800

Porta 800

RAW

RAW

Then there is color fidelity and skin tone control of each preset; more often than not presets tend to push the whole image one way or another into a tone that doesn’t allow greens/yellows to feel natural while maintaining a skin tone that doesn’t end up feeling electric.

RAW

RAW

Personal Edit

Personal Edit

Portra 800

Portra 800

Mastin claims “Perfect skin tones & an authentic film look in three clicks or less.” Overall I found this claim to be more along the lines of three clicks within the Mastin presets, six or seven to cancel out the sudden shift in the shadow colors and suddenly blown out highlights, and then another half dozen slider fudges to finalize a somewhat useable image, all in all essentially cancelling out the very actions that the Mastin packs start you with.

Mastin_Nova_Fuji 160ns

Fuji 400h Blue

Fuji 400h Blue

Fuji-400h-Neutral

Fuji-400h-Neutral

Hp5

Hp5

Pan-F

Pan-F

Personal

Personal

Porta 160

Porta 160

Porta 400

Porta 400

Porta 800

Porta 800

RAW

RAW

When it comes to presets, I wholeheartedly encourage attempting to construct your own. Building a pallet unique to your own style makes for a much more satisfying and reliable workflow, and keeps you out of the cookie cutter world of cream tone blown out highlights and graying faded shadows that so many have fallen so bluntly into.

Extra Image Samples

Wheat-RAW

Raw

Wheat-MPortra400

Portra400

Personal

Personal

Storm-RAW

RAW

Storm-Personal

Personal

Storm-MDelta3200

Delta 3200

Storm-BW

BW

Church-RAW

RAW

Church-Portra160

Portra160

Church-Personal

Personal

Conclusions

When it comes to value there’s sadly no debate in my mind that the Mastin packs are a poor investment for any photographer, amateur, professional, and any in between. At $119 per pack, Mastin only offers a slim selection of emulsion emulations, only one of which (Delta 3200 35mm) I would consider within miles of accurate. The addition of a handful of blunt one push modifiers makes for a workflow that forces you into a corner, one that you end up having to fight with the sliders in order to get out of, or simply reset the image altogether.

If you’re hellbent on starting with a preset family and working from there, I personally and without any pre-arrangement with the company put my stamp on VSCO presets as a much better investment. Each pack comes with a myriad of emulsions, and while you may well debate their accuracy as well, at least I’ve never found myself working against the preset to make a useable image. VSCO is a great place to start if you’re just getting into color correcting with a more filmic style in mind, and while I won’t put my name behind their presets accuracy at emulating the emulsions they’re named after either, at least they start you off with an interestingly toned image. Sadly I cannot say the same for Mastin Labs.

In the end, you have to ask yourself as a photographer how much time and effort you want to spend on building a visual style for your finalized images. Every photographer in the world can look at another shooters work and immediately think what they would have done differently, so why hobble yourself at the starting line by leaving your images to presets that you had no part in concocting?

Try your hand at defining your own visual style, and keep away from the cookie cutters when you’re in your digital kitchen.

Sours: https://www.thephoblographer.com/2016/08/07/review-mastin-labs-presets/
EDITING WITH MASTIN PORTA ORIGINAL

MASTIN LABS FILM EMULATION PRESETS REVIEW | FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS

MASTIN-PRESET-FUJI-400H-REVIEW

I don’t think it’s a big secret that I am a HUGE fan of Kirk Mastin’s work. If you don’t know who he is, he’s a an awesome hybrid film/digital shooter out of Seattle area. His work is so amazing that my wife and I hired him to shoot our own 10 year vow renewal.  earlier this year at the beautiful San Ysidro Ranch.  On top of being an awesome photographer, he’s just overall a great guy. I’m honored to call him a friend.  So in addition to being a great photographer, he also created a brand new Lightroom and ACR preset that had revolutionized my studio’s work. I’ve always been a big fan of film photography and my work has always been heavily influenced by some of the top film photographers in the world. And I do plan on starting to offer film photography services next year in 2015.  But until I do, I’ve always struggled to get that ‘filmy’ look just right. My work has come pretty close to it through out the years, but it’s not until I started using Mastin Studio’s preset that I believe I’ve gotten as close to film as possible with my Canon 5D Mark 3. Kirk has come up with a brand new set of film emulation presets that have proven to be game changer for my studio.  There is simply no other preset that even comes remotely close to what I can get from Mastin Lab’s film presets. Kirk released Portra 400 preset earlier this year, and you can read my full review here.  Although it’s a great preset & look, I have found myself falling completely in love with the new Fuji400H preset.  I was one of the lucky ones that got to beta test this preset before it became available to the general public. And I absolutely love the pastel/light & airy look I can achieve with this preset.  According to Mastin Lab’s website “Fuji 160NS is a versatile film with medium contrast, and beautiful blue and green rendering. Fuji 400H has an airy pastel look: great for for wedding photography and fashion.” And I have to say I completely agree.

Also, Mastin Lab’s preset is the ONLY preset I can apply upon import to every single image. It literally works in all lighting conditions.  Again, MIND BLOWN.  It has reduced my editing time by about 20% because of the consistent result I can get. In the image above, from left to right, are the progression of editing. And the entire editing literally took less than 2 seconds.  First one on the left is straight out of camera, middle is with Fuji400H base preset applied, then for the final edit. I used “high light soft” to bring back some of the highlight from the flower petal, bumped up exposure by 1/3 of a stop and that was it!  Here are more examples. SOOC is always on the left.

Now obviously getting the images as close to final product in camera is always the best policy. I have found the ‘sweet spot’ of combination between exposure & custom white balance to achieve the look I want. By shooting with consistent lighting & white balance really helps when I start to edit. I am literally blown away by the versatility of this film emulation preset for Lightroom. I can’t thank Kirk enough for giving my images that distinct look!

*****JEREMY CHOU PHOTOGRAPHY IS AN AFFILIATE FOR MASTIN LABS. WE RECEIVE A SMALL REFERRAL FEE FOR PURCHASES MADE THROUGH OUR WEBSITE*****

Sours: https://www.jeremychou.com/for-photographers/mastin-labs-film-emulation-presets-review-for-photographers/

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Fstoppers Reviews the Kodak Everyday Pack from Mastin Labs

I've made no secret of my love for various film emulation presets put out by the fine folks over at Mastin Labs, and their latest release is no exception. The Kodak Everyday Pack is the latest addition to a line of what I consider to be the most accurate and faithful film emulation presets on the market today.

A quick note before I jump into the review: one of my favorite things about Kirk Mastin and his team is that they have a genuine passion for shooting film and inspiring others to shoot film. While I am certain that a significant number of their customers use their presets to get a "film look" without ever shooting film, I also know that an equally significant number use them to match up with their film scans so they can have a consistent look when shooting hybrid. I bought my first film camera (a Nikon F100) several months ago as a direct result of being a user of these presets and taking part in the community that Mastin has developed among his users over the last few years. Just a couple of weeks ago, I dove in deeper and purchased my first medium format film body (a Fujifilm GA645 Pro) due in no small part to the continued support of that community. So, all that being said, I appreciate the mission behind Mastin Labs just as much as I appreciate their fantastic products.

So what is the "Kodak Everyday Pack"? I'll let Mastin Labs answer that for you:

Mastin Lab’s latest preset pack provides photographers with the genuine look of Kodak Gold 200, Kodak Ektar 100, and Kodak Tri-X 400 for digital photography​. This pack has three distinct looks based on the most iconic Kodak films in history. Creating presets from “drugstore” films allows us to inspire even more photographers to shoot film by lowering their barrier to purchasing, processing, and matching.

This latest set of presets has been made with the same care and methodical approach that Kirk Mastin brings to every product his company releases. He and his team literally shoot hundreds of rolls of film and compare thousands of scans and digitals in order to get as close to the original film stock as possible. I very much appreciate their approach of quality over quantity, and even though it might feel like it takes forever for them to finally release that one emulation you've been waiting on (ahem, Ektar!) you know that the final product will be worth the wait because of the time and effort invested into making it as exact a representation of the films you love as can be. 

Kodak Gold is the like the paintbrush of my childhood. EVERYTHING my parents shot was on Kodak Gold, usually 200, so it's inclusion in this new pack of presets makes my heart happy. Nostalgia aside, Gold 200 is just a fun film. It's great for hanging out with friends, summer parties, family get-togethers. Its warm, golden tones make skin pop and light glow, and Mastin Labs have really nailed the look with this preset. I even had the good fortune of coming across eight rolls of Gold 200 in the back of a grocery store last week and was able to grab them all for only $10 (in the business, we refer to that as "winning"), so I have a fresh supply of film to match up with digital files processed with this new preset.

Kodak Gold 200 courtesy of Sean Carr. Image used with permission.

Kodak Gold 200 courtesy of Sean Carr. Image used with permission.

Kodak Gold 200.

Kodak Gold 200.

I shoot a decent amount of outdoor events, and I have found that I am really enjoying the Gold 200 preset on these images in particular.

Ektar 100 is a film I know on sight, but I only recently began shooting it myself. It is distinctly bright, vivid, and rich. It is, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful film stocks ever made and a film in particular that fans of Mastin Labs have been asking for for a long time. Check out the absolute magic the Ektar preset works on Sean's images below, then I'll include some of my own shots just for fun.

Kodak Ektar 100 courtesy of Sean Carr. Image used with permission.

Kodak Ektar 100 courtesy of Sean Carr. Image used with permission.

Kodak Ektar 100 courtesy of Sean Carr. Image used with permission.

Kodak Ektar 100.

Kodak Ektar 100. 

Finally, rounding out the pack, we have a lovely black and white stock in the form of Kodak Tri-X. This really is a lovely film, great detail in the shadows and far more forgiving in the highlights than the fairly rigid T-Max film. Black and white digital conversion is one of those things that looks fantastic when done well but is incredibly easy to do poorly, and the Tri-X preset (with just a few minor tweaks) has already become my go-to black and white processing step. I have found that I especially enjoy using it on studio portraits that I am lighting with strobes as it seems to really bring out the level of contrast I am looking for in my black and white conversions.

Kodak Tri-X courtesy of Sean Carr. Image used with permission.

Kodak Tri-X. 

Kodak Tri-X . 

In addition to the presets themselves, Mastin Labs includes some "utility" presets in all of their packs. A recent update to their presets included specially toned white balance settings for the most common light situations in addition to their standard one-click options for lens correction, grain, and highlight and shadow toning.

What I Liked

  • Quality of film emulation
  • How easy it is to do a "one-click edit"
  • Three really top-notch film choices

What I Found Difficult

  • Only supports Lightroom CC Classic (Adobe issue, not a Mastin one)
  • Requires you to approach shooting digital with a similar mindset to shooting film. These aren't "click here to look artsy" presets; they are most effective when you pay attention to your lighting and are very intentional about how you shoot. Personally, I think this is a good thing, but I know it has and will be an issue for people just looking for a quick way to make their images look "cool."

Conclusion

All in all, I think the Kodak Everyday Pack is a fantastic addition to the Mastin Labs lineup. To learn more or to purchase the presets, head to the Mastin Labs website.

Lead image courtesy of Marco Govel and Mastin Labs, used with permission.

Sours: https://fstoppers.com/film/fstoppers-reviews-kodak-everyday-pack-mastin-labs-270266


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