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Author Topic: Capture One Pro V6 - Is it now the premier choice for Black and White Work?  (Read 8842 times)
ZagatoV12
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« on: January 18, 2011, 07:11:20 PM »
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Hello All,

In my on-going research to seek out the best software for producing black and white conversions of RAW images, I just upgraded to Capture One Pro version 6. To explore whether it is indeed the best choice for doing this kind of work I recently did a 'first impressions' review and I have just completed a fully illustrated in-depth review comparing C1 6 with an equivalent workflow in ACR6/CS5 with the popular Silver Efex Pro plugin, which I have been using very successfully for the past year. I found some surprises!  Cheesy

Does anyone else have experiences of C1 Pro 6 for monochrome work that they can share? I would be most grateful for your view and feedback.

My in-depth review can be found here:-
http://www.theintuitivelens.com/software/review-of-capture-one-pro-6-vs-silver-efex-pro-for-black-and-white-images/

Cheers

Mike
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Jack Flesher
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« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2011, 11:38:47 AM »
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Here are a few I did all in C1 using the new B&W tool adding basic color filtration and a split sepia/sepia tone.  The only Photoshop work was adding the frames.  The originals are all single frames out of my P65+.  Most exposures were made with the 80LS or 110LS and most were done wide open at f2.8, all at ISO 50.  This factory is very dim and most exposures were at least 1 second up to 1 minute for the darkest areas.

A note on the factory.  It is the Gladding McBean Ceramics works in Lincoln, CA.  It was originally opened in 1875 and is still operational today(!).  There is approximately 20 acres of the plant under a contiguous roof.  It is wonderful that in this litigious age they allow select photographic groups in to document it, but of course you sign your life away on a lengthy waiver!

Here are a few of the images:













 
« Last Edit: January 19, 2011, 01:04:55 PM by Jack Flesher » Logged

ZagatoV12
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« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2011, 07:16:14 AM »
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Hello Jack,

Many thanks for joining in and taking the time to add your images to the debate. The images are wonderful and very evocative. I like the lower to medium contrast of your treatment; very atmospheric. Do you use any of the other RAW conversion workflows? The reason I ask is that on other forums where this subject is being discussed there was a great deal of interest in ho Lightroom 3 would fare in such a black and white conversion comparison. To that end I have done the additional work to make this a three way review and I would be very interested if you had any views on your preferred environment and why? Especially from a chap with your experience.  Smiley

I have a little  more work to do on writing up the comparison - I found some very interesting things. I'll post a link to the extra findings later today.

Cheers

Mike
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Doug Peterson
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« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2011, 07:53:25 AM »
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It's often underestimated how much the underlying raw processing algorithms and settings matter in black and white conversions.

- Removing chromatic aberration and purple fringing will prevent unattractive halos around high contrast subject matter (especially when using the B+W sliders at extreme settings where a particular color like purple is being pushed or pulled)
- tonal smoothness is even more important (IMO) in B+W images than in color and in the digital age tonal smoothness depends on both camera and converter
- quality (as well as availability) of highlight/shadow recovery and local adjustment push/pulls. Just because every program has them doesn't mean they all do an equal job on recovering smooth, natural, detailed information
- color noise reduction especially in shadows; for as long as I've used LR I've found it leaves low frequency color noise (blobs of color rather than speckles) in shadow areas. When translated to black and white (especially when pushing/pulling particular colors in the B+W conversion) this leaves areas of "bubbling" in areas that should be a smooth black. The color noise reduction algorithms in C1 are (IMO and experience) best in class and greatly help.

From these points of view I've always preferred Capture One for B+W work. Previously you had to be an expert at the Color Editor to do advanced black and white conversions. Now that they built in easy to use B+W color sliders and split-toning it's available to everyone.

Doug Peterson (e-mail Me)
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Jack Flesher
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« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2011, 08:11:55 AM »
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Mike,

I have not used LR since 3 was released --- I did not feel the need to pay for the upgrade as I was already using C1 as my raw converter of choice.  Back then, I did most of my monochrome conversions in CS or used Silver FX.  In fact, I continued to prefer CS' B&W adjustment layer tool up until C1 v6 released just recently.  That's a long way around explaining why I don't have much of substance to add to a LR3 B&W conversion discussion, sorry.

Cheers,  
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ZagatoV12
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« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2011, 11:21:47 AM »
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Thank you Jack. It's still very helpful to the debate to have your views. May I ask if you have a stand alone gallery where I can see more of your work. I looked at your gallery on getdpi and was fascinated. Amazing colour work especially in the Eastern Sierra and Yosemite Fall 2010 set. Is this all medium format or 5x4 and Capture One?

Also, I've just found your very beautiful 'Street Art' in your series on Bordeaux and Surrounds. Oooooh, isn't that nice?  Smiley

Mike
« Last Edit: January 20, 2011, 11:45:44 AM by ZagatoV12 » Logged
craigwashburn
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« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2011, 08:57:25 PM »
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Those are some of the best digital b&w images I've seen, very nice. 
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Jack Flesher
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« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2011, 12:16:35 AM »
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Thank you Jack. It's still very helpful to the debate to have your views. May I ask if you have a stand alone gallery where I can see more of your work. I looked at your gallery on getdpi and was fascinated. Amazing colour work especially in the Eastern Sierra and Yosemite Fall 2010 set. Is this all medium format or 5x4 and Capture One?

Also, I've just found your very beautiful 'Street Art' in your series on Bordeaux and Surrounds. Oooooh, isn't that nice?  Smiley

Mike


Hi Mike,

Thank you for the kind words.  GetDPI is currently my only online gallery. Eastern Sierra 2010 is all digital MF via C1, as are most all my galleries on GetDPI since 2008. The exception is the one with general landscapes and older Bodie images, many of which are 4x5 and even MF film images. Ironically, Bordeaux and Surrounds was done totally with Panasonic M4/3rds this summer.

Cheers,

« Last Edit: January 21, 2011, 12:18:24 AM by Jack Flesher » Logged

Jack Flesher
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« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2011, 12:22:53 AM »
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Those are some of the best digital b&w images I've seen, very nice. 

Seriously, I give a lot of credit to the new C1 B&W toll with split-tone --- makes it pretty easy.

Thanks,
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robgo2
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« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2011, 12:16:20 PM »
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Quote
It's often underestimated how much the underlying raw processing algorithms and settings matter in black and white conversions.

- Removing chromatic aberration and purple fringing will prevent unattractive halos around high contrast subject matter (especially when using the B+W sliders at extreme settings where a particular color like purple is being pushed or pulled)
- tonal smoothness is even more important (IMO) in B+W images than in color and in the digital age tonal smoothness depends on both camera and converter
- quality (as well as availability) of highlight/shadow recovery and local adjustment push/pulls. Just because every program has them doesn't mean they all do an equal job on recovering smooth, natural, detailed information
- color noise reduction especially in shadows; for as long as I've used LR I've found it leaves low frequency color noise (blobs of color rather than speckles) in shadow areas. When translated to black and white (especially when pushing/pulling particular colors in the B+W conversion) this leaves areas of "bubbling" in areas that should be a smooth black. The color noise reduction algorithms in C1 are (IMO and experience) best in class and greatly help.

From these points of view I've always preferred Capture One for B+W work. Previously you had to be an expert at the Color Editor to do advanced black and white conversions. Now that they built in easy to use B+W color sliders and split-toning it's available to everyone.

In addition to all the points mentioned by Doug, there is also the question of overall image rendering.  I happen to prefer how my images look in Capture One over LR/ACR.  Hence, the B&W conversions from C1 should look better as well, regardless of how they are accomplished.  I really like C1-6's new B&W tab, and it has replaced Silver Efex Pro in my workflow for the time being, but I am waiting to test Silver Efex Pro 2 when it is released.

Rob
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ZagatoV12
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« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2011, 05:21:03 PM »
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Gentlemen,

Albeit somewhat later than I had planned, here is the final element of the now three way side by side comparison between Lightroom 3, Capture One Pro 6 and ACR6/CS5/Silver Efex Pro in the task of converting a RAW file into a final black and white image.

The latest article in this 'head to head' can be found at:-
http://www.theintuitivelens.com/software/review-of-capture-one-pro-6-vs-lightroom-3-for-black-and-white-photos/

For me, the tests have been quite an eye opener, particularly in respect of workflow and ease of use. The exercise has also been quite helpful in answering my original questions about which application I prefer, in the current versions, but I would very much appreciate your views on my findings.

Incidentally, if anyone would like to have the original DNG file to conduct their own conversion, and also sense check my own conclusions, I would be very happy to make it available. Smiley

Cheers

Mike
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john beardsworth
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« Reply #11 on: January 23, 2011, 01:06:50 AM »
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Mike - I'll take up that offer if you'd like.

John
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ZagatoV12
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« Reply #12 on: January 23, 2011, 09:43:18 AM »
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Hi John,

Well, that's bizzare. I was replying to your earlier response and, while I was typing, your post has seemingly disappeared!

(It's been gently and helpfully pointed out that I posted my response to your reply in a related post here also - doh! see below - ooops)  Shocked

Just seen your request. Anyway, the file is 35Mb - I've not done this in a forum before so what is the best way to get the file to you?

Mike
« Last Edit: January 23, 2011, 02:24:28 PM by ZagatoV12 » Logged
Schewe
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« Reply #13 on: January 23, 2011, 01:01:58 PM »
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Well, that's bizzare. I was replying to your earlier response and, while I was typing, your post has seemingly disappeared!

That's one of the problems of cross-posting the same message in two separate threads...are you sure you weren't reading in the other thread or in this one?
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ZagatoV12
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« Reply #14 on: January 23, 2011, 02:08:15 PM »
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Hi Jeff,

Aha! Now I see what happened. John had replied in both and I probably had two windows open at once. That explains why I thought I had posted, but when I refreshed the page I thought I was on John's post wasn't there, but another reply from him was, so I thought he had removed it. I wonder what the odds of that happening again are!?  Embarrassed

I've just seen you've commented in the other thread, so I'll answer there. I'll avoid doing that in future - very confusing.  Smiley

Jeff, while I have your 'ear', thank you for the great Lightroom Videos with Michael. I found them most helpful in trying to make the most of the latest version of Lightroom and also LL's Capture One V5 videos, all of which helped in this piece of work we were discussing here. Will you do a proper update for C1 Version 6?

Mike
« Last Edit: January 23, 2011, 02:29:13 PM by ZagatoV12 » Logged
Schewe
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« Reply #15 on: January 23, 2011, 04:02:51 PM »
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Jeff, while I have your 'ear', thank you for the great Lightroom Videos with Michael. I found them most helpful in trying to make the most of the latest version of Lightroom and also LL's Capture One V5 videos, all of which helped in this piece of work we were discussing here. Will you do a proper update for C1 Version 6?

Thanks for the kind words Re: LR 3, but I wasn't involved with the C1 video...so I can't tell you if Mike will do an update.
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