Totally Rad! Replichrome Lightroom Presets Takes Aim at VSCO

Replichrome

Totally Rad! recently released Replichrome, which is a collection of 134 film-look presets for Lightroom users that are targeted directly at fans of the popular VSCO presets. Totally Rad! set out to create a product that was clearly better than VSCO in nearly every important way:  more films, better accuracy, and a greater value.

Research and development of Replichrome began on Oct. 26, 2010 and utilized:

  •  19 cameras, including models from Canon, Nikon, Fuji, Olympus and other leading brands
  •  137 rolls of film, sourced from California, New York, Colorado, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Indonesia   and Bulgaria
  •  More than 4,400 images
  •  Two versions of Adobe Lightroom and 3 versions of Adobe Photoshop
  •  Four Color Checkers
  •  3,600 watt seconds of lighting
  • 16 locations photographed
  • 12 Models
  • 13,294,118,900 bytes of film scanned

Some of the differences/advantages highlighted by Totally Rad! include the following:

  • Replichrome takes into account the scanner hardware used to digitize the film. This is a VERY important component of a particular film’s look, therefore, Replichrome offers Noritsu and Frontier emulation profiles for every color film, something which is essential when talking about accurate film emulation. VSCO does not do this, and is arguably less accurate because of it.
  • Replichrome offers “+” and “-” versions of most films that correspond to the look of that film if it were overexposed or underexposed. VSCO also offers “+” and “-” versions, but it’s unclear what they are supposed to represent.
  • Replichrome covers MANY more cameras natively than VSCO.  Replichrome supports 386 camera models with custom profiles.  This means much greater accuracy for users that would otherwise have to use the VSCO “standard” profiles.
  • Replichrome has much less variation in its profiles from camera to camera. VSCO’s presets are, in some cases, *wildly* different when comparing Nikon and Canon versions of a particular preset. This means Replichrome users get the same accuracy regardless of the camera they shoot, unlike with VSCO.
  • Replichrome offers more films than VSCO 01 (13 vs 10).
  • Replichrome is less expensive ($99 vs $119).
  • Replichrome includes the Adobe Camera Raw versions for free. VSCO charges separately for the Lightroom / ACR versions.

After using several of the presets, I have to admit that I am very impressed with the work they have done in creating film looks in Lightroom. While I have not used VSCO’s Lightroom presets, I like the results I have seen from others. Based on my initial impressions of Replichrome, I think it is at least a worthy competitor to VSCO.

The variation in looks across different films and different exposure levels for those films is quite impressive. As Totally Rad! describes the process:

To develop Replichrome, we collected the most popular film stocks in the world, then shot that film in every lighting condition with every camera we could get our hands on. Next, we scanned our film at some of the best labs in the country, on both Noritsu™ and Frontier™ scanners (because true filmophiles know that makes a difference!) Using that test data, we developed presets that are truly accurate with all cameras, in both Lightroom and ACR.

I really like the variations in grain across the different films – particularly in in the black and white. The heavy grain in the Tri-X 3200 is just great on the right images.

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A closeup look at the grain on one of the Tri-X presets.

It’s also amazing to see the not-so-subtle differences when you have varying exposures and apply different presets designed for under/over-exposed images. The lifted blacks on some of the presets just nail the images.

While I’m sharing a few shots here, these just don’t do the presets justice. I would encourage you to check out the sample photos on the Totally Rad site.

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If you like to try to imitate film looks in a digital world, I think you would enjoy the Replichrome presets. You can learn more about Replichrome here on Totally Rad’s website.

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Comments

  1. says

    Come on guys. This is a bit too much of a sales pitch. Why didn’t you rather just post their press release without pretending this was a review. I’m not defending VSCO here, which I don’t use because I’m not after 100% accuracy in film simulation – I just want a good image. But this kind of “product comparison” is totally not useful to the reader. Thanks.

    • says

      Thanks for the feedback Dirk.

      I didn’t categorize or title this as a review because it’s not a review. It’s also not a product comparison since I haven’t used VSCO. I did, however, include my impressions from using the presets since I have used them. I like it and said as much. Sorry if that sounds like a sales pitch to you.

      I could have just copied and pasted in their press release; however, I included my opinion since I had one to give. I also noted that I haven’t used VSCO (even though it seems quite popular in the LR plugin circles) and that Totally Rad! was aiming to compete directly with VSCO.

      The advantages/differences bullet point list comes Totally Rad!, which is why I said the points were “highlighted” by them. I think that’s a relevant list for people who are users of VSCO or have been looking to purchase those presets.

      When I really like a product, I’ll be posting my opinion of it. When I hate a product, that’ll show up here as well.

  2. rebecca says

    You should check out rebelsauce’s presets. They’re a lot less technical and more good old film presets. They have a beautiful edge to their presets. So far they’re getting a huge fan following as well. The company’s only been around for 6 months and so far its huge.

    Here’s the link: rebelsauce.co