I recently moved my entire Aperture image library over to Capture Pro One 10 as described in detail in two earlier postings; From Aperture to Capture One Pro and Let There Be Light. I moved over around 150,000 images, albeit in smaller catalogs due to Capture One Pro’s inability to handle the complete Aperture library in one large catalog. I have now had the opportunity to run this system and fully evaluate its performance and functionality on my complete portfolio.
It is always difficult to make change, especially as you get older and more set in your ways. Like an old pair of slippers… they are comfy and fit well … and you don’t want to try any new ones. I have used Aperture since its first version in 2005 so am deeply settled in the workflow to process and edit images. I have always liked the non-linear nature of the processing workflow within Aperture which made editing a fluid and intuitive process. When I evaluated Adobe Lightroom as a potential replacement for Aperture I did not like the rather rigid and compartmentalised processing workflow that this application had.
Using Capture One Pro required me to learn a completely new but I feel this has now paid off …. and I’ve got to say I really like it. I have been diving in and exploring all my old images, re-processing them and I am usually very delighted with the results. It’s certainly throwing new light on these old images.
What I Like
- Great colour rendition. The colours are fantastic and the colour editing tools are very comprehensive to further enhance colours and tones in your image.
- Highlight and shadow control sliders in the high dynamic range section are really great and do not overcook things
- The clarity and structure tools are really great and add detail to the image
- The perspective control or keystone adjustments are a great bonus as Aperture didn’t have this and for many of my images shot with a wide angle lens such as my Canon 16-35mm, particularly the architectural shots, are greatly improved due to this tool
- Output Recipes for output easy to set up and very fast to process and output images in a wide range of sizes and formats.
- Tethered shooting – easy to set up and execute although I will probably hardly use this feature.
- Importing my Aperture library to Capture One pro I retained all my keywords, ratings and adjustments.
What I Don’t Like
- Limit on the size of catalog that can be handled by Capture One Pro. I have maintained my catalogs to a maximum size of around 22k images. It would be great to be able to search your entire portfolio from one catalog but this is really not possible with the number of images I have.
- Copy & paste of metadata seems a little unintuitive and clumsy
- Doesn’t handle audio files – it would be nice to have these included in the folder system and user catalogs of projects along with the images.
I detail below the features of each of the menu sections in Capture One Pro.
The User Collections are user defined collections of images that are stored under the folders section and can be classified in anyway that fits your portfolio, e.g. by year, project, topic, etc
Folders are where your images are stored on your disk system. have these setup in a similar fashion to my Aperture referenced files with all my images on an external, fast, RAID disk system. You can if you want have them in the main catalog of Capture One Pro but this could become very large and unmanageable.
In a similar way that Aperture handled it Capture One Pro can star rate and colour code images for easy filtering and sorting. It doesn’t however have the flag option that Aperture had. It is also easy to filter your images by date.
The Capture menu system is set up specifically for tethered shooting where you have your camera directly connected to your computer for direct viewing of the shoot on the screen and immediate importing into Capture One Pro. I have only tried this very briefly and appears to work very well with minumum fuss and effort unlike tethering I have experienced in other systems.
The Lens menu system has section specific to corrections and adjustments for specific lenses being used. It will automatically pick up what lens is being used for each image and apply a profile for that lens such that adjustments can be made for chromatic aberration, diffraction correction and hiding distorted areas.
The kestone adjustment facility is really great and is a big advantage for the adjustment of perspective in images. The example below highlights this very well with a before and after image.
The Colour tab gives access to the comprehensive set of tools for colour adjustments. This includes basic adjustments for white balance and a basic black & white option. However the real power of this section comes in the colour balance and colour editor tool sets which can be used to tune the colour tones in your image. Using a colour picker a specific colour can be chosen from the image and then adjusted in a number of ways to reach the desired final effect.
With custom-made color profiles for more than 400 cameras, you get an unmatched straight-from-camera color accuracy, providing the ultimate foundation for further adjustments with every RAW file.
The intuitive Color Balance Tool makes color grading precise, effortless and gives you the ability to adjust Hue and Luminosity individually for Shadows, Mid-Tones and Highlights.
Change Hue, Saturation and Lightness for a specific range of colors for effective adjustments. Define the exact color tones you wish to adjust and experience the full control.
Even out Skin Tones without the need for complex color retouching with three Uniformity sliders – Hue, Saturation and Lightness. Apply as a Local Adjustment for maximum control.
The example 100% crop of an image below I think highlights the richer and more detailed tones plus better shadow detail in the Capture One Pro image when compared with the one from Aperture.
The Exposure tab provides all of the basic image editing tools that you need such as exposure adjustment, levels and curves. The High Dynamic Range features two sliders to adjust and control highlights and shadows. These tools are really wonderful and can be used to their full extent without damaging the integrity of the image, unlike the corresponding tools in Aperture which had to be used with a little caution.
The clarity and structure sliders are a very effective way to add detail and structure into your image in a controlled manner and add some punch to the final image.
There is a vignetting tool also which works very well.
In the Details tab you have access to sharpening and noise reduction tools as well as tools for adding film grain, moire adjustment and spot removal.
The local adjustments tab provides very powerful adjustments which can be made on local areas as defined by you using a masking tool and brushes. This means you can work on a number of specific areas of the image and apply local adjustments just to those areas. So for example you can add a graduated mask over the sky area and easily adjust the exposure and other characteristics to bring back detail to an overblown sky.
Styles and presets are a way you can create your own collection of methods for processing images and applying color corrections, or you can use the actions that have been developed by other photographers.
A preset stores the settings related to just one tool, while a style saves all the settings that have been applied to a photograph.
It is easy to add keywords to one or multiple images in the Metadata tab. Luckily on importing my Aperture library to Capture One pro all my keywords for my images and projects were retained.
The Output section allows you to set up process recipes for any type of file size or format that you want to export out from your projects. This means you can have a specific recipe for each type of requirement such as small web-sized jpg files to large full sized tiff files. Watermark can easily be added to the images. The great thing here is you can define multiple recipes for output for sets of files than let the process run in the background.
The batch section allows you to monitor the batch queue of files being processed.
Overall I am very pleased with Capture One Pro, particularly in the areas of colour rendition and the shadow and highlights control which are much better than Aperture. The data management side is still not as good as Aperture but is very manageable, its just a pity that Capture One Pro doesn’t seem to be able to deal with large catalogs. I initially tried to import all my Aperture library into one large Capture One Pro catalog file year by year but on reaching about 90k images the application started to hang. On reading more about this many others have had this issue so the recommendation is to maintain smaller catalogs of your images. I decided to split my Aperture library into catalogs by year and this is working very well.
The tools within Capture One Pro are very comprehensive and I have now been using them routinely over the last week or so and as I get used to the workflow things are getting faster and more efficient.
Passionate Photographer …. Lost in Asia
Stuart Taylor of HighlanderImages Photography has been making images for over 25 years and can offer a diverse range of photo imaging services with a focus on Asia and a documentary/photojournalistic style. These services include planning and executing a photo shoot on location but importantly all the post-processing and image preparation needed for the specific finished media format required by the customer. Stuart’s experience and knowledge in all of these aspects makes HighlanderImages Photography a one-stop-shop for a comprehensive and professional image production service.
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