A while back I wrote a review of the new Mastin Labs Pushed Portra preset packs. Real quickly in case this sounds foreign to you, these presets are designed to make your digital RAW photos look like real Kodak Portra films when pushed in development. Pushing essentially has the effect of allowing you to shoot at higher ISOs and also adding contrast and color casts to your film images. It’s something I’ve been doing with my Portra films for a long time now, but never really found a good way to match my digital to it without a lot of time spent tweaking sliders and curves. The new Mastin Labs Pushed Portra presets get me much closer, much faster.
I hear the question often, how does Mastin Labs compare with VSCO? I thought I’d show a direct comparison of the new Pushed Portra presets with VSCO’s versions in their 06 pack. First off, each offers some different options that the other doesn’t. Mastin Labs has Portra 160 +2 and Portra 800 +2 presets while VSCO does not. But VSCO has a Portra 400 +3 while Mastin Labs doesn’t. Mastin Labs also doesn’t have the varied looks that VSCO is known for (all of their “+” alternative looks presets), and the grain profiles for Mastin Labs are the same for all of the presets and not applied by default, giving you the choice between 35mm and medium format levels of grain to apply separately, but offering no change from 160 to 400 to 800.
But, when it comes down to it, most people buy a preset based on the look it gives you, not the extras. So I thought I’d show side by side comparisons. I will admit, I get the feeling from VSCO’s beginnings with the 01 film pack on to now 07 and beyond, they’ve had a lot of time to perfect their process, and their presets have markably improved over time. Mastin Labs standard Portra pack vs VSCO 01’s Portra is no contest in my opinion - Mastin Labs is miles ahead in terms of accuracy to real film and general quality of results. But these particular results are more difficult to compare and contrast. For some images, the difference is minimal. For others, it’s actually quite drastic.
All images have identical exposure and white balance and no further tweaks. Click to view larger.
Disclaimer: Although my opinions stated here are 100% honest and genuine, I am officially a Mastin Labs ambassador, and the above links are affiliate links. Any purchase made using my affiliate links, I receive a small percentage of.