The Analog Look in Lightroom: A Review of RNI’s All Films Pack

There’s a lot of options in the preset and profiles space, but in my experience, one has stood above the rest. If you’re looking to bring a bit of analog spirit to your images, here’s why RNI's All Films 5 pack is the product you should get. 

I first took a look at RNI’s profiles with the release of their take on Aerochrome, a very unique and challenging to replicate infrared film. Since then, they’ve released their All Films 5 product, which includes over 150 other profiles. They're currently available for both Lightroom/ACR and Capture One, with upgrade options from the previous pack available. Additionally, they have a demo available, featuring a film look from each category, like vintage and instant stocks.

Lightroom’s Profiles Versus Presets

One of the biggest benefits of RNI’s pack is the fact that it’s designed entirely around profiles. For those not familiar with Lightroom and ACR’s lingo, profiles are different from presets in one important way: profiles leave the sliders alone while still making their changes. This means that you can apply a profile and still have the whole range of each slider to further refine your image. For some of the more dramatic (and drastically image-altering) profiles, this can make the difference between being able to edit the shot effectively or not. 

Along with the technical implementation, there’s also the nature of how the profiles were derived. RNI claims to have “real film stocks carefully digitized using the most advanced color science and best equipment” and I’ve seen no reason to doubt them. These aren’t cliche, simplified takes on a generalized film look. Instead, they’re a true-to-eye implementation of that particular stock and speed, often featuring versions, fades, and expired styles to further round out each stock’s options.

The RNI All Films 5 Experience

Installation is very easy. For Lightroom Classic, my preferred version (although these are also compatible with LR CC and ACR), installation is two steps for either Windows or Mac. Simply unzip the pack of profiles, then copy them to your App Data folder for Camera Raw on Windows, or just run the package installer on Mac.

One major benefit if you’re a LR CC user on either desktop or mobile is the fact that these profiles are compatible with the platform: this means you can access those same profiles on your phone, desktop, or laptop and get a consistent starting point with a variety of devices.

Using them is just as easy. In LR Classic, they show up both under the presets panel and can be selected as a profile in the basic panel. While the profile browser option gives the ability to check out small thumbnails, on a fast enough computer, I prefer the experience from the presets panel. In the presets panel, mousing over each name is enough to preview the effects on your whole image, and I find it easier to just go in a straight line, rather than bounce between both columns in the profile browser. Either method you choose, however, will give you the same benefits of them being applied as a profile, including the ability to adjust the amount of effect and make all normal changes via the other develop panels.

RNI’s Emulated Film Stocks

All FIlms 5 features 180+ simulations, but they are broadly divided into Black and White stocks, Infrared, Instant, Negative, Slide, and Vintage. Along with the various films, you also get access to a toolkit of grain, fade, vignette, and contrast adjustments. For a complete list of the included presets, check out the product page at RNI.

Within each category, except infrared, there’s a number of “bases,” typically one film or process, but these are then expanded into numerous variations, bringing each category to a much greater number of total “looks.” Some of these variations can be slight, like adding a warm fade, while others can be a complete change to the feel of that base.

Aerochrome, the infrared film base, is a bit different. In this category, there are 18 looks, all offering a different color palette and level of contrast, but based around the same idea of replicating Aerochrome’s unique, otherworldly style. For more on Aerochrome specifically, check out my earlier review of it here.

While I’ve only been able to shoot with a few of these film stocks in real life, all of the ones represented within this pack feel like accurate representations. Even beyond accuracy, however, I’m impressed by how compatible all of the looks were right off the bat. While not every one may be a good stylistic match to each photo, they all performed quite well in terms of luminance and contrast. When exposure or contrast was shifted, it was only done to replicate the intended effect of the profile, meaning I didn’t find myself having to tweak these settings after the fact. RNI mentions this is their film-like highlight compression in action, and I think it’s very helpful.

My Favorite Profiles

 As you might have guessed from my earlier coverage of the Aerochrome-only pack, I absolutely love the results yielded by that set of profiles. With this pack containing all of those profiles and more, I was curious to see which would be my favorites by the end. After a few months of use, I’ve actually ended up with a few that I think sell the pack alone.

For me, these are the black and white profiles, Technicolor profiles, and Kodachrome profiles. While all of the included profiles are great, these represented either a big time-save in replicating the peculiarities of the process or proved to be versatile across a range of subjects. Specifically for black and white processing, having a consistent and gorgeous preset is of great value to me when processing weddings and portraits, where being able to quickly produce a good-looking black and white is important.

Overall, I think this set of profiles is a great value if you’re new to presets and profiles, or are looking to get a single, high quality, and diverse range of looks that take advantage of the latest CC features and developments. Covering infrared, black and white, and a variety of film stock looks with a single set is great, especially when they’ve all been created with the same attention to color science and detail that RNI obviously used. RNI All Films 5 is available direct from RNI, and is available for both Lightroom and C1, although this review covers the LR version.

What I Liked

  • A diverse set of looks that all meet the same standard of excellence

  • Good value when considering the number of profiles available

  • Includes more obscure offerings like Aerochrome and comes with a bonus toolkit

  • Profile-based design integrates excellently with Lightroom

What Could Be Improved

  • Except for Aerochrome, you’re unable to purchase a single set of profiles, like black

  • One-click install for Windows may help some users who are less comfortable with folders

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13 Comments

Greg Wilson's picture

Interesting observation: their Fuji Pro 160NS profile looks very similar to the Fuji's Classic Negative in-camera simulation but the RNI version is visibly better and has higher fidelity than the Fuji's. The shadows, skintones, overall smoothness - it just feels higher-quality.

I wouldn't be totally surprised if RNI 5 is what the Fuji staff used as a base for their simulations, trying to tweak the RNI profiles (with little success).

Greg Wilson's picture

Gosh. Did you consider finding a therapist?

Salty Cremepuff's picture

It's an emulation and it's the closest you can get without actually shooting film. FWIW the same thing exists in audio with plug-in emulations of outboard audio processors, speaker emulations, amplifier emulations, microphone emulations, etc. All of these are used professionally everyday and despite people spouting the same type of drivel as you, they often can't tell the difference in the end product because without controlled A/B testing you're unlikely to ever tell the difference. Profiles like RNI allow people who enjoy the overall aesthetic of film to capture some of that while maintaining the benefits of a completely digital workflow. Chill out.

Timothy Roper's picture

I shoot both film and digital, and have no desire to mix the two up, especially when it comes to B&W. Makes no sense to me. If someone likes the "film look" so much that they want all these plug-ins, etc, why not just shoot actual film?

Salty Cremepuff's picture

Because shooting actual film is a lot more work and a LOT more expensive. That's fine if you enjoy the craft, but if you're just looking for an approximation of the aesthetic rather than the enjoyment of the process, there's literally zero reason to go through that entire process. Using digital emulations also offers you options that simply do not exist on film (eg. shooting an image at ISO3200 but making it look like it was Porta 400 shot at box speed).

Salty Cremepuff's picture

I actually do know how to shoot on film and my father used to own a photo lab so I know how to develop it and print it too. That doesn't mean that I actually want to shoot film all the time. Sometimes I want the result, but it makes way more sense to work digitally since I can benefit from the better technical capabilities, not have to deal with a 30+ year old camera, benefit from working directly with the RAW files rather than a scanned TIFF, and turn around my work way faster than I could with film.

As far as "entitlement", it's an emulation. Do you think it's easy to make an accurate film emulation that accounts for different camera sensors and profiles? Do you think they did no research or work themselves creating it? Are Fuji offering a comparable plug-in for sale to fill that market demand that this company is encroaching on? No? I thought so.

Timothy Roper's picture

I'm going to go out on a limb here, and say that someone who hasn't shot a lot of film has no way of knowing how to actually get a good "film look" out of digital files. Relying on a software default won't do it. You still have to make adjustments, and to do that you have to know what you want from having worked with film before. Obviously you personally can do that, and perhaps don't even realize all your years of shooting film coming into play when working on a digital film. But, that's just a (maybe crazy) theory of mine.

Salty Cremepuff's picture

The goal isn't to create files that are indistinguishable from film. It to capture a general aesthetic. It's also to do what you can to recreate that aesthetic while not getting into the slog that a film photography workflow involves. Love it or hate it, digital photography has tons or real workflow benefits that you simply don't get with film. You can shoot tethered, show results to clients immediately, shoots thousands of photos with no extra cost aside from wear and tear, immediately upload files to email while you're still on location, use cloud back-up, etc. Obviously it's not the same as film and nobody is really claiming it is. Emulations like this are just the closest you're going to get for now without actually making the compromises required to use actual film and 99.9% of viewers will never know the difference either way.

Salty Cremepuff's picture

Yes, film is alive but it makes little sense to wait until it's completely dead to introduce something like this if it's possible to create it now. There's tons of benefits to a digital workflow that you simply don't get when you're working with film. If you like film, then great, go shoot it. Don't disparage people who simply want their photos to looks a certain way while benefitting from the options afforded to them by working digitally.

Salty Cremepuff's picture

Who's getting something for free here?

Salty Cremepuff's picture

Seems to me that I'm paying RNI for the work that they put into analyzing and profiling the emulsion. If Fuji has any claim here, they're free to sue, as is Kodak, Ilford, and any other company. Are you telling me that RNI is violating intellectual property with a high profile film emulation plug-in and NONE of these companies are suing them out of existence in order to protect their IP? I suppose it's possible. It's also entirely possible that RNI may be doing business completely above board, too, whether that's paying licensing fees, acquiring permission, or just being in the legal right.

Victor Kim's picture

Hey, Fstoppers, that doesn't look like a very new product! Though remarkably good one indeed (normally I hate canned presets, RNI is exception and some of DVLOP profiles too)