Capture One vs Darktable: Which Tool is Better

By Eva Williams 24 days ago, Software Reviews

Comparing Capture One vs Darktable, I found out that both programs offer a great variety of editing and color correction tools. They are created for desktops and cannot function on mobile devices or online. The main difference between these tools is that Capture One is paid software that is more suitable for experienced photographers, while Darktable is an absolutely free tool that is an ideal choice for amateurs.

Capture One has rich functionality including an impressive RAW image file processing feature, picture cataloging, layers, local and keystone corrections. The tool is aimed at experienced photographers offering cutting-edge features and functions. Capture One Pro can work on Windows and Mac devices.

Darktable offers a set of image processing options for beginners including basic picture editing and color enhancement features, as well as various filters. Besides, Darktable has a great number of different modules. The developers of the software have created informative tutorials so that you can master the software in a short time. Darktable can function on Linux, Mac OS X / MacPorts, BSD, Windows, and Solaris 11 / GNOME.

What Is Capture One?

capture one logo

Capture One is photo editing software for PC for advanced color correction and professional retouching. The editor has lots of cool features, so many users use it in the Capture One vs Lightroom battle. Like Lightroom, Capture One flawlessly copes with editing RAW files. Besides, the software can render images from Sony, Nikon, and Fujifilm cameras.

Another advantage of Capture One is a customizable interface and tool tabs with fixed and scrolling sections. The panels extract and contract automatically in accordance with the screen space. Capture One has a more flexible interface, which gives it another point in the Capture One vs Darktable stand-off.

Using the program, you can group pictures in searchable catalogs and perform non-destructive editing of different file types, including PSD.

The bragging point of the software is speed editing. This feature is represented by a system called Speed Edit that allows users to improve images using keys on a keyboard rather than adjustment sliders. You can also copy adjustments and tokens to speed up workflow.

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  • capture one interface
  • capture one interface

    Capture One: Pros and Cons

    User-friendly editing options. The editing toolkit of Capture One is quite extensive and contains all the basic editing options including the Healing and Clone brush. It also has various masking tools (radial masks, luminosity masking, grayscale mask, etc.) for more precise results.

    Great color balance and editors. The program has a plethora of color correction instruments that allows fixing hue and saturation, as well as tones. There is even tone editing features for a more professional outcome. If you lack skills or want to get professionally edited pictures in a short time, turn to retouchers.

    Custom lens profiles. Capture One supports many camera brands. It allows rendering RAW pictures from specific cameras preserving realistic colors. The program uses custom color profiles for editing, noise reduction, raising sharpness, lens correction based on the shooting device you use.

    Handy photo categorization. The categorization feature of the program deserves many flattering words. The cataloging is available for different systems. Use the Catalogs and Sessions option to group your images based on the tasks you are fulfilling. Besides, you can take advantage of the Recipes option for exporting images in various file formats in one go.

    Handy saves configurations option. The program stands out in the Capture One vs Darktable comparison with the possibility to save image configurations in a special folder to apply them in the future. Capture One generates such a folder automatically when it processes RAW pictures.

    HDR feature. When retouching, you will notice the loss of details and colors in highlights and shadows. It can be fixed with the help of an HDR feature that stimulates imagery from a single picture. Thus, you can rediscover details in the needed areas. The Highlights slider decreases brightness and is great for rediscovering details from overexposed sections.

    High price.

    Lacks cloud ecosystem/mobile app.

    What Is Darktable?

    darktable logo

    Darktable is an open-source non-destructive RAW editor that is available free of charge. The program allows creating and editing pictures by applying filters, as well as correcting colors. Using this photo editing software for beginners, you can create simple (crop, exposure) and advanced (simulation of night vision) modules for different types of retouching.

    The UI of this open-source photo editor was developed based on the efficient caching of picture metadata and minimaps kept in a database. The developers of the software devoted much attention to designing a straightforward interface, and boosting image processing speed. They also made everything possible to ensure the quality output.

    Besides, Darktable keeps an original file intact while editing pictures and only functions on cached image buffers for display. A picture is only converted during download. The software uses raw speed and HDR while loading RAW images. Many users call this program a great free Lightroom alternative, so you can find many Darktable vs Lightroom reviews.

    If you cannot decide between Capture One vs Darktable, keep in mind that Darktable supports OpenCL that ensures lightning-fast editing. Besides, the program can work with images of the most popular formats. The UI of Darktable was translated into major languages.

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    • darktable interface
    • darktable interface

      Darktable: Pros and Cons

      Quick and flexible. Editing process is very agile thanks to a well-thought-out UI. There are undo and redo options as well as five modes: Lighttable, Darkroom, Map, Slideshow, and Tethering. So, all features are conveniently grouped, so you can effortlessly cope with your tasks.

      Top-notch color management. Darktable guarantees overall control over colors. Besides, the program has automatic display profile detection on most systems. It has built-in ICC profile support: sRGB, Adobe RGB, XYZ, and linear RGB.

      Impressive filtering and sorting options. Darktable has excellent sorting options allowing you to search for pictures by tags, color labels, rating, etc. Besides, you can search images using their metadata.

      Local adjustment options. The majority of modules affect the whole picture, whereas Darktable allows applying some effects to particular areas that are masked-off.

      Is capable of batch editing. The program allows editing pictures using the same settings that form the history stack, which can be exported as a style.

      Tethered shooting support. Set the camera to use USB Remote. Launch Darktable, go to the left side under the Import tab, and activate scan for devices. After that, the program should detect a camera. Select a tethered shoot. Then look for the gear icon that is located above the battery n/a and click it. Head to the session options tab, and change the base directory to the needed folder. Close the window with settings and try to take a photo.

      No online and mobile versions.

      Capture One vs Darktable: Price

      capture one vs darktable price

      Capture One is available on a monthly and yearly subscription basis. Besides, you can pay for a lifetime license. However, you need to keep in mind that subscribers receive the upgrades for free, whereas license-owners should buy new versions of the program at a special upgrade price.

      The cost of Capture One Pro 21 starts from $24 per month. This version has cutting-edge features and instruments, is compatible with all popular cameras, and allows saving on a collection of instant looks.

      The price of Capture One 21 for Fujifilm starts from $19 per month. In this case, you can edit Fujifilm RAW /.RAF files, find duplicates, use HEIC/HEIF, and work with files from other apps.

      Capture One 21 for Nikon costs $19/mo. It is specifically developed for Nikon cameras and offers true-to-life color rendering tailored to Nikon devices.

      Capture One 21 for Sony is priced at $19/mo. It is unmatched when it comes to editing Sony images.

      You can use Darktable without spending a dime. Open the official website, head to the “Install” tab, click on your operating system, and click “Download”.

      Capture One vs Darktable: Who Wins?

      Capture One vs Darktable – which program to choose? The deciding factors are your professionalism and the tasks you need to fulfill. Capture One works quickly and flawlessly. Besides, the program has special guidelines for new users but not for beginners as they are quite complicated. The program is more suitable for photographers with prior experience who are looking for an editor that offers control, ensures high-quality results, and smooth workflow.

      While Capture One is a powerful tool, Darktable has more customizable and image enhancement features. It appeals to users with an intuitive interface being a great option for beginning photographers as well as professionals. If you are an amateur or looking for some new editing tools, try this free program.

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