Why use Capture One as an alternative to Lightroom?

Our Guest Author today, Fran, brings you an article that you have been requesting for a long time. This is Capture One, an alternative development program to Lightroom.

In this article, I am going to tell you about a RAW developer that has incredible power, Capture One. I am sure that you are going to love this program, and more if you are one of those who think that Lightroom lacks some options to edit correctly. more complete and efficient.

What is CaptureOne?

Capture One is Phase One’s RAW file developer and works much like Lightroom, Adobe’s famous digital developer program.

However, and although it may seem that there is no reason to use another digital developer other than Adobe, you will see how by the time you finish reading this article you will be considering starting to use Capture One instead of Lightroom, especially if you have a intermediate-high editing level.

Capture One interface

Advantages of using Capture One

In this section I am going to explain all the features that Capture One has that have made me stop using Lightroom almost completely in a matter of a couple of months.

Organization by catalogs or by sessions

Yes, as you read it. It is not mandatory to have to work with catalogs, although it can be done in the same way as with Lightroom (which is an advantage for those of us who take advantage of all the organizational options that catalogs offer us). In other words, you can import individual sessions working in a much faster and more fluid way than if you worked with catalogs.

Extreme customization of the interface

This is one of the advantages that most caught my attention of this software and it is something that I missed when I used Lightroom.

With Capture One you can customize the entire workspace, putting tools where you want, removing the tools to increase their size anywhere in the interface and therefore work more comfortably with them (with curves and color adjustments). It goes very well).

custom interface

advanced edition

Capture One gives you the ability to do a lot of things to get more interesting results from your photos. Of course, this is linked to an extra level of complexity that you will have to master.

Layers and masks

It’s fantastic and wonderful to be able to have layers when editing many photos at once. This makes it a program that sits somewhere in the middle between Lightroom and Photoshop.

And the best thing is not this, but you can make luminance masks (among others), which can turn a pretty cool photo into an impressive photo.

And in case you are one of those who is thinking that in Lightroom you have the option to edit by zones using adjustment brushes, radial filters, etc, I will tell you that it has nothing to do with it. In Lightroom you can only make specific adjustments when you are going to make edits by zones. However, in Capture One you can make any adjustments the program allows to a given layer with a given mask (even within a luminance mask).

Advanced color settings

Regardless of the complexity of the editing that the use of layers and masks allows you to do, Capture One offers the possibility of making advanced color adjustments.

In the case of Lightroom we have the HSL section, with hue, saturation and luminance adjustments in each of these default tones. However, in Capture One, you can modify these default tones for a more exact and personalized edit.

In addition to this, the equivalent of the “split tones” section in Lightroom is also more advanced and precise in Capture One. In this case, we have color wheels that allow us to tint the image to color cast or eliminate color casts in our photographs. But these color wheels are not only “highlights and shadows”, but also have a midtone wheel, a general wheel and you can also control the exposure on them independently.

Advanced noise reduction

This is something that is really worth it. But it is not only about reducing noise more efficiently, but depending on your camera and the ISO used, an automatic noise reduction will be applied that does not cause completely “washed” images.

Noise reduction with Capture One

Advanced structure and clarity

The clarity that Lightroom offers offers results that leave a lot to be desired. Yes, I’m saying this from the perspective of having tried out Capture One’s Clarity and Structure settings. These, as you may have guessed, have different options and fit in more organically and subtly with the photos.

Advanced exports

This is another feature that is going to save you a lot of time. You can save different processing formulas (this is the name used in Capture One to name the presets export) and select several of them at the same time so that by pressing a button once, the photos are exported in different folders with different settings.

But it is not only about that, but you can also save automatic settings so that in each of these exports the names of the folders are created based on some exif data (date, date + name of the folder that contains them , date + your name, etc).

This offers almost infinite possibilities when it comes to exporting and, therefore, it will save you a lot of work time.

Different payment options

Capture One offers many payment options so you can choose the one that suits you best:

  • Possibility to pay for software that only works with Sony or Fuji cameras, for those who use only those brands of cameras.
  • In addition, it offers the option to pay monthly or annually.
  • Of course, you can buy the version that supports all models of all available camera brands (obviously this one is a bit more expensive).
  • In addition, you have different packs that include different packs of presets (although in Capture One they are called styles).
  • And what I like most of all, without a doubt, is that you have the possibility of making a payment for life, so you pay once and save yourself having to pay for successive years.

Disadvantages of using Capture One

Of course, and as you may have imagined, using this program instead of Lightroom or Camera Raw is not just an advantage. Obviously, it also has its drawbacks. To finish the article, I am going to do a quick review of the most important ones.

  • If you use other Adobe programs, it is no longer so profitable to use this raw developer, since buying the complete Adobe pack and using Premiere Pro, Lightroom, Photoshop, Indesign, etc., is spectacularly cheap. With Capture One you will have an extra payment. However, if you only used Lightroom, I would think about it.
  • Obviously, the interface is much more complex since, as I’ve told you, it’s a program that has many more options. In fact, you may be desperate at first, but only at first.
  • There is not much information about it on the net (YouTube, blogs, etc). However, on Phase One’s own page (the company that sells this software), there are plenty of video tutorials explaining how to use the program.

This is an article by Fran, photographer and founder traveler of ChamanExperience. You can follow his work on his website or on social networks.

If you also want to participate as a guest author, click here.

And if you are looking for other alternatives to Photoshop, take a look at our article on Photopea or these other editing programs.

Did you like the article? Thank Fan for his advice by sharing the article on your favorite social network so that others can also enjoy his recommendations. Thank you and see you soon.