What's Better for Tethering: Capture One Pro or Adobe Lightroom?

I've been a Lightroom user since the beginning of my career and honestly, I love it. It fits seamlessly into my workflow, and I couldn't imagine using any other raw processor. That is of course until I downloaded a trial of Capture One 11. I've heard people talk about Capture One, but I never thought much of it. After all, what's wrong with Lightroom?

Well, my main issue with Lightroom is how slow tethering is. It takes ages for the image to show up on my monitor and quite frankly, that doesn't look great when a client spends half their session waiting for images to transfer. The way I look at it, if Capture One can out perform Lightroom in the realm of tethering, it's worth a look. 

Rather than just taking other people's word for it, I decided to perform a simple comparison between Lightroom and Capture One to see which one is faster when tethering. Check out the video above to see the results. Keep in mind that your results may vary based on your camera, tether cable, and countless other variables. Don't take my word for it though, check it out for yourself. Download the fully functional 30-day trial of Capture One 11 and maybe you'll make the switch like me.

[via Readylight Media]

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37 Comments

In my experience, Capture One transfers DRAMATICALLY faster than Lightroom. I can take a shot, and by the time I've pulled my eye from the camera and look over it's there. I'm shooting on a 5Dmk4 which uses a USB3 connection, if that matters.

But the other feature for me that's super important isn't just the transfer speed, it's the stability and usability of the software. I've never had an easy time getting tether sessions set up in LR, it's always crashing, losing connection, or just plain not seeing the camera when it's attached. C1 is SO good for tethering. Just plug the camera in and it automatically beings the session. Unplug the camera, plug it back in whenever you want, it's always good to go. I always advise people try tethering in LR to see if they like the workflow, and if they do, consider using C1 if they're going to be serious about it.

Jeff Carpenter's picture

Yea the editing features of capture one look amazing! I honestly haven’t had much of a chance to mess around with it yet, but I wanted to try a tether comparison since that was my main issue with Lightroom. I can’t wait to see what else capture one has to offer!

Tony Clark's picture

I see the latest LR update is faster than before but still slower than CaptureOne. I never cared for the esthetic of LR compared to CaptureOne no matter how I set it up.

Jeff Carpenter's picture

I think I had just updated Lightroom which is why it performed a little faster than expected, but capture one just seemed to be a smoother and consistently faster transfer. One thing I didn’t mention in the video or the article is that Lightroom crashed twice while I was shootingnthis video.

I've tested this quite thoroughly myself, and made three videos on my YouTube channel. In these tests, Capture One comes out more than 3 times faster. Here is one of the videos: https://youtu.be/iE_mjuP9GrM

Jeff Carpenter's picture

Great video!

Hi Eivind,

I discovered your video months ago and already used it's instructions a few times with an X-T2, a Macbook Pro and COP. Thanks for posting the video. ;)

I was wondering:
I saw in your video that the images automatically appear/update - as they should - on your display on the right. When I use X Acquire and COP they do not "update" automatically in the capture folder - I have to use the mouse or keyboard manually to scroll to the latest image on the bottom.

Do you use the "hotfolder" function for that purpose (because I did not use it back then) ?
Or is some other setting ?
I ask because I only have access to an X-T20 right now which I cannot tether. So I cannot try it out at the moment myself.

all the best...

For me answer is easy. LR just doesn’t tether with my combination of camera and OS (d810 and MacOS Sierra).

Jeff Carpenter's picture

Well that makes things simple haha

I switched from Lightroom to Capture One for tethering several months ago and the difference has been astonishing. Faster transfer speed and no fiddling around to get my Canon to tether. Just plug and play!

Jeff Carpenter's picture

Yea it looks like I’m going to making the switch soon

I came here not sure if this article was serious or one of the fun ones.
I'm pleasantly surprised.

For anyone not using Capture one, it's actually even faster than shown in this video -way faster.

Jeff Carpenter's picture

Yea I think the transfer was a little slower than it should be, because I was using the tether tools extension cable rather than a usb 3 cable that went straight to my camera. I’ve been meaning to pick up a different cable for awhile, just wasn’t top of mind haha

Michael Mellon's picture

It also seems like you might have "Auto Select New Capture" set to "When Ready", in which case it does take a little longer. If it's set to "Immediately" it's a fraction of the time.

C1 is far better after frequently using both in the studio. It fails less and stability is the main factor for a good tethering experience. I prefer Lightroom for organising files and the edit/correction workflow so I actually use the two programs for the entire process plus Photoshop when needed.

Jeff Carpenter's picture

Yea I think that’s probably what I’ll end up doing. Lightroom has been such an integral part of my workflow, that I just don’t see phasing it it completely. Not yet at least.

Paul Ferradas's picture

C1 is almost instant for me. I shoot catalo work with the client picking selects as we shoot. I use to use LR but after tons of connectivity issues and it being overall really slow I switch to C1 and haven't looked back. The only thing I don't like about C1 is that it doesn't shoot to the card in the camera so you don't see a display on your camera screen and, you don't automatically have a backup, (card and computer). With C1 your only copy is on the computer or hard drive where you have the images going. If your willing to give that up for the speed of C1 then it's for you.

Jeff Carpenter's picture

Yea Lightroom is definitely less reliable it seems. In fact it crashed twice while I was filming this video, so that says a lot haha

Felix Wu's picture

Who still uses Lightroom when there’s Capture One? I wish Adobe (extremely unlikely) could lower its price since I am not using Lightroom at all in their photography bundle but had to subscribe because of photoshop.

I do, but I don't need tethering. All I need is an effective editor with an outstandingly easy to use interface and storage app, in that order. I find C1 to be a user interface nightmare, where as LR easily has the best user interface of any photo editor ever made. Some of that is of course subjective but much of it isn't. LR is in many ways easier and faster to use. I find it hilarious that the same company that makes LR also makes the archaic and poorly designed Photoshop.

Felix Wu's picture

It's just a matter of getting used to. C1 is pretty intuitive i would say and it just natively renders much better raw than LR does.

Tried it numerous times and it remains a general interface nightmare.

"i would say and it just natively renders much better raw than LR does."

C1 simply does more processing by default. You can achieve whatever look you want in Lightroom by simply changing the development defaults. If you want to make the Lightroom default look much more impressive you can simply bump up the shadows a bit, down a bit for the highlights and increase contrast and sharpness.

That said, I recently tried C1 again and every image I tried with it, from four different cameras, had luminance noise reduction applied to them and they all looked awful in terms of detail. They looked similar to crappy in-camera JPGs. The amount was the same with every image no matter the ISO. It also applies a lot of sharpening.

Felix Wu's picture

took me only two days to get used to the entire interface inside out. Of course the naming etc are different from Adobe. It's been a dream since day 3. Never look back.

It's just harder to get the same look with LR for me. It just does a better job handling colour, noise and sharpening in C1. More clever formulus and codes I suppose?

Getting used to something doesn't mean it is well designed. Humans have an amazing capacity to get used to a lot of bad stuff.

Honestly Felix I've never had any trouble getting what I want from Lightroom and matching what I see in C1, assuming it is better in the first place.

As for noise reduction, both apps are awful compared to Noiseware. It's a great app with far more control over how and where noise reduction is applied.

Jeff Carpenter's picture

It would be nice to just have a photoshop option for adobe, but I highly doubt that would ever happen.

Spy Black's picture

In a studio I freelance in, they capture in C1 and CC in LR in some rooms. One studio room has switched over to full LR for capture and CC. File naming is clunky in LR, which is problematic when shooting for catalog, although if you work the naming sequence on capture, it's not that big a deal. Some other rooms still capture and CC in C1, at the request of the photographers working in those environments.

So really, it's just a matter of preference.

Jeff Carpenter's picture

That’s true, I haven’t had much time to play around the the capture one interface, but the tether speeds are hard to argue. I’ll have to play around with capture one a bit more to see how I will fit into my workflow.

Lance Bachelder's picture

I haven't done any tethered shooting with Capture One but made the switch from LR because the toolset is just better. Sharpening, Clarity choices, Microstructure, HDR, Color Wheels, etc etc just all work fantastic.

Jeff Carpenter's picture

Yea capture one seems like an amazing tool and I can’t wait to try it out more extensively. But for now the tether speed is reason enough to switch!

Simon Carter's picture

Try SmartShooter by Kuvacode: https://kuvacode.com/download
Good value, reliable tethering with complete control over the camera from the pc.

No affiliation, just a happy customer.

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