Capture One Pro 8
$299/€229, or $15/€12 per month

If you aren't familiar with Capture One Pro, it's a software package designed to perform as a Raw processing application as well as a host for those who like to shoot with a camera tethered to a computer. Created by the Danish company Phase One that also makes medium format backs, cameras and lenses, the application emerged first in the professional studio environment. Now it's gradually expanding into the enthusiast/consumer arena as it broadens its compatibility with a more encompassing range of cameras and develops a wider range of features that will appeal as more general processing tools.

Currently the software can handle Raw files from over 300 cameras, including a decent back catalog from all the major brands. Tethered shooting is reserved for the more modern of the Sony, Nikon and Canon models, with no mirrorless support even for models that are well capable of performing direct output. You can see the full list here. A notable absence from the compatibility list is Hasselblad – perhaps too much of an arch rival in the medium format world.

While JPEG files can be processed of course, the focus of Capture One Pro is very much on working with Raw data. The company says it has created custom profiles for each of the cameras listed, though you might wonder at some of the more historic models that appear to be there by virtue of their DNG output. Phase One tells me that every camera listed has a profile created from 700 images that are used to understand individual characteristics so the software can automatically correct lens aberrations for example, as well as to determine how best to deal with noise patterns, color and sharpening requirements of specific camera models. 

The package offers a massive range of adjustments that professionals and enthusiasts will need to and want to apply to their images. Capture One Pro doesn't pretend to have the total flexibility of Adobe's Photoshop – you can't cut things out or add text, for example – but it does offer many of the same adjustments that appeal to photographers rather than graphic designers, and offers them in a somewhat different working environment.

In the latest incarnations – 8.0 to 8.3 – the package has introduced a host of new features including the ability to work on more adjustment layers and create masks for localized working, as well as some color tools for movie-style grading that sound impressive.

Key new features and improvements:

  • Color Grading
  • Film Grain tools
  • Live View for tethered shooting
  • Adjustment layers
  • Faster operation
  • Clarity tools
  • Improved HDR sliders
  • Black and White conversion