Five Ways Lightroom Is Just Better

Five Ways Lightroom Is Just Better

Following up from last’s week’s article about Capture One, today, we’ll take a look at its main rival in the raw processing field, Lightroom. To keep things on a relatively level playing field, I’ll be discussing what is now called “Lightroom Classic,” the desktop version of Lightroom.

As with last week’s article, I’m expecting that a lot of our visitors won’t actually read the article, and we’ll have a fairly emotional comments section. Again, we’ll be looking at the more objectively better features rather than the subjective ones like noise reduction and highlight/shadow handling. So, for those of you who do take the time to read this, I hope that it stirs some thoughts in you about why Lightroom is a good choice for you or what might make it better for your needs. Please try to keep the comments section on topic and discuss the pros and cons of both pieces of software so we can make this a valuable discussion for those who might be looking at both pieces of software.

Functions Outside of Raw Development

Adobe has introduced some extremely useful tools to Lightroom that make it a much more fully featured post-production suite than Capture One. A couple that come to mind are the DNG panorama and HDR merge functions. These make it simple to perform basic panorama stitches and HDR merges while staying in Lightroom and not relying on external software. While you'll still need to jump into a pixel-level editor like Photoshop for certain tasks, these are a great option in many situations. 

One of the ones I didn't even think about before making the move for most of my work to Capture One was the simple ability to synchronize cameras. Wedding and event photographers frequently make use of multiple bodies during shoots and having those files in the correct running order can be extremely important. With Lightroom, you can quickly and easily sync cameras whose clocks were different at the time of shooting. 

Third-Party Support

Adobe allows developers access to the inner workings of Lightroom in the form of a robust API and even access to the raw processing engine through their improved "camera profiles." This has allowed for plugins like Nik and Aurora HDR to make their way into full Lightroom integration. It has also allowed companies like VSCO and RNI to create very powerful film simulation preset packs. Additional hardware, such as MIDI decks and even the Loupedeck products are fully compliant with all tools in Lightroom.

Robust Catalog System

While Capture One offers two basic workflows, Catalogs and Sessions, Lightroom offers only a catalog system but does it extremely well. Simple tasks like moving images between catalogs are straightforward and powerful. You can choose to send adjustments, raw files, smart previews (or any other preview for that matter) between catalogs. This process is painless and does exactly what the wording in the program says. 

This sort of functionality is great for having catalogs that serve multiple purposes. For example, you might keep a small working catalog for your current jobs on a super-fast internal NVMe drive and then move each job into an archive catalog on a slow spinning drive when it’s done. Lightroom facilitates this in a straightforward manner that takes all your work and drops it into another catalog. 

Another function that is extremely useful in Lightroom's catalog is the ability to select multiple folders or collections at the same time and see their contents together in a single slider. Lightroom's catalogs and organization features are far more robust than Capture One's when it comes to viewing and managing large numbers of files. 

Mobile Support

Bouncing off the last point, Lightroom offers the ability to sync your work across to a mobile device for working on the go. This is great for people who need to take something light and simple such as a tablet or phone on the go so they can make the most of commute time or time between jobs. Having Lightroom sync smart previews and the presets you work with across to a mobile device quickly can be a huge time-saver for some. 

Well-Named Interface Components

I mentioned above that the options for exporting between catalogs were well named and made sense. This is a trend that continues throughout the program. Features are thoughtfully named and do exactly what you expect them to. Presets are presets and the export option exports files.  Capture One allows you to both export and output files or create a preset or a style. These unnecessary distinctions give Lightroom the upper hand when it comes to the simplicity of executing simple tasks. A first-time user should have very little trouble navigating the software and performing basic tasks. 

In Conclusion

These are a few of the places that I feel Lightroom does better than Capture One. On the Lightroom end, things that stand out to me most are the move to being more than just a simple raw development package and the ability for third-party developers to expand the program. These are what, in my opinion, make Lightroom a compelling option. 

Have you chosen Lightroom as your software of choice? What are the biggest positives for you? Where does it fall short?

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68 Comments

Previous comments

«That point is that it's far easier to locate and find relevant tutorials….»
Ever heard of Google? It works just as quickly if one types in “Product X” as it does for “Product Y.” It is NOT any harder, but you missed that point. The vast number of tutorials out there does not make it any easier, than the 70+ current Canon lenses makes it easier for a Canon user to find a Lens vs a Pentax user and their 42 current offerings.

It is just as easy, even for those new to the game.

«Also the vast majority of "how do you do XXX ...."»
Correct. But I am not searching for, "how do I do XXX,…” I am searching for, “XXX with Product Y.” Bingo! It only taxes a handfull of YT channels featuring Product Y for this to work.

What you have stated is neither obvious, nor relevant. How about searching for, “How to use parametric masking for noise reduction,” and see how many Lr solutions come up. Also, how many Darktable solutions come up? Here, Let Me Google That For You.
https://lmgtfy.com/?q=How+to+use+parametric+masking+for+noise+reduction

It is that easy! …And I did not even state, “Darktable,” in the search!

«Since I am going to start using C1 …I'm already experiencing this issue….»
Have you tried, “how to do XXX Capture One”? Let me google that for you, “How to convert to monochrome Capture One”
https://lmgtfy.com/?q=How+to+convert+to+monochrome+Capture+One

It is that easy!

Daniel Medley's picture

Good grief. I'll just let you have the last word on this one.

Sorry, I posted to the wrong person. I sent my response to you, to someone else, and my response to them, to you.

(This is regarding a post which I have since deleted, ….or rather, replaced with this one).

My reply to you is as follows….

If you really are hard-pressed to find tutorials for Capture One, try the Capture One website, under, “Learning Hub.”
https://learn.captureone.com/?_fs=dd290656-292e-4393-be28-3602499a533a

Ed Sanford's picture

Lightroom obviously is a great product.... Why? If it was not really good, folks wouldn't be grousing about it so much. It's much like people complaining about how Walmart or Amazon treats its employees. Yet, we continue to buy from them and people seek employment from them in droves. When you don't like something in terms of the way it is sold, then don't buy it... Seems rather simple to me.

Chris Jones's picture

I've migrated over to capture 1 for tethering and how they handle fuji raws but I do miss some of the automation with lightroom. The catalog system, and one thing which idk if possible with cap one yet (only been using it a few months). With lightroom I would save my catalog and smart previews to google drive and keep the raws on my desktop hd. I could then edit changes to the smart preview which synced up with my desktop. With cap one I can save sessions but that also saves the raw files to that folder. I would love to save some space with previews like lightroom.

vik .'s picture

Once you've learn how to use c1 custom menu tabs and such you never want to go back to anything even to basic beginner slow lightcrap.

I love using both, but aside from metadata, I wish there was a way to merge the two together. Lightroom already writes adjustments to .xmp files that I wish Capture One would read and vice-versa.

Right now I use Lightroom as my large library organizer for exporting, cloud sharing, metadata changes and mass simple edits.

Capture One is my detailed editor and RAW converter before polishing an item in photoshop. There's very few edits I do in Capture that I can't do in Lightroom, but C1 is always a better editor to prep a file before doing touchups in photoshop.

After photoshop, the final output is imported back into Lightroom for categorizing and cloud syncing.