Updated VSCO Film Pack 02 Review

VSCO FILM PACK O2 REVIEW UPDATE

It's been quite a few years since I first posted my first review of the VSCO film pack, despite this, it is still one of the most viewed entires on my blog. As I still am absolutely in love with VSCO 02, I thought it about time for a little update. A lot has changed since my last review, for one, I now frequently shoot real film, something I hadn't done at the time of my first review. I thought it would be cool to compare the look of VSCO's emulator to actual film side by side. And what better than photos from a recent road trip down Route 66 in California to do it with.  Now as a disclaimer I will say that when I shot these images I did not have this in mind. So camera settings, and lenses used are not identical. Also note that modern Portra film falls somewhere between Neutral Color and Vibrant Color/Ultra color. Since I use the Portra Neutral Color emulator almost exclusively now, I went with it. I'll have to go out and shoot with a comparison in mind so I can do it perfectly. But for now, I think this is a great comparison. 

VSCO Film 02 Kodak Portra 400NC

Kodak Portra 400

I'm not sure if it was my scans, but all the shots on this roll of Portra 400 are a bit green tinted. I find it most notable in this shot of the abandoned trailer. The hues of the sky and brush noticeably differ between the two. 

VSCO Film 02 Kodak Portra 400NC

Kodak Portra 400

Here I had to double check a few times to make sure which was which. The real film has a greener tint in the brush than the emulator, but overall it's pretty close.

VSCO Film 02 Kodak Portra 400NC

Kodak Portra 400

Another one that's really close. The road is a bit warmer in the Digital version, and the film is maybe a bit darker in the shadows.

VSCO Film 02 Kodak Portra 400NC

Kodak Portra 400

Once again the film has a greener tint that is especially noticeable in the sky.

VSCO Film 02 Kodak Portra 400NC

Kodak Portra 400

The brush in the foreground here looks substantially different here to me, but part of that may be the rapidly changing lighting conditions at this time of day.

VSCO Film 02 Kodak Portra 400NC

Kodak Portra 400

Another case of magenta vs green tinting.


My Conclusion

Most of the time VSCO FILM 02 emulator gets incredibly close to the real thing when it comes to Portra 400 film. There are some cases where it looks a bit off, but those occasions are few, and far between. The green tint of the real film may have more to do with the lab's scanner than the film and for my use outside this article I've color corrected them. As I've previously mentioned, I love this emulator. I use it for both my personal photos and as a baseline for my professional portrait work. There's just something special about Portra's colors and tonality and I can't get enough. Here's a few more examples of the FILM 02 Portra 400NC being used in my work.

About the Writer

 

Norm Roberts the Fifth is a Long Beach based Commercial photographer, nature lover, and outdoorsmen. Traveling the rural landscape of California, he was inspired by the tragic beauty found in the encroachment of man made creations into the natural landscape and decided to focus his artwork on this troubling subject. His first project, Destination Nowhere, focuses on the barren roads and manmade constructs that disrupt the otherwise serene deserts covering vast swaths of California.