Capture One Pro 12 Review – Whats New and Should You Upgrade?

Launched in November , the latest iteration; Capture One Pro 12, offers compatibility and lens profiles for over camera modules, including the latest Nikon and Canon mirrorless cameras, as well as the Fujifilm GFX 50R. See the list of supported cameras HERE. The main updates in Capture One Pro v12 include a modernized and streamlined user interface and new layer masking tools, including the addition of a radial gradient filter and luminosity range masks.

Capture One Pro 11 review Capture One Pro 12 features a modernized user interface and a revamped menu system that makes the software easier and more intuitive to use. With this in mind, Capture One Pro 12 also offers a new plug-in ecosystem that allows the development of third-party extensions to broaden the functionality and usability of the software. Available as a free download, the Capture One Plugin SDK will allow developers to create plug-ins and automate tasks such as sharing images to third-party websites or opening images in external editors such as Photoshop.

A number of plug-ins already exist; including Format for the layout of proofing or portfolio galleries, Helicon Focus for focus stacking, JEPGmini to optimize jpegs for printing or web upload and Prodibi for tagging images and uploading to a web gallery. Plug-ins for focus-stacking, creating proof galleries and optimizing JPEGS are currently available and the open-source SDK plug-in for developers means more are likely to be available soon.

Other new features in v12 include Intelligent Adjustments Copying that ignores spot removal and cropping for quicker batch processing, Extended AppleScript support for advanced Apple users who want to streamline and automate their workflow, and new bundle options with a range of cinematic and film style effects to speed up your processing.

Perpetual license and subscriptions options are available to purchase Capture One Pro 12 with or without additional style packs that include adjustment presets to speed up your workflow. Lightroom CC vs Lightroom Classic: The new Migration Tool in Capture One Pro 12 will reorganize the interface to arrange tools and adjustment panels in a similar configuration to Lightroom for the benefit of those photographers thinking of switching applications. The Capture One Pro interface organizes its controls in to 10 different tabs, designed to steer you logically through an image editing workflow: Below the toolbar is the zoom slider and well as buttons for a grid or single image view.

Finally, down the right hand side is a film strip displaying all the images in the selected folder with a couple of controls to change the style, order and size of the thumbnails. Next you need to import some images, which is done by clicking the import arrow icon in the top left of the interface, or by copying and importing images directly from a memory card.

With both methods the Import Images dialogue box allows to do the usual functions of renaming images, updating copyright and description metadata, and applying adjustment presets as the images are imported to speed up your workflow.

Capture One Pro also gives you the ability to set a backup destination, which is a handy little addition for quickly creating a second copy of your source files on another hard drive in case of disasters. The Import Dialogue allows you to copy images from a memory card and import to your catalogue in one action, as well as rename, apply preset adjustments, add a copyright or deception and even create a second back-up copy on an alternative hard drive.

Via the Library tab you can browse folders of imported images in the folders or Catalogue Collections panels. Imported images can be displayed as thumbnails in a grid, or as larger single images in the main display area and there are zoom tools for checking sharpness, an exposure warning function to highlight clipped areas, as well as ruler and alignment overlays. All of these assist in your editing and selection process to narrow down the images you want to process.

Star Ratings or Color Tags can then be assigned, which allows you to use the Filter panel and refine your selection down to just the images you want to work on. Other features in the Library module include batch renaming, Virtual Albums, Catalogues, Projects or Groups for organizing your image library further. The Library module is for organizing images into groups, albums and collections, as well as filtering your initial import to a smaller selection of images to adjust and process.

If your camera and lens combination are supported — most common ones are — the profile is applied by default in the Lens Correction tab. Sliders to manually adjust these attributes provides further control, and the Lens Correction tab also houses tools to crop, rotate or flip images. Finally, in Lens Corrections, the Keystone panel includes perspective control tools for adjusting vertical and horizontal angles, which are useful for straightening the horizon on a landscape, or correcting converging verticals on architectural images.

The Lens Correction tab automatically adjusts inherent optical flaws, such as geometric distortion and vignetting, and provides tools for cropping, rotating and adjusting perspective.

More advanced colour controls are available in the Color Balance and Color Editor panels. Color Balance controls can be used to correct colour casts, or apply colour-grading effects by adjusting the colour and luminosity of the shadow, midtone and highlight regions independently. The Color Editor provides even greater control to adjust the Hue, Saturation and Lightness across six colour channels. Controls for brightness and contrast are housed under the Exposure tab, and within that the Exposure panel facilitates quick global adjustments to Exposure, Contrast, Brightness and Saturation.

The High Dynamic Range panel will help bring detail back into the Highlight or Shadow regions of high contrast images and the Levels and Curve panels facilitate even greater contrast control. Levels and Curves are great for adjusting the shadow, midtone and highlight tonal regions independently, and in Capture One Pro you can also do this separately on the Red, Green or Blue color channels if you need that level of precision.

The Clarity panel offers control over midtone micro-contrast using the Clarity slider to either increase micro-contrast for a grittier textured look, or reduce it for softer skin tones on portraits. The Structure slider under the Clarity panel will either add more definition to intricate fine details and textures, essentially sharpening images, and again Structure can be set to negative values to soften definition in these areas. The Highlight and Shadow controls under the Exposure tab are great for improving dynamic range and the Curve ensures you can also maintain good contrast so your images pack plenty of punch.

For images shot at high ISO, or heavily processed, the Noise Reduction sliders will help you smooth out the noise. The Luminance slider minimizes pattern noise, with the Color slider reducing chromatic noise, which can appear as green or magenta speckling. Strong noise reduction softens detail overall, so the Detail slider can be used to control the balance between noise reduction and detail preservation. Use the Sport Removal tool to eliminate any unwanted sensor dust marks or blemishes from your images.

An alternative to Lightroom and Photoshop? Our guide to image enhancement briefly outlined most of the adjustment controls in Capture One Pro bar one extremely import one — Layers. Whilst there are some differences in the controls available; notably the colour options, as well as how adjustments are applied and images are processed, broadly speaking Capture One Pro and Lightroom are similar beasts. That is until you factor in the Layers panel. Adjustment layers are applied using masks, and as well as brush and gradient masks similar to Lightroom, Capture One Pro v12 has added clone and heal masks, as well as a Luminosity Range control.

The latter is extremely useful for isolating areas of uniform colour, such as a sky, studio backgrounds or skin tones to selectively apply adjustments. Tick Display Mask to see the red mask overlay and use black and white point sliders to define the luminosity range. With the basic range set, you can tweak the mask further using the Radius and Sensitivity sliders to control the softness of the edge. Click Apply and you can continue to adjust the mask using the brush or gradient filters to add to the mask, or the Eraser brush to remove parts.

The new Luminosity Range mask in the Layers panel helps you quickly select a block of colour, with tools to soften the edge for a seamless effect, and you can even tweak the initial luminosity mask with the brush, eraser and gradient tools to perfect it.

Applying a layer mask with the brush makes it possible to adjust complex elements selectively in your images. Finally, I added a few Clone layers to remove some distracting elements like the posts and bin behind the deer and some signage near the house. The extra functionality of Luminosity and Radial masks in Capture One Pro v12, combined with the excellent colour and micro-contrast controls and better output quality, makes it a more refined RAW image processing engine compared Lightroom in my opinion.

Clone and Heal masks also reduce need to take processed images in to Photoshop for final touch ups.

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