Capture One Pro offers powerful raw editing with excellent tethering support that many professional photographers would regard as superior to the Adobe counterpart; even the gimped version of Capture One is included with Sony’s A7 series cameras.
In recent years there has been a transition in tethering software, especially for studio work, from Lightroom to Capture One. While both software giants have extensive support for cameras of all types, brands, and sensors; recent Fuji shooters, in particular, love the demosaicing process of Capture One for X-Trans files, resulting in higher detail and better colors; but according to Phase One themselves, potential Fujifilm GFX 50S owners shouldn’t expect to be able to use Capture One software with their new mirrorless camera.
“It is unlikely that we will support the Fuji GFX 50s – we have a long-standing policy of not providing support to direct competitors of our core business.”
Considering Capture One is developed by Phase One, it should come as no surprise that Fuji‘s new medium format would not be supported as it could potentially hurt sales, but in trying to strengthen hardware sales has Phase potentially weakened software sales?
Is It the Right Decision?
It is difficult to manage different product lines simultaneously. Yes, the GFX is arguably a competitor for Phase One (though, come on, not in the same league), but Adobe is the competitor of Capture One. We can case reference Sony, for example, that if they stopped selling sensors that may help their camera business, but in doing so may lower they sensor sales, thus impede development and destroy their sensor business. There is a reason why their sensors are regarded as the best, they have the money for R&D. Stopping sensor sales would hurt both business lines.
Phase One’s defensive strategy seems shortsighted and unrealistic. Prospective customers wanting to get into digital medium format photography will not spend up to four times the cost in gear just for access to the Capture One environment; nobody will reconsider their GFX purchase just because Capture One wouldn’t be supporting it but instead people will reconsider buying Capture One.
It bears considering too that the GFX 50s does not have an X-Trans sensor, so the disadvantages in Lightroom are largely diminished in this situation anyway. Given the new landscape of accessible medium format it doesn’t make sense for Phase One not to support such competitors within Capture One Pro software – they’ll lose more potential business from Fujifilm GFX and Hasselblad X1D owners (likely to be much higher in volume than Phase One cameras) than they will gain from buyers of their medium format cameras, like their Phase One XF 100 MP.
Since digital medium format photography is still relatively niche right now, this may be why Phase One is taking this route, however, the potential medium format owner user base seems set to vastly and rapidly expand, and instead of alienating a huge user base Phase One should use Capture One as a way to get customers into their ecosystem as what’s happened with Sony users. It’s a better ecosystem anyway.
*Lightroom still has support for the vast majority of medium format cameras that Capture One does not (ie. Hasselblad and Pentax).