Why You Should Be Using Capture One Pro Instead of Lightroom

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.

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Ted Mercede's picture

So my issue on changing over, which I would like to give it an honest try, is that I use the Pfixer panel with Lightroom. This saves me tons of time, and honestly, the "muscle-memory" in reaching for sliders and knobs keeps me from ever wanting to go back to using a mouse.

If Pfixer ever does a setup for Capture One, I will give it a serious attempt.

Why You Should Be Using Capture One Pro Instead of Lightroom: Because we are "Sponsored"?

yup! You fnd it at the end of this page!

And when I see below in the add "fast import" that is a joke. Try to imort 500 images with CO it takes you 20-25 minutes from local SSD whereas LR takes it in 2-3 minutes!

Russell Tracy's picture

Where do you see "sponsored" anywhere on this page? Just because some author on a website prefers one product over another doesn't mean their are sponsored. Personally I prefer Capture One over Lightroom and Ill tell everyone that's my preference. Does that mean Im sponsored by Capture One because I like them them more?

Also, if they are "sponsored" by Capture One, why are all the ads I see on the page for Adobe? Seems counterintuitive to be "sponsored" and advertise for another brand.

Patrick Rosenbalm's picture

Sounds "Sponsored" to me too because the title reads: "Why You Should Be Using Capture One Pro Instead of Lightroom" versus "Why I use Capture One Pro Instead of Lightroom".
The first one reads like a sales pitch and the second one doesn't.

Russell, are you a Fstoppers newbie? They run these "17 REASONS WHY CAPTURE ONE SAVED MY FAMILY FROM THE POORHOUSE AFTER I DITCHED LIGHTROOM" type thinly veiled "sponsored" articles all the time.

Andy Day's picture


So you read only the title. If you read the article you’d discover that it wasn’t a puff piece at all so not likely to have been sponsored

not sure what the c1 sponsorship deal is with fstoppers but i have a feeling it includes plugging it with endless articles or headlines way beyond the 7-8 times marketing experts say it takes for a message to heard and turned into a lead.

Judge the video on its merits after actually watching it. I'm really tired of this "sponsored" meme.

i guess you believe those claims on amazon about how "I received this product in exchange for an unbiased review" too.

Because the files look better in c1.. and you have seen " sponsored" stuff from Adobe the last 20 yares and no one is Complaining about that but Complainins over C1.. Stop Complaining!

I guess I'm glad Nikon is not sponsoring or else we would have to see 100 "73 Reasons Why You Should Be Using 58/f.95 Instead of 50/1.8 NOW!" "headlines"

I have C1 and it worked well with Nikon. Their profiles for Sony are pretty atrocious.

quite possibly very out of date but my beef with Capture One was multiple. I assume many of the problems I encountered have been fixed (I do hope so for the users' sake), however, after reading the text here and viewing the video, both very nice, I popped over to a couple of the forums I was in as a user to see the state of things and I noticed there are still similar, and serious issues. The first was the issue of driver compatibility with other software, especially ant-virus and the need to reinstall drivers after Windows updates. I likened it then to Wacom (which I still use on a love-hate basis) and similar problems. At the time I had the impression of the latest model sports car with fundamental issues under the bonet which had not been fixed. I see in the forums that the driver isues remain.
I had major problems with latency on large jobs, and ocasional crashes, one extremely serious in a wedding with 1,500 images being trapped for more than a week. Which leads me to back-up and help. When things were good, they were wonderful. Minor problems solved immediately, clear advice and rapid response. Very similar to Wacom. Until... when things went wrong, they went very wrong and back up just disappeared. I was refered to user forums and I must say the users were very helpful, but Capture One, abismal. There were a number of other things which thankfully for users seem to have been fixed. I feel that Capture one has fabulous marketing and is touted by some of the best in the field. Great. But to my mind, extremely overated and limited in many of the same ways LR is. It's an alternative to LR, but I don't think it´s any more than that.
I would never go back, even if it was freeware.
Adobe has its us and downs, but it suits me.

I have a Lightroom 6 license. No need to pay every month.
If this Capture One could be bought without monthly subscription I would consider it. (edit: it can at 350 euro, way more than I ever payed for Lightroom 6)

Although, as a Olympus user I must pay 24 a month while Fuji and Sony users only pay 11 a month. With these rules I'm never going to buy, subscribe or try this software.

Are you able to get support for new cameras/RAW file formats with LR 6?

Nope, so as soon as I get another camera that isn't supported by Lightroom 6 I will look to other software. As I am not willing to pay a monthly or yearly fee and don't want to spend hundreds of euro's it's not going to be C1P nor is it going to be a new version of LR..

It's not going to be C1P anyway because of the financial discrimination towards non Fuji/Sony users.

Ahh, that’s the problem I have already... Agree about C1P, very strange pricing! I’ve been looking at Luminar, but I’ve yet to decide what to do. Have LR CC now, but it has been buggy and so far support from Adobe has been a nightmare.

Fuji and Sony users only pay 11 a month because Fuji and Sony looks like A$$ in lighroom and adobe dont wanna do anything about it.. that why Fuji and Sony whent to work with C1..

I used Capture One for years and loved it. I especially liked that I didn't have to switch modules to access all the menu items and controls I needed. But I moved to Lightroom when I discovered the Maps modules. As an aerial photographer it was so valuable for me to have this location information built right in the software.

It's one click in LR. You have do to the same click in CO (left part of upper menu). It's just called different. Therefor the LR catalog is so much more powerful than the weak CO. I use both and up to now CO for some special things. But since they now changed their deveopment module and copied the LR one the magic is somehow gone. They have blacks and whites now but without the power of LR to have it visible for fine adjustment by hitting option (Mac).

It's probably been 10 years since I moved but at the time I liked the CO1 interface much better...hard to say how I would like it now. But one thing I do remember liking about CO1 was being able to bring up more than 2 images at 100% for checking focus. I can only do 2 in LR and it drives me crazy when the images switch from left to right depending on which I have selected.

J. W.'s picture

I use C1 for one thing and one thing only, tethering. The layers, local adjustments, and cloning are just too unwieldy when working with over 1000 photos. Let's not forget the lack of a history panel, I use this way too much and I can't live without it. Then the speed, I always hear how fast C1 is, well I ran it on an Intel 6700k overclocked to 4.85GHz and Nvidia GTX 1080ti. Now I run an AMD 3900x on my new refresh. The speed does not amaze me, the export speed used to be better than LR, not anymore. The secret to keeping LR running very fast is having the catalog and images on a SSD (NVMe) and turning off the hyperthreading (SMT) by running a little command code.

LR is by no means perfect, I would appreciate HSL on local adjustments and continued speed improvements. They have made great strides in speed, they need to continue doing so.

Mark B's picture

I bought Capture One for tethered shooting also since I don't like the way Lightroom handles it. The one aspect I did prefer in LR is that as a Canon shooter, LR allowed me to save images to my dual camera cards in addition to my saving them on my laptop. Tethered capture in C1 only saves to the laptop. I don't think Nikon shooters were able to save to the camera cards in LR, so it may not be a big deal for them.

Klaus Balzano's picture

The menus of Capture One is a little confused and I always will need Photoshop to my works. I can`t keep paying an Adobe Plan and a Capture One license at the same time. It is nonsense.

Blake Aghili's picture

For me it was like this: When I first ever started photography, got LightRoom ... watched YouTube videos, A Scot Kelby Book, some Lynda tutorials ... BUT I never felt and it never clicked for me .... Then one time I downloaded Trial version of Capture One ( it was version 8.0 back then ) and watched ONLY ONE YouTube video from their own makers and Everything made sense and clicked for me!!! So I got hooked up ... .... few years later still I don't get the folder structure system in LightRoom lol ... With C1 it is a session and copy paste open it anywhere

Jim Bochicchio's picture

1. Image Quality
2. Tethering
3. Sessions

Blake Aghili's picture

Where it worries me if they forget who they are: C1 is by PhaseOne. A leader in world image quality. High end high paying clients. A fashion industry standard ... SO PLEASE DON'T GET INTO DUCKING PLUGIN CRAP OF PRESETS for C1 just to APPEAL to more normal subscribers. Stay true to your roots.

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