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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Dave Morris's picture

I'd say that Lightroom has much more powerful underlaying functionality right now. Just check what RNI are offering to the LR users: https://reallyniceimages.com/products/rni-all-films-5-pro-for-adobe-ligh...

- Film profiles of smoothly adjustable strength
- Film-like highlight compression (whites never clip no matter how far I push them)
- All without touching any of my adjustment sliders so I can apply my own post-processing preset on top

When I approached RNI asking when they are going to port this to Capture One 20, they replied that it's not technically possible without lowering user expectations regarding some of those features. So it looks like no matter what it was 3 years ago, but now in 2020 Lightroom offers a much more advanced rendering engine for lower price.

Have you really googled this cause most of this is possible in capture one. It's my go to picture editor as wedding photographer.

Mark Bienvenu's picture

I own and use both. Feel free to point out how to do any of the things in that list.

Tony Clark's picture

People can be quite territorial about camera brands, lighting and software. I do not care for Lightroom dispute it being included in Adobe CC and love Capture One other than not writing to both computer and cards. We all have our way of doing things and I assume that we’ve done our own research.

Tony Clark's picture

The fact that you watched the video then commented on it speaks volumes about you. It’s a large worldwide web, perhaps you can enlighten others with your wisdom or perhaps create your own.

I use Caoture One for tethering, it’s been solid but since I last upgraded macOS I don’t know, maybe cable or maybe I need latest version, I am now two behind. Starting to think the new connectors that comes with USB 3 / newer Macs are not that good.

Anyways Lightroom and Photoshop outperforms Capture One for half the price. Doing portraits I find Capture One files to contrasty, I better like Lightroom. And after printing, you will not be able to see the difference in skin colors between the two. I think we sometimes go down to a level in our editing that nobody can see anyways. :)

Zoli Tarnavölgyi's picture

I always read, that C1 is better in terhering than LR. Would someone be so kind to explain in why? Really.

Dave Morris's picture

Nope, they're the same effectively. May be C1 is better with the Phase One's own digital backs – but I never used them so can't confirm. Also tethering with Lightroom allows me to write on the memory card at the same time while C1 doesn't.

With Sony Lightroom have no support, but point is that with a lot of software, you loose connection with camera and need to reboot computer or something. With Capture One it never fails, camera stays connected. That’s why so many esteem it high:)

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

Did you not watch the video and read the article? Pretty much sums it up. There's a reason why, as you put it, you always read that C1 is better in tethering than LR. Yes, of course there's going to be those LR supporters that tether once in a while that swear up and down LR is just as good or better. Pay attention to the portfolios/website of each side. Who would you rather believe, those that tinker in tethering, or those that rely on it for most (if not all) for their professional work.

Zoli Tarnavölgyi's picture

If I can’t save a photo to my in camera memory card, that’s a serious bug, not a “LR killer” thing... Never had a problem tethering with LR before, sadly until a few weeks now, with the new v9 update reconnecting the lost connection is a mess. :( That’s why I asked.

Paul Lindqvist's picture

Then you might want to get a camera that offers the feature to write to the card and transfer data over USB in-camera. I do this all the time, and it's a feature turned on/off in camera as it should be.

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

Motti Bembaron's picture

"...Over the years it got worse and worse and worse..." A very accurate description of Lightroom.

David Pavlich's picture

I don't tether, there for I don't C1. :-)

I wrote an article entitled "$500 reasons Why Capture One is better than Lightroom x10". Patrick/Lee: hook me up with some sponsored pages.

Scott Choucino's picture

Just to clear things. I’m not paid by adobe or capture one. I pay full retail for both of their packages and this post is not a sponsored post by fstoppers

right.....!!!! i guess there must be another altruistic reason fstoppers is posting these capture one "ads" every 15 minutes....

Scott Choucino's picture

As I understand it we are all freelancers writing for this website. I don’t personally get told what I can or can’t write. Or what I should be thinking about any product. I don’t write or record any sponsored content atm as I try to keep things true to what I believe.

Mutley Dastardly's picture

Capture One also used to have an upgrade patch where you could skip one version - from version 12 on - that has stopped. And it hit me badly when i wanted to move into version 20. So i'll only move to the sony version whenever version 11 doesn't work for me anymore or when i don't find an alternative (i'm buying software, not renting - so no Adobe for me).
Software company's need to learn that changing licenses are a serious risk of loosing customers. I'm pretty harsh on this. And i'm not hiding what i think about these matters.

Capture one is more expensive than LR because it's better.

some say so - some say LR is way cheaper considering you need to upgrade each year for a stack of bucks..

With LR you (now) can export different versions.

It sounds like your Lightroom is badly set up. You mention that you're having crashing issues, and that it takes overnight to convert 1000 pictures from RAW to TIFF/JPEG eg. for a wedding. We do this all the time, and it takes most of our computers around 10-15 mins to export/convert that many edited full res RAWs. Even my very low powered MacBook takes around 20 mins. And I don't recall Lightroom crashing on any of our computers for the last few years of constant everyday use, its a stable programme. Admittedly we don't use Lightroom for tethering, and have no doubt that Capture One is better for that, but the rest just sounds like you have a problem with your Lightroom setup for some reason. As for colour rendition, so much depends on how you have your colour profiles etc. set up.