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Why I switched from Lightroom to Capture One

Why I switched from Lightroom to Capture One

I am always seeking the best possible quality for my photography. Be it the newest body, lens or even software to import, edit and process my work. as a long time Lightroom user, I was happy for the most part with the software from version to version. During my Lightroom years, I had even tried Aperture for about a month and a half to test it out, but eventually went right back to Lightroom. After hearing about Capture One for quite some time, seeing well known photographers rave about it, I began to read what they were saying and taking note.. But eventually decided that I had my workflow set, and thought "if it's not broke, don't fix it." 

One day while on Facebook I came across two different posts. One from a photographer I can't remember who it was, posted his top ten reasons why he moved from Lightroom to Capture One Pro. The second by photographer Frank Doorhoff, again, raving about Capture One Pro's superior raw image processing and vastly superior tethered capture. At the bottom of the post, Frank had a coupon code for a percentage off the purchase price. So, with all that and a 60 day fully functioning trial, I decided to download it (version 7 at that time). While it was downloading, I decided to proceed with purchasing the application to make myself vested in it so that I would force myself to give it a ligitimate shot at replacing Lightroom.

After installing it I was a little intimidated as it's a much different interface and workflow than I had become accustomed to. When you first launch the app, you're presented with options of creating a Catalog or Session... Wha, what? Session or Catalog? What to do, what to do.. What I decided to do was create a Catalog for my personal work as they are similar to how Lightroom manages files and folders. And for client shoots, create individual Sessions, as they are more suited for that task.  

After building a Catalog, I imported some of my raw images and began fiddling around with the interface and options. While it was apparent that the processing engine was superior to Lightroom in my eyes, I decided after a couple of days to close it down, and go back to Lightroom as there was a lot to learn and I didn't know if I was up to the task of switching fully at the moment. 

Almost a month had passed and I receive an email from Phase One saying that because I had recently purchased Capture One Pro 7 I was entitled to a FREE upgrade to the newly released version 8. Sweet... I downloaded it, and began to watch the tutorials available on the Phase One website, as well as their YouTube playlist of webinars etc. 

Fast forward to today a year later; I am proud to say that I could not be happier with my decision to dedicate the time to learn Capture One Pro... I'm no longer a Lightroom user. Because everyone loves a top reasons list, let me share my own top five of why I'm a Capture One Pro photographer.


5) Fully Customizable Interface:

Unlike Lightroom, Capture One Pro's interface is FULLY customizable. If you don't want a tool, remove it.. Need a tool? Add it.. Don't like where a tool is? Move it.. You have access to multiple customizable workspaces within the app for your chosen task. Or you can create a custom workspace. You can change any or all of the keyboard shortcuts! How cool is that?

4) Color Tools, Especially For Skin And The New 3-Way Color Wheel:

For those who are looking to colorize or grade their imagery, it really doesn't get much better than the color tools that are available in Capture One. From the ability to change the color of a model's shoes, to isolating specific skin tones for adjustment, you have the tools at your fingertips. For all ethnicities.

3) Capture Pilot. Keep Clients Involved But Off Your Back:

While shooting tethered for a client, the ability to setup and hand them an iDevice (iPad, iPod Touch, iPhone) or any other web enabled device to view all of the incoming shots to view, rate and provide feedback on, while you are shooting, but most importantly, not standing behind you on set. Capture Pilot runs as a server in Capture One and you specify whether the session connects with a device running the Capture Pilot app, a web enabled device via a browser or both. The free Capture Pilot app also has an in-app purchase to enable remote triggering of your camera. Several options within Capture One that allow or deny options such as rate, color tag etc.

2) Near Bullet-Proof Tethered Shooting:

If you've ever tethered much in Lightroom, you've dealt with the frustration of dropped connections, session not finding your camera etc. Tethered connections are ROCK SOLID with a multitude of options from remote capture, live view, and the ability to tell the program how to display the next image (copy from last) etc. Phase One's website touts that they support tethered shooting for over 300 cameras from several device manufactures. 

1) Superior RAW Processing Engine:

Take a look at the images below as an example. They were exported from each app (Capture One 8 and Lightroom 5), with no processing or adjustments at 16bit TIFF images. They were then imported into Photoshop, placed together, text overlays were added so you know which came from what program and exported as the JPG images you see below. 

This far superior RAW processing engine along with all of the advanced editing tools provided within the interface, make Capture One a MUCH better app for me and my workflow. When doing post, for me, it's critical to begin with the best "base" you can in order to fulfill your end vision.

So there you are, my story of why and how I switched from Lightroom to Capture One Pro, along with my top five reasons. I could continue to go on about tools like the "loupe tool", or the super useful and cool "focus mask" , but I'll leave it here for now. If you have any questions, comments or need more info/help in regards to Capture One Pro, drop me a comment below.

Until next time, keep it clicking..