I have been using the Capture One beta version 7.0.2 for a bit and wanted to share an example of the difference in processing RAW files from the X-Pro1 between Adobe Lightroom and Capture One’s beta.
Yes, yes, I know the Capture One is beta. I’m not going to speak to the details of its stability, any errors, etc. Anything like that I would report to Phase One. Since I mainly shoot landcapes, I’d like to illustrate the difference between the two RAW processing engines using an image with a bunch of foliage.
The image I’m showing is one I shot at North Fork near Ogden, Utah during autumn. There was great light but I wasn’t too happy with the lack of foreground interest when I took the photo. Since there is mainly foliage and grass in the shot, it’ll serve to illustrate the stark difference between Lightroom and Capture One.
The image was shot using the 35 mm prime lens, ISO 200, 1/15 second, f/16, with a polarizing filter. In both Capture One and Lightroom, my standard sharpening was used. I cannot push the Lightroom sharpening much at all or details get even more mushy where it seems I can push Capture One as far as I’d like. Amazing.
First comparison is a 100% crop of the trees, first from Adobe Lightroom 4.3 and the second from Capture One 7.0.2. Click on the image to enlarge it and see the detail.
The detail in the trunks of the trees and the leaves is stark. This is from the same RAW file!
Below is a comparison of the detail in the grass.
Again, the difference is striking. In the Lightroom crop the grass just is kind of mushed together with very little blade detail, while the Capture One image shows tremendous detail in the grass. It feels like you can almost touch the grass.
Lastly, below are JPG exports of the full image.
It would seem Adobe has their work cut out for them.
Update 1/14/2013: This blog post has received a lot of attention and I have received a bunch of feedback. Thank you for the comments.
Just a note…The comparison was not meant to be objective at all, as a traditional comparison would. I am not a pixel peeper but rather used both programs in the way that I would normally use them. I probably pushed the sharpening on the C1 image a bit more than I normally would, but I could. Not so with LR, which broke down with increased sharpening.
Also, a few folks have mentioned the existence of a halo effect from oversharpening in the C1 processed shot. I don’t see it, though there could be some JPG artifacts. I generated the file at 100% JPG quality, but there may still be some resulting from compression. I think what folks are calling a halo effect is actually all the grass that is visible in the C1 image vs the LR image. LR simply could not resolve all the grass in the RAW file while C1 and the OOC JPG did.
I’ll be the first to admit that there are people far better at LR and C1 than I am. There is no doubt about it and they would most assuredly be able to eek out a performance increase compared to my attempt.
With that said, I think the capabilities of what one can draw out of the RAF file with C1 to be far better than what is currently possible in ACR/LR. I’m sure that won’t always be the case and that Adobe will get things figured out. Still, I think C1 deserves some credit for the excellent attempt.
With that said, I am a LR owner and used Photoshop for years prior to LR. I am contemplating a purchase of C1 due to the differences I’ve seen in all of my images, including my old Canon RAW files. Color, tonality, gradation, and color control are superior, in my opinion, in C1. Lightroom gives an almost plastic look compared to C1.
Still, interesting times and we, as photographers, are blessed to have so many incredible, high-quality options with which to express ourselves.