Capture One Vs. Lightroom: Ted Forbes Talks Raw

Capture One Vs. Lightroom: Ted Forbes Talks Raw

I remember starting out with my first DSLR and learning what a raw file was. Someone told me I could push and pull a file every which way if I shot raw instead of JPEG. You had better believe I tested that theory. Some horrible manipulations resulted from those experiments. I was using JASC PaintShop Pro at the time. Then I moved to Camera Raw and finally into Lightroom. I dabbled in Capture One but never really put much time into learning the interface. All these programs and the multitude that have been released since digital cameras started capturing raw files have their own way of interpreting and processing the files you feed them, but just what goes into those differences and why do they exist? 

In this video, Ted Forbes of The Art of Photography shares some insights gleaned from a conversation with the folks at Capture One about how they approach raw processing. He discusses a few different points that help us to understand the differences in the way that different raw processing software renders files. In his usual part-technical, part-artistic approach to explaining topics, Forbes gives us a way to look at two of the industry's most used and most debated pieces of software: Capture One and Adobe Photoshop Lightroom

After watching the video below, which of the renderings do you prefer right out of the box? 

Dylan Goldby's picture

Dylan Goldby is an Aussie photographer living and working in South Korea. He shoots a mix of families, especially the adoptive community, and pre-weddings. His passions include travel, good food and drink, and time away from all things electronic.

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Really liked the balance of this video. Most likely I ill stay with Adobe. My type of work and what I do would not benefit me to to through the learning curve to capture one. If adobe goes on a premium hike.....I might jump. I got a feeling Adobe will raise their basic mostly cost in the next 18 months. Gotta please those share holders....

Capture One is the RAW editor for me hands down. But I shoot with Sony so the license is much cheaper per release.

Very revealing....

A very balanced video, I don't like it when it boils down to people arguing about which is better. We photographers are generally very competitive people and it can end up being a debate between brands of cameras, lighting, computers and software. Perhaps we should concentrate on gathering information and picking the brands that help us achieve the results that we as individuals desire.

Is this "What We Discovered by Posting 30 Videos about Capture One vs. Lightroom in 30 Days" month?

I like Capture One and it gives me an edge compared to my colleagues. Especially in mixed or crappy lighting conditions. I have tried to convince people and even those who clearly see the difference as we sit laptop to laptop.

Most do not have the energy to invest in learning Capture One.

So I stopped trying to convince them.

And instead reap the benefits Capture One provides compared to the competition.

Although good points are made here, I think a bigger white noise effect videos like this make is that it creates the illusion that these are your only two options when it comes to working with RAW files. Now, I'm no proponent of anything else in particular, but we need to try and avoid this Ford vs Chevy mentality when it comes to RAW image processors (which he incorrectly addressed as image editors). And really, if you bring the same RAW file into any of the other available RAW image processors, guess what? Yep, they'll a look different, won't they? Which will you like then?

I have tried to get CP pro down. I am so used to all my LR custom presets and workflow. I shoot Sony professionally and I do agree that CP handles Sony raw files a tad better. One of these days, I'm going to have to buckle down and get a workflow with CP pro down

Here is what I believe is a part of the answer to which is better including many other raw processors also.
First you must analyze your camera sensor and know its limitations by using Raw Viewer no other way will give you the basis to make the best capture of an image that's possible with that sensor regardless of what any histogram in any program or the back of your camera indicates is the correct exposure. If you don't agree with what I just wrote then you have some homework to do.
Secondly not every image or some images may record differently and also process differently to your taste, taking one image in several raw processors may surprise you and give you one you like much better. Of course if your processing a thousand images from a wedding who cares. But if your printing a large image for a gallery or to sell you might want to fudge some subtleties.
The biggest mystery though is maybe 10-20% of viewers see color the same but the reverse 80% of the viewers see transitions the same. And where a person who's 60 years old has tainted lenses in their eyes see color or pure color much differently then a 20 year person. the lenses in the eye yellow with age.
I believe in using different PP programs on important image and printing samples to see what I really like PIA I know. I don't really think there is one answer.

C.O still doesn't batch watermark on export does it?

It does, and it has been possible for many years. It's within Process Recipes.

I was persuaded last year to trial several different PP software systems. The outcome was quite revealing, for me.

People will always make the choices that suit them best - but as some of the comments that have already been made suggest, not everyone is prepared to put in the time & effort that's necessary, to explore what some other PP system can do for them, before discarding it and persevering with the system they already use and know.

I felt I had to push past that point, to make any sort of useful contribution to the trial I'd agreed to undertake.

And the outcome rather surprised me.

Like many others, I have virtually stopped using LR ever since. I still use PS - mostly because it's set up for the way I print my photos, although there are still one or two functions in PS that I still use as part of the post processing system. I also use DxO's PhotoLab and ViewPoint. And I have occasionally found Luminar useful on specific problems with individual shots.

So the workflow now is DxO PhotoLab, COP, DxO ViewPoint (which I much prefer, when correcting verticals or changing perspective), and PS. With occasional usage of other systems for something quite specific.

One thing I did notice while trialling and comparing different PP software was this - an image might "look" better after a particular adjustment - but if you enlarged it, the varioius different programs handled the same adjustment in quite different ways. Taking sharpening as an example, ACDSee provided the most realistic result - LR produced a rather less interesting, more milky result - and COP was somewhere in the middle. Not that you'd really notice much difference on that score, at a normal viewing distance. But I did find that interesting, nevertheless.

Adobe already pushed me away to Affinity Photo Editor versus PS and now I am migrating to Capture One. Adobe has gotten so big they have lost touch with their user base. I still use PS for some things. Affinity is catching up fast and hopefully soon will overtake PS. No one likes to re-learn their workflows. I've learned from life: Sometimes change can usher in more creativity and a better flow. Of course not at first but in the long-term, for me at least, the change that frustrates me in the start usually turns out far better later down the line.