Okay, this is something I have wanted to try for years! Finally, I got my hands on the Loupedeck CT, and what’s even more exciting to me personally is that it’s now fully compatible with Capture One Pro.
In this video, and in the article synopsis below, I will dive into the Loupedeck CT, (which we’ve already reviewed here) with a special focus on how it integrates with a Capture One Pro workflow. I’ll talk about both the advantages and disadvantages; spoiler alert- if you can afford this device’s $550 price tag, and if you love editing your photos, you need to give this thing a try!
Loupedeck CT for Capture One Pro | The Perfect Tool For Editing Photos?
What Is The Loupedeck CT?
The Loupedeck is a physical device that compliments your keyboard and mouse for photo and video editing. It has physical dials and buttons. Also, with the flagship CT model, there are customizable digital buttons.
With the default setup, you’ll automatically be able to edit your photos using physical dials to adjust settings like exposure, contrast, highlights, and shadows. Plus, you can use the physical buttons to quickly access various tools or make certain changes, or just do basic things like undo/redo, or scroll from one image to the next. The digital buttons offer incredible functionality, putting all your most-used tools and adjustments literally at your fingertips!
If you have a high volume of images that you want to edit quickly and intuitively, this can save you a lot of time while also unleashing your creativity!
Of course, you’ll get the most out of the Loupedeck CT if you start customizing the dials and buttons to your personal editing needs or style.
My Initial Reaction
When I first plugged in the Loupedeck CT and installed the software, the main dial and all the buttons lit up, and I felt like I had climbed into the cockpit of a very sophisticated jet or something.
To be honest, it’s very exciting, but also a little intimidating, and definitely a steep learning curve, especially the minute you decide you want to re-arrange the functions of the dials or re-assign the buttons. Basically, to reach the full potential of the Loupedeck, I think you’ll need to be serious about investing the time to master and customize it.
Thankfully, the latest version of the software makes that easy; it’s really intuitive and runs very smoothly. I did not encounter any lag issues or other bugs.
There’s a visual layout of the Loupedeck, with each set of controls categorized, and then on the side, there’s a section with drag-and-drop functionality for the various controls you might want to assign to a button or dial.
So, within the course of a few days, I went from feeling a little intimidated to just being excited to master this thing, finding exactly which sliders and tools I used and want to have literally at my fingertips
Favorite Things I Like About The Loupedeck CT
Anyways, after using the Loupedeck for a few weeks, there’s a handful of things that really stand out to me.
For example, one neat function is how intuitive it becomes to turn the 6 small clicky dials into actually 12 dials.
You see, each dial is also a button, so, for example, when I have it set to configuration number 2, and these dials control WB, exposure, contrast, highlights, shadows, and structure, …all I have to do is button-push on any of the dials themselves, and suddenly I get Tint, Brightness, Saturation, Whites, Blacks, and Clarity!
Overall, this adds up to pretty much every adjustment I commonly use for basic color correction, right here on these six dials.
There are many other very handy tools that you can use, such as doing slight leveling corrections for your horizon with the “Rotate Image” function.
How To Customize The Loupedeck For Capture One
If it sounds intimidating to begin customizing a device with a couple of dozen physical controls and a dozen digital display buttons, don’t worry! I found the Loupedeck CT’s software to be relatively intuitive and getting “the lay of the land” is pretty quick.
Simply click on the visual interface to choose buttons or dials to customize, and then on the right-hand side, find which function you’d like to assign to which control. Personally, since there are so many controls to search from, I just used the “Search” feature at the top of the right-hand panel almost every time. Just type in something like “Exposure” or “Shadows” and it brings up all the available options!
It’s also worth noting that you can create multiple customizations to suit the different stages of your workflow. Say, for example, during the culling process, I’d love to be able to use the Loupedeck just to scroll between photos, zoom in to check sharpness, and then 5-star and/or green label the “keeper” images, plus maybe do a couple of basic adjustments like exposure and white balance, before getting into the heavy color correction process…
That’s what the numbered buttons across the middle of the Loupedeck CT are for. You can create and save a separate, customizable “Workspace” and assign one to each button. Say, for example, a culling workflow gets saved to the Number 1 button, and then, when I’m ready to switch to in-depth color-correction, I can have that different customized Workspace waiting for me, assigned to the number 2 button. Then, maybe number 3 workspace and/or number 4 workspace(s) can be used for advanced things like color grading or layer retouching tools.
Of course, by default, Loupedeck has already saved a few basic, useful Workspaces for you!
Capture One Setup | Troubleshooting
Speaking of getting advanced and customizing the Loupedeck CT for Capture One, there is one important thing to note about how it all functions. Capture One itself uses keyboard shortcuts to allow an external device to perform adjustments.
So, if you are like me and you have already customized your Capture One keyboard shortcuts, that saved customization will not be overridden by Loupedeck, and you might find that, for example, you turn a dial for contrast but nothing happens.
This is an easy fix! Lopedeck does install its own Capture One Keyboard Shortcuts file, so all you have to do is go into your Capture One Keyboard Shortcuts menu and switch from your custom-saved one to the Loupedeck Default one.
Going From Capture One To Photoshop?
Just like with Lightroom keep in mind that if you go from Capture One into Adobe Photoshop with any of your raw files, the Loupedeck will automatically notice that you’ve switched editing applications, and give you a whole new set of customizable tools at your fingertips.
Again, the default options are quite useful, but if you are interested in really speeding up your workflow and saving a ton of time, you can customize the control layout to suit your exact needs.
Loupedeck CT with Capture One | Pros & Cons
So, is it worth the investment? What do you get for the $550, plus all the time you have to invest in mastering and customizing a whole new physical device? There are a handful of major perks and a few caveats that you should consider as well.
Physical controls for sliders
The biggest advantage is the obvious one, and this is a situation where you just have to try it out to see for yourself how big a help it could be for you: having a set of physical dials for your most-used slider adjustments, instead of doing everything with your mouse/and/or keyboard.
Simply put, for some people, the tactile feel of a physical dial is a real game-changer, and it just makes editing photos feel like a smooth, intuitive process. Instead of actually looking at the slider, watching the numbers go up and down, you can focus entirely on your image, and adjust the settings by feel alone.
For others, however, it might just not feel any more convenient than using your mouse and manually moving sliders. It really comes down to whether or not it “clicks” with your brain!
Labeled buttons for direct access to things
Aside from having physical dials for direct access to 6 (or 12 or more) slider adjustments, another key feature, pun intended, that could be worth the investment is having additional physical keys beside your keyboard.
Remember, with Capture One, you can actually create keyboard shortcuts for your existing keyboard, to perform virtually any adjustment! If you wanted to completely reprogram your entire QWERTY keyboard, you could. But, then, you wouldn’t be able to do anything else!
This is why it really comes in handy to have a grid of fully customizable hotkeys, nestled right in between those useful sliders. Your keyboard is always your keyboard, and the Loupedeck is your physical editing tool.
One other neat trick that you might not think about is this: when you have a physical device for editing your photos, you can edit while they take up the entire computer screen!
High-Quality Physical Product
Last but not least, physically speaking, the Loupedeck is not a cheap keyboard; the build quality is excellent. The materials and surfaces feel sturdy, the keystrokes have a great tactile response. The “clicked” dials have a nice amount of resistance, and the smooth-scrolling main wheel is, well, super-smooth.
One odd thing that I’m not sure I truly appreciated was the fact that the Loupedeck CT has a vibrating haptic feedback feature when hitting the digitally displayed buttons. Also, call me one of the “kids these days”, but I wish the clock function (for when Capture One isn’t open) had both analog and digital display options. ;-)
The digital keys also have a vibrating haptic feedback function. It is helpful when you are swiping or double-tapping these hotkeys to change their function, but personally, I found it to be more of a noise distraction on my hard-surface desk than of any real use, so it’s a feature I’d probably turn off.
Who Should Buy It?
Some people might say that you should only buy this device if you’re a “serious” professional or a photo/video editor who does extremely high volume in terms of the workflow load.
However, I think this is a unique, fun way to edit photos that anyone who is on the more techy side might enjoy if they really are passionate about editing photos, and if they like the idea of physical, tactile ways to get the job done. It doesn’t matter if you edit 100 photos a week or 10,000 photos a week; if you really enjoy editing, then you’ll really appreciate this device.
Having said that, it is a $550 investment, so, it’s pretty obvious that this is for serious photographers. Which actual categories of photographers do I think it could be useful for editing?
High-volume post-producers, retouchers, or photo editors of any kind; if you edit thousands of photos a week, let alone thousands a day, then you could save hours of time per month and make your editing exciting again in the process.
Of course, in addition to Capture One, you’ll get even more benefit if you also are a video editor who does color grading regularly. (The Loupedeck has built-in functionality for both Adobe Premiere / Da Vinci Resolve users.)
Also, anyone who for any reason has to use both Lightroom and Capture One will find that the Loupedeck will bring their workflow even closer to a singular, smooth operation overall.
Loupedeck CT Conclusion
The more photos you edit, the more you’ll benefit from having a workflow tool like the Loupedeck CT.
Maybe you are techy and like advanced tools, or maybe you actually have an aversion to editing and you’re looking for a tool that makes it intuitive and fun! Either way, the overall experience can inspire creativity.
If you are either someone switching to or starting out with Capture One, for whatever reason, the Loupedeck CT could be one of the best post-production investments you make.