Free: Nikon Flat Film Presets

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You probably didn’t know about this free resource so I thought I’d share it with you. It will allow you to make better quality films with your camera, give you more interesting colours when you just want to shoot JPEGs and let you mess around shooting great looking black and white files in-camera that look like proper film photos.

The Nikon D500 camera has a new Flat picture control preset that gives a really low contrast, low saturation look. For photographers, this may seem superfluous. If you shoot in RAW mode (which you should), then the picture control adjustments you choose in-camera won’t show in Lightroom or Capture One. But because Nikon has overtaken Canon for video capability in its dSLR cameras, this flat mode is to designed to help film-makers.

You may have heard about ungraded vs graded footage when shooting films. It’s simple enough. Film cameras shoot with ‘flat’ low-contrast files which can be more easily colour-graded in post-processing software like DaVinci Resolve. This helps to keep detail in the highlights and shadows so the maximum amount of information can be captured and the editing decisions can be made later. Sony uses the SLog2 format for example, and you can see more examples from the best cameras available if you search for ungraded footage on Vimeo or YouTube.

Here’s an example of the difference;

Free Nikon Presets and Flat Profiles for Color-Grading Movies

I’ve tested them all and the best for film making is the AlvaroYus-Curve. The Flaat_11p is good too. So follow the instructions on the site and put these two Nikon Picture Control presets on your camera. Use them whenever you make films with your dSLR. Now your movie clips will be much lower contrast so they will retain more information and you can grade them later for better results.

Here’s a good tutorial to explain the essentials; What Is Color Grading for Movies?

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How do you grade the Nikon movies you make? Well the generous folks at BlackMagic Design have given us a gift; the professional colour-grading software that should cost a lot of money is free. Yes, DaVinci Resolve is available for download. There is a paid version, but you almost certainly don’t need it. And there’s even enough controls built in so you can use this as your main video editing software. Thanks to them!

There are plenty of tutorials available online about how to colour-grade your flat movie clips. I recommend this one to get you started – How To Colour Grade Video Footage. You’ll notice that they say you should download LUTs. What are they? They are Look Up Tables, which are basically presets that give you interesting looks quickly. Why not apply them in-camera? Because you have more control like this.

Free Nikon Presets for Photographer Who Shoot JPEGs

Funny how many short-sighted guides say professional photographers only shoot in RAW like some kind of cult law. Fact is, a lot of clients want photos fast and so I’ve been asked to provide JPEG photos pretty often. It’s always great to hear actually; I love photographing and generally hate being stuck inside editing.

But sometimes the supplied camera presets are a bit plain. So I was very happy to find these free Nikon Picture Control presets that emulate different films. They mean that when you want to shoot JPEGs and avoid your editing chores, your photos still look polished and edited. And the colours look different than those that your clients’ camera produces…

Free Nikon Presets for Photographers Who Still Love Film

Sometimes my students turn up with film cameras. Almost invariably, I have them put it straight back in the bag and lend them a digital SLR camera. And later, to put it somewhere there friends can see it (in #shootfilm selfies on Instagram…). Or on eBay.

Is film dead? Not yet and there are reasons to do ‘analogue’ photography. The image quality from an 8×10″ negative is still unbeaten by digital cameras costing more than a Porsche. And many large format cameras can take pictures that digital cameras just can’t. It’s also charmingly tactile. I love using my antique Hasselblad camera and printing 120 negatives in the darkroom.

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But coming from a place of appreciation for film photography, I still say that it’s basically a waste of time and money for results that are rarely as good. Just scanning and removing the dust from negatives is a pain. But there is a big plus; no computer-time. Sitting is killing you. No editing means you focus on getting the picture looking great in-camera, and that’s great fun.

Enter the free Nikon presets. When you’re in a creative rut, or you just want to really enjoy photographing, use these Picture Control presets to pretend you have a film camera. But without spending lots of money and time to actually see the pictures. My favourite is the Tmax400 preset for monochrome and the Ektachrome preset for colour photography.

In fact, you can save literally thousands of dollars on the new Leica MD by just turning your camera’s screen off so you’re not tempted to look at the pictures before you download them later…

You can download the presets for yourself now at Nikon PC – http://nikonpc.com/

4 Comment

  1. Michael says: Reply

    Isn’t downloading some files from some random site and then uploading them to a several thousand dollar camera kinda’ risky, at best? Couldn’t the files destroy the camera? Just curious, sorry if this is a stupid question.

    1. Ben says: Reply

      Interesting question Michael – I’d assume that the Picture Control presets don’t have write-access to the camera software itself, and that if there were any issues, then someone would have mentioned it in the comments. I’ve trusted them with my camera and it’s working well. Hope this helps.

  2. Thank you for using my online utility.
    It has yet one feature: you can make a custom preset and share this per the link. Unnecessary panels (list of profiles, curve, original image) can be hidden. So can see only result image in max size (up to 1280px).
    Yestoday I have added to the collection a new profile “VH PseudoLog” (source url: https://www.behance.net/gallery/17239863/VH-PseudoLog-Gamma-profile-for-Nikon-HDslrs). This profile save the info in light tone better than Nikon Flat and Flaat_11p.

  3. Hi there Dmitrij, I am the creator of the Vh PseudoLog PC curve and first of all I’d like to thank you to show and share my work and for your kind words, second, I have been working to improve my Log curve and make it the best among the others, you can download it again, there’s 2 improved versions now, one for the Old NCP (Pre-D810 Models) and one different for Post-D810 models which just works flawlessly: https://www.behance.net/VanHoff

    You can find video tests showing some hummingbirds and raw videos of landscapes.

    Thanks again and I’d like to receive more feedback about what you think about how the PseudoLog curve works in comparison with the others given your valious experience here.

    Greetings,

    Nicolás.

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