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Phase One Capture One 7 Pro Review

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Category: Other Software
Product: Phase One Capture One 7 Pro
Price: £190.00
Rating: 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5

Phase One Capture One 7 Pro Review - Gary Wolstenholme reviews Phase One Capture One 7 Pro, the latest version of Raw image editing from Phase One.

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Features
Performance
Verdict

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.

Phase One Capture One 7 Pro

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 Pro Features

This new version of capture one Pro is based on a completely revised image processing engine, which promises to provide improved clarity, colour and control over noise than previous versions of the software.

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.

System Requirements

Microsoft Windows   Apple Mac OS X
  • Intel Core 2 Duo or better.
  • 4 GB of RAM
  • 10 GB of free hard disk space
  • Calibrated colour monitor with 1280 x 800, 24 bit resolution at 96dpi screen ruling
  • Windows 8 64bit, Windows 7 64bit, Windows Vista SP2 64bit
  • Microsoft .NET Framework version 4.0 (will be installed if not present)
  • Flash is required to view the intro video
  • An internet connection when activating Capture One
 
  • Intel Core 2 Duo or better
  • 4 GB of RAM
  • 10 GB of free hard disk space
  • Calibrated colour monitor with 1280 x 800, 24 bit resolution at 96dpi screen ruling
  • Mac OS X 10.8.2, 10.7.5, 10.6.8 or later
  • Flash is required to view the intro video
  • An internet connection when activating Capture One
As with Capture One 6, version 7 supports Open CL compatible graphics hardware for accelerating generation of preview images and faster output of processed files. In order to make the most of this feature, you will need quite a powerful graphics card. A full list of supported Open CL graphics cards can be found here. Unfortunately a PC with a compatible graphics card wasn't available for testing, although I did find having the feature enabled, without the compatible hardware present will slow the software down by an easily noticeable amount. Owners of the latest Apple computers, which include a high resolution 'Retina' display, will be glad to know that this version of Capture One supports their screen hardware.

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.
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.
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.

Capture one 7 Pro Performance

Once files have been imported and organised, capture one sets about generating previews of each file. Although this can take a while with large batches of images, Capture One allows you to begin working through the files as soon as the first file has copied, which saves time waiting for previews to generate. Keyboard shortcuts are provided for common actions, such as cropping, perspective correction, auto levels and processing files. Sorting through images is a pleasure and they can be arranged in order of name, star rating, date taken, lens used or even ISO, aperture, focal length or even whether they've been previously processed.

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.
Before - taken with a Canon EOS 5D MkIII.
 
  After  with highlight and shadow recovery, curves adjustment, local adjustment.
After - with highlight and shadow recovery, curves adjustment, local adjustment.
Before  taken with a Canon EOS 5D MkIII.
Before - taken with a Canon EOS 5D MkIII.
 
  After  with exposure adjustment, highlight recovery and increased colour saturation.
After - with exposure adjustment, highlight recovery and increased colour saturation.
Before  taken with a Nikon D700 at ISO 4000.
Before - taken with a Nikon D700 at ISO 4000.
 
  After - with a crop, white balance adjustment, highlight and shadow recovery.
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.
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 ISO 6400.
Noise reduction is improved, striking a good balance between noise and retaining fine detail as can be seen in this image taken at ISO 6400.
Control over colour has traditionally been capture one's strong suit, and it's certainly the case with version 7.
Control over colour has traditionally been capture one's strong suit, and it's certainly the case with version 7.
 

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.

Capture One 7 Pro Verdict

Capture One Pro 7 is a big step forward in image quality over previous versions and those who are hanging onto Pro copies of older Phase One software will find the very reasonable upgrade price of around £60 a no-brainer. This new version brings greater control, better noise reduction, and produces sharper details.

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 Pros

Plenty of fine control over colour, tone and brightness
Bespoke camera profiles
Improved noise reduction
Improved clarity
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 Cons

Open 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

FEATURES  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
OVERALL  

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Comments

rogergw
rogergw  10
23 Sep 2013 - 6:25 PM

There's also an "Express" version that costs just under 60. This page sets out the differences from the "Pro" version -- http://www.captureonecomplete.com/uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=artic... .

Roger

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doryram
doryram  5 United Kingdom
26 Nov 2013 - 2:29 PM

I have had Captureone 6.4.5 for some time now since September 2012 and as yet I have not been able to use it. The support options for Phaseone are awful. Technical support could offer little except to say it must be my system and therefore I should re-install, a major amount of work. Suffice to say that I run a plethora of other software and have never had any trouble with any of them, including photo software.
I have asked for my money back for this product for which I had to contact technical support to be forwarded to the correct service, which doesn't work.
Hence I'm writing this review to advise anyone to think carefully about purchasing this software and certainly check out your support options and contacts if you do purchase.

Rod Hill

scottishphototours

Have to agree with Rod Hill here.

I've been using Capture One from version 3 and this incarnation is easily the worst yet. The introduction of "Catalogs" has got me seriously confused and there is VERY little info from PO on how this feature should be used - there are online videos but these are next to useless. The latest CO v7 Pro is also blamed for being a lemon - lots of issues with lockups and crashes - so I certainly wouldn't recommend it. Check out the Phase One forum for details - lots of unhappy people!

I use the CO v7Express version as I don't need the extras that the Pro version offers, and it seems to be quite stable compared to the Pro version!

I certainly wouldn't recommend a friend to spend 199 on this Pro version at present - wait for the v8 till we see what it's like first...

Andy

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