Elise – Real Film vs. VSCO Film

[UPDATE –  I have published a detailed video review of VSCO here]

As many of you may know from my prior post, I happen to shoot both film and digital. I have also been playing around with VSCO Film lately, a new preset package designed to make digital photos mirror their film counterpart. I’m definitely not a fan of preset packages because the results can often times look unnatural. However, the idea behind VSCO Film seemed to be entirely different.

So different in fact that directly comparing film to a digital photo processed with VSCO Film makes sense. So below are two photos shot in my Cleveland studio within minutes of each other. One is definitely film and one is definitely digital (no tricks, I promise). The setup and lighting is nearly identical for both, although I did move a reflector further away for the one on the left.

So a simple question – which one is film?

Elise's senior high school portraits captured by Hunter Photographic, a Cleveland portrait photographer

Feel free to sound off in the comments. I’m really curious to see how the guesses shake out. I’ll clear up which one is which after Thanksgiving. I will also be adding another post with some VSCO Film recipes that I have been experimenting with. For now, have a great Thanksgiving!

Update – the film image is number 2 (on the right). It seems that was what most people guessed. I am continuing to experiment with VSCO Film and it really is producing some great results. I will have more to share soon.

P.S. – In case someone is curious, the film photo is Kodak Tmax 400 shot at 200 and processed in Rodinal 1+50 for 10 minutes. I love this combination!

  • Arne said:

    #2 is the film. It just looks analogue, whereas the #1 looks digitally enhanced. Slightly sharper, edgier. Tricky, but I hope I'm right. None pixelpeepers wouldn't see a difference IMHO. (i.e. clients)

  • Hunter said:

    You're right - only the real pixelpeepers with notice. Thankfully, I'm not normally that type at all. Thanks for the guess.

  • Kirsten said:

    I'm guessing 2 is the film. No idea why I think that ;)

  • Kat said:

    I think number 1.

  • I'm going to guess number 1 also.
    Pretty tough though!

  • Alina said:

    i vote for #2 to be film!

  • Hunter said:

    See the update above. The film image is in fact #2 (or the one on the right). Thanks for the input everyone.

  • David said:

    I thought it was no.1. Wrong!

  • Michelangelo said:

    N2, wider latitude in highlights and different grain distribution (more in the shadows-mids, and less in the high) =)

  • James said:

    I've seen digital images that looked almost identical with film images shot in comparison. But in this case the fake grain really gives it away. Fake grain, even if its from "real film grain" just doesn't match with digital. It absolutely kills an image and I hate it with a passion. I hate when I see fake grain in a picture.

  • I choose second because of worse looking grain. Beside grain they look almost identical in this size.

  • Kevin said:

    Not certain how old this is, but I did choose correctly. VSCO is closer than most presets certainly but still not the real deal. The lack of lowlight detail and clipping in the highlights was a give-away.