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Post Production Tips

Capture One vs Lightroom: How Each Approaches RAW Images

By Wendell Weithers on February 4th 2018

For decades, Adobe has maintained a prominent position within the photographic industry and it often provides the easiest entry point for high-quality image post-processing. In recent times, contenders have arisen to carve out a portion of the market for themselves such as Capture One or Affinity. However, as Ted Forbes recently discovered, the different software produce different results, even with the same RAW file. If you’ve encountered the same phenomenon and wondered why that is the case, his path to discovery will help shed some light on the issue for you as well.

There are three aspects of image creation process to consider when trying to understand this:

1. Data
2. Software
3. Settings

What it ultimately comes down to is the intended purpose of the software. That is to ask, what kinds of imagery is the software best suite to edit? This, in turn, determines the approach to how the software interprets the data in images.

Both Capture One and Lightroom have to utilize a point of reference for color rendition, however, Capture One seems to have a broader library of colors from which draw upon.

How does this impact the image?

Capture one seems better suited to reproduce the gradual changes in color, which makes sense since it is a software developed for Phase One medium format cameras; cameras used for highly detailed imagery.

Lightroom is also a highly capable software but, it is apparently not designed with such a narrow focus. It’s color profile catalog also provides some additional perks that Ted addresses towards the end. So, as a photographer, your preference should be determined by how and what you intend to shoot.

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Wendell is based in Atlanta where he shoots events, portraits, and food photography. He also supports his wife Andrea as she runs their cake design business, Sweet Details.

Instagram: Wendellwphoto

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Kelly Schill

    This was so helpful!! I really appreciate how you approached this discussion from a science perspective so we have a glimpse into the minds of the engineers who are creating the very software that we absolutely rely on as photographers. I became curious about these 2 image editing softwares about a week ago, and have also been doing some of my own comparisons and tests. I’m most interested in seeing how Capture one handles my underwater imagery that has SO many cool tones. Thanks again for taking the time to share this! 

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  2. Zoltan Gyulai

    cut the crap and show what you are talking about. blabilaiblablaba and not a singe image. host a talk show maybe but its zero information here

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