4.62Mastin Labs Pushed Portra // Review
Mastin Labs

Mastin Labs Pushed Portra // Review

4.62GP. score
5Public score
6 Film Presets, 6 Tone Profiles, 2 Grain Settings
File types
RAW only
Adobe Lightroom and ACR

Mastin Labs was created by Seattle photographer Kirk Mastin. A long time film shooter, he longed to create digital presets that would match the tones from his Frontier scanner.

01. Intro

These presets are created to specifically emulate Kodak Portra film, when pushed in development, and scanned on the Fuji Frontier scanner. It allows hybrid photographers the ability to easily match their digital files to their film scans, or for digital shooters to get the film look they want.

These presets offer a simple process: decide on film stock, with either 1 or 2 stop push. You then adjust WB/Tint and exposure and pick a tone profile (see video). You can finally add grain that resembles 35mm or medium format film.

02. Overview Video

03. Overall Look

When you push film in development, you get two main effects: More contrast (Blacks stay black, shadows get slight bump, midtones/highlights get most of the bump in exposure) and color casts, usually in the shadows.

The first thing I did when I installed this pack, was apply my favorite film in real life Portra 160 +2. I instantly knew this pack was a winner. The exact skin tones, contrast, and shadow color shift (red!) was there.

The marketing slogan for these presets is “Moody, not muddy” and they deliver. You get the contrast and deep shadow look, but with skin tones that maintain a natural tone, instead of looking like underexposed film.

Skin Tones

Skin tones look like pushed Portra, warm and punchy.

Blues / Greens

Blues and greens look incredibly like film, desaturated and lower luminance.
Portra 800 +2 / Shadow Soft / 35mm grain - Photo: Dylan M Howell

04. One Click Boom

These presets are advertised as a 3-4 click process, which was found to be the case. That being said, they’re strong out of the box.
Once you have a feeling for which preset will work best on a certain image, the only real tweaks are exposure, white balance, and tint.

Matt & Tish
Portra 160 +1
Sam Arroyo
Portra 160 +1 All Hard

05. Technical

These presets are based on Adobe standard. They’re made with specific presets for Sony, Fuji, Nikon, and Canon. If your brand is not supported, they recommend using the Canon presets. Most of the toning is in the basic panel, RGB curve, slight use of individual color curves for shadow toning, HSL, and camera calibration panel.

These presets are based on the idea of absolute accuracy when matching digital to film, it would be nice to see them build custom camera profiles in the future to cut down on color differences between models.

The grain settings also feel like they are on the light end of the spectrum, both in comparison to film and personal preference for making digital images look less digital.

06. Consistency

The presets performed well on the Canon, Nikon, and Fuji files that were used in the test. No lighting situations were found that didn’t react in very similar ways to the film stocks being emulated, outside of being able to use these under a wider range of white balances without having wacky film skin tones.

Portra 800 +1 Shadow Soft // Kristen Marie Parker (d700)
Portra 800 +1 // Dylan M howell (X-T2)

07. Typical Tweaks

Warming up the images, typically into the 5500-6500 range, and adjusting tint.
Slight adjustments to exposure, but nothing out of the ordinary.

Split Toning
Not needed.
Already tweaked.
Slight adjustments.
Not needed.
White Balance
Warming up and adjusting tint to remove any magenta or green cast

08. Strong Points

These presets emulate Portra that has been pushed incredibly well. It is stunning how accurate they are, making it obvious that many hours were spent matching film scans to digital files.

If you’re not a hybrid shooter, and care less about matching the look of real film, these are still a very strong option. The tagline “Moody, not muddy” holds up. These are great way to get a punchy, contrast filled, dark look while still maintaining a natural skin tone.

09. Week Points

The only real issue found with these presets was with the grain. The settings for 35mm and medium format were both hardly visible on ~20 megapixel files. Grain is one way to make digital images look a bit less digital. Boosting the grain settings, especially when underexposing and pushing film can cause excess grain, would be a nice tweak.

Utilizing custom camera profiles would also help accuracy across camera bodies of the same brand.

10. Before / After

Portra 400 +2, Shadow Soft // Dylan M Howell (5d mark iii)
Portra 160 +1, All Soft // Matt & Tish (5d mark iv)
Portra 800 +1, All Hard // Matt & Tish (5d mark iv)

11. Uniqueness

There are two major companies that have released Lightroom presets that emulate the look of Portra film that has been pushed. This one wins the accuracy game, hands down.

12. Value

The $99 price tag for 6 somewhat similar presets might be a bit much for some, but you get a well developed product for the money. These have been extensively tested and the results speak for themselves. If you’re a hybrid shooter, you really should get these. If you’re digital only, they’re still worth taking a long hard look.

Mastin Labs Pushed Portra // Review
Good stuff
  • Emulate pushed Portra extremely well.
  • Gorgeous skin tones.
  • Easy to tweak.
Bad stuff
  • Grain too light.
  • Adobe Standard.
Overall look
One click boom
Final Score
Based on 9 reviews
5 Users (9 votes)
Overall Look5
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