Film. Glorious film.
Even though I never really shot with film, there’s undeniably a certain aesthetic that analog provided. Over the years, I’ve used DxO Film, Alien Skin Exposure, VSCO Film presets for Lightroom, Mastin Labs, and VSCO for iOS. With each of them, I found issues:
- DxO Film – Quite a nice product when integrated with DxO Optics Pro. I actually really liked their approach. It was built into their RAW processing software, and it did a great job. The issue with DxO is that their software fell behind the competition, they decided not to support Fuji, they became a camera and optics review company, and even made their own camera. For more info on their nonsense, check out this article. Furthermore, they’ve also been having solvency issues as of late. Not a good long term product to use in my opinion because future app support will be in question.
- Alien Skin Exposure is a very good product with regards to emulations, but their RAW support is lacking compared to their peers. What this means to the end user, is that you are better off working with TIFF or JPEG files converted in other apps. This translates to less editing leeway than you would otherwise have with a RAW file. Furthermore, their basic adjustments aren’t as good as Lightroom or Capture One.
- VSCO Film for Lightroom, specifically VSCO 04 and 05 (the ones that I purchased), are fairly heavy handed – Especially VSCO 04! VSCO 04 is way too contrasty and really needs to be dialed back. VSCO 05 is OK, but just ok. Not only that, they don’t support every camera, and due to Lightroom’s default RAW conversions, there is a lot of inconsistencies in results between cameras.
- Mastin Labs – Portra Original, Fujicolor Original, and Ilford Original (all of which I’ve purchased) are quite expensive. They don’t support every camera that I’ve used, and they only include a limited number of presets. They’re OK, but in my opinion overrated. They take a LOT of tweaking to get a good look. Also, the presets are very stylized. If you use them on all of your photos, the look gets old (in my opinion). Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve seem some wonderful Mastin conversions. On their Facebook group, there are some very talented photographers that get amazing results, but it’s just not for me. Like VSCO, I find that Mastin’s presets also tend to loose a lot of the highlight detail.
- VSCO for iOS – don’t laugh! I’ve actually used VSCO for iOS with some great results and with multiple cameras. I actually wish this was a desktop app! No, I’m not kidding. Check out some pics here. The problem with this option is that it’s a kludgey process to get the images from your camera, to your iPad or iPhone, then back to wherever. Also, you have to rent the software for $20 / year – boo Adobe model of business.
Recently, I fired Adobe.
Nowadays, I use Capture One for all of my RAW Conversions because it does a superior job than Lightroom does. Because of this switch, I cannot use my previously purchased presets. Phase One / Capture One created and sell their own presets (styles) – which in my opinion should have been included with the product. After all, they charge a lot for Capture One and it still has an unusable catalog for a lot of images, but I digress. I bought the Seasonal Styles a while ago, and while they are quite nice, they are not necessarily the greatest thing for portraits.
I decided to Google for an alternative, and found RNI All Films 4 – Lite for Capture One. Like I’ve done with previous reviews, I contacted the developer and asked them if I could review their software (in exchange for a copy). They said yes.
Before I get to the product, a word about my computer setup. I’m running a top of the line Windows 10 machine with a super fast Intel processor, and a top shelf video card too. It has a lot of RAM and a very fast solid state drive to round out the package. That being said, Capture One runs great on the machine. The way Capture One has implemented using styles is really great! All you need tot do, is just hover over a style with your mouse, and you’ll see a preview on the full image of how it’ll look.
My methodology for testing this software was purely subjective.
I wanted to see the before image, and then immediately after the preset was applied – without further editing. On some of the images (after the preset was applied), I tweaked the exposure a bit using some of the basic sliders. Once in a while, I dialed back clarity, but that was pretty much it. My goal is to see how good the conversion is before I tweak the image further in Capture One. In my opinion, it wouldn’t be honest to tweak the images further because then it’s not a real before and after. In real life though, of course I would tweak the images further. Styles are a starting place, not an ending place. I also wanted to see how the styles work on different RAW files from different cameras. I wanted to try both a color and black and white preset on each image file. The styles I selected were based solely on whether or not I thought they looked good on a particular image. Notice the names of the styles on the images below. You’ll see that a few were favored more than others – again purely subjective. Also, there are some styles that I didn’t use at all because I didn’t like their aesthetic. Lastly, I purposely didn’t use the styles that added grain. Fake grain is just not my thing – well sometimes it is, but I didn’t want to distract from the color differences in this review.
The first image in every set below is a very basic Capture One conversion without any major edits or tweaking. The second image in every set is using a color style applied (with very little if at all exposure tweaks), and the last in every set is from a black and white style.
Set 1 – Maui with a Fuji X-T2.
This second set was shot with the Panasonic G9.
Set three was shot using a Fuji X-Pro2.
Set four was shot with a Canon 5D Mark IV.
Set five was shot with a Sony a7R III.
This last set (number six) was shot using a Fuji X-H1.
I quite like these styles! RNI has really put together a quality set of Capture One styles that do exactly what their name says – produce Really Nice Images. The styles are quite diverse, not too heavy handed or contrasty out of the gate, and still retain the dynamic range of the file – unlike VSCO or Mastin on Lightroom.
Using these styles with Capture One really gives you a lot of creative options and are a great start to manipulating your images. It also didn’t seem to matter which camera I used, all seemed to give great results. That is one of the benefits of Capture One, but it also has a positive effect the RNI style pack.
If you’re a Capture One user looking for a style pack that won’t break the bank, can give you some nice creative options, and add some flare to your images, then look no further. I can honestly recommend this product without any reservations!