Street Photography with an iPhone and VSCO Film
A while ago I posted an episode of my ongoing “Street Photo Diary” video series on YouTube shot with the original Fuji X-100. The video has attracted quite a few comments, but one recently stood to to me and got me interested. Someone wanted to know could you achieve similar results with an iPhone. I figured you would get broadly similar results, but the quality wouldn’t be quite the same. I was curious to see though, so I set off to find out.
In the X100 video I had processed the photos with the now discontinued VSCO film, and this is what drew the reader in particularly. This was his exact question:
So to test this, I set out to shoot some quick Street Photo shots using my iPhone XR. I shot using the Lightroom Mobile app, so I could shoot RAW and quickly get the resulting files into Lightroom (as they would sync over automatically). Shooting RAW using Lightroom Mobile, in my opinion gives you some of the best quality stills when working with the iPhone, providing you’re prepared to do a little bit of post production on them. I know lots of people have their favourite camera apps, but for me, I prefer the one in the mobile version of Lightroom.
Once finished, I did some more post processing back in my office on my desktop computer. I could have processed them on my phone, but I wanted to have a better idea of what I was doing and so I used Lightroom Classic to make the edits. I used VSCO Film 6 and the Portra 160 preset. It’s a real shame that VSCO decided to discontinue these presets as they were really good. I’m working on a post detailing alternatives, but for now, I recommend Totally Rad Replichrome. Of course, I have some film like presets too if you want to check out my collection, although they’re not strictly emulation, more artistic interpretation. Oh, and I cropped them to 6X4 because I hate the 4:3 aspect ratio!
Anyway, here are the results. This is only a few shots, and I realise that they’re not the greatest compositions ever taken, but this is more for a demonstration purpose. The only real issue I found is that there is a significant shutter delay with the Lightroom camera app at times, meaning there were quite a few shots that I missed because the photo didn’t capture until half a second after I pressed the shutter. But these are the better results that I got.
To get back to the original question, how do they compare to the X100 in the same scenario? While, obviously they’re not straight up comparisons, here is the original post that the commenter was referring to, so you can see the difference. The overall tonality is broadly similar, but the X100 shots are much better in terms of pure image quality. Still, for a phone, the results are still pretty good.