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.