Comparing film and digital presets

In Digital, Film, Review
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I was able to play with Replichrome III: Archive new preset set. I love them. You can read my review here. They bring out that film goodness that I love. Still, I wanted to see how they compared to the actual film.
Because this set is created with hard to find film, it was, in fact, hard to find the films to shoot. I had shot some Fuji Neopan last winter. My local film shop had some Ilford XP-2 in stock, so I also shot a roll of that. Kirstin and Holly sent me some photos using the presets for the corresponding films and I am going to put them together here.

Ilford XP-2 | Mamiya 645

Let’s start with Fuji Neopan. This is a film I like shooting with. It has a high contrast and is easily manipulated with exposure without getting blown out or too grainy.

Fuji Neopan Acros | Hasselblad 500CM
Fuji Neopan Acros | Hasselblad 500CM

While you can see some the deep blacks in the presets, they are not the same heavy blacks that I love in Fuji Neopan. Still, you can see that wonderful contrast that Neopan brings out in an image. Both Kirstin and Holly did say they had to tone down the blacks a little in their shots. That is the beauty of digital and these presets. If you want the contrast and heavy blacks, they are there.  If you want to tone it down, you can.

Fuji Neopan Curve 3 | Holly
fuji neopan luminous curve +1 vignette lens++
Fuji Neopan luminous curve +1 vignette lens++ | Kirstin

Now for the Ilford XP-2. To be honest, I had never shot with this film before. I don’t shoot black and white very often. The film shop I take my film to be developed takes 24 hours for color and a week for black and white. While I realize the humor in me saying I am not patient for the film to be developed, sometimes I can’t stand waiting the whole week. However, the Ilford XP-2 is developed in C4 1 type processing, which means it is developed with the color film. This means I can get black and white film in 24 hours without waiting the week.

I was so happy when I got this film back. I have never seen black and white film have so many grays! It was the 50 shades of gray I can get on board with. Here are a few of the film shots with the Ilford XP-2.

Ilford XP-2 | Mamiya 645
Ilford XP-2 | Mamiya 645

While I see a the variety of grays in the presets, I don’t know that the same range is there. Still, you can see the beauty of the grays in both of these digital images.

xp-2 luminous ++ vignette (lens) +
Ilford XP-2 luminous ++ vignette (lens) + | Kirstin
Ilford XP-2 + contrast + | Holly

At the end of the day, I just don’t think it is possible to compare digital with film. They both offer some things that the other just can’t do. One thing I do love about this preset set it that they are giving you presets to films that are very hard to find. Also, Replichrome gives you a great tweak kit.  You can add those deep blacks and grain if you don’t feel like there is enough for your taste.  For me, using this set of presets felt like I found a box of crayons with colors I had never seen or used before. It revived my love for digital while sending me on a hunt for new film.

Ilford XP-2 | Mamiya 645

There is a reason I shoot so much film. I love it. Even when it takes a week to get my negatives back, I love it.


  1. This is great! I love how film and digital are still such different mediums, but these presets are bringing them together! Wonderful review and images.

  2. Great review. Would you buy these presets, now you’ve tried them? Do you think they are worth the value?

    • Yes, I would buy them. I actually use their other packs often. They are so easy to adjust in Lightroom and I love playing with them.

  3. Great review Staci! I’m loving these black and white presets and can’t wait to play with them more!

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