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Gear & Apps

VSCO Eclectic Films Collection | Finally Less Grit & Grain, More Nuance

By Kishore Sawh on June 3rd 2015

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VSCO is really vying for our attention lately, which is a little strange considering they already have it. You may gaff at that, stating you don’t put much stock or thought into Vis-Co, but you see it everywhere. They are the ubiquitous preset system overused and under-altered the world over.

The idea is to offer you specific film emulation to bring an analogue organic feel to your digital world, all with custom camera profiles to go with. It’s an attractive offering and for many, myself included, have just become more attractive with their newest release, VSCO 07 Eclectic Films Collection. With 17 ‘films’ as part of the pack, it’s VSCO’s largest release yet. It includes:

Color:
• Agfa Optima 100 II
• Agfa Portrait XPS 160
• Agfa RSX 50 II
• Agfa RSX 200 II
• Agfa Ultra 50
• Agfa Ultra 100
Fuji 160S
• Kodak Ektachrome 64
• Kodak Ektar 25
• Kodak Elite 50 II

Night/Tungsten
Fuji T64
• Kodak Ektachrome 64T
• Kodak Elite Chrome 160T
• Kodak Portra 100T

Black & White
• Ilford Pan F Plus 50
• Kodak Plus-X 125
• Kodak Tri-X 320

As is the standard with VisCo film sets, each film is accompanied by numerous versions of itself with slight to exaggerated variations in tonality, etcetera, and this is no different. Many of the films in 07 come with 5 or 6 variants, with ‘+‘ or ‘-‘ symbols dictating which are stronger and grittier, or less pronounced with less grain. Some even have ‘warm’ and ‘cool’ though it’s my understanding that these are strictly reserved for instant films due to the variance in how they look depending on temperature.

[REWIND: VSCO Is Giving Away A Free Film Pack For Lightroom]

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If you’re a bit of a film connoisseur, you’ll notice that many of the films listed are no longer in circulation, or indeed, existence, so it’s nice that VSCO has exhumed some of these classics. The company describes pack 07 as having a ‘wide range of clean and colorful [presets] that are ideal for portraits, night photography, and architecture.’ This actually seems true for this pack.

One of the issues I’ve had with VSCO in the past is that at times it can be too gritty, and too overdone. They recently released pack 00 for free download, and it was much the same there. This Eclectic pack, however, seems to have fallen a bit farther from the tree and seems to focus less on grit and more on color refinements, so it’s cleaner looking, and I would say probably the most widely usable pack I’ve seen yet.

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A word of caution to anyone using or planning to use these presets though, and that is because of their subtlety, you may think them more forgiving than other film sets, but I would urge you not to think of these as a solution to save a bad photo – take a proper exposure first, and then apply.

I should interject a shameless, but not shameful plug for the SLR Lounge Preset System here, if only because I use both it and VSCO. With the sheer amount of people using VSCO, I find myself using the SLRL Presets more, simply because they just aren’t that obviously the same as everyone else – and being different is a good thing, a necessary thing. The system doesn’t include any specific film types, but I guarantee 90% of people using VSCO packs have no idea what the original films were anyway.

*These presets are meant to work with RAW files but VSCO says even with JPGs this new pack should work better than ever.

Terms: #Graininess
About

A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Ralph Hightower

    I haven’t shot Ektar 25, but I’ve used and shoot Ektar 100. I wish Plus-X 125 were still available.

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  2. Jason Boa

    looks interesting , i think i need to investigate

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  3. J. Dennis Thomas

    hashtag VSCOscam.

    Sorry, but I’ve tried them and it just makes pictures look awful. People clambering to buy cameras with the most DR and highest clean ISO and they run a filter and take away the DR and add noise. Seems odd to me. And the price! I made film presets when I first started getting adept with photoshop scripts. I shoulda stuck with it and marketed that stuff. Oh well…

    It’s nice to see AGFA Optima 100 up there though. But I bought ton of it years ago for both my 35mm and MF cameras still have a bit in the fridge. I’m curious to see if they can really nail it. It’s a great film for cross-processing.

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  4. Brandon Dewey

    I have the SLR Lounge preset and love them.

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