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6 Raw Converter Showdown: Capture One Pro 7, DxO Opt
DxO Optics Pro offers little in the way of features beyond the image adjustment process, with even basic print functionality having only been introduced in version 8. Both Capture One Pro 7 and Lightroom 4 by contrast offer a much broader range of options.
Capture One is perhaps best known for its robust tethered shooting capability, which allows you to auto-apply exposure adjustments and editing presets to each image as soon as it is captured. With a compatible camera attached you can even control shooting parameters and fire the shutter. New to version 7 is live view capability directly in the application for select DSLRs.
|Capture One Pro 7 also offers a very useful Focus Mask tool (highlighted in red) that uses image contrast to identify areas of sharp focus for more efficient selection during the image culling process. Note that the focus mask is applied to image thumbnails in the filmstrip viewer as well.|
Photographers whose work goes off to a four-color press will appreciate the ability of Capture One Pro 7 to output raw files in a CMYK color space, while those involved with self-publishing efforts may benefit from the ability to overlay an existing graphics file (headline text, for example) to aid with image composition and cropping.
Lightroom 4 has expanded its offerings significantly from its original release in 2006. Version 4 offers a Map module which allows for both automatic and manual geo-tagging of images. A new Book module lets users design custom photo books and even place orders directly through the app with the online book publisher Blurb.
|Also new to Lightroom 4 is the ability to soft-proof your images, previewing changes in contrast, color and saturation that will occur when printing your image so that you can proactively make a separate set of adjustments to compensate for them.|
All three applications offer color-managed printing with user-selectable output sharpening and print resolution, along with the ability to print multiple images on a page. Lightroom 4 and Capture One Pro 7 both offer a choice of rendering intents when an ICC output profile is selected and watermark options. Lightroom 4 is the only app that allows freeform (non-grid) image placement, which is helpful when printing images of dissimilar aspect ratios and resolution.
TWO-WAY TIE: Lightroom 4 clearly has the larger feature set. And recent additions like mapping and book-creation modules as well as soft-proofing reflect its appeal among a wide range of users. Yet Capture One Pro 7 has two features, namely robust support for tethered shooting and a focus check tool that may well be indispensable for product and studio photographers.
After taking an in-depth look at the performance of Capture One Pro 7, DxO Optics Pro 8 and Lightroom 4, it's clear that these applications all have areas of strength and weakness relative to each other. And that's undoubtedly good, as there's no truly bad choice among them. But this does make it more difficult as a consumer to decide among them. Indeed, selecting the 'best' raw converter really means identifying the one that best fits your photographic needs and priorities. With that in mind, let's recap the results from our showdown.
If you regularly come back with hundreds of images from a shoot, your first objective is evaluating what you have, separating the keepers from the rejects. While Capture One Pro 7 can import and render image previews twice as fast as Lightroom 4, Adobe's raw converter pays big workflow dividends as you can cycle quickly through your newly imported images without waiting for the screen to refresh with high resolution previews. To be fair, the lag in Capture One Pro 7 is only a second or two between images, and only occurs with the first instance of a newly imported file. And both apps outperform DxO Optics Pro 8, whose image preview cache appears to be rebuilt every time you relaunch the app.
And while Lightroom 4 does not allow you to export files to multiple formats all in one go, as both its rivals do, it does export images in about half the time.
While image quality is what most of us think of as the defining trait of a raw converter, the truth is that the differences among Capture One Pro 7, DxO Optics Pro 8 and Lightroom 4 are relatively small. And those that do exist, revolve around default image rendering. Where global color, contrast and saturation are involved, it's rare that you achieve a result in one converter that cannot be reasonably matched in the others.
Having said that, there is obvious benefit to having the most pleasing image to work with at the very start of the image editing process. And while each app handles colors from some camera models better than others, it's hard to find much fault with DxO Optics Pro 8's default settings. Its highlight recovery and moiré removal capabilities are not as robust as the competition, and luminance noise reduction at very high ISO values can be overly aggressive, but if I were on a tight deadline and had to export a JPEG to a client with no time for even basic manual corrections, I'd probably have more confidence in DxO Optics Pro 8 to produce the most pleasing file.
When it comes to putting in the work of making your image look the best via manual adjustments, I found Lightroom 4 to have significant advantages in efficiency. From multiple methods of tool slider manipulation, to brush and gradient localized editing tools that don't require user-generated masks, and highly flexible before-and-after comparisons, precision image editing is a very quick process. And batch-applying changes from a single image to multiple ones is very straightforward.
Lightroom 4 offers by far the greatest number of options for sharing your work. Its API allows for publishing and syncing to social media and it also supports old-school book creation. An extensive collection of both HTML and Flash web templates lets you upload highly customizable gallery pages to your site via FTP, and custom onscreen slideshows can also be saved as video files.
Capture One Pro has made significant strides as an asset management tool in version 7. Catalog support means you can search, sort and edit metadata for files that are currently offline. Images can be tagged with both keywords and IPTC metadata. You can easily separate keepers from rejects with a star rating system and highlight image status with color-coded labels. If all this sounds like a description of Lightroom 4, that's really the point. Both apps are well-suited to keeping track of your image collection and Capture One Pro 7 even has one trick that Lightroom does not: its catalogs can be shared on a network among multiple users.
As I said earlier, the choice of which of these raw converters to use comes down to how you work. Shoot primarily in the studio and need robust tethering capability? Then you'll be very happy with Capture One Pro 7. If you work on a relatively small number of images and/or already have an existing asset management system in place, DxO Optics Pro 8 offers perhaps the best starting point for your edits. And if you're all about workflow efficiency, need tight integration with Adobe Bridge or Photoshop and want the most feature-rich cross-platform app on the market, Lightroom 4 can fit the bill. As raw-shooting photographers we've really got an embarrassment of riches at our disposal right now. You can create some great images no matter which one you choose.
When the Fujifilm X-T2 arrived, it was more than just a modest upgrade to the already impressive X-T1. While the new X-T3 hasn't changed the overall design of the camera, this model is way more than an upgrade; rather, it's a quantum leap.
The Movie Maker is a compact, motorized slider designed for phones, action cams and small mirrorless cameras. We think it's a fun little kit and a good value proposition for the cost, provided you can work around a few of its weak points.
Nikon's Z7 is the first camera to use the all-new Z-mount, the company's first new full-frame mount since 1959. We've put together our first impressions based on quality shooting time with a pre-production camera - check out what we've found.
What's the best camera for a parent? The best cameras for shooting kids and family must have fast autofocus, good low-light image quality and great video. In this buying guide we've rounded-up several great cameras for parents, and recommended the best.
What's the best camera for shooting landscapes? High resolution, weather-sealed bodies and wide dynamic range are all important. In this buying guide we've rounded-up several great cameras for shooting landscapes, and recommended the best.
What’s the best camera costing over $2000? The best high-end camera costing more than $2000 should have plenty of resolution, exceptional build quality, good 4K video capture and top-notch autofocus for advanced and professional users. In this buying guide we’ve rounded up all the current interchangeable lens cameras costing over $2000 and recommended the best.
|The Lone Photographer by ed rader|
from My Best Photo of the Week
|_ERN9064 by ernesto juarez|
from Shoot yourself ! (with your camera)
|Neighbourhood Watch by Stevie Boy Blue|
from Zoo trip ~ Cute...
Apple released iOS 12 a few days ago and some iPhone X users are less than happy with how the new operating system has made their phones look.
Camera bag manufacturer Lowepro has introduced mark II backpacks for its ProTactic AW range with models that are said to feature an improved handling experience as well as a collection of accessories that can be attached to the outside.
Canon has announced its latest superzoom camera, the PowerShot SX70 HS. Compared to the SX60 that came before it, the SX70 has a longer lens, higher resolution EVF, 4K video capture and support for Canon's new CR3 Raw format.
Cosina has announced its eighth lens designed specifically for Sony's E-mount system. The Voigtlander 21mm F3.5 lens is due out October 2018.
Sony has taken the wraps off of its new 24mm F1.4 GM full-frame lens, which the company claims is the lightest in its class. Despite its fast aperture, the 24mm F1.4 is remarkably light, weighing just 445 grams (15.7 ounces). The lens will set you back $1400 when it ships next month.
In this episode of DPReview TV we take a look at Sony's brand new 24mm F1.4 GM lens, a desirable focal length for many photographers. How does it perform? Chris and Jordan give us their first impressions.
We've had a little time to shoot with Sony's new wide/fast prime, both close to home and on the water in San Francisco. Check out our initial sample images.
Fujifilm released a firmware upgrade for its X-T3 mirrorless camera that addresses issues with distortion compensation and the mechanical lock on SD cards.
The app's algorithms have been trained using using 200 million cropping data points from real photographers.
Thanks to a software update, the Loupedeck+ editing console can now be used for video editing.
British photographic engineer MTF Services is claiming the world’s first third-party lens adapters for the new Nikon Z system with a collection of four units designed to allow cinema lenses to be mounted on the mirrorless full frame bodies.
Think Tank Photo has updated its line of heavy-duty rain covers and introduced a new, compact version for emergency situations.
The X-T3 is our first opportunity to analyze what's likely to be Fujifilm's next generation image sensor. Take a look at how it performs next to the competition in our studio test scene.
Canon's new normal is seriously sharp wide open. After shooting with it for a few days, we've prepared a gallery of real-world sample images.
Nikon will cease offering Brazil-based customer service and technical support, though the company stresses that it will still offer technical assistance and warranty repairs for valid warranties.
Two years ago, CatLABS of JP announced a plan to save Packfilm from the dead. Now, it's announced it's giving up its efforts to better focus its resources elsewhere.
The GoPro Fusion is designed to make it easy to capture 360-degree video and stills. We took it out recently on a typically hot Seattle summer day to see what it can do.
We've got our hands on a full-production Nikon Z7 camera and have updated our gallery with additional samples.
A new Kickstarter campaign seeks funding for Chroma Chrono, a programmable RGB camera flash that emits multiple colors during long exposures.
Think Tank Photo has launched a new lineup of six dual-access, water-resistant protective lens cases it calls Lens Case Duo.
Canon and Nikon finally entered the full-frame mirrorless market this summer with the brand-new RF and Z mounts. Now that we've had some time with the cameras, we wanted to revisit our earlier predictions and take stock.
The devices' camera specs look pretty much identical to last year's iPhone X but under the hood a number of important improvements have been made.
Blackmagic Design has announced the public beta of its new Blackmagic RAW video codec. The company says the new format combines the benefits of shooting Raw video with the ease of use and smaller file sizes usually associated with non-Raw video files.
Serif, the company behind the Affinity suite, has announced the latest update for its mobile Photoshop competitor Affinity Photo for iPad.
The Atomos Ninja V external video recorder and monitor will be ready to ship at the end of this month. The 5.2in Ninja V is designed to provide a smaller option, while still offering many of the features of the larger 7-inch models.
Having shot with the camera, spoken to Canon and read the tea leaves, here's what DPR Technical Editor Richard Butler thinks the EOS R tells us about Canon and the RF's mount's future.
After last week's teaser, lighting manufacturer Profoto has announced its 'small big' new product. The B10 is designed to be used as studio flash head but in a very small body, and has a powerful continuous light source for videographers as well.
Konseen has launched Photo Studio, a new light box tent large enough to photograph people, as well as objects.
Seagate has introduced new high-capacity hard drives for Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices: the 14TB IronWolf and 14TB IronWolf Pro HDDs.
The case was first announced earlier this year as a Kickstarter campaign and comes with a range of features aimed at iPhone photographers.