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Capture One Pro 6 vs. Lightroom 4

Kurt Kramer , Jun 13, 2012; 11:46 a.m.

I have been a Lightroom user for a long time. Yesterday I won a copy of Capture One Pro 6. At the seminar I attended there was a one-hour intro to Capture One. The instructor focused mainly on "conveniences", e.g. applying adjustments to many images at once. He spent no time on any quality advantages of Capture One vs. Lightroom. Are there any?
Is anyone using Capture One Pro 6? In terms of quality of the RAW conversion to .TIF, are there any significant performance differences between the two programs? I like the image organization capabilities in Lightroom and I like its printing capabilities as well. Unless the RAW conversion process is much better in Capture One, I don't know why I'd switch.
Thanks.

Responses

Keith B , Jun 13, 2012; 01:42 p.m.

I examined a trial copy of C1 recently, but I never got to the point of printing. Although C1 has the coolest, swankiest, most Bauhaus-clean screen presentation, it's simple functionality as a raw viewer was, for me, compromised compared to LR. When I have to push several keys or mouse clicks just to zoom the image to 1:1, I'm losing compared to LR4. From what I've seen of LR, Corel ASP, Capture One, and Aperture, LR has, again "for me", the best printing interface.
I've noticed that high-end studio photographers seem to often use C1 as the "live feed" for the clients to watch during a shoot; this may have something to do with the cool graphic look.

Tom Mann , Jun 13, 2012; 02:50 p.m.

With respect to raw converters, I own year-old versions of ACR and C1, plus the newest versions of LR, Nikon's Capture NX2, and Raw Therapee. Each of these has its good points. For example, if I'm just dork'ing around, performing minute examination of the back of my proverbial fingernails, looking for ultimate sharpness, etc., I love playing with all the adjustments in Raw Therapee. C1 seems to give nice smooth output and seems to handle fringing around blown highlights nicely. Or, if I want to match the "Nikon Look" with the least effort, I'll use NX2.

However, for real, get-it-done work, 90% of the time, I'll just go straight to either LR or ACR. I'm sure there is a big familiarity factor in operation, but this is what works for me. FWIW, the cataloging features of LR are not a big factor in this decision.

Just my $0.02,

Tom M

Pete S. , Jun 13, 2012; 06:25 p.m.

I haven't tried LR4 but for older versions I always thought capture one would give me better, more colors true to the subject, better skin tones and more pleasing tonality overall. Also better CA and color fringe removal. And faster to use as in having to fiddle less with the sliders to get the expected result.

Five years ago capture one's version 3.x was a speed demon but from version 4 and onwards everything was about as slow in capture one as it is in lightroom. I have since started to use photomechanic to view and select images on large volume shoots because it is much, much faster - a true speed demon. From there I move to raw conversion (C1), retouching (photoshop), preparing for output (photoshop) and when needed printing on a roll inkjet (qimage). I also use other software for stitching, exposure blending, focus stacking and such. I like to pick the best tool for the job and to me lightroom is the jack of all trades but the master of none.

But if you are satisfied with lightroom and the workflow there is little reason to change is there? If you want to try C1 however you don't have to use the copy you've won. You can just download it from their website and install it without activating it and it will run as a fully functional trial version for 60 days.

Keep in mind that you might have to play a little with the default settings as I don't think C1 is configured optimally from the get go. But that might depend on what cameras you are using and what kind of photography you do as well.

Scott Ferris , Jun 13, 2012; 10:00 p.m.

The CA controls in Lightroom 4 were massively upgraded. I have not seen any other software with more powerful CA correction tools.

Further, Lightroom has very flexible import and preset functionality. It is not difficult to set up so all images shot with a specific lens get custom CA adjustments, likewise settings for noise can be specific to different ISO settings. A few hours setting custom presets in Lightroom for you lenses and cameras, combined with thoughtful input strategies can save huge amounts of time in post.

Archimedes Alcantara , Jun 14, 2012; 01:10 a.m.

If you take time to learn how to use C1, in my opinion I could extract the best IQ from either a RAW capture or a film capture scanned into a tiff file.
You could try it for 30 days....try to learn how use it.....you might be surprised how well C1 raw processor is.

Patrick Lavoie , Jun 15, 2012; 09:49 a.m.

I have both, and use both.. but for years, C1Pro less frequently (only when working with digital back like P25-45 and the newer IQ60-80)

The main advantage of using C1Pro vs Lightroom is for is lens correction / moiré feature IF you need that.. and some photographer prefer C1Pro because the image look more appealing automaticaly right out of camera. But many people i know also prefer the information or the subtility you can get from Lightroom (i do prefer it vs C1)

C1 sharpen is not as good vs Lightroom in my oppinion, or i should say that i most of the time find the result too *crude* with C1 vs Lr.

C1 is wayyyyyyy faster for thetered shoot vs Lr, i mean click and instantly you have the shot on screen with C1, click and 1-2-3-4sec it appear in Lr.. so if you are into shothing connected, C1 is certainly a better choice.. but even knowing that.. i prefer using Lr4 because of all the rest (image management, catalogue compatibility with client, quality of development)
Both are excellent, one have some cool feature that the other dont have, but about quality i find they are both excellent, if you have the same knowledge with both software, i think the result will be probably the same or pretty close too.

Barry Fisher , Jun 16, 2012; 04:44 a.m.

LR4 is great and its features are very efficient for handling files. The processing tools are excellent and easy to use. But I have to say that C1 Pro gives me sharper files out of the camera (D700) better color correction, better skin tones faster and extends exposure latitude about a stop more than I get from LR or Aperture. I think its interpolation of raw files is superior to the other programs including photoshop. I don't think I'm alone in this. But that's what I see. You have to compare results yourself. Patrick, I'm not sure about more subtlety from LR, I'd say less.

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