For hardened Lightroom users such as myself, Capture One Pro can feel like a bit of a mystery. What are the advantages and why would you consider changing? Ignoring for a moment the pros and cons of payment models, here are some excellent reasons why Capture One Pro might be worth investigating.
In this detailed video, photographer Eli Infante runs through some of his editing and reveals some of the power that Capture One Pro has over Lightroom, and when it comes to managing multiple layers with more detailed edits, the software certainly looks to have some genuine advantages.
Some other points for consideration: in Lightroom, if you've set up a number of small adjustments using brushes and gradients, it can be hard work to revisit them and give them tweaks. If you've been retouching a model's face, this can get very complicated.
Firstly, there is no means of labeling an adjustment. This means that you have to click through each one, looking at the settings or the mask to figure out what each adjustment does, and this can be hard work. Secondly, there's no quick and easy way to toggle adjustments on and off. In Capture One Pro, you simply toggle the layer with a tick brush which makes comparisons — whether that's before and after, or different versions of the same adjustment — far easier.
Secondly, Lightroom limits you to 16 sliders and a color brush (where is Vibrancy?). You can't make local changes to HSL/Color or Tone Curve like you can with Capture One Pro.
I want to keep playing with Capture One Pro but the 30-day limit makes it tricky as I want to dip in and out whenever I get time. My proposal to Capture One would be to produce a version that only exports low res files, or perhaps doesn't export raw files at all. This would give me time to get used to the software without feeling that trial period ticking away.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.