Capture One Pro 6 Review
Mac users, we're pleased to announce Macphun's all-in-one photo editor Luminar is now available for purchase with special launch pricing. (Existing Macphun customers get a further discount.)
We rated Luminar as "Highly Recommended", and you can now visit the Luminar web site to try it for free.
Organise and Integrate
One thing that surprises me about Capture One Pro 6 is that before you even get to edit the pictures, there's so much more you can do. If you need to rename an entire folder, this can be done at the time of import or later on by selecting the images you want to rename and either right click, batch rename or choose the same option in the file tab at the top of the screen. Images can have the project name added to them as well as a numerical code between 1 and 6 numbers. Alternatively, you can choose other information that can be dragged from the EXIF data such as ISO, aperture, focal length or shutter speed.
As well as renaming pictures, it's also possible to rename metadata by selecting the metadata tab in the top left corner. The photograph's main EXIF data can't be changed, obviously, but IPTC data such as the photographer's name, address and contact details can. A description of the image can be added, keywords and even GPS information.
All this information is good for the client but when you're attempting to stay on top of a massive collection of images, what good is all this ground work going to do for you? The keywords are the.. well, the key, really. They will allow you to search through your folders and find the picture you need by adding strong search criteria. It means that in the future if you're looking through the folder for a certain type of picture, you can simply tap a keyword into the search field above the thumbnails and the images with matching keywords will be filtered out.
It can be difficult to decide which pictures to use without seeing the pictures in a lot of detail but zooming in and out can be time consuming. There are a number of features to use to ensure the pictures you use are sharp in all the right places. For example, the full screen mode will allow you to open a new window to just look at the picture without the thumbnails or information panels at the side. If you have two monitors you can place this on the second monitor to organise your workspace. One of the better features is the Loupe. It's a cool, quick view magnifier that means you don't have to use a zoom tool. The zoom button is at the top denoted by the magnifying glass and if you right click the icon, you can choose the loupe tool from there. After that, simply click on the area you want to look at. Alternatively, you can use the focus mask which will highlight in green the areas of the picture that are in focus.
Adjust and Optimise
Finally we get to the best part of Capture One Pro 6. Let's face it, it won't be as versatile as Photoshop but you can perform editing tasks such as curves, levels, spot and noise removal. New features include local adjustments that are non-destructive, black & white conversion and keystone correction for perspective control. The black & white conversion system is especially useful if you're keen on black & white photography. You can set Capture One Pro 6 up for black & white work by changing the workspace to black & white work under the window tab. In preferences, you can also change the background to a lighter colour to ensure more precise blacks and whites.
I like the skin tone enhancer, it's extremely precise if used properly. Found in the colour editor, click on skin tone, find the area of a problem and click on the pick skin colour icon above the sliders. From there, you can adjust the uniformity of the pixels that surround the tones you've chosen. The tones on the colour wheel can be changed by moving the points on the wheel. To see what colours are in the selection zone, tick the view selected colour box and the colours not in the selection will be greyed out of the picture.
One thing I've always been annoyed with is noise. I really can't stand it so I'm always keen to see how a noise correction feature works in programs. The noise reduction tool in Capture One Pro 6 is found in the details tab where the focus, sharpening and moire tools are. In the basic noise reduction area, you can change luminance and colour noise and there's a single pixel slider too for erasing single points of off colour. Capture One Pro 6 will analyse the image and extrapolate what noise reduction to apply to the picture and applies it automatically.
The illustration shows the true image on the left and what Capture One Pro 6 feels should be the setting on the right. Luminance was set to 25 which was spot on but I felt that the Colour noise at 54 could do with a little extra so I raised it to 64. Single pixel was best at 100 but this is subjective. After using the noise reduction facility on Capture One Pro 6, I found it very powerful and effective. I love the single pixel slider and it's great that as well as a basic noise reduction setting, there's an advanced option too. It's a great system to use and I actually prefer it to Adobe Bridge which was my favourite before this came along.