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Author Topic: Capture One - is the PRO version worth the extra $$$  (Read 20517 times)
jeremyrh
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« on: February 24, 2009, 04:11:02 AM »
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I have been using Aperture to convert and adjust my Nikon RAW files, but then I tried NX2 and was struck by how much better the results look "out of the box". Then I read here that some people whose opinions I have learned to generally respect prefer Capture One. So I downloaded a trial and I am shocked, or amazed, at the differences I see. Maybe it's possible to emulate the results by judicious choice of parameters in other software, but just using the defaults, or small variations on them, I don't see how.

So now I'm more or less reconciled to buying ANOTHER RAW conversion program, but I'm not happy to unbelt 300 EUR in these economic times, if the 99EUR version will suffice, so I'm wondering what PRO features people find make the difference to them? Just looking through the user guide, I don't see anything that I couldn't live without, but maybe I overlooked something. Your advice would be valued!!
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eleanorbrown
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« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2009, 09:21:12 AM »
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I used to use Capture One several years ago, but then came Lightroom and I know that workflow like the back of my hand for RAW processing and that's all I've used ever since it came out (lightroom).  However, recently I decided to reacquaint myself with Capture One Pro 4.6.0 (4.6.1 has crash issues on a quad mac).  I took the time to get to know the program and most importantly, to customize it for my workflow similar to what it was in Lightroom (you can do this on a Mac I know).  This alone is worth getting the pro version.  I learned keyboard shortcuts and learning to make my "own" keyboard shortcuts" for systematic RAW processing.  I placed all the tools I use in Capture One under one column on the left so I'm not switching back and fourth to different columns and I places the tools in the proper order that works best for RAW processing.)  You can do all this in the Pro version (don't know about the regular version).....

 My findings are that I believe Capture One has been under rated....it does a superb job with my Phase One and Canon RAW files and the way it pulls out detail is nothing short of amazing.  I can only speak from my experience, but I'm finding that the initial preview of the file is more accurate, cleaner, with better color, than in Lightroom.  With that said, I still have files that work better in Lightroom than Capture One Pro so I use both programs.  Eleanor

Quote from: jeremyrh
I have been using Aperture to convert and adjust my Nikon RAW files, but then I tried NX2 and was struck by how much better the results look "out of the box". Then I read here that some people whose opinions I have learned to generally respect prefer Capture One. So I downloaded a trial and I am shocked, or amazed, at the differences I see. Maybe it's possible to emulate the results by judicious choice of parameters in other software, but just using the defaults, or small variations on them, I don't see how.

So now I'm more or less reconciled to buying ANOTHER RAW conversion program, but I'm not happy to unbelt 300 EUR in these economic times, if the 99EUR version will suffice, so I'm wondering what PRO features people find make the difference to them? Just looking through the user guide, I don't see anything that I couldn't live without, but maybe I overlooked something. Your advice would be valued!!
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James R
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« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2009, 09:34:38 AM »
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Quote from: jeremyrh
I have been using Aperture to convert and adjust my Nikon RAW files, but then I tried NX2 and was struck by how much better the results look "out of the box". Then I read here that some people whose opinions I have learned to generally respect prefer Capture One. So I downloaded a trial and I am shocked, or amazed, at the differences I see. Maybe it's possible to emulate the results by judicious choice of parameters in other software, but just using the defaults, or small variations on them, I don't see how.

So now I'm more or less reconciled to buying ANOTHER RAW conversion program, but I'm not happy to unbelt 300 EUR in these economic times, if the 99EUR version will suffice, so I'm wondering what PRO features people find make the difference to them? Just looking through the user guide, I don't see anything that I couldn't live without, but maybe I overlooked something. Your advice would be valued!!

I use Capture One Pro ver 4.6 and find it pulls out more shadow detail than LR, NX2, or Aperture.  The Pro version has many enhancements that fit my needs.  The program still has bugs and Phase One continues to improve the product.  The program will present a learning curve for you, if you are not experienced with earlier versions.  But, is it worth the money?  I don't know how to answer that question.  How do you value the perceived improvement in your captures?  On the flip side, it has made my work flow slower.  Import with PhotoMechanic, work in CO, process out as TIF files, import into LR2 and fine tune and color proof in CS4.  I still use LR2 to keep the files organized, tweaks, and for printing.  LR3 is suppose to support color proofing, which will be a welcomed upgrade.  

In these economic hard times, it is a difficult decision.  The cost might be reason enough to continue using your current raw processor.  
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Greg Haag
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« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2009, 09:43:28 AM »
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James R,
I have recently switched over from Capture One DB to Capture One Pro 4.6.1 and I am have very regular crashes have you experienced this?  I am running it on Mac Pro, OS 10.5.6, Processor 2 x 2.66 Dual-Core Intel Xeon with 16gb ram.
Thanks,
Greg
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Baxter
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« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2009, 10:27:24 AM »
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double post
« Last Edit: February 24, 2009, 10:28:42 AM by Baxter » Logged

Baxter
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« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2009, 10:28:07 AM »
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I have only the basic version of C1 4.6 and the customisable workflow is not available as described above by Eleanor. I too have been wondering if it is worth the upgrade and already have Nx2, DxO Optics, LR2 and Aperture! Each has relative strengths and I'd dearly love to use just one.

That said, if colour is the pre-eminent consideration, then C1 is program of choice. I love the way it renders the files (I am a film lover and still shoot LF). Certainly the best I've used for Leica M8 and great for NEF files too. LR2 is my least preferable RAW converter, but file management and non-destructive localised adjustment are useful tools.

So I too would like to monitor the contents of this thread to see what are the other benefits of the Pro version to encourage me to upgrade.
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jjlphoto
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« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2009, 11:14:19 AM »
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If you are on a Mac, consider Raw Developer. Has a similar interface feel to the older Capture One v3, and the files are great.
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James R
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« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2009, 05:07:38 PM »
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Quote from: Greg Haag
James R,
I have recently switched over from Capture One DB to Capture One Pro 4.6.1 and I am have very regular crashes have you experienced this?  I am running it on Mac Pro, OS 10.5.6, Processor 2 x 2.66 Dual-Core Intel Xeon with 16gb ram.
Thanks,
Greg

I had to move back to ver. 4.6 since 4.6.1 is only stable for P backs (might only be for P65+, not sure though).  So, moving back to 4.6 will reduce your crash problems, unless you need that latest update.  I'm using a Mac Pro and MacBook Pro, both new versions running OS 10.5.6.  The older versions of CO1 are located on their archive page.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2009, 05:12:16 PM by James R » Logged
Chris_Brown
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« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2009, 07:34:41 PM »
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You should also be aware that Capture One is a program that uses ICC camera profiles, and the better those profiles are, the better your results. Although they provide an Adobe "DNG File Neutral" for those using Adobe's DNG editor, I find results far superior when using well-made ICC camera profiles. Making these profiles costs more time & money.
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~ CB
jeremyrh
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« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2009, 01:03:11 AM »
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Just to add something to my own question - I see that the advanced colour editing is only available in the PRO version. It seems like that would be useful - but is it, in practice, something you use a lot? (I know this is a personal thing - I'm just trying to get a sense of how people use this tool)
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eleanorbrown
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« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2009, 09:28:14 AM »
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I didn't think I would use this, but found that I'm using to saturate/desaturate  colors individually. Eleanor

Quote from: jeremyrh
Just to add something to my own question - I see that the advanced colour editing is only available in the PRO version. It seems like that would be useful - but is it, in practice, something you use a lot? (I know this is a personal thing - I'm just trying to get a sense of how people use this tool)
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douglasf13
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« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2009, 06:40:58 PM »
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I've been using C1 Pro with the A900, because, as much as I like the Lightroom workflow, I got to the end of my rope with how badly it treats Sony RAW files.  I'm very impressed with the output of C1, and I've phased out my Lightroom use all together...no pun intended.  
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eleanorbrown
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« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2009, 02:49:06 PM »
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As I mentioned above, I have re evaluated Capture One after making extensive use of Lightroom, and have been so impressed with Capture One that I've started using it again.  I also mentioned that certain files still do better in Lightroom depending on the characteristics of the file.  In the meantime I've been trying a modified approach and that is to RAW process almost all Phase and Canon files in Capture One FIRST and process as Pro Photo 16 bit tifs,  then those processed files that can benefit further from what Lightroom has to offer are imported into Lightroom as 16 bit tifs and I can make use of what Lightroom has to offer that Capture One does not such as local adjustments and so on.  Best of both worlds.  Eleanor
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andyptak
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« Reply #13 on: February 26, 2009, 03:18:38 PM »
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@douglasf13 - I have an a900 too and sometimes I cringe at the results using LR. Love the workflow options of LR2, but finding the right combination of Noise Reduction and Sharpening on my a900 files is driving me nuts. How is C1 in this regard for Sony RAW?
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frugal
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« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2009, 09:44:44 PM »
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Quote from: andyptak
@douglasf13 - I have an a900 too and sometimes I cringe at the results using LR. Love the workflow options of LR2, but finding the right combination of Noise Reduction and Sharpening on my a900 files is driving me nuts. How is C1 in this regard for Sony RAW?

As someone who's leaning heavily towards the A900 as my DSLR of choice I'd be interested in hearing more about this too. I've been trying out LR and really like the workflow but if the results are that much of an issue with the A900 then I'd be interested in hearing how people setup a good workflow with another RAW converter feeding into LR.
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andyptak
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« Reply #15 on: February 27, 2009, 07:28:17 AM »
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If Michael Reichman is using both the a900 and LR2, which he is, then good results are possible. I just haven't figured out how yet. I don't think it's just the a900, I have an a700 too and even at ISO 200 the noise is too much. I think that ACR and Sony are not the best fit, but Michael has figured it out obviously. I just don't know how yet.
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frugal
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« Reply #16 on: February 27, 2009, 08:36:43 PM »
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Quote from: andyptak
If Michael Reichman is using both the a900 and LR2, which he is, then good results are possible. I just haven't figured out how yet. I don't think it's just the a900, I have an a700 too and even at ISO 200 the noise is too much. I think that ACR and Sony are not the best fit, but Michael has figured it out obviously. I just don't know how yet.

I know in one of the A900 articles he did discuss using C1 and then exporting a DNG from that to LR, I'm not sure if that's his regular workflow with the A900 or just an example from that one test. I also agree that his results are great but the general consensus seems to be that ACR doesn't do a great job with the files so if he's found some trick, or uses some other converter in his workflow, I'd love to hear about it.
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douglasf13
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« Reply #17 on: February 28, 2009, 10:11:25 AM »
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  I agree that Michael seems to be getting outstanding results from his A900 and Lightroom at low ISO, so the differences I'm seeing between Lightroom and C1 on screen at low ISO using A900 files must be of the pixel peeper ilk.  However, as the ISO raises, C1 drastically starts separating itself.  For me, local image adjustments is the only real advantage to Lightroom, but I often have to use PS anyway, so it isn't a huge issue.  I'm keeping my eye on Bibble 5, as that may end up being the best of both worlds for how I work.

  Either way, whether using Lightroom or C1, there are some immediate adjustments to be made when converting A900 files.  Both programs benefit from using a linear tone curve, rather than the default contrast of "film" curve.  Brightness, especially in the case of Lightroom, also should be lowered upon import.  With C1, I find myself lowering the brightness and darkening the midtones in levels frequently.  I've been hearing the term "expose for your RAW converter" thrown around a bit, and I'm starting to catch on.  For me, I start by getting jpeg settings in the camera that give me the most "RAW-accurate" histogram on the camera's LCD, and I use uniWB frequently to really make sure that I'm getting a proper exposure.  UniWB has gone a long way in showing me that I've been underexposing my Sony cameras more than I realized.  Loading uniWB into the camera, and using jpeg settings like the following gives a pretty accurate RAW exposure simulation:

Neutral creative style
Saturation  -1
Brightness  -3
ZONE         -1
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douglasf13
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« Reply #18 on: February 28, 2009, 10:28:03 AM »
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I forgot to mention that Adobe takes it upon themselves to "to accommodate a consistent zero point of exposure compensation across different camera models and different camera vendors."  They also do this with noise and sharpness, too.  On the A700, +.75 exposure compensation is automatically added upon import, and it is similar with the A900, so changing your import settings is a must.  If you use uniWB, set camera jpeg settings to illustrate a proper histogram, set Lightroom curve to linear, lower RAW brightness and exposure import settings, and turn NR and sharpening OFF in Lightroom, it should help out your A700/A900 conversions.
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frugal
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« Reply #19 on: February 28, 2009, 10:41:01 AM »
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Quick question about the JPEG settings, is that for if you're shooting RAW+JPEG or even if you're shooting just RAW? I would have thought that if you were using uniWB and shooting just RAW that the histogram should be pretty accurate, or is it still applying whatever your JPEG settings are even if you're not shooting a JPEG?

Not having an A900 yet (but hopefully very soon) I haven't had a chance to test any of this but it seems like uniWB is a big key to getting good RAW exposures and that should really help with taming the noise since you can ensure that you're not underexposing the red and blue channels.
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