Mastin Labs Ilford B&W Preset Pack takes film emulation to the next level

by Gannon Burgett

posted Wednesday, January 28, 2015 at 2:26 PM EDT


In the age of digital photography, it’s slightly paradoxical that we look to the past for inspiration on how to bring to life our images of today. Specifically, I’m referring to the trend of using analog-inspired presets to bring character to our otherwise sterile digital images.

To some people though, it’s not about format as much as it is end result. One of those individuals is Kirk Mastin, the man behind Mastin Labs. A wedding photographer by day and Lightroom magician by night, Mastin is what a ‘hybrid’ shooter, using both film and digital formats to capture couple’s unforgettable day.

It’s this hybrid style of shooting that led Mastin to create a collection of presets that more accurately represents analogue film than anything else on the market. Initially done for personal use, he spun off these presets and made them available to the masses through Mastin Labs, a similarly-branded, but entirely separate endeavor from his personal photography work.

Mastin Lab’s first offering was the ‘Portra Pack,’ which brought Kodak’s iconic aesthetic to the digital realm. Not long after, Mastin Labs announced its ‘Fuji Pro Pack,’ which similarly brought Fuji’s aesthetic into the digital realm.

Today, Mastin Labs introduces its latest pack of presets, the ‘Ilford B&W Pack.’ Included in it are the iconic tones of Ilford’s Delta 3200, HP5 and Pan F films.

Mastin Labs’ presets are available for both Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop/Adobe Camera Raw. Similar to many other preset packs available, these are designed to be used specifically with RAW images, as they take full advantage of the additional information RAW file formats provide.

Mastin Labs notes that Canon and Nikon RAW files are the most compatible, but in my testing Samsung, Fuji and even Leica RAW image formats achieve almost identical results.

Inside the Ilford B&W Pack, you will receive 35mm and medium format varieties in Ilford PanF, Ilford HP5 and Ilford Delta 3200 film stocks. In addition to the six main presets, the pack also includes ‘All Soft’ and ‘All Hard’ varieties to dynamically lower and increase contrast, respectively.

You can further refine your images by using the provided red, green and yellow filter presets in addition to the warmtone, cooltone and neutral tone ‘paper’ adjustments.

In comparison to other preset packs out there, you don’t get much with Mastin Labs. But that’s by design, not accident. Mastin has spent so much time refining each of these presets and adjustments that you don’t need any further options (besides any compositional editing, such as cropping and straightening).

Through February 7th, you can purchase Mastin Labs Ilford B&W Pack for Lightroom 4+ and Photoshop Adobe Camera RAW (ACR) CS6+ for $77. After that, it goes back up to its standard price of $119. Additionally, Mastin Labs is offering its Portra and Fuji packs at the same 35% discount through the 7th, so if you’re looking to pick them all up, now is the time to do it.

To read up more on Mastin Labs head on over to their website and take a look around.