Capture One vs Lightroom: what are the main differences or they are mystical and these RAW photo editing softwares are the same?
In this article, I will try to highlight some of the differences between these two programs and go into more detail about their pros and cons.
With the release of Adobe Lightroom CC you can no longer purchase it for $200 and use it as much as you like. Now Lightroom it's a $10 per month subscription. Also, a large number of functions have been updated.
Frankly, not everyone liked these changes, because no one knows what Adobe will do next. Not wishing to blindly follow all their decisions, photographers began searching for a worthy analogue.
The most popular one is Capture One Pro, which offers a more developed set of raw photo editing functions with great features in customization.
It has its advantages when it comes to having more advanced tools for picture editing, producing smooth and sharp RAW conversions.
With CaptureOne you will be able to expose finer textures and details and also reduce noise more carefully.
Local adjustments in this program are done with layers and masks, which, together with other image editing tools, make the process more efficient.
There are a number of built-in CaptureOne Presets and Styles with a variety of effects, but you can also buy additional ones at a relatively low price. You may use custom plugins with this software as well as packs that are available for purchase. It’s a great way to see what professional photo editors are currently into and draw some inspiration from their work.
What we all are looking for in CaptureOne is the way the software handles RAW files. All I can say is that it does the job perfectly.
Unlike Lightroom, in which you need to be careful with the corresponding tools, CaptureOne can boast amazing balance between controlling the noise and rendering details without additional fuss.
Simple personal customization. This Phase One software lets you fully set up/correct your panels, like Photoshop does. You can add the settings you need, and delete unnecessary ones. It also allows you switch between prepared tool settings for any desired task fast and easy.
If I'm editing pics and do not use an Exposure window, I can just take away it. If I want to have 3 diverse level settings on one tab for the individual red, yellow and blue channel controls, I can do it easily.
This may also be a drawback. If you are a user of the hardware that is afraid of spoiling something in the program, Capture One may be uncomfortable for you.
Unique Lens Cast Correction tool. I've never worked with a similar function before, it does not exist anywhere except Capture. It removes all the dust on your sensor in one click. No need to click hundred times to remove the dust - Capture does it for you.
Fast camera binding. Most photographers working with the C1 camera binding system share good feedback about it. Indeed, unlike Lightroom, it is more stable and quality. But the camera support is still small.
Simple Focus Mask. This tool allows the user to determine if the photos are in focus. Great stuff for portrait photo editing. The focus mask works by studying each separate photograph in your list and shows the sharpest zones. After analysis, the sharpest parts of the picture are superimposed with a color mask. If nothing is in focus, there will be no overlap.
Deep color editor. The color editor in Capture One 9 determines the exact color tones that you select, and then allows you to adjust them. Although the control elements may seem similar to Lightroom, the degree of control over colors is amazing. I mean, you can change any particular color in the unedited image you see very precisely.
Nonstandard approach to Curves of Luma. This channel is a new one in the curve tool for Luminance. The brightness curve corrects the contrast another way than using only the RGB channel, which often changes the overall saturation with increasing contrast. In addition, users can do all existing curve changes on the local adjustment layers for even more precise set up.
Not easy learning curve. Capture One made me confused - there were so many tools that you can use. This is a powerful editor, but I'm sure that not everyone needs so many functions.
On the one hand, this is a zone for experiments, because you can try everything that is here and see what happens. On the other hand, simple color correction takes you longer, since C1, unlike Lightroom, does not offer you a set of the most frequently used actions, they will have to be searched.
Not cheap price. How much is Capture One? For a basic set of features and functions, you will pay as you would for a 2.5-year subscription to Lightroom and Photoshop. You can also get a subscription but it is twice as expensive than Adobe’s. Moreover, there are not as many good Capture One free tutorials as there are for Adobe software, and that could be added to the price as well.
No cloud storage. As for me, a significant drawback of Capture One Pro is the absence of cloud storage. If you need to store numerous photos that were taken 10 years ago, you will have to spend money on a regular hard drive or pay separately for it.
Hence, they released Lightroom that works on the Camera RAW core, which is built in Photoshop.
Lightroom CC has a convenient cataloging system with an option of instant batch photo editing of several hundreds of photographs at the same time. In addition, you can use this software independently for every step of your workflow, or as a seamless pairing with Photoshop, which Lightroom will involve for more detailed photo retouching.
The software has 3 main elements (library, picture editor, various options for storage, printing and export). They are very similar to the Camera RAW interface but appear to be its modified version made with a certain logic and purpose. It is batch post-processing of a large number of photos in the least time possible.
Here is how it is organized. You start by creating a new project (catalog), import RAW files in to Lightroom, sort them in the library, select and assign tags for easier filtering.
In Develop panel, you do main types of corrections. You can use your own previously saved settings or import someone else’s (known as ‘presets’). There are thousands of free or paid Lightroom presets for desktop and Lightroom mobile presets online, you will definitely find something you need.
New Lightroom ecosystem. With the release of Lightroom CC, Adobe launched its own ecosystem, which is a cloud service with three applications based on devices: desktop, mobile and web.
LR CC works the same on all three platforms and synchronizes data in the cloud. Thus, you can continue unfinished work even if you are not at home. Just use the web version from any computer, or finish the photo editing on your Lightroom Mobile App. With an Adobe subscription , you are offered 1TB of cloud storage, which is enough for everyone.
Smart search in Lightroom CC. One of the main differences between Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic is the ability to search for images based on content, without using keywords or labels. The software will automatically divide the photos of people, water and buildings into different groups.
Automatic selection of the "best" and rejection of the "worst" shots among the downloaded saves a lot of time. This is especially good for wedding or big event shooters.
Simple Masks management. You will find new ways and instruments for adjusting colors and tones selectively. Now you can use corrective brushes, radial or gradient filters to create a coarse mask, and then fine-tune the mask with new parameters. This works great when you whiten teeth in Lightroom.
Edit photos in 1 click with Lightroom Presets. There is a huge plus of Lightroom's popularity - more people share ideas with each other. To find and buy a package of presets for weddings, portrait or landscape is simple, and numerous companies provide them for free. You may always create Lightroom presets on your own - it’s easy.
These Lightroom plugins simplify your work and give the photos a new life in 1 click. Capture One Pro have their own presets, here they are called “recipes” or “styles”. But since this editor is less popular than Lightroom, in turn, and the amount of styles is much smaller.
If in Lightroom you can choose 3-4 favorite presets from 300 filters and remove the others, do not expect such luxury from the second software, it’s difficult to find Capture One free styles.
+1000 Free lessons. The popularity of the Adobe product also affects the number of free Lightroom tutorials, YouTube videos, classes, courses. Yes, there are many of them about C1, but Lightroom as well as Photoshop has terabytes of lessons, both paid and free about everything you can think of.
Therefore, even if you are amateur in photo editing and color correction, you will find thousands lessons for any taste.
Working with Adobe Photoshop. And finally, Capture One doesn’t provide integration. C1 Pro can export edited images as .psd, but cannot read them.
Lightroom, being an Adobe product, can read them and easily export, even a full folder of any format or size using your export pre-settings. They are edited in the same way as any JPEG, TIFF or RAW file in your library.
No interface adjustment. Lightroom does not have this feature. All you can do is hide the left or the right side of the interface, but you cannot remove them. Just like you cannot remove the tools you do not need from the right panel.
No one-time payment. Although you can still find Lightroom 6 Standalone free, it will soon become outdated (this is already happening). In about a year, you will not be able to use Lightroom without a minimum payment of $9.99 a month.
No picture retouching tools. This is when in the Capture One vs. Lightroom competition, the former definitely wins as allows you not only to do quality color correction but in-depth photo retouching as well. Image retouching in Lightroom comes with a rather strange editing mechanics. All you can do is to make basic Lightroom video editing and color grading.
The price of the programs is significantly different, especially considering the end of selling stand-alone versions of Adobe LR.
Adobe LR CC requires all your images stored in your directory been downloaded to the cloud storage. If you lack 1TB, you can buy more for $9.99 per month. This is the most affordable way of buying Lightroom. The problem is that you will have to pay constantly to synchronize every photo that you have.
Capture One price is $300 for the unlimited version. Capture One subscription costs $20 per month. For this money in Adobe you will also have Photoshop.
I think the Adobe’s subscription is the best option, because you get Photoshop as a bonus. You may use Lightroom discounts and get the package even cheaper. Even if you get Capture One, you probably still need Photoshop for deeper photo retouching. If Lightroom is not right for you, you still have the option to use Bridge and Adobe Camera Raw.
I like these softwares. Comparing Capture One vs Lightroom, I want to say, that C1 is an excellent program with a big number of available tools. It makes your photo editing more detailed.
But Lightroom is simpler and more convenient. You have access to millions of Lightroom presets and practical Lightroom tutorials, video guides, as well as a chance to retouch your photos in Photoshop.
Adobe is the first to launch compatibility with RAW-files from the last new cameras on the photography market. I’d like Lightroom to take some features from Capture One, while remaining as simple and convenient as it is now. Then we would get a perfect program for photo editing.
No matter how much pluses the program does not have, the whole comparison happens while working with it. Therefore, I selected the basic criteria for direct comparison of Lightroom vs Capture One.
RAW image format is the starting point in photo editing. Most bloggers praise Capture One for having a picture on it that looks better and more saturated than in Lightroom, but in fact it's its main disadvantage.
As you can see, the difference between Capture One vs Lightroom RAWs is significant. Lightroom: the image quality is higher. The background of my photo was initially almost the same as displayed by Lightroom, but it certainly was not orange! The image in C1 looks less voluminous, unnaturally red, skin tones differ much from reality. This is due to incorrect reading of the white balance settings. It's not difficult to fix, but still not nice.
Also, Capture One has limited support for RAW files. The most common problems happen in Sony camera owners. Capture has a separate version for editing only Sony photos.
Lightroom certainly does not support all cameras, but any support updates come sooner. C1 is perfect for the photos taken on a Fuji camera because RAW files are excellent for drawing colors from it.
The picture above is taken on a Nikon camera and the colors are strongly orange red and a small variety of colors.
I downloaded 150 photos. Lightroom coped with this in about 4 minutes. I also selected the extra photos by rating.
I didn’t used the smart photo sorting. The preview of the photos was downloaded quickly and I did not have to wait long.
Capture One coped with it faster, but about 5 photos were without preview, even when reloaded. The speed is good, but the quality of the photos in the Capture One previews was excellent, while in the Lightroom the sharpness was greatly reduced, which created additional problems.
Lightroom CC became much faster than the classic version, it took a couple of seconds. The formats to save are just enough.
When exporting photos from C1, the export setting occurs in a tab that seems small, but it's not a big problem. A much bigger fault is when you export, a window appears and does not allow you continue photo editing while the needed files are saved.
In Lightroom, the export occurs in the background and does not interfere. This is a small problem when you have one or two photos, but if you have 100-200 photos, it will take you enough time to wait.
It's not fair to compare the program which I have been using for several days (Capture 1), and several years (Lightroom). I tried to be objective and compare the convenience of image editing from a newcomer’s side.
In Lightroom you have everything in front of you - there are presets to the left, working tools to the right. You can immediately start Lightroom portrait editing by working with sliders.
First, Capture One made me confused - there were so many tools that you can use. This is a powerful editor, but I'm sure that not everyone needs so many functions. On the one hand, this is a zone for experiments, because you can try everything that is here and see what happens. On the other hand, simple color correction takes you longer, since C1, unlike Lightroom, does not offer you a set of the most frequently used actions, they will have to be searched.
I decided to make a simple color correction for the experiment. In order to start editing in both programs, I adjusted the white balance and corrected the exposure, and then the comparison of the programs began:
Here is what I got – the same actions – different softwares.
As I mentioned earlier - the number of C1 settings is great, so you immediately have everything to play. Level and curve settings are better than Photoshop than Lightroom has.
Color adjustments are more advanced. To smoothen the colors together and do this with shades of skin seem really useful. I found that I'm changing more color settings in Capture One, because I can be more precise.
Both programs will allow you to import ready-made color correction plugins known as ‘presets’ in Lightroom and ‘styles’ in CaptureOne. Here are some image editing freebies for you from our retouchers for each program.
This style will quickly fix white balance and colors in your photos by making them brighter and sharper.
A great style for Golden Hour photography. It will bring out the warmth and softness of light you get during this time.
This style will work with any genre of photography by creating a slight matte effect and adding pastel tones.
Recently, film effects and vintage styles have become very popular in photography. With this handy preset, you do not need to buy a film camera. Just apply the provided effect to your digital images.
Pastel tones will make the photograph look lighter by adding a hint of warm colors. Such presets have also been extremely popular lately.