Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Capture One Pro 8

Capture One Pro 8: Better than ever!
(Also - workflow for weddings at bottom)

Killer features:
- No need for Catalogs!
- Variants
- Multiple focus windows for image review or tethered shooting 

Best tethered shooting app!

Killer feature (for me)- Multiple focus windows for image review or tethered shooting!!!!

Capture One 8
(Yes that picture is from Capture One Pro 7) I just happened to take a screen shot to show how one can compare two photos side by side while reviewing photos or while tethered. The two focus windows on the left I used for checking two separate focus points on each photo. You can have many of these focus windows.

Capture One 8
Ok - check this out. It is two sessions (two windows) The left one is the my best shot up until now, the right shot is the latest tethered shot. The left side stays the same and the right side changes with each new shot. If I am shooting tethered this allows me to check focus (and all edits, crops etc.) on the left photo and then see if the right photo is better. If it is, I select that photo in the left window as my keeper and keep shooting. I can even set different edits to crop and keystoning (or any effects or edits) on the right tethered window and each successive shot takes on the same settings from the last shot. Amazing!

After setting this up I rebooted my computer for some Apple software update and guess what - when I started Capture One Pro 8 it started up with both session windows open the exact same way with the same files open!!!! How awesome. So if my machine goes down, or I have to set up for a quick tethered shoot or stop editing and have to restart or whatever - I can just start up Capture One Pro 8 and I am right back where I left off. Brilliant!!!

Capture One Pro

Yes - I reused the photo. The left photo is variant one and the right side is variant 2 of the same photo. The best part about this is that you can edit the heck out of a photo and then just hit a button to create a new variant that has the same edits and settings (clone) or a new variant that has no changes to the original file (new variant). This is unlike all of the other photo apps that I have used where you have to copy the original file before you even start and then work in layers, etc and turn them on and off so that you end up with multiple staged files all over the place. These edits are in an XMP file so there is no overhead and it doesn't take up space on your hard drive or in RAM.

No need for Catalogs!: (Workflow for Weddings)
Use Sessions
But - leave the files right where they are when you import. Don't import files into Capture one. Just access them in the file browser.

Lightroom uses a Catalog. Capture One Pro 8 can use catalogs as well. But - even better, you can just look in a directory at the files. There is absolutely no need to import your photos into some ridiculously huge, slow and unstable catalog. I have always editing files in the directory, avoiding catalogs. I usually import my photos with Photo Mechanic the worlds fastest import and file viewer. I set up a hierarchy of directories for my files starting with date. (2014_09_17 Mary and John Smith Wedding) I can then cull down my photos to only the selects that I can then edit. I used to use Photoshop through Bridge and Adobe Camera RAW. (Now all of that has gone creative cloud and is far too unwieldy, slow and expensive.) A full 8 hour plus wedding set on the D4s and D810 takes only 1 hour to cull, and at most 3 hours to edit in post for the proof prints. (No. I am not kidding. Just ask Emily Karcher of Emily Karcher Photography if you need a real person that can attest to this. (Don't buy into something that you only see or hear online. A lot of what you see is staged (models for "Wedding Shoots") and for advertising.))

How is it so fast. Two things:
1) Cull down your photos into selects first
2) Do not import into a Catalog - Use the files in a directory where they are.

Cull down your photos into selects first. Select the photo's you like, rate them etc in Photo Mechanic.(2014_09_17 Mary and John Smith Wedding) Then move them or copy them into a Selects directory under that main directory. (2014_09_17 Mary and John Smith Wedding/Selects) Open the Selects directory in Capture One Pro and do your editing and corrections. Then export your photos to the Send directory. (2014_09_17 Mary and John Smith Wedding/Send)If I still need to do some crazy edits in Photoshop I can do that on the Selects or Send files.

If you shoot a monster like the Nikon D810, Canon 5D Mark III, or any medium format camera you know how big those files are. If you cull down your files first and then don't use catalogs, you will only have the photos that you need to edit in memory or in your sorted directory. This is so much faster than asking your computer to look at a 40GB directory fill of 40MB files. (Or worse - One giant 200GB Catalog containing not only this shoot, but several of the last ones. Keep in mind that anything over 4GB in size is a royal pain for a computer. Just try to copy a giant video file some time.) I do my editing on a 2008 Macbook Pro with 8GB of RAM. (I needed the RAM for 3D graphics and rendering.)  

Do not import into a Catalog - Use the files in a directory where they are.
Using the files in the directory where they are you can edit your selects with whatever external editor or plugin that you want.Using a Catalog forces you to waste time, importing and exporting with no added benefit. Also archiving is easy. Just grab the entire directory (2014_09_17 Mary and John Smith Wedding), back it up to both of your spare backup drives (BOTH!) and then delete the 40 GB monster (2014_09_17 Mary and John Smith Wedding) from your computer's hard drive. A Catalog keeps growing and growing and becomes overly cumbersome.  (Plugins are quickly becoming stand alone apps now that don't require Photoshop. Awesome! Now you can process files with your favorite settings automatically in batches without the $700 purchase of Photoshop.)

Other Features for me:
Tethered Live View for the D4s D3 D810
Lens Correction - Supports latest Nikon and Canon (and other DLSR) lenses and selects them automatically.
Spot correction and Cloning
Great Black and White Tool
Great RAW rendering engine
Output Sharpening for print
Single Pixel Noise Reduction for Night Photos- Long Exposure
View Proof Profile - Soft proofing
Hot Folder - Allows you to use whatever camera control app you want and still have the photos pop up automatically in the Capture One Pro session.
Capture Pilot - photo review and tethering control on iPad or iPhone
Free Capture One Pro 8 Training Videos Online Just search Capture One Pro 8 or here at Phase One

Full Blown review of what it is new.

This is really Phase One's only software product (Ok - there's Media Pro)- and it is dedicated to cameras - It is updated with new cameras and lens profiles as well as RAW conversion continuously. Adobe has so many other apps to dedicate people to. They do update the camera RAW, but I am not sure they take the time to profile all of the cameras and lenses like DXO or Phase One.  Phase One makes digital backs and makes this application to control them and other digital backs.

What it doesn't do:
Capture One Pro 8 is not Photoshop. You are not going to use it for keying or compositing or any of that. Capture One has the Spot Correction and Cloning tools to remove problem areas in an image, but it is not a full blown compositing solution.  Photoshop is great, but do you drive an efficient car to work or a car, truck, boat, airplane, submarine, crane, bulldozer, all in one? You get the point.

Bottom line - My workflow:
1) Shoot RAW+JPG. RAW to Card 1 JPG to Card 2.  I can always hand off the JPG card to anyone for them to use immediately if necessary.
2) IMPORT : Photo Mechanic
3) EDIT :  Capture One Pro 8
Use Sessions so that I can edit in original directories and not have a huge catalog. Also If I really need to use Photoshop or another plugin because I have a solution that I have used in the past I can.
4) SEND Proofs: Smugmug
5) PRINT: Imageprint
to my Epson 3880. To really get good proofs and understand printing you need to use a good printer. To not waste time figuring out print profiles (because you are in the photography and not the printing business) let Imageprint figure out the perfect color, paper, and ink settings for you.

I  hope that you find this helpful.


  1. Unbelievably, the most basic of functions is missing from Capture One Pro 8 - you cannot display "before editing/original image" and "after editing/processed image" panes side-by-side! You have to use some unnecessary complication called a variant. For many people that is going to be a deal breaker.

    1. That is a good statement/question.

      One way to do that in capture one pro is to hit F2 to create a new variant and then both can be compared side by side. This is a very powerful feature, allowing you to create a "new" original after already editing the original. This also allows you to set up multiple focus boxes to zoom in on specific areas so that you can not only compare and zoom and pan the full file by holding the shift key; you can also compare precise, specific areas in each file to compare even fine details like sharpening. This I have found to be much more helpful than what other programs mimic slowly with a "side by side original comparison". This method becomes even more remarkable with larger 36 megapixel and greater photos which can be compared easily and quickly in Capture One, but take over 20 seconds to render RAW in the Adobe or Apple products.

      I hope that you find this helpful.


  2. Hey. I have question about work with Capture One + Photoshop. Where are you sharpening images? I want final images for full res and internet size.

    1. I use output sharpening in Capture One pro. From Photoshop I often use Nik Software's Sharpener Pro. (Google took over Nik's line a while back.)