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 ProFigure 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 ProFigure 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 ProFigure 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 ProFigure 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 ProFigure 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 ProFigure 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 ProFigure 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 ProFigure 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