Lightroom or Capture one?

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Michael Gane

"My journey with photography began in the late 70s, my uncle was quite a well know photographer in London and it was his passion for this art that continues to inspire me to this day. I began using Fuji cameras about 5 years ago, using the X100 to capture unobtrusive images when photographing candid images at wedding’s."

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Ok Ladies and Gents, we all want the very best from our images, whether we are professional photographers or hobbyists. I’m a wedding photographer and constantly giving myself critique, I’m sure you are the same, as Ansel Adams, once said “10,000 exposures to get one photo” yep, the very best is what we all strive for, taking that image, that one photo that makes you feel you have reached the pinnacle in your photography life, but alas, its always one more photo away!

So what is the point of this small article? I kind of write in blogs in order to process my own thoughts really however its always very much appreciated when I receive the many kind words from the world of passionate photographers.

Like the majority of photographers on this beautiful planet; whether you’re a Landscape, Interior, sports, wildlife or wedding photographer (Sorry if I missed one or two) we use Lightroom, It seams the obvious choice, Adobe software is the number one go too, when it comes to editing footage, graphics or photographs, when I ask my colleagues which software do they choose, its always Lightroom and Photoshop.

Well, I have been reading a lot about Capture one recently, I’m a Fuji fan and its the Fuji X range that I now use for my photography, and that’s from my landscape to my wedding photography, I love these cameras. Now I have to say ‘Im pretty impressed with the quality I export from Lightroom’ however can this be improved? Would another editing program enhance my images, can I get even more out of the RAW files?

The great thing with regards to software companies these days, is they allow clients to test the software first and Capture One is no different, its possible to test this software for 30 days, to give plenty of time to make a decision. But are you like me, constantly wanting better and looking for that magical program that will give that little extra sparkle to those exposures?

I must admit I did try capture one a few years ago however I found the setup quite confusing and as I was right in the middle of the wedding season, I didn’t take the trial any further but after reading several reviews about Capture One 9, I thought, it was time to try this program again.

Downloading the software is very straight forward, just need to add your email address, once the program starts up it asks which version you want to open, I chose the PRO version, check trial version, its as easy as that.

Now the fun begins, once the software opens, it looks nothing like Lightroom, scary but hang on in there, you can set the work area to your liking which is quite handy, the shortcut keys had me completely flummoxed but I thought this was something I could sort later, you know me, I just need to see the benefits, I want to see what it produces for my images.

Lets get to the import, very simple really, either click the import logo from the center of the screen of as I did, File Import, just whist I remember its possible to open Lightroom catalogs from Capture one, it makes no adjustments to the images and gives you the chance to view a catalogue you have already sorted.

I know i’m not he smartest cooky in the tin but, boy did I have problems importing images, I tried and tried several of my folders but the import would just come back saying, No files to import!! I was pulling my hair out however after searching endless forums, I found a small article that told me that Capture One can only import Uncompressed Images from the Fuji X-Pro2! Now that was a pain because all my files from the X-Pro2 are compressed Raw files, (I have never seen a difference in quality) so Im now sat in front of my Mac with Capture One and no images to test, so it was in the car and out for a drive to find something to snap for me to test the program with uncompressed raw files……

Two hours later, I’m back with several exposures taken at Dyrham Park, a lovely venue near Bath, Just a quick note, Fabulous as a wedding venue!

Ok here we go, import…the first thing I noticed was how great the RAW files looked immediately, you know when you open your RAW files in Lightroom, they look flat and boring, which for me, is a tad disappointing, yes I know I have to edit the files, but when I see the images snap into their RAW state its a little frustrating.

Capture one did a pretty good job of taking care of the RAW files and very close to how I had exposed the images.

I have added a screen shot of the workspace for you, it takes a while to find the ares you need for adjustments however bare with it… to the left of the screen is the editing tabs, here you adjust things such as Exposure, color, highlights, shadows,, there is also a preset tab, this is the area you can also add your own presets.

In the centre (top) you have the option to crop, zoom, rotate and paint in masks which I found pretty impressive when I wanted to adjust a small area of the exposure but what really impressed me was the Keystone tool, I didn’t know this was the technical term for adjusting lines but its absolutely great, it corrects the lines of the image very true, just remember to click (adjust) in the centre of the image, otherwise nothing happens!

I couldn’t quite get to grips with the skin tone mask however I’m sure this will be pretty straight forward too.

You all know me by now, I’m not great on the technical stuff, its what the gear produces for me that’s important, you should download the program and take a few days trying it out!

The program did seam to freeze on me a few times, which was frustrating but I found that if I left the Mac to settle down, It did sort itself out.

Its very frustrating for me because I found the program to produce better RAW files, why do I say frustrating? Well, because I think I will have to move across to using Capture One and re-learn my editing process however I feel its another step towards producing better and better and maybe getting close to my pinnacle!

The first few images within this blog were edited with Capture One and now its your turn to evaluate the images, below are two images, one was edited using Lightroom and the other with Capture One. I would love to hear which you feel is the better photo, is it 1 or 2?

I know there are a number of experts out there that would explain about the 24MP X-Trans CMOS III sensor and how this clever piece of techno works, but you know me, I’m interested in the finished product, not how the mathematical algorithms and proses’ work in order to produce quality!

For me, I just feel the Capture One program has added a depth, a sharpness and vintage colour to the Image, which I personally feel looks more pleasing to the eye.

I have added a couple more images below, these were all processed using capture one, as the software auto adjusted the RAW file, Not too bad!

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