capture one

5 December 2016

Free Presets for Capture One 10

Posted in: capture one, cuba, download, presets|

Free Presets for Capture One 10

Every once in a while I share some free presets on my blog.

And today, to celebrate recent release of Capture One 10, I decided to share a free collection of presets for Capture One. There are 22 different presets in this collection which should be good for landscape, architecture and some street portrait photography.

Download link

You can download the presets for free below:

 

BTW you can find more free presets here.

Installation instructions

To install the presets in Capture One 10, follow below instructions

  1. Download and unzip archive.
  2. Launch Capture One software.
  3. Go to Adjustments tab.
  4. In the “Styles & Presets” section click on the combo box and select “Import…” item.
  5. Navigate to the directory where you unzipped the presets, select all the presets you want and click on the Open button.

Example of using the preset

Below you can see example of the preset in action. Please note that apart from applying the preset (Architecture_Colonial) no additional post processing was used on this image. So with my presets you can create similar images very easily:

2 December 2016

Capture One 10 & Laundry in Havana

Posted in: capture one, cuba|

Capture One 10 released

Some great news – just yesterday my favorite RAW processor, Capture One was updated to version 10! I’ve been using Capture One 10 for some time already as I’m in the beta program and I must say I love it! With each release this powerful app becomes even more powerful enlarging the gap between Lightroom.

Capture One 10 review

You can read my full review of Capture One software below, now updated for version 10:

http://hdr-photographer.com/2015/09/capture-one-8-review-or-why-i-said-goodbye-to-lightroom/

New features in Capture One 10

The main features of this update are following:

  • Improved performance – I always loved how fast Capture One was. And you know what? It now became even faster!
  • New 3-phase sharpening tools:
    • “Diffraction correction” – input sharpening that corrects sharpening problems of a lens
    • Regular sharpening – it’s a normal sharpening tool similar to previous versions of Capture One. It still got some enhancements. First, there is new Halo suppression slider that reduces halo artifacts caused by sharpening. Second, sharpening can now be added as a local adjustment so it’s possible to apply different sharpening to different parts of the image, which is great!
    • Output sharpening – you can also apply sharpening specifically for your output recipe (e.g. different for web, for full-size image or for print).
  • Camera Focus tool – although I hardly ever shoot tethered (although this changes as I’m playing with light recently in my small home studio) I think it’s a great feature. You can now adjust focus manually in tethered shooting mode. Both Sony, Nikon, Canon and PhaseOne cameras are supported.
  • Support for compressed RAW file formats like Canon sRAW or Nikon RAW M.
  • Some changes to the default workspace. For example photo browser is now on the right-hand side of the screen.

Laundry in Havana

I always liked colonial architecture and was very happy to see it in Cuba. Although you can generally find it across whole country, in Havana you will the most beautiful and most monumental pieces of it. And the best thing of all is that it’s still used – not only for museums – for hotels, restaurants but also people live there.

Laundry in Havana

(more…)

4 December 2015

Capture One & Photomatix Pro HDR workflow

Posted in: capture one, forest, hdr, landscape, long-exposure, mexico, Photomatix Pro, tutorial|

Capture One & Photomatix Pro HDR workflow

As you probably know I love Photomatix Pro and recently I also felt in love with Phase One Capture One. Before moving to Capture One I used Lightroom and my HDR workflow was simple: select the bracketed images in Lightroom, export them to Photomatix using a plugin, make adjustments in Photomatix, save the image and it would automatically show in Lightroom allowing me to make final adjustments there or send the image to Photoshop for instance.

As much as I like Capture One, it made my HDR workflow a bit more complicated because it doesn’t support plugins (unfortunately just released version 9, hasn’t changed anything in this regard) so it’s not possible to open bracketed images directly in Photomatix from Capture One level. It means different approach is needed and I would like to share my current HDR workflow with you.

Here are main steps:

  1. First I do basic adjustments like lens correction, removing chromatic aberration, white balance or noise reduction in Capture One
  2. I export the images as 16-bit TIFF files to a folder where my source images are stored (of course recipe is needed for that).
  3. I load exported TIFF images to Photomatix and merge them to HDR where I post-process them as I would normally do.
  4. After doing the adjustments in Photomatix I save the image as 16-bit TIFF in the directory where source images are located
  5. I switch back to Capture One. As I saved HDR image in the same directory as source images, it appears there automatically.
    Note: make sure to disable following option in Capture One: main menu View -> Global Filters -> Always Hide Processed TIFF . In my case it was checked by default and I spent a lot of time trying to figure out why my tone-mapped images didn’t show in Capture One.
  6. I do fine tuning in Capture One. This includes working on colors and contrast, removing dust spots, local adjustments etc.
  7. If I need more control I export the image from Capture One to Photoshop.

It seems to be quite complicated but apart from steps 2 and 3 it doesn’t differ much from my previous Lightroom workflow. In case of Lightroom these 2 steps were one – export the images from Lightroom to Photomatix and it happened almost automatically, a bit more work is needed here.

Sunset in Mexico

Today I’d like to share long-exposure HDR taken in Mexico in 2014, post-processed in Capture One and Photomatix (yes, above workflow applies here). I really like this silky smooth water. It looks sort of dreamy or painterly.

Sunset in Mexico (more…)

13 October 2015

Capture One Film Styles Review

Posted in: capture one, review|

Introduction and pricing

Recently Alexander Svet, Phase One Certified Professional and person behind excellent Capture One Blog, contacted me asking to review their Film Styles preset collection for Capture One. I agreed. If you’re interested to learn more about the presets, visit their official web site:

http://1Styles.pro

In case of Adobe Lightroom there are tons of both free and premium presets but the presets market on Capture One doesn’t look so good at the moment (hopefully that will change!) so I was even more eager to give those presets a try.

The presets cost 49.95$ and for that price you get 100 presets – 58 color presets and 42 black & white ones. They are good for Capture One 7 and Capture One 8.

Installation of the presets is a piece of cake – you can either move them to a correct folder (on Windows it’s C:\Users\<user_name>\AppData\Local\CaptureOne\Styles50\) or import them directly from Capture One.

Each of the preset was created to replicate the film effect it was named after. The name of the preset also includes ISO value and sometimes variant of the preset if there is more than one available. And naming of the presets is my biggest concern with this set. Although many of the presets look very good, a lot of photographers started their “career” in digital era so names like Fuji Provia 400X v1 might mean very little to them. And in fact they do mean very little to me. Even though I started taking photos in the film age I wasn’t really passionate about it at that time – I was shooting with Fuji films by the way – I became serious about photography when I switched to digital which made it much more affordable for me. So I had to do a lot of guessing to choose the right preset for my images as their names didn’t provide me with enough information to choose wisely.

Now, as I said this is the biggest issue – other than that the presets are very useful and they give photos quite unique and nice look – the images indeed look like if they were taken in the film age. There is something soft about this look. Something that was lost when we moved to digital. I also really liked a lot of B&W presets as they somewhat filled the gap caused by the fact that I can’t use my beloved Topaz BW Effects from within Capture One (if you don’t know this already: Capture One unfortunately doesn’t support any plug-ins…). Also it turned out a lot of colour ones are a good starting point for my landscape photography.

Examples

Below you can see some photos and how they look when they are processed with presets from the collection – image on the left is original unedited image and image on the right is the same image after applying one of the presets. No other adjustments were added by me:

1. Fuji Velvia 100

2. Ilford HP5 Plus 400

3. Fuji Provia 400X

 

Summary

Summing up, I already mentioned in my review of Capture One 10 that this software works very well in replicating look & feel of photos from film age and the Film Styles presets from Alexander Svet take this concept one step further by providing very good representation of various films.

Presets included in the collection are great starting point and with so many to choose from (there are 100 presets in the collection) everyone should find something that will fit their needs & post-processing style. Not only photographers who miss shooting film.

Pros:

  • a lot of presets (100) to choose from
  • presets indeed give film look to the pictures – and they look beautiful
  • they are good starting point for post-processing images
  • reasonable price

Cons:

  • presets have names that will be meaningless to many photographers
  • presets don’t simulate grain despite the fact there is now option in Capture One to create grain. There is, however, new set from the same authors called Extended Set which contains 100 presets some of which emulate film grain.
9 September 2015

Capture One 10 Review. Or why I said “goodbye” to Lightroom

Posted in: capture one, review|

Introduction

captureone_guiAs I wrote some time ago, I made a switch from Adobe Lightroom 6 to Phase One Capture One (now in version 10). In this review I will explain why.

I’ve been happy user of Lightroom since version 4. In fact I already tried version 3 but didn’t like it that much so didn’t use it a lot. But the problem with Lightroom is that with each release I have worse feelings about it (probably I grow as a photographer and have higher expectations). It’s terribly slow, rendering engine doesn’t improve that much anymore (of course things like new Dehaze slider are cool but they don’t improve general image quality), I experienced several crashes with version 6. Addition of HDR and panoramas didn’t change my attitude as both are too simple for my needs. My biggest gripe, however, is that Lightroom cannot decide whether it targets serious or amateur photographers. For instance merging to panoramas is a bit more “pro” feature but it’s a way too simple to be used by professional photographers.

So I started to look for more professionally-oriented solutions. And I found one – Capture One from Phase One. At the beginning I wasn’t very keen on using it, learning curve was a bit steep after all those years with Lightroom but when I understood some basic concepts of it – bam! I immediately made a switch. And I don’t plan return back to Lightroom anytime soon. Because it’s a real beast! A piece of software that makes your images look much much better than in Lightroom (or honestly – than in any other RAW processor I’ve ever tried!) and image quality is the most important thing after all.

New features is Capture One 10

Capture One has recently been updated to version 10 and here are main new features introduced in that version:

  • Improved performance – I always loved how fast Capture One was. And you know what? It now became even faster!
  • New 3-phase sharpening tools:
    • “Diffraction correction” – input sharpening that corrects sharpening problems of a lens
    • Regular sharpening – it’s a normal sharpening tool similar to previous versions of Capture One. It still got some enhancements. First, there is new Halo suppression slider that reduces halo artifacts caused by sharpening. Second, sharpening can now be added as a local adjustment so it’s possible to apply different sharpening to different parts of the image, which is great!
    • Output sharpening – you can also apply sharpening specifically for your output recipe (e.g. different for web, for full-size image or for print).
  • Camera Focus tool – although I hardly ever shoot tethered (although this changes as I’m playing with light recently in my small home studio) I think it’s a great feature. You can now adjust focus manually in tethered shooting mode. Both Sony, Nikon, Canon and PhaseOne cameras are supported.
  • Support for compressed RAW file formats like Canon sRAW or Nikon RAW M.
  • Some changes to the default workspace. For example photo browser is now on the right-hand side of the screen.

Pricing

Let’s start with prices. Basically there are two options:

  • Buy once (single user – 3 seats) – 279 EUR / 299 USD
  • Subscription-based – 12 EUR / month (in 1 year subscription plan); 19 EUR / month (in 3 months subscription plan)

I went with subscribtion model as I’m big fan of it but it’s good there are two options as I know a lot of people who prefer to pay only once and “own” the software without need of monthly payments.

The Good

Performance

First thing I noticed after starting up Capture One 10 was its speed. Everything from importing images, to generating previews, making adjustments (including local adjustments) and exporting processed images takes so little time! It’s a nice change after using very slow Lightroom for all those years! Also Capture One seem to make much better use of GPU than Lightroom. And I’m telling you this as a former GPU programmer.

Image quality

But as I mentioned, the most important thing for me is image quality. And RAW conversion engine of Capture One beats everything I’ve tried up to now. It’s simply incredible. Even with default settings images look so much better than in Lightroom (and often they look so good that I feel temptation to save them to JPEG straight away). They seem to be sharper, have better contrast, clarity and colour. And I’m not the only one who noticed that – everyone who has seen my images noticed that too. Also noise reduction seem to work a little better than in Lightroom, although I still prefer to use Topaz Denoise for really noisy images. What’s more Capture One produces images that resemble closer the images taken in the film era – they don’t look very ‘digital’. They are somewhat softer. I love this look. It’s so beautiful.

Take a look at below comparisons of the same image with default settings both in Lightroom and Capture One 10. “Before” is image processed in Lightroom 6 and “After” – in Capture One 10:

And now a 100% crop:

What you should notice is slightly better color rendition (colors are more vivid and natural in Capture One’s version), better contrast, clarity, less noise in the Capture One edited images. Also they appear to be slightly sharper.

You might wonder why there is such a big difference? Well, unlike in Lightroom, there is separate profile for each camera model so Capture One 10 deals with RAWs from different cameras differently. Simple and great solution.

There is a catch though. If you’ve used Lightroom there is a great chance that you also converted some (if not all) of your RAW images to DNG to save space. The problem is that when converting to DNG, Lightroom processes the data, translates them to common format (that’s one of the ,basic concepts behind DNG after all), meaning some of it is lost. It means that DNG doesn’t look as good as native RAW images when edited in Capture One as it cannot apply specific camera profile to it – generic profile is used instead. Due to that I cannot reprocess some of my older images… so remember don’t use DNG just in case you will decide to switch to another RAW converter in the future.

Color editor in Capture One 8

Capture One 10 offers a lot of options to color grade your images – from White Balance, to color balance of Shadows, Midtones and Highlights to Advance HLS color editor.

Powerful color editor

Next thing I really love are color editing options. In Lightroom you can change White Balance, Saturation & Vibrance as well as HSL for separate predefine colors. In Capture One there is much more options. Apart from the same tools as in Lightroom, there is 3-way color balance editor (allowing you to adjust highlights, shadows and midtones separately), advanced HSL editor allowing you to pick color in much more precise way (and not only apply your edits to predefined colors – but that’s possible too). There is also RGB levels and curves tool. And yeah I almost forgot about tools to work with skin tones. With so many tools color grading becomes so much easier and flexible. It’s so much easier to get desired look without even need to start Photoshop.

Local Adjustments

Another thing I adore in Capture One are local adjustments. Basically they are very similar to layers in Photoshop. You paint a mask (or a gradient) and apply various adjustments to it – from such basic ones as contrast or brightness to more advanced like noise reduction, specific color saturation, moire reduction and so on. You can also use them to clone or heal. The layers are listed just like in Photoshop what makes them easier to manage (you can always disable/enable them with a single click).

There are so much other things I love about Capture One that it would take several A4 pages to describe all of them so I would just like to mention a few more.

Other useful features

If you’re familiar with Upright tool in Lightroom then you’ll be happy to know that in Capture One, there is similar tool, named Keystone. You basically draw vertical and horizontal lines, click Apply and Capture One tries to fix perspective distortion. And if you aren’t happy with the results, you can fine tune it with a few sliders. There is also automatic mode but… it never works for me. Two times I tried to use it Capture One crashed and needed to be restarted and once it told me it cannot fix the distortion. So I’m no longer trying to use automatic mode.

Another thing I really like is focus mask tool. When activated it shows areas of photo that are in focus. It makes rejecting blurry or not sharp enough images much quicker. There is also loupe tool which can be used for same purpose. Just click an area of the image and you will see it magnified so you can check if it’s in focus or not.

Finally I love Capture One’s UI but it’s a love-hatred relation as initially it seemed unintuitive and very complicated. After I learnt how to use it, however, I changed my mind. It’s very flexible (you can adjust it so it best matches your needs and workflow – just like in Photoshop) and powerful. But yes, it requires some time to get used to it.

The Bad

Now as good as it is Capture One 10 unfortunately still isn’t perfect.

One of the most irritating things for me in Capture One is its spot removal tool. In Lightroom there is this fantastic “Visualize Spots” option which finds spots and mark them with white circles so removing spots becomes a simple task of clicking on those circles. In Capture One there isn’t anything like that (or I haven’t found it yet). So I often have to export to Photoshop, open Adobe Camera RAW and use its spot removal tool instead. This breaks workflow quite a lot.

Another thing I don’t like is the fact that there aren’t plug-ins for Capture One! One of the powers of Adobe products come from the fact that they are very extensible. You don’t like built-in noise reduction? No problem – use Topaz Denoise instead – directly from Lightroom. HDR is too simple – you can use Photomatix or Oloneo plug-ins instead. Want to improve colors of the image – ok, use Color Efex. And so on. In Capture One you’re limited to its built-in functionality. So I often end up exporting my image to Photoshop and use the plug-ins from there. That’s a pity because if the plug-ins were support Capture One could become my only photo editing app (apart from some rare cases when I have to either manually blend my images or use luminosity masks).

Lack of plug-ins support broke my HDR workflow a little bit. I managed to create alternative one, but will describe it in a separate post.

One more thing I like more in Lightroom are Highlights and Shadows sliders as they can be both negative and positive, i.e. you can both darken and brighten highlights and shadows. In Capture One you can only darken highlights and brighten shadows. Hopefully next version will allow for more flexibility here.
UPDATE: you can achieve the same effect (of brightening higlights and darkening shadows) by using other tools such as Levels tool for instance. In Capture One, Highlights and Shadows sliders are specifically designed to restore detail in those parts of the image.

Capture One also misses a few other Lightroom features like Map or Book modules, face detection (but honestly it works terribly in Lightroom), ability to create panoramas but I don’t find it a big problem. I use these features very rarely but if you use them frequently you might consider this an issue.

Summary

Capture One 10 is an excellent tool that I highly recommend for more advanced photographers who want to get the best image quality out of their RAW files. While it isn’t as easy to use as some other apps, it offers great control over the image and its colour. But as good as it is, it isn’t perfect. There are a few issues from the lack of support for plug-ins, which is the biggest one for me. It means that if built-in tools aren’t sufficient for you, you will need to use another tool supporting the plugins (like Photoshop or Lightroom for instance). There are a few minor issues but given image quality I don’t find them big problems.

Pros:

  • Great image quality especially when dealing with non-DNG RAW files – the images have better colours and are more crisp, they also look more “film”
  • Powerful colour editor
  • It’s incredibly fast! And supports GPU correctly. It’s faster to adjust image, when working with local adjustments or when exporting the image.
  • Great local adjustments – they are much easier to manage than those in Lightroom
  • Easier to use tools to “upright” (keystone in this case)
  • Very nice tools to increase clarity
  • Tools to estimate focus (focus mask, loupe)
  • Once you understand GUI, you will discover that it’s really powerful and flexible allowing you to edit your workspace so it matches your needs

Cons:

  • Too simple spot removal tool (I’m addicted to Lightroom’s “Visualize Spots” feature!)
  • Doesn’t support plug-ins
  • GUI is sometimes a bit unintuitive