Lightroom vs Capture One: What You Might Not Know About RAW Image Files

I am a big fan of the Art of Photography channel and have followed it from the beginning, so I value Ted Forbes’ opinion on this topic, but I am kind of shocked he prefers Capture One so much. I have used Capture One on and off since version 9 and I am currently giving it a very serious look to replace Lightroom, but if I were to use it I would need to use it alongside an app like Luminar so that I could edit my Fujifilm GFX Files.

Some of the information in the above video covers very cursory ideas about RAW editors that more technical photographers should already be aware of, but it can also help viewers to articulate why they might prefer Capture One over other RAW editors. I agree with Ted’s research that upon initially opening a file Capture One generally does have better color transition than other editors, but not necessarily better color in my experience. The above sample image clearly shows a white balance issue in Lightroom opening the image, but Capture One picked a very unnatural orange to represent the pumpkin that can’t simply be the product of saturation.

You can’t really make a judgment from this single example, but it is somewhat telling of the starting point in each application and it’s why the testing that I have shared so far was done in a way to try to make the images match the best I could. It’s kind of hard to share hundreds or thousands of test images like this, but making images match and meet your expectations is, in my opinion, the best way to demonstrate raw editors. You should always edit images to suit your tastes and when I did so Capture One fell apart.

I respect that companies like Capture One ProLuminar (Discount Code FUJIADDICT), IridientON1 2018 and Picktorial, are all keeping a one-time fee model in place while aggressively marketing to photographers leaving Lightroom. They all make great software, but I wish Capture One Pro would start supporting the Fujifilm GFX because the GFX is going to take customers from Phase One with or without Capture One. Capture One isn’t cheap and at this time I am leaning towards only recommending it for studio work, which most photographers do not do.

It’s nice to have options and I am still doing a lot of testing to see what I prefer and how I can best share my testing. I am largely waiting to see how Luminar’s digital asset manager performs, but now that Adobe is promising additional Lightroom classic speed improvements in 7.2 it will have to be that much better even though the initial Lightroom 7.2 testing results are somewhat inconsistent. The big story in 2018 might end up being which RAW editors won and lost rather than what cameras came out. The Fujifilm X-H1 is a camera meant for very specific needs and many are upset about the possibility that the Fujifilm X-T3 most likely will not have IBIS, which I wrote about why here, so leaving Lightroom might be the big story of 2018 for X shooters unless Adobe turns things around.

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