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Capture One DSLR

Capture One DSLR is a new RAW converison and workflow application from Phase One. Capture One DSLR is designed to provide a full workflow and RAW conversion system for professional photographers. The initial release of Capture One DSLR supports the Canon EOS-1D and EOS-1Ds, future releases will support other Canon Digital SLR's as well as RAW formats from Nikon, Fujifilm and Kodak D-SLR's.

Capture One DSLR Version 1.0

Capture One uses the concept of 'Collections' to group images together, in the example shown below this happens to be images in a particular folder, although in reality images from various sources can be grouped into a collection.

Portrait orientation

The default layout has the collection pane (thumbnails) on the left (best for portrait orientated shots), preview / work pane in the center and function tabs on the right. All panes can be resized or collapsed, you can also work in full screen mode without a titlebar.

Landscape orientation

You can alternatively switch to a landscape orientation (press F8) which shifts the collection pane to the bottom of the window. This is clearly a more useful layout for dealing with images shot in the landscape orientation.

One big strength Capture One DSLR has over the Canon software is that all adjustments happen in (almost) realtime. That means you can make a grey balance adjustment and see the change immediately, this is far better than the rather slow-to-change Canon File Image Viewer.

Color Management and Preferences

Globally you can set various preferences including full color management support. Capture One DSLR comes provided with profiles for the EOS-1D and EOS-1Ds under various light conditions. You can also select destination color profiles for output, web and proof destinations as well as your monitor profile. There are also a wide range of preferences to choose from, click on the reduced image below to see them in more detail.

There is also a Color Editor which allows you to make changes to the color balance of the image either on a global or selective basis, these changes can then be saved to a new ICC profile to be used later (such as 'EOS-1Ds flash studio warm' etc.). Changes are carried out in the color editor dialog, changes occur to the preview image in realitime, you can also see the changes in the color edit inspector (colorized or absolute difference) as well as inspecting the new colorspace in 3D.

Color Editor - a color has been selected and modified (increased saturation) Color Edit Inspector - subject changes (colorized) Color Edit Inspector - 3D Colorspace (changes can be seen in the surface of the colorspace)

Operation and Workflow

Operationally you can work on previous shot and stored images or capture directly from the camera 'into' a collection live in the Capture One DSLR application.

As you change settings such as color balance, sharpening etc. these are stored by Capture One in its own database (stored on a per image basis). These settings can be saved and loaded as well as applied to selected images, a batch 'development' or an entire collection. Settings are arranged into three of the five function tabs on the function pane, each function pane is described below.

Capture - provides instant feedback and access to capture settings, allows you to remotely trigger a capture for a connected camera. Gray Balance - allows you to customize the white balance of the image. As you hover the color picker over a gray area of the image it will indicate if it is a good or poor area to use for gray balance. Exposure - You can select an alternative tone curve (in this case one which matches film), make exposure compensation adjustments (+/- 1 EV) as well as contrast compensation (changes the contrast balance of the image).
 
Focus - Provides access to sharpening adjustment, you can choose from soft or standard look as well as two sliders which control the sharpening algorithm (appears similar to an unsharp mask). Develop - Used to actually produce the final image. Here you can select scaling, output format and color management output options. To output an image simply add it to the batch queue and click on Develop. *  

* Development of images is handled as a background process which means you can get on with working on the next images. Interestingly images output by Capture One are also slightly bigger than normal EOS-1Ds images, they are 4072 x 2712 pixels (8 x 8 pixels larger).

Output samples

Below you will find two versions of the same EOS-1Ds RAW image output as JPEG from both Capture One DSLR and Canon's own File Viewer Utility. Processing time was approximately 30 seconds per image for Capture One DSLR and 17 seconds per image for Canon File Viewer Utility. Click on the thumbnail for a VGA version of the image or below the thumbnail for the original.

Capture One DSLR Canon File Viewer Utility
6,460 KB JPEG (4072 x 2712 pixels)
Default settings, EOS-1Ds daylight profile, sRGB output profile, Eyedropper WB

6,977 KB JPEG (4064 x 2704 pixels)
Default settings, Eyedropper WB

6,390 KB JPEG (4072 x 2712 pixels)
Default settings, EOS-1Ds flash profile, sRGB output profile, Eyedropper WB
6,684 KB JPEG (4064 x 2704 pixels)
Default settings, Eyedropper WB

Conclusion

Capture One DSLR is certainly the best workflow management / RAW converter application currently available for EOS-1Ds images. It provides a huge amount of control and instant feedback, a combination which will be very popular with any serious photographer. Operationally it's a joy to work with, background image 'development' means you can be converting a batch of images while working on another (although you do pay for better output quality in longer processing times). Additionally Capture One DSLR comes with some very nice EOS-1Ds profiles which improve the appearance (tone / color balance) of converted images considerably compared to the output of Canon's File Viewer Utility. The perfect companion to the EOS-1Ds for any serious digital photographer.

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