Bob Rockefeller Photography

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Capture One Is Deep, But Narrow


Some programs are shallow in powerful features, but wide in their different uses. Others are have power features that offer deep functionality, but are mostly concentrated on those speciality features. Capture One Pro, by Phase One, is an application that offers class-leading raw conversion and color adjustment algorithms, but trails the pack in DAM (Digital Asset Management) and printing tools.

That’s sad, and somewhat surprising, because Phase One also owns a long-established digital media library tool, Media Pro (it was Microsoft Expression Media and iView Media Pro before that). The power of the RAW adjustment abilities leads to pain when attempting to manage, or print, the results.

Capture One Pro is a RAW Processor


I don’t think that it will surprise anyone to hear that Capture One Pro is a RAW converter first, and foremost. In its early days (my first introduction to it was somewhere around version 3), it was only a RAW processor. The standard workflow was to load images into a session folder, demosaic the file, and allow you to make darkroom-like adjustments to it.

From there, you exported a JPG or TIFF and did what you needed to with the resulting file. Capture One did not concern itself with libraries, catalogs, keywords, or much of anything else. Put a RAW file in, get a nicely developed TIFF out. It was then, and may very well still be, the best RAW image developer available.

But times have changed.

My Capture One Catalog


The two primary systems for tracking photo images within a DAM (Digital Asset Management) system today are referenced and managed. In a referenced system, the image files are stored somewhere in the computer’s file system, on arbitrary storage devices, and a database keeps track of where they are, allowing for organization of those images within the application.

A managed system gathers the image files together into a file system package (really just a special folder type) stored on a single device and from there a database keeps track of where they are. A virtual file organization is then created within the application.

Lightroom has only referenced images, Aperture allowed managed or referenced images, and Capture One allows managed, referenced and even a separate sessions arrangement (which I don’t use) for images. My favorite has always been Aperture’s way, but as I convert to Capture One, I am adapting my needs to its managed catalog method.

Capture One Pro Awkwardness


In my last post about Capture One Pro, I mentioned its occasionally awkward, quirky design. You may consider some of it to be missing features, or features “not done right.” Remember that Capture One Pro is not Aperture nor Lightroom and can’t be expected to work just like them. But, in some cases, a design pattern has become so commonly used among other photo applications that Phase One’s design philosophy does stand out.

That doesn’t mean it’s wrong. It does mean, at least to me, that some of those design decisions lead to frustration or confusion. Maybe they rub you the wrong way, too; or maybe they are so objectionable that you (or I) will be so bothered that you (or I) can’t get comfortable using Capture One Pro.

Let me tell you about a few such things that annoy me.

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