Prior to this, FilmPack 5’s film simulations were integrated into the recently-released DxO OpticsPro 10 as a plug-in. Now they are available via a standalone application as well as plugins for your favorite image editing software including Adobe Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Photoshop Lightroom and Apple Aperture. And, of course, DxO OpticsPro itself from version 10 onwards.
DxO Labs has a special offer going right now on their complete photography suite – DxO OpticsPro, DxO FilmPack and DxO ViewPoint. I use all three on an almost daily basis and can highly recommend them.
How I Use FilmPack
I tend to use FilmPack in its plugin and standalone guises as a vast set of presets that I know well enough from my analog film days to be able to accurately visualize their effect when applied to my raw digital negatives. Some films and their FilmPack simulations handle come color ranges differently, more appropriately for my subjects, than others.
I prefer the intense greens of Fujichrome Velvia for landscapes. I often process street photographs through one of FilmPack’s Fujichrome Provia film emulations. For portraits I tend to select FilmPack’s Kodak Portra color negative simulations and if I need to color match images from analog days then I choose one of the three Kodachrome renderings, most likely Kodachrome 64.
I don’t shoot many monochrome photographs any more but when I do, my preferred FilmPack renderings include Agfa Scala, Kodak Tri-X, Polaroid 664 and sometimes Kodak T-Max 3200. One film from my analog days that DxO has yet to add to FilmPack is Kodak Panatomic-X, the creamy, finely-detailed 32 ISO film that I defaulted to for architecture, cityscapes and landscapes though rarely for people shots.
New Additions to FilmPack’s Renderings
This version of FilmPack has added sixteen new film renderings that I am looking forward to trying out with suitable images. I am entirely unfamiliar with many of them, especially films made by European manufacturers like Adox, Bergger and Foma that never made it to the Australian market.
With so many wonderful analog films already gone forever or teetering on the edge of oblivion, DxO has a job on its hands getting hold of them in order to shoot, analyze then emulate them. Two other films I still pine for and would love to be included in a future version of FilmPack are GAF Anscochrome 500 and Polaroid Type 55 instant negative film.
A number of photographers built their styles on those two films – French fashion photographer Sarah Moon relied on GAF 500 and Polaroid Type 55 for much of her career. The late Deborah Turbeville also used fast, grainy color films for her wonderfully edgy, emotion-laden work. Her work was as inspirational for me as that of the great German-Australian photographer Helmut Newton.
Some great photographers now shooting exclusively in digital rely on film emulation software to match the look of their earlier work or to maintain distinctive styles that evolved over many years. Brazilian social documentary photographer Sebastião Salgado. Salgado endorsed FilmPack on DxO’s website until recently due to its ability to match the look of his earlier work shot on Kodak Tri-X and T-Max 3200.
Using DxO FilmPack with the Fujifilm X-Series
As I mentioned in my recent article about DxO OpticsPro 10, that product does not support Fujifilm’s X-Series cameras due to their non-Bayer sensors.
All is not lost, however. Running FilmPack as a plug-in for your usual image editor grants you access to its film emulation and image editing features and it is possible to achieve results not too far distant from how they would look if OpticsPro supported X-Sensors. You can, of course, also convert your X-Series images to TIFFs or JPEGs then run them through DxO OpticsPro for a dose of FilmPack 5 goodness.
(cover photo credit: snap from Karin Gottschalk)