Luminar vs Capture One: Which Is Better?

Luminar vs Capture One: Which Is Better?

It is difficult to name an absolute winner in the Luminar vs Capture One stand-off.

Luminar is in high demand among people looking for a budget-friendly image editing program that comes with a set of powerful tools.

Capture One exceeds at photo cataloging, editing RAW files and working with tethered photography. But which program can offer the best functionality at a reasonable cost?

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  • luminar photo editing luminar photo editing
  • luminar photo editing luminar photo editing
  • luminar photo editing luminar photo editing

    What Is Luminar?

    luminar logoLuminar 4 is an efficient program designed by Skylum for fast and effortless photo management and editing. The smooth workflow is ensured by AI technology, skin and portrait enhancers, and the automatic sky replacement feature.
    Mind that Luminar can function as a separate software and as a plug-in for Lightroom and Photoshop, extending their capabilities.

    Luminar: Strengths and Weaknesses

    + Artificial Intelligence. 30% of the built-in tools such as teeth whitening and red-eye effect removal operate on AI technology. This is also relevant for LUTs and filters. In such a way, Skylum Luminar allows performing many edits in a matter of seconds. The most remarkable AI-based sample is the Sky Replacement tool.

    Batch processing. It is indispensable if you need to enhance a huge pack of photos, giving them a consistent look.

    Tailor-Made Looks. People using Skylum Luminar 4 admit that they highly appreciate the possibility to use 60+ integrated “Looks” which are similar to Lr presets. You can apply one Look or combine several filters at once to achieve unbelievable results.

    File organization. Luminar 4 comes with a Digital Asset Manager (DAM), serving as another reason for Luminar vs Lightroom comparison. This improvement makes viewing and managing photos a breeze. Besides, there are 3 types of tags that you can use to mark your pictures. They are color label, star rating, and favorite or rejected.

    Customization. Luminar 4 offers absolute freedom in terms of customization. Adjust workspace to your needs, save a filter set as a preset for further use, or do any other changes to bring utmost convenience to your workflow.

    Available as a plug-in. Luminar is not only a great program for photo editing, but also a helpful plug-in for Photoshop and Lightroom. For instance, you can use Lightroom for image organizing and processing and resort to Luminar’s base of artistic effects. Or use Layers and advanced image retouching functions in Photoshop and then switch to Luminar to complement the picture with a specific “Look”.

    Advanced mask editing. The program allows users to apply transparency masks to any individual editing panel. For example, if you use the Detail Enhancer to make the entire photo sharper, it is possible to add a mask only to the Detail Enhancer panel. In such a way, the piece of a shot that doesn’t require sharpening, e.g. the sky in the landscapes, will be masked and kept unchanged.

    Versatile Layer functionality. It means you can create not only an Adjustment Layer but also an Image Layer. In other words, it is possible to overlay one photo over another and combine them by dint of opacity features and masking tools. In such a way, Skylum managed to combine the capabilities of RAW image editors and photo composing programs into one software.

    - Limited export functionality. Unfortunately, users can’t create presets and must specify export settings for each individual photo.

    Sometimes slow. In general, Luminar 4 is known for its high operating speed, but you need to be very patient when moving from one RAW photo to another. In most cases, the program gets sluggish. A RAW images culling process is definitely a weak point of the image editor.

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    • photo editing in capture one photo editing in capture one
    • photo editing in capture one photo editing in capture one
    • photo editing in capture one photo editing in capture one

      What Is Capture One?

      capture one logoCapture One is an image editor developed by Phase One. Initially, it was oriented on tethered photography, but later was upgraded with more image processing features. Nowadays, the Capture One photo editing software includes features and tools for RAW photos processing, picture cataloging, local adjustments, layers, keystone settings and the support for more than 500 cameras. All these characteristics make it one of the best programs of similar specificity on the market. If you want to edit RAW files, or TIFF and JPEG you should definitely try this software.

      Capture One: Strengths and Weaknesses

      Understandable UI. Capture One has a very simple interface, making the learning process fast and enjoyable. Developers supplemented each icon with a text label, so rookie users can quickly grasp what the tool is meant for. Another nice bonus is the tooltip which appears when you hover a mouse pointer or a pen over any UI element. In such a way, you can not only learn about each tool better, but also see what keyboard shortcuts allow activating them.

      Advanced photo management. You definitely know how important organizing is when it comes to photography. And this is a strong argument in favor of Capture One. This software offers 2 organizing methods – via sessions or catalogs. Each session implies creating a new database with a modular system of folders: capture, select, output, and trash.

      Quick photo culling. Here you can use star or color rating and set the program so that it automatically switches to the next photo once you are done culling the previous one. Of course, this is done to facilitate your workflow.

      Precise color correction. To perform color correction, you can use the integrated Basic Color Editor, which is, actually, very easy to use. Click anywhere on the shot and drag to tweak lightness, hue and saturation. Another method to do it is to use intuitive sliders. If you need more accurate results, take advantage of the Advanced Color Editor and the Skin Tone tools.

      Tethered shooting support. Ask anybody engaged in shooting and editing fashion or celebrity videos, mainly behind-the-scenes part, and you’ll see that they prefer Phase One’s product. This software boasts really remarkable tethered shooting capabilities.

      Customization. I am fascinated by how easy it is to adjust Capture One’s interface to your peculiar needs. You can leave only the necessary tools on the main toolbar and select the content of the adjustment tabs. Right-click and arrange everything the way you want. Not many professional photo editing programs can offer similar possibility.

      Wonderful RAW Processing. If you select Capture One as your go-to image editor, you aren’t limited to a certain camera model, as it supports over 500 camera types of different brands. The results of RAW processing are amazing, concerning color rendering, detail capture and dynamic range.

      Improved noise reduction. Even if you shoot at high ISO, you can still get a sharp image with minimum noise. The program allows saving colors and details, which results in better quality pictures.

      - No cloud storage. I believe that the biggest issue Phase One Company has to think about is the lack of cloud storage. If you have lots of images, you need to buy a hard drive or select additional cloud storage to save them, as Capture One doesn’t have any.

      Becomes sluggish from time to time. I have noticed that the program gets laggy while importing photos or generating previews. Other software shows better results and I hope that Capture One will be improved in the future.

      Luminar vs Capture One: Price

      luminar vs capture one price

      Luminar is cheaper and seems more appealing to users. You can get the software spending money once, without thinking about monthly fees. The developer provided you with free regular updates for the software version you purchased. The total sum includes ongoing features, bug fixes and professional support. In general, the Luminar 4 price is really affordable. Besides, you can enjoy Luminar discount.

      At the same time, many people get discouraged when they see Capture One price, which is $299. You can choose either monthly ($20) or yearly ($180) payment plan. Mind that students can download the software with a 65% discount.

      If you decide to upgrade to newer versions, get ready to pay $120 or more. The cost fee depends on your current version. This is really expensive, given that updates appear every 1-2 years.

      Luminar vs Capture One – Who Wins

      While I was evaluating all the pros and cons of each photo editor, I understood that are very alike in many aspects. Anyway, I opt for Capture One Pro 20.

      I really like Capture One Pro 20 because of the impressive features for viewing and editing RAW files it offers. The support for 560 camera types is an indisputable advantage. Besides, Capture One can fully satisfy those interested in tethered shooting and deep color correction. The possibility to organize images by sessions rather than in a catalog-style will appeal to studio photographers.

      However, if you are looking for the software to create panoramas, shoot in HDR, use the face recognition feature, third-party plug-ins, and keep images in cloud storage – Capture One isn’t your option. Besides, quite a high price doesn’t speak well of this program, making Skylum Luminar a more price-wise variant, though offering less advanced functionality.

      Freebies for Luminar vs Capture One

      In addition to built-in presets, you can use third-party plug-ins to improve your photos. I have selected several freebies, which may come in handy.

      Contrast Effect for Capture One

      free capture one style for photographers free capture one style for photographers

      Use this Capture One style to raise brightness in your shots. It also makes images sharp and full of colors.

      Portrait Filter for Luminar

      free light&airy luminar look for photographers free light&airy luminar look for photographers

      Are you after a trendy high-contrast look in your photos? Then you absolutely need to try this filter. It perfectly suits wedding and portrait images.

      B&W Effect for Luminar

      free black and white luminar look for photographers free black and white luminar look for photographers

      If you are fond of black&white photography and want to turn your color images into monochrome ones, make us of this Look.


      Ann Young

      Hi there, I'm Ann Young - a professional blogger, read more