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Gear & Apps

Phase One Releases New Media Pro SE | Photo Mechanic & Lightroom Beware

By Kishore Sawh on June 6th 2016

See our in depth REVIEW of Media Pro SE

If you’re a beauty or fashion photographer, there’s a good chance your photography post-production software of choice is going to be Adobe Photoshop for the retouch, and Phase One Capture One Pro for the rest. That’s just how things have played out – Phase One, though they’ve been around for a very long time, has generally appealed to photographers of those genres, and professional photographers of all sorts.

Now, with that said, one of the areas they had been criticized over has been asset management. Even though there are tests abound that show Capture One to be far superior in speed, Adobe’s Lightroom and Bridge are the more frequently used programs for asset/library management and organization. That, however, has been changing.


With Capture One’s adoption of a catalogue-style system, the gap was severely narrowed, and now with the update to Phase One’s Media Pro Se, there might begin to be a shift towards Phase One’s systems.

Media Pro Se is a cataloguing platform/asset management platform that started out life as iView MediaPro and was purchased by Microsoft who later sold it to Phase One, and this new Media Pro Se is the most current iteration. Its mission, at the core, is simple:

To specialize in asset/library management of large libraries with large resolution files.

Clearly, in today’s world of the massive megapixel count and cheap storage, this is clutch.

phase-one-mediapro-se-capture-one-9-kishore-4 phase-one-mediapro-se-capture-one-9-kishore-3

Where previous changes to the software have been discreet, this one is rather significant and more aligned in look and so on with Capture One Pro 9, released last year. Unlike its raw processing sibling, its focus is really on organization and management, and from user experience so far, it excels with handling large libraries around 40GB made up of RX1R2 42MP files; as our own Marlon Richardson has found out today.

[REWIND: Culling Is Critical & Lightroom Is The Tool To Do It With (If You Know How)]

Along with the updated look come a series of bug fixes and an extra activation code. Where previously you were allotted 2 you now get 3, just as with Capture One, so you can run a fast and effective Media Pro and Capture One workflow off 3 workstations. Media Se Pro also is compatible with the newest Mac and Windows OS systems, over 100 cameras, screen-sized previews, batch conversion and scripting, ICC color profile, and more. Check it out here, and if you like, we’ll review it to see if this is the Lightroom and Photo Mechanic culling replacement we’ve all been curious about.

Get Capture One here.

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A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Kelvin Strepen

    I also use Media pro SE edition. This is amazing software makes a photo wonderful.

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  2. Rafael Juan

    This “upgrade” doesn’t support, PSD, AI, EPS formats. So, good luck for the photographers who retouch their images in Photoshop. Funny to know that this software was capable to read those formats 10 years ago, all the way until it got stripped down of such functions and is now sold as an “upgrade”…

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    • Mike Leland

      Layered TIFFs are far superior to PSD files. PSD is a really awful file format. It is inconsistent with regard to operator functions and it is bloated. This could be why PSD has been on it’s way out for at least the last decade. 

      Also, why would photographers need to have AI or EPS compatibility in their photo management software? It’s intended use is for managing large catalogs of photographs. It’s not intended for graphic designers.

      I retouch my images in photoshop and I have never ever used either of those three file types for photos.

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  3. Pompo Bresciani

    It would be interesting to see it compared to Photo Mechanic which is the king of culling.

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  4. Steven Joseph

    Yes, please compare and contrast with PhotoMechanic/Lightroom. And please explore ability to import existing Lightroom catalogs. I hear great things from fellow togs about its raw processing, but I have so much time invested in Lightroom ratings, keywords, color labels, picks, I’m extremely reluctant to start over with DAM. Thank you for your hard work and great info.

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  5. terrell woods

    Kishore in your experience do you see a huge learning curve in changing over to Capture One. I’ve heard and read so much about their RAW conversion being so nice

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    • Kishore Sawh

      Hi Terrell. As with any of these post processing applications, there is certainly a sizable learning curve to be had with Capture One. All of these applications are so vast, and so complex, dedicated time to learn it is required if you’re going to be using it in a professional capacity where efficiency is necessary. I mean, anyone can go into Lightroom and ‘use’ it, but then there are people who can wield it like another limb.

      Some will say LR is more intuitive to pick up, and that may be true only because most of us have some level of experience with Adobe products. There’s also a lot more information and education out in the ether for Lightroom, and that can’t be discounted.

      However, there IS a breadth of Capture One info out there, and it’s growing as a broader population sees how great it is – and is it ever. You speak of the raw conversion being nice, and that’s a toned down way to put it. It’s significantly better than Lightroom, and frankly it’s a much more complete program than Lightroom. You can do high quality retouches right within Capture One you couldn’t dream of in LR, and with a level of precision and speed that leaves LR in another decade. I would say any immediate frustration with learning it, is worth it.

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