Which Is Best for Fuji Files: Lightroom or Capture One?

There are probably two main software options when it comes to the processing of Fuji raw files that most photographers tend to use, Adobe Lightroom and Capture One. The choice, however, depends on the user's personal preferences, as both have their strengths and weaknesses.

Inspired by Ivor Rackham's recent article, Lightroom Versus ON1 Photo Raw 2023, I decided to test out the differences in the handling of the Fuji files to see what software would best suit my purposes.

Lightroom Classic

Lightroom has been my go-to software for editing all of my raw files for Fuji and Nikon. The interface is intuitive and now very familiar, plus it's also easy to navigate and learn and integrates seamlessly with Photoshop and the plugins I use. However, one of my main criticisms is its handling of Fuji files, as it appears to produce a slightly soft smearing effect. This is not always the case and is only really noticeable when zoomed to 100%. If this is the starting point for an edit, sometimes, the result can be a little disappointing, although that is not always the case.

Capture One Express for Fujifilm

As a new user when it comes to Capture One, I can see why some claim it has a steeper learning curve for newbies, but if you are already a Lightroom user, it's not too dissimilar in terms of layout and usability. Yes, it may not have the same cataloging or file management facilities, but as I'm still learning my way around it, the sessions seem to be the way for me to go, but perhaps there's a better option I've still to discover.

From the outset, the color and sharpness handling is very apparent when put side by side with the Lightroom edit, and understandably, I tackled the edits slightly differently due to this. With the edits I've completed so far in Capture One. I am preferring the final outcome due to the starting point of the raw files.

In the quick video, I take a look at the interface of both software and speed and edit the above image to see the relative differences and the handling of the Fuji files, which is apparent from the outset. I do think I will be moving over to Capture One for the raw editing of Fuji files and using it in conjunction with Lightroom, as you can edit in Lightroom as an external editor. I'd love to hear in the comments your experiences with both and any other software that you use for your Fuji files.

Gary McIntyre's picture

Gary McIntyre is a landscape photographer and digital artist based on the west coast of Scotland. As well as running photography workshops in the Glencoe region, providing online editing workshops, Gary also teaches photography and image editing at Ayrshire college.

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For me, it's 100% Capture One. In my experience, Fujifilm files look muddy in LR. Love the intro in your video, Gary!

Really appreciated Pete, thank you. I edited a few photos tonight in Lightroom again just to see the difference and yeah it's not on par with Capture One.

Not even considering tethering, it's significant the amount of extra work required in LR vs Capture one and the included list of Fuji Base Characteristics.

On Fuji (and Nikon) files, you can tether or import your images, set the Base Characteristic to whatever, do a little contrast or exposure adjustment and you're basically done. Never has it been easier to get amazing color out of cameras when shooting RAW.

And for some inexplicable reason, in Capture One, Sony and Canon only have Generic or ProStandard as their options.

Lightroom is really terrible with Fuji x-trans files. You can also use DxO PureRaw2 to demosaic the files first and then send them to Lightroom or do it directly from inside Lightroom. Files come out very clean and then you can use your usual Lightroom edits to finish. Some people use Lightroom and wouldn't like or need to change to another program.

Thanks for the comment perhaps this is another one I need to try to see which one fits my current workflow best.

Definitely give it a try. Cheaper than a full Capture One and does a brilliant job. And you get to keep your LR workflow. One thing to note though, is to turn Lens correction off when you’re back in LR with the DxO processed file. Otherwise you lens correct twice.
Raw files need to be demosaic’d and LR doesn’t do a good job there. DxO does a better job there.

Problem is, Capture One sucks in every other regard particularly for landscape photography. Photo lab 6 is better than both of these options. Wide Gamut profile for Fuji files leaves both of these options behind.

OK I have just stepped into Fuji's GFX100S system, So, I need to understand something about the process of Fuji's Raw MFormat files. I have a serious Love/Hate relationship with LRoomC. I shoot mostly landscape and a lot of Studio Still-life, Product and getting started with Food. This article has definitely shown me that C1Fuji is better. But, Can I Process in C1 and export to 16bit Tiff and import to LRC or would It be better to export from C1 to a .DNG if it's available, and would the exported file keep the process from C1Fuji? I would not mind switching but would have to keep LRC because of the way Adobe bundles their software with PShop, I'm not giving up PShop, and that brings up another question, How do C1Fuji files compare to PShop raw, even though I have heard that the Raw engine is the same for PShop and LRC.

You should be tethering into C1 and doing as much as you can in C1, then just going to Photoshop. If you're using a GFX, the time has come to cut LR out altogether, cold turkey. Once you look at the Base Characteristic options, and compare it to ACR, you'll understand.

I don't tether, because I shoot with a wireless hand remote, and just use the HDMI out to HDMI In on a 4kTV, just for basic exposure and composition purposes, I'm shooting in Raw. I don't see the advantage of tethering, other than if you want the files already on a laptop. I have a High-end Desktop, but it is not in my studio, So, when I'm done with a session I just pull the MCard and load it to my networked drive from my desktop.

I'm open to what the other advantages Tethering might offer.


Have you tried using DXO's PureRaw 2? You may want to try it out.

One reason Capture One may look sharper is because they adaptively apply sharpness based on body + lens, for better or for worst. They range about 120 to 180. Whereas LR has a static value of 40. I actually hate C1's sharpness methodology because it can look too too freakin' sharp so I changed the default to a static 100. Then, I'd adjust if I find it necessary. 99% of the time, I don't.

Capture One is my go to for processing RAW Fuji files and my goal was to move away from LR. I now realize I need both, I prefer the organization method of LR and I have 10 years or photos organized there. I also prefer to print my photos from LR. I would love to see a video on a workflow using the 2 softwares, precisely on editing in C1 and then moving the files into LR (TIFF, DNG, etc.) for permanent organization. Thanks for the video.

Contrary to others, I mostly find Lightroom's output to be more natural, while C1 tends to overcook things trying to make it more vibrant and punchy.

Have you tried using PureRaw to demosaic your raw files before using Lightroom? If not, you may want to give it a try.

What do you mean by Demosaic your raw files, If you could explain please?

It’s wild to see capture one still wins, it’s the reason I switched 4 years ago. The greens were always muddy in lightroom with fuji files.

I use DXO's PureRaw 2 to demosaic my Fujifilm files. I then use Lightroom. My photos turn out just fine. I've tried Capture One. It's ok, but I didn't think it was better than PureRaw+Lightroom. For me, it's a matter of features and what I'm used to working with. If you like Capture One, use it. If you like Lightroom, then I suggest trying PureRaw+Lightroom before jumping ship.

I agree 100% with your article. I process X-H2 files in Capture One Pro and export tiff to Lightroom. My Lightroom is an older version, 5.7 since I refused the upgrades, but can’t get away from using Lightroom due to years of using. Well done video.+++++

I have a problem. I heavily rely on filters I have created. I tried converting them and even recreating them in c1 but nothing has worked, they look nothing alike. I just got myself a fujifilm x-t30 II and In my opinion, c1 works better for Fuji photos. Do I sacrifice quality over style? I don’t know what to do. Do I process the raw files in c1 and then apply the lightroom profiles to now pngs and not raw files? I need help