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Software Reviews

PhaseOne Capture One Pro - Product Review

Neil van Niekerk (Neil_vN) on February 7, 2006


Keywords: software

While we're on the subject of WB:

 

Nikon D2x users - how WB encryption may have affected you with Capture One, before version 3.7.3:

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Capture One recognizes all of the Preset White Balance settings, and does an excellent job emulating them.
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If you chose an Auto WB setting on your D2x, then Capture One will perform an Auto WB on the actual image as you are pre-viewing it. With only a cursory check on this, it seemed to perform as well as any Auto WB would. (I'm personally not fond of using Auto WB, since this works against getting consistency between images in any sequence. It's also the reason I shoot in Manual Exposure mode 99% of the time, but that's another topic again.)
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It is only with Custom WB settings that Capture One (at this point) can't read what the D2x has set for WB. Personally, this isn't a big issue for me, because ... I'm shooting in raw, and adjusting the WB in post-processing is a breeze.

 

Here is Phase One's official response on this topic: Nikon D2x white balance support, again, before version3.7.3 was released.

 

-- ADVERTISEMENT --

 

RANDOM OPERATIONAL NOTE

Being my usual paranoid self, I initially had Capture One set to save my images frequently. Such as whenever I changed a collection (ie, clicked out of the folder). This made moving files within Capture One very slow, since it would now want to save edit settings for all the files within that collection / folder, before allowing you to move them over to another collection / folder.

Therefore, to work faster, I set Capture One to save every half an hour, and whenever I closed the program.

If Capture One runs a batch, it slows down the refreshing of thumbnails considerably.
So it is always better to allow Capture One the time to generate thumbnails, and then work on the files you need to adjust. There is a blue dot that shows which images still need thumbnails to be properly generated, and there is a counter at the bottom of the screen to tell you how far it has progressed. No guessing needed.

Capture One generates work files and preview files of the images that you view and edit. The preview files can be periodically deleted since they do progressively take up more and more space. However, the work files which contain your edit info, are very small in size. All the changes you make to an image are saved to these separate work file. These can be saved in a archive folder of our choice - eg. with the images that you archive on a DVD or another hard disc. This was an aspect of Capture One that I really liked, and is an easy way to make back-ups of your edits, along with the original raw images.

A nice feature (but an expected one), is that Tool Tips show up when you hover your mouse pointer over a Tool. Actually, this is a necessary feature in a software program that has more tool icons than menu selections.

Right-clicking on an image gives you a number of options, including annotations and meta-data.

As expected, Capture One can run multiple batch processes to multiple destinations (with different settings.)

Another important feature of Capture One Pro that would benefit the high-volume photographer, is QuickProof. This would enable you to generate lower-res images to be used for proofing (and small enlargements) at a fraction of the time it would take to generate a high-res jpg or tiff file. For thousands of images processed every week, the time saving could be considerable.


NEGATIVES

- The user interface is non-standard, and takes a bit of time getting used to.
For example, as I mentioned previously, right-clicking won't get you anywhere.

- Some of the icons jump around between tabs. Very annoying.
Example: the 'Apply settings' icon changes position between the Exposure menu and the White Balance menu. Since you can apply Exposure and/or WB settings to other images from either window, it becomes distracting not to be able to move your cursor automatically to a specific point already. Instead, you have to momentarily look for it.

- I had Capture One crash on me whenever I tried to close an open folder (delete a collection) with a huge number of images - 1700 in this case. I had to find a work-around, by closing C1, and renaming the folder with the images as something else, and then creating an empty folder with the same names as which I wanted to close the collection in C1.

- When converting to a B&W image via the 'Generic Gray Scale' in the Process tab, I get a decent enough monochromatic image - though most images will need some work to punch up the contrast a bit. But what is strange, is that Capture One then doesn't see that image if you use the explorer window to browse for it. You can see other JPGs - but not the B&W jpgs created with the 'Generic Gray Scale' profile.


FINAL VERDICT

Despite the few negatives mentioned, I have to say that I LOVE this program!

If you're a large-file Nikon Digital Raw shooter, then I can't recommend this program highly enough. And if you've been slogging with the turtle-like Nikon Capture, then Capture One might just be the answer to all your prayers.

For anyone else that is shooting in smaller files raw, this program deserves some very serious consideration.

There are a few hiccups and oddities with this program - as I guess most pieces of software has - but this barely detracts from the impressive functionality of Capture One. It is fast, efficient and does a stellar job as a professional tool.


SUPPORT

Support comes in an impressive number of flavours.

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the most obvious one, the Help function as part of the software.
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a downloadable pdf file from the Phase One website
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online tutorials in the form of movie clips
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an online forum where users can ask questions and have them answered by the staff and other experts. I like this in that it gives other users the chance to look for answers and options without having to ask everything one on one from support staff.
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and as a last resort, you could contact support directly.

 

For a complete list of Capture One's features and functions, check the Phase One website.

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Neil van Niekerk Neil van Niekerk (Neil_vN)

Wayne, USA
Gold, 29 posts

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