Adventure Photography & Capture One Pro 10

Capture One has been my default tethering software in the past for myself and as a digital technician, but never for my file management or processing.  Until Capture One 9, I felt the workflow in C1 (Capture One) was always very cumbersome and hard to use, but with every update the software becomes more intuitive and more powerful than Lightroom.  2017 marks a decade of using Lightroom for my primary file management, archiving and editing software.  Back in January, I jumped ship and only use Capture One to capture and process all my imagery.  

In this review, I compare and contrast with Lightroom because Lightroom tends to be the standard in the industry as the go-to software for image processing.

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Overview

Capture One 10 is the most powerful raw converter on the market for adventure photography or any genre of photography, they have really dialed in the power of raw capture and processing.  Before fully converting to Capture One I did a side by side comparisons with Lightroom from processed PSD files.  The files from C1 showed significantly more detail retained in highlights & shadows, color renditions are more accurate and realistic, the noise was handled much more aesthetically and the power of sharpness was stunning.  All the ICC profiles are created by hand at Phase One from using all the camera and lenses in real-world lighting situations using hundreds of images to fine tune the profiles.

Once Capture One added the catalog feature it handled a lot like Lightroom in the file management arena.  This feature helped win me over and helped me starting to convert my archive to the C1 catalog.

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Quality

The quality and construction of the Capture One’s user interface feels amazing and looks sleek. While it is easy to learn the software if you have the basic knowledge of any raw photo editor but takes time to really dial in and master the software.  I have been using C1 for almost 8 years and I am still constantly learning shortcuts and new features. One of the things that I like about this software so much, is how powerful it is.  

Processing speed and processing options are unrivaled to Lightroom, previews build and load much faster, processing images especially low-resolution Quickproofs is unreal.  C1 also allows you to process multiple recipes at the same time for export. 

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Capture One is almost fully customizable and I have been constantly working on getting the perfect workspaces fine-tuned.  I have created multiple workspaces, one for culling - which is an almost full screen, another for metadata and keywording.  If you like having your tools on the right like Lightroom, that is easy enough to set up as well.  If you want your thumbnails placed on the bottom or placed to the right depending on the orientation of the image you can view it larger on your monitor.  Speaking of monitors if you have two you can customize the screens you have for them.  When I am shooting tethered for an advertising or commercial campaign I set up a large image on the external monitor and have an image with the thumbnail browser, full image, and the tools on the laptop screen.  The sky is the limit with workspaces just like Photoshop’s workspaces. 

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The focus mask tool and loop alone will expedite culling a series and an entire assignment of imagery by a large percentage.  The focus mask - default green, will show you exactly where your image is in focus, the shallower the depth of the field the easier it is to quickly locate your focus on an image.  The focus tool will show up both on the image you have enlarged the full screen and on all the thumbnails.  Like Lightroom, it has the exposure warnings to see over and underexposed parts of your image.  Both of these tools have the option to change their preferences to get better results.  The loop tool is amazing, with 3 different sizes, as well as different magnifications which allow you to easily see what is in focus without zooming in on an image.  Even better you can take the loop tool onto thumbnails of other images and view them at 100% without even selecting the image.  As an adventure photographer being on the road and working off a laptop is the norm, these few tools reassure me that my images are sharp, and my focus is where I want them to be.  This helps me deliver files faster to my clients since culling is sped up.

There are too many features I could spend all day talking about, but these are some of the biggest differences between C1 and LR.  The last tool I would like to mention is the color editor tools.  The sensors in digital cameras are amazing, but after working with them, you can see colors are shifted when processed in camera and these tools allow you to neutralize or create a more pleasing aesthetic to your taste. These are extremely powerful tools, if you want to shift any color in an image, it allows you to select that color using an eyedropper tool.  Once the color is selected you can shift the smoothness, hue, saturation, lightness, but it goes one step further and make the selection of color in the advanced section and this will allow you to use the color wheel to select a larger or smaller range of that color hue.  Use the skin tone selection to smooth out skin tones or just pull some reds or add back yellows into a certain range of skin tones.  If that wasn’t amazing enough you can do that to a specific area by using the local adjustments tab and making a mask of where you want to select those colors.

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User Friendliness

Capture One is an extremely user-friendly once you catch onto the learning curve. Recently when I was using Capture One someone said the program looks very sophisticated and powerful over Lightroom- they are right.  It just takes some time to learn it and how to harness the power of it.  

 

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Pros

• Powerful Raw Converter

• Customizable User Interface and Workspaces

• Tools are removable from the application window

• Loop Tool & Focus Mask

• Overlay tool

• Color Editor, Color Balance and Skin Tone Tools 

• Extremely fast rendering & processing speeds meant for medium format files

• Presets (can buy additional- link in references) can be STACKED

• Tether control - full camera control, focus, exposure & extremely stable

• Roundtrip with PSD export

• Luma Curves - only adjust contrast not colors

• The list can go on

 

Cons

• A large initial learning curve

• $299 - 3 user license or $180 per year for an annual subscription 

• Still trying to find more

 

Bottom Line

If you are a professional photographer, you must give this software a full 30-day trial.  Try it every day, learn on it, make side by side comparisons with any other photo editor out there and I’m confident you won’t use any other software to edit with.  After a decade of using Lightroom, Bridge, Photoshop, Adobe Raw, Capture One, Leaf, Hasselblad, Canon, Nikon and Photomechanics  - Capture One has proved itself extremely stable on location, powerful and can handle everything I throw at it as an adventure photographer that is the bottom line! 

Capture One is an extremely user-friendly once you catch onto the learning curve. Recently when I was using Capture One someone said the program looks very sophisticated and powerful over Lightroom- they are right.  It just takes some time to learn it and how to harness the power of it.  

 


Resources

Phase One | Capture One Website https://www.phaseone.com

Capture One Webinars on C1 - David Grover is amazing https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJgJWICGMzzvXk2wIgqxVEQ

Capture One Presets http://captureonestyles.com/

 

Footnotes

* It would be great to hear any feedback you have please comment or message me directly.  I will also plan on updating this as time goes on and will post additional notes.

** I am no way affiliated with Capture One or Adobe, I am just an extremely happy user of C1