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RNI Films vs. VSCO

Mike in VT

MobiStarter
Real Name
Mike in VT
Device
iPhone 7
I have had both for a while, but decided to join the VSCO annual subscription. After some time with it and with RNI, I have concluded RNI is just as good if not better. When it comes time to renew, I think I will drop VSCO.

Anyone else not impressed with VSCO's options? I think their interface when down hill since their debut.
 

James Eye

MobiStarter
Real Name
James Eye
Device
iPhone 6s
Personally I have nothing against the VSCO app, it's a nice and versatile photo editor which I use quite often.
However totally agree on RNI Films. It has some kind of analog mojo in it, and made with deep understanding of real film colours.
In my opinion its filters are simply stunning and second to none.
 

terse

MobiLifer
MobiSupporter
Real Name
Ted
Device
iPhone Xs
I don't use film look filters that often, but when I do, I go to RNI Films. The main problem I have with VSCO is too many filters, too many of them similar, and all unmemorable names (which wouldn't be so much of a problem if there weren't so many). Instead of having a separate filter for each variation on a particular look, I'd rather have a filter for the basic look with adjustments to tweak it this way and that.
 

FundyBrian

MobiLifer
Mobi Veteran
MobiSupporter
Real Name
Brian Townsend
Device
iPhone 8 Plus
My 365
My MobiTog 365
I vote for RNI films, too. VSCO never felt right to me. I used film for, well let’s just say a long time, and film was very good. Very few apps attempt to convey the good qualities of film. Most make the film era to be a disaster zone full of scratches, light leaks, chemical fog, and other rubbish that I never once experienced with any film. It’s annoying how they try to trash history.
 

FundyBrian

MobiLifer
Mobi Veteran
MobiSupporter
Real Name
Brian Townsend
Device
iPhone 8 Plus
My 365
My MobiTog 365
While we’re on this topic of film emulation cameras have a look at cb9c.
CameraB_9Colors [CB9C ] by Li Xin
https://apps.apple.com/ca/app/camerab-9colors-cb9c/id1178655111
The film presets are very recognizable film types and you get some insight into what are the distinctive attributes of each film type. Plus, you can edit individual attributes and save your own new film presets.

Very often film app presets have names that resemble real film names but there were never any real films with those names. To actually emulate a known film requires a lot more research than most apps are likely to have in them.

I used to use a lot of Kodachrome 25 and Fujichrome 50 RFP (before Velvia) so those would be of special interest to me. Every film had its own distinctive colour response curves and you would carry a few different film types to match the shooting circumstances. That meant 2 or 3 camera bodies with different films loaded. Plus a few colour correction filters to fine tune the lighting conditions since film was not variable the way a digital camera is.

If you knew your films you could often identify the type of film used just by looking at the picture. That looks like Extachrome 64, might arise from a photo with a certain type of yellows and the shade of blue in the sky.
When it comes to apps it seems people are not looking for subtle variations. They want something dramatically noticeable. You don’t get that emulating real films without some exaggeration. When you see film emulations with anemic foggy colour you know that is completely fake. To get that sort of look you would put a cheap chainstore-made snapshot print on a sunny windowsill for a few months or more.

I’m not that interested in negative colour films.
If you really wanted to learn what you were doing you needed to use slide film to get the direct what-you-shot-is-what-you-got information. Print film always had that extra layer of adjustments being made at the printing stage which made it impossible to evaluate your results from your field notes.

We don’t seem to have reciprocity curves in the digital era but with films it was very important to know the amount of exposure correction required when your exposure time were getting down near 1 second, 15 seconds, etc., when you were making nature closeups in the woods. Each film had dramatically different reciprocity characteristics. It wasn’t that unusual for a film to require an extra 1.5 stops of exposure when the indicated exposure time was 10 seconds.

Back then I used to use a PC6 pocket computer for doing Zone System B&W work using a program developed by Phil Davis of Beyond the Zone System. It allowed entering every possible parameter into the program and determining the optimum exposure, development and printing factors. It really was excellent, especially for 4x5” film cameras. But it did require making a fair amount of field notes.
To go along with that I sent my Pentax 1° spotmeter to Zone VI to be modified with a different sensor and cut-off filters and calibrated to correct the colour response and linearity of the meter. It made a difference.

From that I wrote my own slide film reciprocity correction program in basic to run on the PC6 and it was much easier to use in the field than trying to interpret reciprocity correction graphs.

Incidentally, you know the difference between regular films and “Pro” films? The colour of each type of film did not stay exactly the same from the time it was manufactured until its “best before” date. Somewhere during its life a film would hit the sweet spot of optimum colour. Manufacturers knew the variations in their film stock and continuously tested them to study this effect. For instance, a brand new batch of Kodachrome 25 would have a slightly greenish cast in the highlights while an aged film would shift slightly towards magenta highlights. Somewhere in the middle it was right on. Kodak tested every batch of the film, aging it under controlled conditions, until it reached the optimum point then put it under refrigeration. That batch of film would be labelled as Pro film, along with it’s true tested ASA rating, and it would be kept in the fridge at the camera store until you bought it. And you would keep it in the fridge at home until you needed to use it. After exposure, back in the fridge. Photographers had little film coolers to keep film safe while on assignment.
 
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sinnerjohn

MobiLifer
Real Name
John
Device
Pixel
I've decided to take the plunge with VSCO's 'subscription'. Its that time of the year so I thought I'd treat myself for a year at least.
Also if its really not worth it I'll cancel in the 7 day try out !!
Coming from Android there really isn't that many alternatives, no RNI etc, and looking back at some of my favourite shots they always seem to VSCO edits. So we will see :)
 

Starzee

MobiStaff
Site Staff
MobiSupporter
Real Name
Star Greathouse
Device
iPhone Xs Max
My 365
My MobiTog 365
I've decided to take the plunge with VSCO's 'subscription'. Its that time of the year so I thought I'd treat myself for a year at least.
Also if its really not worth it I'll cancel in the 7 day try out !!
Coming from Android there really isn't that many alternatives, no RNI etc, and looking back at some of my favourite shots they always seem to VSCO edits. So we will see :)
I’ve always been a fan of VSCO, but gave up the subscription. I tried RNI, I think I like VSCO better, but I may know it better. I’ll be watching to see how the subscription trial works out.
 

richardgrant

MobiStarlet
Real Name
Richard Grant
While we’re on this topic of film emulation cameras have a look at cb9c.
CameraB_9Colors [CB9C ] by Li Xin
https://apps.apple.com/ca/app/camerab-9colors-cb9c/id1178655111
The film presets are very recognizable film types and you get some insight into what are the distinctive attributes of each film type. Plus, you can edit individual attributes and save your own new film presets.
Thank you for this recommendation! It looks like a really fun camera app, including the charming text from the developer that pops up here and there. Reminds me a bit of an old app called Toy Camera (which had a couple of spinoff variants from the same creator) that was a personal fave of mine in the early iPhoneography era.

Thanks also for your illuminating commentary on the film era — quite eye-opening for me, at least.

The mobile photography era has a history in its own right, albeit a short one at this point. For instance, there are reasons why photo effects tend to be rather over-the-top compared to the subtleties attainable with film, and these reasons have mostly do to with the limitations of the camera sensors in early mobile phones, the low resolution and dubious color fidelity of mobile displays, as well as the fact that most users (like me) had precious little experience with real photography. But in counterpoint to those limitations, you had all this computational power at your disposal in a hand-held device, and a community of imaginative developers eager to experiment. It wasn't an environment that encouraged nuance and finesse.
 

RoseCat

MobiStaff
Site Staff
MobiSupporter
Real Name
Catherine
Device
iPhone 7 Plus
The mobile photography era has a history in its own right, albeit a short one at this point. For instance, there are reasons why photo effects tend to be rather over-the-top compared to the subtleties attainable with film, and these reasons have mostly do to with the limitations of the camera sensors in early mobile phones, the low resolution and dubious color fidelity of mobile displays, as well as the fact that most users (like me) had precious little experience with real photography. But in counterpoint to those limitations, you had all this computational power at your disposal in a hand-held device, and a community of imaginative developers eager to experiment. It wasn't an environment that encouraged nuance and finesse.
Well said! :thumbs:
 
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