Raw Converter Showdown: Capture One Pro 7, DxO Optics Pro 8 and Lightroom 4
1 Raw Converter Showdown: Capture One Pro 7, DxO Opt
With the start of a new year, we thought it would be a good time to explore the current state of raw processing with a head-to-head comparison of the leading cross-platform raw image converters: Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4, Phase One's Capture One Pro 7 and DxO Optics Pro 8. Of course, today's raw converters offer much more than just demosaicing algorithms. Issues such as processing speed, imaging workflow and output options rank right up there with image quality for amateur and professional photographers alike. And as software gets more and more clever about image analysis, the ability to start with a pleasing image at default settings is enticing as well.
So we loaded our test computer with hundreds of raw files from a variety of cameras and put each application through its paces to find out which one offers the best combination of performance, features and of course, image quality.
The minimum hardware requirements of each application are fairly similar, with all three available for both Mac and Windows operating systems. Each application benefits from multi-core processors, plenty of empty hard drive space and lots of available memory. I'd suggest at least 8 gigabytes of RAM on any system, particularly if you like to have multiple programs running at once.
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4.3
US $149/ €134.07/ £106.48 (discounted upgrade pricing available)
|Lightroom 4's modular approach is tailored to a comprehensive capture to output workflow.|
Adobe's raw converter and image management software offers tight integration with the company's industry-standard editing software, Photoshop CS. Among the new features in the latest version of Lightroom are geo-tagging, soft-proofing and the ability to create print-ready books. You can read about these and other features in our Lightroom 4 review. For a list of currently supported cameras, visit Adobe's Camera Raw page. Adobe also has Lightroom 4 online training videos available.
Capture One Pro 7.0.2
US $299/ €229/ £228 (discounted upgrade pricing available)
|Capture One Pro 7 introduces image catalog support for expanded management and organization options.|
Phase One's raw converter has long been popular with fashion and studio photographers due to its robust support for tethered shooting. New to version 7 is a catalog-based asset management option and live view during tethered shooting for select DSLRs. The latest dot release (7.0.2) introduces support for Fujifilm's X-Trans sensor cameras and you can see how it handles the X-Pro1's raw files in our recent test. For a list of currently compatible cameras, visit Phase One's support page. Phase One provides a video tutorial series for Capture One Pro 7 on their YouTube channel.
DxO Optics Pro 8.1.2
US $299/ €299/ £269 (discounted upgrade pricing available)
|DxO Optics Pro 8 is best known for its extensive, automated corrections for lens flaws.|
DxO Labs' raw converter is built around the company's well-regarded camera/lens correction modules. Long favored by many users in conjunction with external asset management apps, version 8 introduces selective tonal edits and print capability. You can read about these features in our DxO Optics Pro 8: What's New article. For a list of currently compatible cameras, visit DxO labs' support page. DxO Labs also hosts a library of DxO Optics Pro 8 tutorials on their web site.
In this raw converter showdown we'll compare these three programs in the following categories:
- Image quality and editing tools
- Imaging workflow
- Output options
- Asset management
- Additional features
Let's get started with our raw converter showdown and find out which one comes out on top.
|Devil Rock (Stuttgart, Germany) by cornissimo|
from Neon Signs
|Carla... by lickity split|
from Beautiful caucasian female faces
|Lunar New Year Fireworks by Michael L NYC 99|
|Vatican Basilica by wam7|
from Street lights
Go behind the scenes with National Geographic photographer Renan Ozturk and see what it takes to capture a dangerous, harrowing, stunning Nat Geo photo essay.
Erez Marom tells the story behind this ominous photo of the sand 'reaching up' towards the mountains at Skagsanden beach in Norway. He calls this photo 'Torment.'
DPReview staffer Carey Rose has taken the Panasonic Leica DG 15mm F1.7 along for everything from a city-side boat ride to a bachelor party across the mountains. Find out how the little Leica fared.
Canon just unveiled the largest 12-ink printer on the market. The new imagePROGRAF PRO-6000 printer can make prints from 17 all the way up to 60 inches wide.
"Standing in one of the holiest places on earth, I felt uneasy," writes Wired's Jason Parham. "Most of my fellow visitors, I realized with a brief bloom of nausea, were taking selfies."
Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk has been receiving great reviews, but it's a challenge to see it in its full glory. This handy infographic reveals the aspect ratio chaos that is wrought as the industry retreats from film.
Anti-bullying organization Ditch the Label's Annual Bullying Survey 2017 reveals yet again that Instagram, more so than any other social network, has a the worst effect on youth mental health.
It's been a crazy day for innovative patent news. Apparently Sony is thinking of developing a medium format curved sensor camera.
An update to the Silkypix Raw converter fixes some bugs and adds support for several popular new cameras.
This crazy custom-built underwater camera shoots 8x10 large format film. It's supposedly "the first successful underwater 8x10 ever made," and it can be yours for $5,800... plus shipping.
Blackmagic just reveled a new accessory for their Cintel Film Scanner. The Cintel Audio and KeyKode Reader can capture KeyKode data and high-quality audio from film in real-time as it is being scanned.
A new Nikon patent shows a lens designed for a curved full-frame sensor. Could this be the high-end Nikon mirrorless camera people are hoping for?
The ability to shoot images at 1,000 fps first appeared in a Sony smartphone sensor. Now the Japanese manufacturer is using the same feature for industrial applications.
Astronomy expert and photographer Dr. Tyler Nordgren thinks you should "see your first eclipse, photograph your second." But if you do plan on taking photos this August, here are a few tips from someone who's been there.
How confident are you that you can spot a manipulated photo? A recent study at the University of Warwick shows that many people are pretty bad at it.
If you purchased a Leica TL2, do NOT attach Leica's Visoflex electronic viewfinder. Leica is working on a fix, but for now, it's possible the viewfinder will break your camera.
Google just released Motion Stills for Android. Unlike the iOS version, the Android app uses a redesigned video processing pipeline that processes each frame of a video as it is being recorded, creating instant results.
A huge copyright lawsuit between photography firm VHT and Zillow Group is heating up again, as both sides appeal a court ruling that granted VHT $4 million in damages.
European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet spent 6 months on board the International Space Station where he worked with Google capturing spheric panorama images that are now available in Street View.
It's official. PDN has confirmed with parent company Aurelius that 94-year-old lighting company Bowens is indeed going out of business.
The newly launched firmware version 1.06 fixes AF-issues that can occur with some lenses that are not officially compatible with the MC-11 converter.
Voyager is a waterproof smart light stick you can control entirely from your phone. The light has already blown past its $300K funding goal on Indiegogo.
2018 is the last year Photokina will take place during the traditional end-of-September dates. In 2019, Photokina will take place from the 8th to the 11th of May.
The Canon IXUS 50 (known as the SD400 Digital ELPH in North America) was one of a string of high-performing, pocketable PowerShots of the mid-2000s. In this week's throwback Thursday, Barney casts his mind back to 2005.
A close look at the EOS 6D II's Raw files suggest its dynamic range has taken a significant step backwards compared with the company's recent DSLRs. We look at how much difference this might make for your photos.
With a full-production review unit in our hands, we've got over 100 production samples from the new Canon EOS 6D Mark II to share.
Need a break from your day? Kick back and watch the making of a somewhat unconventional mojito filmed on Canon's new EOS 6D Mark II.
The Bonfoton Camera Obscura Room Lens can turn any room into a camera obscura, projecting the view from your window onto the walls of your room.
Adobe just released version 2015.12 of Lightroom CC, adding support for several new cameras and lenses, and baking in several important bug fixes while they were at it.
In this interview, Chiara Marinai, photo editor for VanityFair.com, explains exactly what she looks for in new photographers and photo submissions. Take notes.