Review: Mastin Labs presets

THERE'S NOTHING LIKE SHOOTING FILM

After selling the Hasselblad (which I shouldn't have), I’m still looking for a good moment to get a new one to continue the journey I took with my last one. I miss shooting film.

Shooting film really made me a better photographer, made me a better digital photographer. I use my camera very different since I've had the Hasselblad, because I have learned that shooting with intent, making choices before taking the shot, is quite fulfilling.

 

USING FILM PRESETS

I have been using (film) presets for a few years now. Most of the times I use them as a starting point and make my own presets with a few tweaks.

A lot of people have asked me if film presets can replace shooting actual film. I don’t think so. Digital can never have as much depth as film. And the process of film is different. Using a film camera is something special, you start to shoot with a different approach and you pay more attention to details and settings like exposure and composition during the shot. You have to get it right in camera and this makes you put more intent in your work.

And more intent is such a good thing in photography.

 

MASTIN LABS FILM PRESETS

Although film can’t be mimicked with a digital camera, the presets from Mastin Labs come pretty close. As a hybrid shooter, Kirk Mastin was looking for a way to combine his digital and analog work for assignments and weddings and got himself a Fuji Frontier scanner to be able to match his digital with his analog photography. Yes, you read this right, he got himself a Frontier.

Each of these presets is crafted by hand from this Fuji Frontier scans to emulate actual film that is still used today.

Film is timeless and beautifully subtle and Kirk worked hard to get his presets as close as possible. Honestly I didn’t think digital could look this much like analog. But these presets are close, very close. Which is not only convenient for the hybrid shooters but is a big plus for anyone in general who loves the look of film.

I always advise people to get a real film camera if they want their photos to look like analog or to experience shooting film. You really should. But when you prefer to use only digital or want to be able to match your film photography with your digital work, you should really consider getting these.

 

WHAT DOES MASTIN LABS OFFER?

Mastin Labs currently offers three packs: Fuji Pro, Kodak Portra and Ilfort B&W. Each pack gives you a few presets and some extra tools like tone profiles and grain and lens optimization to process the photo. The packs are designed to work with .raw files of Canon, Nikon and Fuji X-Series cameras. And although Sony isn’t officially mentioned, the version of Nikon files works great on the Sony .ARW files. This is because Nikon uses the same Sony sensors in their cameras.

 
 

Although Mastin Labs offer less presets in their packs in comparison with other presets they are worth every penny because Mastin Labs give you quality over quantity. While you might only use one or two out of 15 presets in any other preset pack, you definitely will use every preset in each of the packs made by Mastin. Less presets also make sure you get a consistent look of your work, just as it would shooting film. Less is more.  

Each package also contains 19 blog templates for use in Lightroom. These blog templates make it possible to not only get a consistent look on your work but also on your blog. I have been using the 35mm diptych forever and love how clean this looks on my website. You can also choose to make a template with 35mm 4x4 grid, 66 2x2 grid and many other options.

You can check out their Instagram and very active group on facebook to see some more examples and you can also watch some great tutorial videos by Kirk Mastin to learn more about processing with the presets.

 

CAN THESE BE USED FOR LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY?

Sure! Kodak Portra, Fuji Pro and Ilfort were films used for everything in the past and the presets can be used on every genre of photography today. While Mastin Labs is being used a lot by wedding photographers, as you can see on their Instagram, they look good on street, portrait or landscape photography as well.

Here are some photos I have taken last month, processed with the Mastin Labs presets. I have used all three packs in these photos and all of these were processed with just a few clicks.

Curious? Take a look at the Mastin Labs presets and choose your favorite film stock!


ALL IMAGES BELOW WERE TAKEN WITH THE FUJIFILM X-PRO2 +THE FUJINON 35MM F/2.0


 

And here are some from my recent visit to (a very rainy) Amsterdam. As you can see the Mastin presets work great on street photography as well. All the photos in my blog post Antwerp for photographers were also processed with Mastin Labs.

Don't hesitate when you have any questions about these presets, I'm happy to help out!