During Photokina Phase One announced that they would be producing a version of their sophisticated Capture One software for DSLR's. Named 'Capture One DSLR' this new application provides workflow management, RAW conversion and sophisticated image manipulation initially for Canon RAW files (including the EOS-1Ds). In the future this package will also support Nikon, Fujifilm and Kodak D-SLR's. We have an exclusive preview of a beta version of this new application, a more detailed look will be included in our EOS-1Ds review.

Notes: The preview below is designed to give you a very quick 'feel' for the application, having only started to begin to use it myself I won't be making any detailed insights into it or the quality of images produced, I will be covering the software in more detail in my EOS-1Ds review. The application was previewed in its Beta state running on Windows XP.

Capture One DSLR version 2.9 Beta

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. The default layout has the collection pane (thumbnails) on the left, 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.

The 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.

You can alternatively switch to a horizontal view (press F8) which shifts the collection pane to the bottom of the window. This is probably a more useful layout for landscape photography.

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.

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. This feature wasn't tested at this stage.

As you change settings such as color balance, sharpening etc. these are stored by Capture One in its own database (remembered 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.  


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. Remember that Capture One DSLR is still in its Beta form and thus image quality and performance may not be true to the final version. I do like the overall tonal balance and color response of the Capture One DSLR image, very nice.

Capture One DSLR Beta
6,129 KB JPEG (4072 x 2712 pixels)
Default settings, EOS-1Ds daylight profile, sRGB output profile
Processing time: 30.1 secs

Canon File Viewer Utility
6,975 KB JPEG (4064 x 2704 pixels)
Default settings
Processing time: 17.1 secs

Other reviews

Click here for Uwe Steinmueller's experience of
Capture One DSLR on Outback Photoo