Yes, after plenty of false starts, I think I’m moving to Phase One’s Capture One from Adobe’s Lightroom for good. With version 10.1, Capture One has made enough progress that its good points now outweigh its bad. And it is now overall better for me than Lightroom.

This is not to suggest that Lightroom is bad; quite to the contrary, a huge number of photographers use Lightroom happily and reliably to handle their image organization, editing, adjustment, and output needs. Adobe has a solid, and deserved, reputation for advancing the science of digital image processing.

So Why?

Lightroom and I have never gotten along since I was forced to move to it after the death of Apple’s Aperture. Something about its modal interface and its strong suggestion of in what sequence my workflow should proceed never fit my own approach. Capture One shares some features with Aperture, and the fact that it is non-modal, as Aperture was, in its design sits so much better with me.

Lightroom Module MenuThat strongly segmented modal design really wanted me to complete my organization and editing before I started my adjustments and corrections. But I tend to do a bit of editing (delete some unsatisfactory images, perhaps), and then try some adjustments on others to see if they should be keepers, and go back to add some metadata for some. I’ve been accused of “flitting around like a bumblebee” in my approach, and I suppose I do.

Clearly my complaints about Lightroom’s interface would have to lose out to image quality comparisons, if Lightroom were superior to Capture One in that regard. But it’s not. Capture One reliably gets me to a better image faster. It starts off with defaults that suit my tastes well and then gives me tools to get anywhere I have the creative talent to go.

Some feel as if they can get to the same place with Lightroom in the end. And perhaps they can. I can’t. If I shot a camera with an X-Trans sensor, then the situation might be even worse for Lightroom. I shoot a camera with no anti-alias filter and it’s possible that Phase One’s experience with medium format sensors (which do not have such filters) gives them a leg up on Adobe.

I like the images I get out of Capture One better. And I love the very customizable interface.

I Do Miss Some Things

Capture One’s DAM (Digital Asset Management) features are not up to Lightroom’s abilities. It is serviceable, but it’s an area that I hope Phase One can improve using experience from their Media Pro product.

The support system provided by Phase One for Capture One works better for me than does Adobe’s for Lightroom. But the third party resources for Lightroom far exceed those for Capture One. I hope to develop this blog into at least another place for Capture One users to look for information and maybe some techniques.

Lightroom has developed a great number of “creature comforts” for users over the years. Direct connections to social media and photo sharing sites, a photo bookmaking ability that ties into photo book publishers, and Lightroom Mobile are all features I’ve enjoyed using. Capture One has fine exporting abilities, but that’s it.


I expect to write here more often about Capture One and the way I use it. Especially if there are things that I learn that might help other Lightroom converts get going faster. That’s not the only topic I’ll present on this blog, but it will be a big one. Something I may well do is take Lightroom tutorials I see online and “translate” them for Capture One.

Another, related transition for me, may be that from Adobe’s Photoshop to Serif’s Affinity Photo. I’m finding Affinity Photo to be better concentrated on photo related features than Photoshop, which covers much more ground than just photography (despite its name). A full transition there may allow me to drop my Adobe CC for Photographers subscription. I generally like to pay for upgrades as I need them, rather than paying a monthly fee; both Phase One and Affinity are still using that business model.

Luminous Landscape LogoYou’ll find me active on the Luminous Landscape Capture One and Phase One Capture One forums, asking and answering questions where I can. There is also room for comments below.