The winner of my software search

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grey pilgrim Contributing Member • Posts: 559
The winner of my software search

Feel free to ignore this thread, but some have asked me to post when I made a decision and why, so here goes.  I am also going to mention some interesting products I ran into along the way.

The short answer is I finally pulled the trigger on Capture 1 Pro.

This past fall, I upgraded from a cranky 13" MacBook Pro to a 32gb 15" MacBook Pro.  I actually prefer the 13" form factor for travel, but I really wanted 32gb, and that was the only option.

My driver for switching from LR is and remains that I have a dislike for their approach to locking you into their software.  In general, I actively dislike subscriptions for SW.  I used LR from version 1 up until 6.

My driver for doing this now:

On the Mac, the writing is on the wall.  When you launch the last standalone, non subscription version, you get the "This software will not be supported in future versions of the OS" message meaning that it is not 64 bit compliant, and Apple has publicly stated that they will be dropping 32 bit app support soon (read guessing next OS).

And, no new camera support without going through DNG conversion.

Before I go further, I am pleased to state that I am Adobe Free. Yep, no Adobe software has touched my new Mac :-). No obnoxious app management cruft, nothing.

So, when I set out, I came to the conclusion that I wanted a disk based DAM workflow rather than DB based. I looked at and really liked Photo Mechanic. There is also an interesting product called Fast Raw Viewer. If you want to see how fast RAWs can be displayed with no use of the embedded JPEG, check it out.

Luminar's disk based library management isn't there yet. At least not for me.

ON1 did what it always does for me. I immediately started running into weird one off behaviors, slow downs, etc.  It always feels like beta software to me.

X4 came to my attention late in the game, and I tried it out, but it didn't compel me.  I probably should have looked at it more.

The thing that sold me on C1 here was their approach to sessions which worked well for me as a workflow option, plus it plays nicely with how I have my existing photos archived. Also, they have a nice webinar that discusses how to use sessions for active shoots, and then when you are done and processed, moving them to a catalog for easier searching and referral as an archive.

On the image quality front, landscape IQ, astrophotography are high on my hit list.

I was not one of those who detested LR's IQ.  That being said, I will repeat what others have said about C1. Straight from the import, the default image processing they do is better (for me).

I like On1's IQ.

I like Luminar's IQ.

I like Iridient's IQ.

Also, check out Raw Power on the Mac. If you want an Aperture style access to Apple's Raw Engine. It does a nice job.

So, yah, I'm not an IQ pixel peeper, although I did a lot of peeping while trying the packages out. Went down a lot of rat holes, convincing myself I saw problems here or there, in this package or that, but almost always it was how I had developed the image in that software.

I also derailed myself for a while when I ran into random white pixels in the foreground in an astro shot (there's a long exposure thread going on about this right now).  I managed to convince myself it was a C1 issue at first. Then that it was lens based.  Then that it was more pronounced in C1 than in other apps. But all those turned out to not be true.  It really does seem to be an X-T20 (X-T2 also?) issue for long exposures. Interestingly, the Raw Power software I mentioned above seemed to handle it best.

Things I miss:

History. I used it. I liked it, and I miss it.

Camera calibration profiles via Color Checker. I know X-Rite has released beta software to generate C1 profiles now, but so far for me, it has done absolutely nothing. I generate a profile, apply it in C1, and nothing changes at all.  The histogram doesn't even budge, much less seeing an actual change. So, I still call this a loss

What was interesting to me however was the default X-T20 profile in C1 came really close to matching Iridient using my DCP profile for my X-T20.

Still, cameras have sample variation. Some of mine in the past have been significant. Individual camera calibration is as important to Raw workflow as monitor calibration is and printer calibration is, IMO.

Ease of export to my website. I have a website I've been trying to get up to speed in fits and starts. For LR, I have a publish service that manages it really well.  With C1, it will be a much more manual approach.

Filmstrip mode I like having my images as a filmstrip on the bottom as opposed to on the side.  I haven't found a way to get this in C1 (yet).

Edit settings on the right. Again, I haven't found a way to get this in C1 (yet).

Default tool mode. Not sure what to really call this, but I constantly end up with the wrong tool selected and doing the wrong thing when I just want to pan the image. Chalk it up as user error, but I find it clunky and getting in my way so far.

Export Ease. Still working on this, but so far, it was easier for me in LR.

More consistent interface. Again, this may change for me over time, but having been in LR for so long, things seemed to be where they should be, and there are times where the choices in C1 seem odd to me. Almost because there are too may different places for things to be?  Dunno.

Things I like

Default images. What can I say?

Layers. I am not usually a layers person, but C1's implementation works pretty well for me. I also like their Luma Range implementation.

Sessions. It works for my workflow. Plus, the option to use a catalog for archival and searching of past shoots.

Their tutorials. Generally, I do not do well with video tutorials. I am constantly searching for a single nugget in an hour long of fluff. Best tutorials I have run into, and they got me up and running quickly.  This may be one of the top reasons I ended up going with C1.

The general flexibility of the interface. It has its downsides, too, but you really can set it up a lot of different ways. One thing I do not like here is the fact that it keeps collapsing tools when I open another tool and the UI runs out of room in the side pane.  Just make the side pane a scrolling side pane instead, puleeeezzzz!? Adds extra clicks for my workflow, grumbling all the way.

I'm sure there are more misses and likes, but the bottom line is it works for me. YMMV

My current software:

Capture 1

Afinity Photo

Aurora HDR

Silver Effex Pro - still my favorite B&W processing software.

Raw Power for when I want to see a different take on rendering an image.

Luminar (because why not, I upgraded, so it's there).

Fast Raw Viewer.  Not sure it has a place, but I like it.

Starry Landscape Stacker. It does a nice job stacking Astro images.


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X-T1, X-T20, infrared converted X-E2
Lenses: Laowa 9, Rok 12, 14, 23f2, 35f1.4, 35f2, 56, 60, 10-24, 18-55, 55-200
You keep using that word; I do not think it means what you think it
means -- Inigo Montoya, The Princess Bride

Fujifilm X-T20
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