The Great Preset Test

Very excited to be able to bring these to you today (forgot we even did them…)

One of these is actual Ilford HP5+, and the other is VSCO’s idea of what HP5+ should look like…adjusted by me to actually look like Ilford HP5+.


Can you pick them out?

Which one do you prefer?

One was taken on the X-H1 with 35mm f/1.4 lens (53mm equivalent) the other on the M6 with Voigtlander 40mm f/1.2 lens, and subsequently adjusted for equivalent FOV.  The only thing I can’t tell you is the aperture used in each case (as I wasn’t actually paying attention…) but I think it was similar.

In any case, one was certainly a lot easier than the other…

11 thoughts on “The Great Preset Test

  1. Luiz Paulo says:

    Very well done. Both are very close. I’d pick up the first one as film because the grain pattern

    • mewanchuk says:

      Hi Luiz,

      Many thanks for the guess–you are correct. The first one is indeed film–the grain pattern with any sort of digital preset is always a little too “regular and precise”. That being said, I am happy with how these turned out.


  2. Chris says:

    I think the first is film, not so much for the grain, but for a gentleness of the look. Hard to avoid digital being clinical….

  3. Chris says:

    By the way, I’m not a fan of HP5 in 135, for the reasons shown here! Tri-X has a much nicer and less obtrusive grain pattern, IMHO. In larger formats I suspect HP5 is fine…

    • mewanchuk says:

      Hi Chris,

      You are correct in your guess…funny though, that I much prefer HP5+ over Tri-X; I have found the opposite, perhaps due to the nuances of my particular developing technique.

      Best regards,

  4. jkjod says:

    Ok so I’ve missed several posts…in summary Scala is awesome, I tried the big boy Tamron at my local store and it worked on my F5, I would of guessed top but I did look at the comments so I don’t think I’ll count it – the tones in the cheek area are what swayed me (also Mastin presets are the bomb).

    • mewanchuk says:

      Hey Jordan,

      Thanks for the comments.

      Haven’t tried the Mastin presets—too rich for my blood lol.

      As for the Tamron, did you try the G2, or the previous version? With the G2, the aperture may appear to be working, but the lens doesn’t actually stop down at all. None of the film bodies work with the new “electronic aperture” lenses—Same goes for the Nikon 70-200E & 105E, and the Sigma 85 & 135 ART lenses.

      • jkjod says:

        They go on sale every now and then, the portra/hp5 are worth it. Those and Rebecca Lilly are my go to’s. And I have no idea on the G-ness of the lens, haha. I just asked for something to make sure the camera actually worked. On another note, that Tungsten slide film may get a work out tomorrow night! I’ll let you know how it goes.

  5. Corvus says:

    Not that I want you to change what you do, but… There are plenty of ways to improve the grain effect when shooting digital. I hope you have tried many of them. One trick is to crank up the ISO. (I bet you have tried that.) Then add the VSCO on top of that. (Also play with the grain adjustments.) My constructive criticism says you didn’t spend much time on the digital image. If you did, you could have made it much harder to guess the two apart. Having said this, I dislike all grain, fake and real. My goal is to avoid is at all cost. A good test to show others what is possible. Thanks for posting it.

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