Why Capture One Is Better for Professionals

We all know that Lightroom has its ever-growing list of issues. Yet for IT-illiterate folk like myself, the change can be daunting. However, my move to C1 is perhaps the best thing I have done in 2019.

I was constantly dogged by issues with Adobe Lightroom. It was slow, it would crash, and it really didn't read the raw files all that well. I started using C1 to tether a Phase One back and instantly saw the pros of their system. 

As a food photographer, I often need live view for my stylist to see what is going on in the set while having the ability to tether a camera that is out of reach. In Lightroom, that meant having Canon EOS utility (for live view), shooting to desktop, and then auto-importing to Lightroom for the edit. The system was ok, but I would say that three times a day, we had to fully reboot the computer, as it would just stop. I tried better cables, plugging in the cameras, and making sure that nothing else was running on my computer, but still Adobe failed to tether in a stable manner. 

For any working pro, this is a real issue. I assumed it was just me at first (being IT illiterate), but as I spoke to more and more of my peers, I realized that I wasn't alone. 

At first, I started to use C1 just for tethering, then I edited in Lightroom, as I was more accustomed to it — that was until shooting a chef in his chef whites on location and being really pleased with the files, only to return to the studio to edit them and find that the chef's whites were completely blown out in LIghtroom. When I reopened the files in C1, all of the detail was still there, and the colors (especially skin tones) were far better too. I would liken the difference as being the same as going from 35mm to a 645 digital camera and for the price, a far better investment. 

I am still getting to grips with C1, but so far, I haven't found any downsides.  

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55 Comments

Yawn, again.

The whites were all blown out. Raw conversion isnt going to blow them to clipping levels, turn down a slider then.

Scott Choucino's picture

Tried everything. They simply are not there. Even when going through the x rite cal before trying to make sure I have a good starting point for colours.

I have a video that will be edited showing it next year.

Dan Howell's picture

I like the highlight warning indicator in C1. Shooting white bridal gowns for designers, I live by it.

Imagine that. Someone in a photo forum being rude. It’s getting old, guys.

Reginald Walton's picture

People bash Adobe for the pricing structure, but Capture One charges you more if you don't get the Sony or Fuji version of CP1. For folk like me who shoot more than just Sony, you have to get the version that can use all camera OEM formats and pay more for that. I do like the Sessions options in CP1, but I still use LR as well. CP1 is great, but it's not any faster than LR, even when tethering (at least from what I've seen).

Dave Morris's picture

Same observation here. Capture One is a great editor with some nice color correction tools indeed, but in a long run using it costs more, and the improvements come at a much slower pace compared to Adobe.

Dave Morris's picture

... from my experience it is also true that Capture One is not faster overall compared to Lightroom. It flicks through the photos faster which may briefly create a false impression of speed, but then takes more time to render full-res. Also the Capture One's notorious "setting up hardware acceleration" process which pops up from time to time is slow and disruptive - nothing like this ever happens in Lightroom.

John Pyle's picture

LR- people that shoot multiple cameras and high volume, from DSLR to iPhone, from goPro to Drone
-good enough for insta and websites

CAPONE- high quality printed work, better RAW processor, more detailed color and skin editing, tethering.

Paid advertisement? The same channel posted over and over for a couple of weeks. Follows a trend of certain channels gets posting for a week or two....almost daily.

Scott Choucino posts video from Scott Choucino YouTube channel and clearly says about that. Still some chance for paid advertising, right?

Benoit Pigeon's picture

Business models change all the time. I don't have a channel but I'll make one tomorrow if I'm send free stuff and the product is worth it. But first, I would have to put my name out there to be recognized and get to be send products for free. I would deny it too, unless that was part of the deal.
I don't see Scott being that way either, but I don't know Scott more than what I've seen so far.

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

For many, for what they need it for, it's a superior software to LR. So, why wouldn't they mention it?

Scott Choucino's picture

Just to clear this up. I’m not paid by nor gifted either of these items of software for the video. I pay full retail for both. Although I do get gifted a lot of stuff, I’ve never been gifted anything I’ve actually needed for work, so I give most of it away.

Mark B's picture

C1 is better than LR when it comes to tethering. No doubt about that. LR is better than C1 when it comes to organization. Develop tools are more or less equal with each one having something a little better/worse than the other depending on how you like a specific tool to work. Everyone says raw files are better coming out of C1, but I have yet to find an image that I can't process in both and have them look identical. Both are great.

You can't find any downsides to C1? Let me help:

- Canon shooters can't save to the camera card when tethered (they can in LR)
- Lacks the tight integration with PS (open as layers, panorama, smart objects, etc)
- Selecting folders in the library doesn't show the contents of subfolders
- No before/after view of your edits
- You can copy most metadata from one picture to another, but not GPS data
- Can't hide the JPG files from RAW+JPG shots like LR
- Auto mask on the adjustment brush isn't nearly as precise as LR
- Can't stack images, only variants
- No Pick or Reject flags, only stars and colors
- No HEIC support if you like to take BTS shots with your phone

That's just off the top of my head. I could easily make a similar list of things C1 does better, but it's not accurate to say there aren't any downsides.

Well written, Mark. Let me add more: no History panel, no alt-masking, shockingly crude vignetting controls, no way to auto add an exported file to the catalog and, for those trying to escape the tyranny of Adobe's rental scheme, a doubling of the cost of upgrades over the last five years along with rising penalties for those who do not wish to upgrade yearly.

But, yes, for tethering it's aces!

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

Downsides are subjective or a matter of relevance. If one doesn't use the feature, it's not a downside.

Also, regarding:

--"No before/after view of your edits"

There is a before and after, though, not as simplistic as I would have liked. You just hold down the Alt key and click on the Reset Adjustments button.

--"Can't hide the JPG files from RAW+JPG shots like LR"

Actually you can. It's in the Filters Tool -> Global Filters. Not only can you hide the jpgs, you can hide the raws, pngs, movie files, and tiffs.

--"No Pick or Reject flags, only stars and colors"

You have already stars and colors. Why would you need a 3rd way? The way I cull, if it has 0 stars at then of culling, then, it's a reject. Simple. No need for a 3rd way.

Mark B's picture

If downsides are only a matter of relevance, then so are upsides, correct? That kind of makes this article and discussion pointless. From my list, walking away from a job with 2 fewer backup copies of my work (dual card slots) is a huge downside. I have to do extra work of connecting an external hard drive and configuring software to make copies to compensate for that. The other stuff is minor but still noteworthy.

Didn't know Alt+Reset was a feature. I'll have to move that from something it can't do to something it can do but LR does better.

LR can hide just the JPG files that were shot as RAW+JPG while still showing the JPG files that were shot as JPG only. I haven't found where C1 can do that. It's all or none.

If I could choose only two of the culling methods, it would be flags and colors. I could do without the stars.

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

Yes, of course upsides are also a matter of relevance, like speed and reliability. So, no, it doesn't make this article and discussion pointless.

The RAW+JPG argument is pretty pointless, however. I find it hard to believe on a professional job, you would shoot a combination of JPG Only, and RAW+JPG. That doesn't make sense.

Marc Perino's picture

I cannot comment on the other points but you can hide JPG files by filtering them out and creating an album from a selection. I do it all the time.

which still is way more work than just do nothing and not be bothered with your jpgs. Although i must admit that i did not find a propper way to autodelete all the jpg as i no longer need them.

Marc Perino's picture

Well actually you just have to filter it out. It is more or less one click.
My method was just a way to filter them out on a more or less "permanent" basis (they are still there). Also if you want to delete them it is 2 more clicks and they are gone.

The other option would be to not import them at all beforehand. 🤷‍♂️

Paul Lindqvist's picture

The first point is Canon's fault not C1, any manufacturer who relies on external software to control in-camera functions is at fault.

Daris Fox's picture

DSLR Remote has managed to shoot to card and host system, for about 20 years. I used it with a Canon D30 and a 10D. So the onus is on C1 as it's obviously doable.

Paul Lindqvist's picture

Irrelevant, the fact Canon needs to rely on external software to set this up is a fault of their own. That's a feature that should be set up in the camera, the tethering software should not have any impact on that feature period. It's like Canon's rear sync, pure idiocy on their part, crippling their system just because they do not understand something.

Mark B's picture

This is not a camera issue or a Canon issue. The exact same camera records to both the card and the computer when tethering with other software. This is specifically a C1 issue where they intentionally disable capturing to the card. So says their FAQ anyway.

Paul Lindqvist's picture

It doesn't really matter your opinion on the matter, the fact Canon lacks this feature of control in-camera is their issue, just as they insist on rear sync being controlled externally instead of internally.

C1 does not tether the same way as every other software that piggybacks of the proprietary protocols of the manufacturer, and that's one of the reasons it's the industry standard for shooting tethered.

Mark B's picture

It's not an opinion.

Paul Lindqvist's picture

Sure it is, an opinion based on ignorance as you do not seem to understand that this is a feature Canon (like Sony and Fuji) could have implemented in-camera instead of leaving it up to external software to control.

Mark B's picture

Capture One published my opinion in their documentation? I feel like they should have given me a free license for that.

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