Capture One Pro Review

August 13, 2009 | Jon Canfield | Software Reviews | |

Lens Correction (Figure 9) is only available when working with RAW images. These controls allow you to correct for chromatic abberations, finging, vignetting and other lens problems.

Capture One Pro Figure 9

The Crop panel (Figure 10) has controls to set crop ratios and sizes, as well as rotating the image to correct for unwanted tilts. There is also an Overlay control which will be useful when you need to composite images or artwork and need to have precise positioning of the elements in your photo.

Capture One Pro Figure 10

Next on the list of panels is Metadata (Figure 11). The list is a basic one of your EXIF exposure and camera data. Only the Caption and Copyright fields can be edited in this panel.

Capture One Pro Figure 11

The Details panel (Figure 12) has the standard Unsharp Make controls as well as Noise Reduction, Clarity, and Moire controls. I was pleasantly surprised at how well the noise reduction tools actually worked. I'm used to ACR and Lightroom where the correction is minimal and luminance adjustments normally lead to image softness. With Capture One Pro, I was able to clean up a significant amount of noise without using a third party application like Noiseware. The Clarity control works like the similar controls in Aperture and Lightroom - it does localized sharpening to avoid giving an artificial look to your images. Here I wish Capture One Pro had implemented this control differently. I often use a negative clarity adjustment in Lightroom on portraits to give a small amount of softening to skin tones.

Capture One Pro Figure 12

The final panel is the Adjustments Clipboard (Figure 13). In this panel, you can select which adjustments you've made to the selected image to save as a new Style.  All checked items in the list will be incorporated into the new style.

Capture One Pro Figure 13

Capture One Pro also supports soft-proofing of images, letting you work with the profile that you'll be outputting to, whether it's a printer, screen, or CMYK device. This is one area where Lightroom is lagging in support and could take a cue from Capture One Pro on how to implement this feature.

Processing Images

Along with the image adjustments you've made, Capture One Pro supports Variants - essentially virtual copies of an image with different processing parameters. For example, in Figure 14, I've created a color and a black & white version of the image - there is only one physical file, but I can now output both versions.

Capture One Pro Figure 14

Once you've made your adjustments, you're ready to process them - this entails applying the adjustments made and outputting a file in the selected format. Here, Capture One Pro gives you a great deal of control. Files can be saved as TIFF, DNG, or JPG with any color space you wish - all your system profiles are available. If you frequently use a setting, it can be saved as a Recipe - a preset with all the current options including file type, color profile, and size, for future use.

Capture One Pro Figure 15

Capture One Pro also supports batch processing of images, so you can queue up a set of files to be output and either start processing them immediately, or wait until you're finished with all your editing, then start the batch and walk away - very useful when you have dozens or hundreds of images to process.

Another output feature is the Web Contact Sheet (Figure 16) that can quickly create a web gallery with your selected images. You don't have the layout options of some of the other programs, but the pages are clean and work well for a quick client showing.

Capture One Pro Figure 16


Capture On Pro 4.8 is a very full-featured application. It's not going to be the only app you need - unlike Lightroom or Aperture, you can't do keywording, but for the editing tasks, especially with RAW images, the output quality is top notch. The High Dynamic Range controls work better than their counterparts in the other applications, particularly with recovering highlight detail. The ability to create custom styles is powerful and timesaving, and the processing recipes are ideal for anyone that needs to output the same image in multiple formats. Finally, if you're working with large quantities of images, the batch processing option can be worth it's weight in gold. Although it's a complex program with a number of advanced features, Capture One Pro is one of the easiest RAW converter programs I've used. At $399 US, Capture One Pro isn't going to fit into every budget, but for the pro photographer, it's a very attractive option when workflow and output quality equate to time and money.

4.5 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Features 4.5
Ease-of-use 4
Value for money 4

Entry Tags

RAW, software, processing, pro, phase one, capture one, Capture One Pro Review

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Your Comments

9 Comments | Newest Oldest First | Post a Comment

#1 Sashi

You discussed everything but the quality of the raw conversion.
I have Capture One Pro and as much as i feel more comfortable with Adobe or Aperture there is no denying that when you open a raw file for reasons unknown to me capture one’s conversion pulls out far more detail and more contrast.

4:56 am - Friday, August 14, 2009

#2 James

Capture One Pro is the current industry standard when it comes to high end digital capture.
And currently the only place in the U.S. that you can get 2 day hands on training for it is here.

6:54 pm - Thursday, August 20, 2009

#3 Donald Metzler

Great review, but you might also want to mention “tethered shooting”. It seems to work great with all the supported back expect their own. The IQ you get in the image window is the worst I have very seen and its usability for focusing is the pits.

2:48 am - Sunday, November 8, 2009

#4 Chris

This program is great in what it does, but the stability sucks. It freezes and drops camera connections so often that it’s just not worth it to use anymore. The only thing it does that a cheaper, faster, and more quality program like lightroom doesn’t is keep a crop and be able to transfer it in a workflow environment easier than the other programs. Once you pass the learning curve it’s a very outdated and useless program. Don’t spend the money.

8:42 pm - Wednesday, March 31, 2010

#5 James

I have no way of knowing which version of C1Pro you have been working with, but the issues that you describe are more user and computer related than actual software issues. Sadly many people don’t read the READ ME file were it clearly states that V.4.x - V5.1.1 need to be run on a multi-core Intel processor.
And even then many of these machines are legacy and severely under powered.
Dropped connectivity is always user error, a 1394 cable that is damaged and needs to be replaced, camera ports that are loose because the user was too cheap to invest in a tether lock, users connecting to the front of a Mac pro rather than using the 1394 connection in back which is not sharing bus power.
All of these issues are well documented online and known to the high end power users working on commercial advertising and fashion shoots everyday.
It makes more sense to ask questions and find answers rather than slaging a software that you are unfamiliar with.
There’s certainly enough free information out there.

10:42 pm - Wednesday, March 31, 2010

#6 Mike

That was a good quick overview but as someone else mentioned, the quality of C1 Pro RAW conversions is brilliant.  I’m on C1 v5 Pro now and the level of control is very good.  I can produce better images faster, before I had to go in to Photoshop (eg with DPP, ACR etc).

Only things that Light Room does better for me:  Auto hot pixel correction and the adjustment brush and ND style adjustments.  If C1 had those it would be perfect. 

I tend to use C1 Pro most of the time but switch to LR or even DPP sometimes.  My C2D 2.16GHz iMac is reasonably fast with C1 with 21 mega pixel images but am saving for something faster, LR is faster but not much.

5:58 pm - Friday, April 2, 2010

#7 Jas

I Try all of Major programs to edit my images (Aperture, Capture one pro, Lr, Br) I have Macbook pro with 8GB ram, i7 Processor and 1.5TB HDD, and also i am an IT engineer. But what i have found the Capture one Pro has the most poor GUI, which kill your System speed and create hundreds of files which overload your cache memory as well. Personally I found Adobe Bridge better and faster than anyone..It gave you more options but easy to use.

4:36 pm - Thursday, April 28, 2011

#8 Sean

Your commenting on a post from 2009 ??
You also need to be better informed on the product before posting.
Capture One Pro is a: ‘Professional digital capture program’, it is not, nor has it ever been intended to be used as an image editing program.
That may be why your having problems with it.
Reading the Manual will also help.

4:46 pm - Thursday, April 28, 2011

#9 Linda

Sean, don’t be such a wanker!! It hasn’t stopped anyone previously commenting on a thread that is from 2009 ... hence why people have commented on it in 2010 and now 2011.

Jas’s comment is relevant and a lot of people experience this very problem with Capture One freezing and completely slowing your computer to a stand still. I recommend that people read this post ...

as I also experienced this problem and following this it seem to have cleared the computer freeze problem and cache filling up .... Capture one pro 6 is still so unstable, it crashes at least once a day on me.

Great read!

1:27 am - Sunday, July 10, 2011