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Capture One 7 Pro is the latest version of Phase One's Raw editing and workflow software for PC and Macintosh platforms. As well as providing support for their range of medium format digital back, Capture One Pro also supports a wide range of digital SLRs and mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras and is consistently updated to support new cameras.
This software costs around £190 for the full version, but is also available discounted as an upgrade to previous version of Capture One. An upgrade from any previous version of Capture One Pro will cost around £60. Upgrades from previous versions of their more basic express package will set you back around £170 at the current exchange rate.
Capture One 7 is only available as a 64bit version, so those still using older computer hardware or a 32bit operating system may find themselves in need of a computer upgrade to use this software. The following system requirements are recommended for running the software. Note that Windows XP isn't supported at all, even in 64bit flavour.
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As well as revising the way images are processed, importing and organising images has been given a freshen up too. A new libraries feature has been incorporated, allowing images to be tagged and sorted more easily than with the previous sessions based workflow. Those who already have their workflow how they like it can still use the sessions system for import and organisation if they wish and the software prompts you to make a choice when the program is run for the first time. It is easy enough to switch between each method of importing and organising files at any time, allowing you to spend time getting used to the new system as and when time isn't at a premium. Whether using sessions, or catalogues, importing, renaming and tagging images is straightforward. Style presets can also be created and applied to images on import automatically, saving time later.
Catalogues are new for Capture One Pro 7, providing more options for organising files on import.
Preset styles and corrections can be applied to batches of images on import.
Catalogues are new for Capture One Pro 7, providing more options for organising files on import. Preset styles and corrections can be applied to batches of images on import.
On the face of it, apart from the new catalogues feature, there isn't that much new in Capture One 7 over Capture One 6. Dig a little deeper and you'll find that almost every image editing control has been either tweaked, or completely overhauled in line with the new image processing engine. Noise reduction now utilises bespoke profiles created by Phase One for each camera, improved lens correction tools, with a simpler method for making correction profiles for each lens and control over clarity, plus highlight and shadow recovery has been tweaked for this version. The local adjustments tool has also been overhauled, making this tool more integrated into the workflow than before.
As with previous incarnations of the Pro version of Capture One, the workspace is completely customisable. A nice feature is the ability to add or remove tool palettes from the standard selection provided, with options from previous versions of Capture One still provided, which is a boon for folks who like to have their software set up a certain way.
Controls for adjusting exposure and colour are arranged in a palette to the left of the workspace by default, but can be placed anywhere on screen, which can be especially useful for those using multiple monitors. Tethered shooting is supported with many cameras and a useful capture Pilot app for iOS devices enables a degree of wireless control over your tethered shoot.
Before - taken with a Canon EOS 5D MkIII.
After - with highlight and shadow recovery, curves adjustment, local adjustment.
Before - taken with a Canon EOS 5D MkIII.
After - with exposure adjustment, highlight recovery and increased colour saturation.
Before - taken with a Nikon D700 at ISO 4000.
After - with a crop, white balance adjustment, highlight and shadow recovery.
Those who are used to the output from previous versions of Capture One will notice straight away that images appear much sharper with default settings in Capture One 7. The software achieves this without the tell-tale signs of over-sharpening, instead increasing contrast in areas of fine details in a subtle, yet noticeable way. The new image processing engine does such a good job of enhancing details with default settings, that care needs to be taken if increasing sharpness or clarity settings yourself, as it is very easy to overcook the effect, leaving you with an unnatural looking image.
Noise reduction is also noticeably improved over previous versions of Capture One, striking a good balance between smoothing graininess and retaining detail in images taken at high ISO settings. The noise reduction even adapts to the settings applied automatically. For example if heavy shadow recovery is used, the program automatically applies extra noise reduction to these areas ending in a more pleasing result than if it didn't adapt.
The highlight and shadow recovery tools have also been tweaked, giving more precise control over which areas of the image the effect is applied to than previous versions. It used to be the case that using highlight and shadow recovery would shift the whole exposure, whereas now the highlight recovery will only act on the highlights, without changing the overall brightness and vice versa, giving better control over the look of your images.
Images processed with C1 v7 have sharper fine details than images processed with previous versions. Noise reduction is improved, striking a good balance between noise and retaining fine detail as can be seen in this image taken at ISO6400. Control over colour has traditionally been capture one's strong suit, and it's certainly the case with version 7.
Applying lens corrections has been simplified, as has creating profiles for particular lenses, which makes correcting the same issues a more streamlined affair. The same can be said of the local adjustments tool, which is quicker to work with than on previous versions of the software. High levels of fine control are included with editors for changing the look of a particular colour range, independent control of RGB colour channels in both levels and curves and compound perspective correction, allowing correction for converging parallel lines on both horizontal and vertical axes.
Although neither of the computers used for testing support Open CL, generation of previews and processing large batches of images is pretty swift (so long as Open CL is disabled in the preferences menu) with the added benefit that files can still be worked on whilst the software processes your edits in the background, making for a speedy and smooth user experience.
Those interested in an alternative to Adobe's popular Lightroom software, may baulk at the price of the full, non-upgrade version of Capture One 7 Pro, being around twice as expensive. Before doing so, they may wish to have a play with the software via the free 30 day trial Phase One offer before dismissing it. The two different software packages can produce very different looking results due to their image processing engines being independently developed. Some photographers may love the look they get from Lightroom, whereas others may prefer what they are able to get from capture One. Neither is 'better', but the difference may be enough to swing your decision one way, rather than the other.
|Phase One Capture One 7 Pro brings greater control, better noise reduction, and produces sharper details.|
Capture One 7 Pro ProsPlenty of fine control over colour, tone and brightness
Bespoke camera profiles
Improved noise reduction
Excellent local adjustments tool
Workspace is easily customised
Deals with large batches of images quickly
Improved highlight and shadow recovery tools
Capture One 7 Pro ConsOpen CL features can slow software down if not disabled on unsupported GPUs
Heavy handed application of clarity can result in halos and unnatural looking images
Costs twice as much as Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4
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