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Software Reviews

Capture One Pro 6 review

Martin Turner (Martin Turner)

Keywords: capture, phase, software, capture_one, phase_one

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That instantaneousness is important because when, say, you want to know if this picture is any good:That instantaneousness is important because when, say, you want to know if this picture is any good:
PJ3_5520 2then you want to see it with the colours fixed straight away. In this case the fix isn't quite right — the lights had been turned even further down by this point. But it's enough to check by. Of course, to check, you want to see it at 200%, right? No problem. If you're running two monitors, you'll quite often have one turned up that high by default. But, if not, the resizing is instant. Really instant, with no waiting around. It's the instantaneousness of looking at a print with a loupe, like we used to in the old days. On the other hand, if you think it might be rescuable, you can go to the Details mode, which shows a loupe style close up. In this mode you can sort out the noise (lots at ISO 6400 in what has now become candlelight white balance), sort out the sharpening, and generally decide if the image is salvageable or not.

It isn't — not for anything other than a website. All this takes — well, virtually no time at all.

captureone 6

I can't stress the importance of the instantaneousness of this enough: when you're looking through 300 images, you will only really look at them all properly if it takes almost no time to do so — not if you're working against the clock. Otherwise, you basically take a guess, and hope it's the right one. Get it wrong, and you've spent five minutes on the wrong image. Oops!

Now, let's imagine that you've got a whole collection of shots picked out, and you're ready to email them. That's great — go to the oddly named 'Process Recipes' pane, which (need I say it?) quickly and easily lets you set up how you want to output, and then retain it so that you can output to a variety of sizes and formats in one go.


By the way, the main screen shows you the dimensions by default once you pick one of your 'recipes'. But wait — it's at this moment that someone switches the light on in the darkened room where you've been burning the midnight oil. You remember suddenly that you calibrated your monitor with that light turned on — and now all your pictures looked washed out, or greenish, or something. In Capture One, you don't have to go back to the colour correction pane. At the top of your screen, always there, are the tools you most often want, including your favourite white balance tool. You can apply this directly while in the Output pane.

captureone13What if these actually aren't your favourites? No problem, since that menu and almost every other one is fully customisable.

You fix the white balance, and press the 'Process' button. Within a few seconds (and it tells you how many), your images are ready, saved to disk. Easy. But, more important, quick.

Let's go back now for a second and look at the refinements. Here's one I really love:

The levels pane

This is the levels pane. Have you ever seen one before withsloping bars? With this one, you can interactively drag the top or the bottom to set the input and output levels differently. This is by far the best implementation I've ever seen of levels, and, yes, you guessed it, the response is instantaneous. That's fairly characteristic of most of the application: the features which are present are usually much more refined than in other applications, and much, much faster.


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Originally written on March 15, 2011

Last updated on February 18, 2015

Martin Turner Martin Turner (Martin Turner)

Expert professional PJ & PR photographer

Bidford on Avon, United Kingdom
Moderator, 4972 posts

1 comment

David Medina (davidmedina) on March 23, 2011

Great Capture one review, but tour comment about Aperture demonstrate that you don't know nor have used Aperture 3. Aperture 3 has much more features and it is more responsive than Lightroom 3 and Capture One. Aperture 3 local adjustment are superior than both Lightroom as well as Capture One. in Aperture 3 you can about apply locally every adjustment you can do in the program. and you can be selective as far as how you apply it - shadows, mid tones or high lights. Aperture 3 curve is as good as what you find in Photoshop and Capture One. And you can create multiple curves because they can be applied locally by a brush. Plus in Aperture 3 you can design books and work with video. So as you see, to say like you said, that Aperture has less features than Lightroom is totally innacurrate and demonstrate that you don't use it nor have taken the time to tested. Aperture 3 has more feature, more controls and better results as well as more responsive overall than Lightroom even in a 5 years old Mac Pro.