I am getting more and more comfortable using Capture One Pro in place of Lightroom. I still import my new images to both programs, but I find I’m not using Lightroom for the new ones anymore. However, I have not moved all my old images to Capture One Pro just yet.
Maybe a third of those older images have been copied into Capture One Pro to be sure importing works as expected and that Capture One Pro’s catalog works well with multiple albums and a medium-sized keyword library. Just as I did with Aperture, I’m using a managed, as opposed to referenced, catalog.
I still love Capture One Pro’s interface and adjustment tools. I’m coming to grips with the lack of printing presets and I’ve worked around the DAM (Digital Asset Management) limitations, for the most part.
And I’ve learned several things.
One of the very big changes in version 9 is the vast improvement in the keyword capabilities of the Keyword and Keyword Library tools. It’s seems to me to be about on par with Aperture’s, although I’ll admit that my memory of Aperture, sadly, is fading.
The big caveat is that this is only true of keywords applied new in Capture One Pro and not imported from Lightroom. That is still a buggy mess that I’ve entered at least two support cases for, and had an hour long screen sharing session with a technical support specialist to demonstrate and explain. It’s the primary reason I have stopped importing images from Lightroom into Capture One Pro. I need to wait until the problems are solved.
Otherwise, all the things I expect in a keyword system are there: easy to add or remove, editable hierarchies, import and export of keyword lists, and even multiple keyword libraries available at the same time. Good stuff.
Unfortunately the Metadata tool has a fixed set of metadata fields and a fixed organization to those fields. I have found I can live with that; but Aperture spoiled me in this regard, too. There are inconsistencies, at least to me, to be aware of in the way metadata is added to, or edited for, multiple images.
If you have a number of images selected, and have Edit | Edit All Selected Variants checked, typing metadata into a metadata field in the Metadata tool does not apply that change to all the selected images. I would expect to be able to select images and apply or edit metadata for them all at once.
Instead, you need to use the metadata copy/paste shortcut - the little double-ended arrow in the title bar of the Metadata tool. When you click it, the Adjustments Clipboard tool pops open where you can select the metadata you’d like to apply to the selected images. Click the Apply button and the metadata is changed for them all.
Additionally, if you hold down shift while clicking the double-ended arrow, it will skip the Adjustments Clipboard and apply the metadata changes to all selected images immediately.
If, instead, you apply a metadata preset, perhaps from the Metadata tool’s title bar hamburger menu, then the metadata for all the selected images is changed.
Don’t think of star ratings and color tags as metadata; think of them, oddly, as adjustments. Editing them behaves differently than editing metadata. If you have a group of images selected, and Edit | Edit All Selected Variants is on, changing a rating or a tag on the thumbnail of one of the images changes only that image!
If, however, you make the change from the Adjustments | Rating or Adjustments | Color Tag menus, then the change is applied to all the selected images.
Printing is probably the weakest area of Capture One Pro now that version 9 has added keywords. The DAM features still need to be expanded further, but the printing process, at the user interface, is pretty primitive. Thankfully the results of printing, after you jump through a few hoops, look pretty good to my eye. At least up to the 16”x20” prints I’ve tried.
The first aggravation is that there are no printing presets for your printer/paper/profile choices. Those must be set manually from the various dialog boxes every time you open the print pane. Don’t trust that things are the same if you open that pane again during a single session - sometimes it looks that way, but there may be changes anyway.
There are template presets, but they only apply to the settings in the Margins and Layout tools. At least there’s that.
If you make a change to anything in the print pane, go back and check and double check all the settings in all the tools before you print. I haven’t figured out what exactly effects what, but I know I’ve wasted paper after changing something in one place and finding something I had already set up elsewhere changed, too.
When you finally do click the Print button, check everything in the print dialog, too, before you actually commit ink to paper. I’ve seen that dialog come up with a different page size set than was in the main print pane.
Important Missing Pieces
I still think that image stacking for arbitrary images in all catalog collections is a key DAM tool for Phase One to add soon. You can imagine from the section above that I am also looking forward to more printing presets and a more consistent user interface for printing.
Image format support for TIFFs, JPGs and DNGs is still marginal. Some formats are supported, some, such as the TIFFs from my scanner or from Affinity Photo, are not. Many of us are, or will be, migrating from other software and would like Capture One Pro to make that transition easier.
Round trip editing, to either Photoshop or Affinity Photo, works well only for flattened TIFF files. That’s OK for the first round trip, but if I want to take another pass on the TIFF, I can no longer edit the layer effects.
Capture One Pro or Lightroom?
It always seems to come back to this question for me. Right now, Capture One Pro continues to hold my attention, but some of Lightroom’s conveniences are tempting.