Review: RNI Film All Films 4.0 Pro (Adobe Lightroom Presets)

For a number of years now, Really Nice Images has been working on creating loads of very film-like presets through use of science. These photo filters/emulsions/presets culminate in their latest offering: RNI Films 4.0 All Films. The emulsions are designed for use with different cameras and have things including camera profiles in addition to some of the more recently popular emulsions such as Fujifilm Natura 1600. That means that you can apply these emulsions to your digital photos in Lightroom or even Photoshop.

Of course, RNI doesn’t consider these to be replacements for actual film. But to be honest, it comes very close.

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Review: David Drakes’ Vicra WVS and DRK Presets (NSFW)

All Images by Anthony Thurston. Used with Permission.

While many photographers still scoff at the idea of using presets for their work, the greater majority of the photography community has seemed to embrace the concept, either purchasing or creating their own. It’s not hard to see why either, as a first step to the editing process, it is so much quicker and easier to get an image to a starting point which you can use to base your more advanced edits on.

David Drake’s Vicra Presets are a pair (more coming soon) of preset packs, Vicra DRK and Vicra WVS, and they are designed for specific use case scenarios. DRK for example was designed for night flash photography, while WVS was designed for sunny sandy beaches. That said, you will not be seeing any night flash photography or sandy beach photography in this review today. Why? Because that is the glory of presets, you can apply them to anything for a unique look.

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Review: FStop.FM (Tinder for Photographers and Models)

For many years the best places for photographers and models to be able to find each other and collaborate online was Model Mayhem. Craigslist also worked, but we generally don’t speak of it anymore! That’s the new void that FStop.FM is trying to fill right now but by updating it with an interface that lots of us are familiar with: Tinder.

Usually when a model or a photographer has an agent or agency, that’s a really big sign that they’ve made it. But for the rest of us in the meantime, it’s an uphill battle. Photographers and models both generally need to prove themselves to one another. Some of us look at that as a pain while others amongst us regard and understand the process; but give it some time and that may change.

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Review: Mastin Labs Presets (Adobe Lightroom)

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.

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Review: Creatic (Apple iPhone 6s)

When I was pitched on Creatic, I was told about how it offers a social sharing experience not only with your images, but also with your editing settings. That latter part really struck me. Imagine a photo editor on your phone where you can make custom presets, share them and also share your images within an internal community–and then sit there wondering why it took someone until 2016 to actually do this.

A while ago, I reported on and reviewed an app called Perfectly Clear–it offered photographers great options for editing their images and making then look, well, perfectly clear. It’s biggest problem though was and still is the lack of a social community. Where Perfectly Clear failed, Creatic succeeds and does so much more.

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Review: RNI Flashback (iOS)

Hey folks, keep in mind that our Kickstarter now supports both iOS and Android. Help us out!

For a long time now, I was an Alpha tester for the latest app from Really Nice Images. Back then, it was codenamed ChemEngine, and today the company is releasing the app to iOS. So what is RNI Flashback? In some ways, I want to call it the Tinder of photography apps–but with less of the swipe left or right mentality and more of the “what’s next” mentality. In this case though, you’re choosing photo filters and each is random. And just like Tinder, it isn’t all awful–but it’s more about adding selections of those that could potentially be “the one” to your stable of choices.

Overall, it’s fun and allows you to have lots of interactivity and versatility with each photo filter. But as with all things from RNI, these aren’t ordinary filters–they’re based off of the company’s careful research into various film emulsions.

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Review: MacPhun Tonality

This is a syndicated blog post from La Noir Image. If you want to see more content like this, please support our Kickstarter.

Nik Software is now free, but there are lots of other options that can help you create better black and white images for a little bit of money. Take MacPhun’s Tonality for example: consider it the closest thing to blending Adobe Lightroom, RNI Films, and Instagram. Designed for mostly enthusiasts, Tonality had some of the same people working on it that used to produce Nik Software’s products. However, it also slates itself in a spot where it makes sense for the serious photographer since it can also function as a plugin for Lightroom and Photoshop.

If you’re using Adobe Lightroom, then you’ll want to right click an image, and choose to edit it in Tonality CK if you purchased the MacPhun Creative Kit. Otherwise just Tonality works fine. Lightroom will copy the file, create a TIFF (if you choose that, and I strongly suggest that you do) and then open up Tonality for you.

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A Preview of the Upcoming RNI Flashback App

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer RNI Films chem Engine (7 of 14)ISO 4001-80 sec at f - 4.5

If you’ve been a reader of this site for a while, you know how much I’m in love with RNI Films for the iPhone. The app recently added dust and grain simulations that RNI created from actual scans and that I use all the time. But for a couple of months I’ve been testing and playing with an Alpha build of the company’s upcoming Flashback. Flashback isn’t necessarily designed for the higher end user that will take an image, apply a film profile and then edit from there the same way you would with RNI Films. Instead, it’s designed more to randomize the effects and looks of the images.

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Review: Macphun Aurora HDR

Screen Shot 2015-12-10 at 3.58.32 PM

When it comes to HDR imagery, it’s tough to beat Trey Ratcliff–and that’s why Macphun collaborated with him to create Aurora HDR. The software works as both a standalone program or as a plugin for a myriad of software; and is designed to give users better HDR images with relative ease. Aurora HDR is by Macphun, the same folks who created Noiseless Pro–with many of them being former Nik Software employees. To refresh, Noiseless Pro won an Editor’s Choice award.

I was given a demo of Aurora HDR before it was announced; and I had a bit of familiarity with the software. Since its launch, there have been updates that allow Lightroom users to export images with the current edits that they’ve done to their photos. That’s incredibly important if you didn’t get it right in camera to begin with.

On average, it has some major advantages over what Adobe Lightroom offers with their Photo Merge HDR process. But on the other hand, it also has its quirks.

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Review: RNI Films (iPhone 6S)

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer RNI Films apps review product images (3 of 8)ISO 2001-30 sec at f - 1.8

The person that says, “I know exactly what the iPhone needs–another vintage film filter app!” is either particularly ballsy or worthy of all the groans that photographers will mutter. But the company that designs an app that is meant to organically render the look of film has a bit more credibility; and that’s what Really Nice Images is trying to do with their app: RNI Films. The free iOS app is designed for you to import your images and edit them in its own semi-unique editing suite.

Its main selling point: the rendering of lots of actual film emulsions. If you want your iPhone to deliver images with a Kodachrome or Astia rendering, you’ve got it with this app. But the process it takes to accomplish this may be what puts a lot of folks off.

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Review: Astropad Retouching (Apple iPad Air 2)

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Astropad for Apple iPad (2 of 9)ISO 4001-50 sec at f - 2.8

Astropad was developed by former Apple engineers, and the app that they developed is targeted at photographers who retouch and want to do so with a graphics tablet of some sort. However, in this case they’re turning an iPad into something like a product from Wacom. Now, something like this could technically be done with Airplay, but to the creators of Astropad, that isn’t fast enough. To accomplish their goal of a near seamless and lag-free experience, they utilize a technology called LIQUID that claims to be twice as fast as Airplay and that relies on WiFi transferring of information back and forth.

For the most part, they’re doing a fantastic job.

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Review: The Lightroom Retouching Toolkit

Screen Shot 2015-08-21 at 9.43.38 PM

One of the biggest problems with Adobe Lightroom for portrait photographers has been the lack of being able to retouch images. While it’s become better with the addition of specific brushes and gradients, it’s still not so simple. But the folks behind the Lightroom Retouching Toolkit want to change that. Despite lots of flak being given to photographers and companies who retouch, the retouching here is very minor. This kit won’t let you give Fat Joe the body of David Beckham or even help dear Miley Cyrus undo all the effects of Molly on her body (bless her soul.)

So what will it do?

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Review: VSCO Film 07 – Eclectic Films (LR)

Kodak Ektar 25 Warm

Kodak Ektar 25 Warm

In the pantheon of film emulation software, the first name you probably think of VSCO, and for good reason. VSCOCam is one of the most popular editing apps for iOS and Android, and for Lightroom, Adobe Camera Raw and Photoshop users, they’ve got a line of film packs that, up until this point, have offered well-known and oft-used films. Now, they have Film 07 – Eclectic Films, a ragtag collection of clean-looking presets. There are well over 100 presets across 18 films, some color, some black-and-white, and some tungsten-balanced. The company bills them as ideal for “portraits, night photography, and architecture,” but they’re good for more than that.

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Review: Replichrome III Archive for Lightroom

Rollei Superpan (BW)

Rollei Superpan (BW)

At a time when camera technology’s advancing at a clip, there seems to be an equal push in the opposite direction to bring back aesthetics that have taken a backseat. Film is alive and well, though there are fewer options today than there were during much of the 20th century. While the actual film stock may be gone, there is software from the likes of VSCO, RNI, and in this review’s case, Totally Rad, to imbue your digital images with older looks. We took a look at RNI’s All Films 3.0 earlier this year, but today, we’re taking a look at Replichrome III: Archive, a suite of presets solely focused on very old, long since discontinued film stocks. All told, there are 22 films and 183 presets.

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Review: MacPhun Noiseless Pro Plug-in for Adobe Lightroom

Screen Shot 2015-04-21 at 11.32.18 AM

Very few programs and plug-ins make me shout “Whoa!” at the top my lungs to the point where the neighbors in my Brooklyn apartment bang on the wall to get me to shut up, but that record has been shattered by MacPhun’s Noiseless Pro. But seriously, what more would you expect from some of the team that created Nik software?

Noiseless is a plug-in for Lightroom, Photoshop, Aperture or a stand alone program that looks at images and finds a way to get rid of the image noise. Sure, Lightroom can do that and so can other programs–but nothing can do it as well as MacPhun’s Noiseless while making the interface both simple and complicated at the same time.

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Review: Adobe Lightroom 6 / Adobe Lightroom CC

Lightroom CC logo

Since Adobe announced their movement to the Creative Cloud, many photographers were hoping that Adobe Lightroom didn’t make the move. Today, Adobe is giving consumers and professional photographers alike a new option. Photographers can either go for the new Adobe Lightroom 6 (most likely for the amateurs) or Adobe Lightroom CC (most likely for the working pros with a Creative Cloud account.) For the most part, they’re the same pieces of software.

Adobe’s Sharad Mangalick told us that both programs will receive updates at the same time when the patches and release candidates are available for download. New to Adobe Lightroom are four big features: enhanced performance for the editing of all RAW file types, a new filter brush that works in conjunction with gradients, HDR merge, Panoramic merge, and a couple of new additions for folks that make slideshows such as syncing to music and changing the pace of the image progression to the beat of the music.

All of these features are standard to Adobe Lightroom 6; and Adobe Lightroom CC’s major differences come with its integration with the Creative Cloud and with Lightroom Mobile for iPad and Android. Adobe Lightroom CC is also included in the Photography package for $9.99/month.

If you’re a landscape photographer, the upgrade to Lightroom 6 seems like a no brainer and if you’re a pro, the CC upgrade just makes so much sense.

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Review: RNI All Films 3.0 for Lightroom

Fuji Instax Mini

Fuji Instax Mini

I first came to understand filters and presets through Instagram and VSCO Cam. Admittedly, my time using Instagram’s filters was short-lived as they were largely limited in scope. VSCO Cam’s been my main bag for a while now, at least until an email came in about a new set of film presets for Lightroom from a company called Really Nice Images. They go by RNI for short, which sounds nicer and less forward than Really Nice Images. I imagine the name is largely to get the point across, and after using the 3.0 preset pack, I can safely say that they do help create really nice images.

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Review: LiveBlend (iOS)


LiveBlend is an app that promises to make multiple exposures in a super fun way with live preview. It also bills itself as the only app that does that. Multiple exposures aren’t something I typically make, as I haven’t had the experience with film, and I only marginally explored that feature with my X-Pro1. I thought I’d give it a spin with my phone. It can be useful, but it does have its hangups.

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Review: Adobe Lightroom Mobile for Android

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Adobe Lightroom Mobile for Android product images (3 of 3)ISO 4001-30 sec at f - 5.0

Adobe released Lightroom Mobile for tablets then phones last year, and it was only a matter of time until the popular image editing software came to Android devices. Earlier today, the company announced Adobe Lightroom Mobile for Android–something that was in the works for a very long time. Since then, Android has evolved to become what is arguably the most advanced platform for image taking due to manual controls and RAW DNG output capabilities with certain devices.

While the app in no way is terrible, it surely hasn’t made any major advancements. In fact, many of the big mobile editors are still ahead.

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Review: Mylio Cloud Sync Storage

Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 4.33.40 PM

Back around Photo Plus 2014, a new kid on the block popped up and started to turn heads of photographers everywhere like Kim Kardashian with a Belfie stick. They’re called Mylio–and they delivered a very bold product that aims to be the solution to all of your organizational and cloud storage needs for photos. But Mylio doesn’t necessarily need the cloud to sync your images, it can do it across your devices or over the web.

Though the company states that they’re targeting folks from all walks of life, we feel that Mylio will appeal most of the enthusiast and the professional. The product has many layers of use and in some ways can be seen as a more premium offering than EyeFi Cloud–but with more of an emphasis on the desktop, tablet and phone.

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Review: Alien Skin Exposure 7

Agfa APX 25

Agfa APX 25. Perhaps one of my favorite black and white films.

Film emulsion rendering software is not a new concept, but each offering has their own strengths and weaknesses. Alien Skin has been in this industry for years, and recently updated their flagship software, Exposure, to the 7th edition. Exposure 7 can be used as a standalone software or in conjunction with Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. Alien Skin, like VSCO, focuses more on an artistic way of doing things and also focuses on just delivering the best images that it can in a simplified way–which is on the other side of the spectrum of DxO. DxO uses loads and loads of science and lab tests.

For the enthusiast, Exposure 7 may be a great option to get the best from your images quickly.

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