Capture One 20 is already superior to Lightroom in many ways, but it still lacks some features that hinder it from exerting total dominance.
A new update is coming to Capture One 20 today. We’ve been testing the beta for the better part of the past month. So far, the improvements included in this update seem quite promising. Chief amongst them is the newly enhanced Heal and Clone tools, and there’s a new Before & After tool as well. Photographers looking to break free from Adobe will also appreciate the new Lightroom catalog importer. The best part: all this is gratis for existing Capture One 20 users! Photographers shooting exclusively with Nikon gear will be glad to know that a Nikon specific version of Capture One 20 will now be available too. Capture One for Nikon is a full-featured version of Capture One Pro available for a reduced cost. The only limit is that it will only work with Nikon raw files, like other brand-specific versions of the software that are already available.
It’s no secret that we’re quite fond of Capture One here at The Phoblographer. While this new update makes Capture One 20 an even more compelling alternative to Lightroom, there are still improvements we’d like to see implemented.
Updated Heal and Clone Tools
But first, let’s look at the shiny new features coming to Capture One 20. The new Heal and Clone tools are undoubtedly the most significant changes in this update. When using the new Heal tool, Capture One will automatically create a heal layer and intelligently locate and apply source points. You can still make manual adjustments if needed, but we rarely needed to do so during our time with the beta. The new Clone tool will also create a clone layer automatically. Unlike the Heal tool, however, you’ll need to define your source point manually. There’s no limit to the number of source points you can have on a given Heal or Clone layer. Both Heal and Clone adjustments will be automatically applied to their respective layers. You can also opt to create additional Heal and Clone layers if desired.
Both the Heal and Clone tools worked flawlessly throughout our time with the beta. Capture One’s new Heal and Clone tools are more than capable of tackling most retouching needs. You’ll still need to rely on Photoshop if more advanced retouching techniques are required, such as frequency separation. Overall, this helped reduce the amount of time we had to spend roundtripping files to and from Photoshop for retouching.
New Before & After Tool
Another new feature coming to Capture One 20 is the new Before & After tool. It’s easily accessible via a new button located on the top right of Capture One 20’s interface. Prior to this update, viewing your image before and after edits are applied required you to hold down Alt (on Windows) or Option (on macOS) while clicking on Reset. With the new Before & After tool, that’s a thing of the past.
You can select between a Split View (with a dragging slider) or Full View when using the new Before & After tool. It will also work on multiple images at once. You can toggle between the two views depending on your preference. This helped simplify the process of checking the before and after states of our images during our time evaluating the beta.
Improved Lightroom Catalog Importer
Moving from Lightroom to Capture One is now easier than ever with Capture One 20’s improved Lightroom Catalog Importer. The importer will carry over basic adjustments and replicate the existing catalog structure. A new onboarding process will also help you tailor Capture One’s interface to your workflow.
An after-action report is generated when your Lightroom catalog has been imported. This notifies you if unsupported files are found during the import process. In the event that source files in your Lightroom catalog are missing (such as those stored on backup drives or offline storage), Capture One will automatically import them once the corresponding drives are reconnected to your computer.
There’s Room for More
Capture One 20 is now more powerful than ever thanks and there’s never been a more compelling reason to leave Lightroom behind. With that said, there are still things we’d like to see implemented to make Capture One even more robust. Compared to Lightroom, Capture One has far superior tethering support and color editing capabilities. It also sports significantly better performance overall. With that said, there are some areas where Lightroom is still ahead of the pack. While keystone corrections are certainly possible within Capture One, the process requires quite a bit of manual prep work and adjustments. With Lightroom, keystone adjustments are reduced to a few mouse clicks thanks to the Upright tool. This is a crucial feature for photographers specializing in architectural and real estate work.
The over-reliance on presets is a topic worthy of its own discussion, but the fact is some photographers simply live and die by them. Capture One and Lightroom process images on fundamentally different levels. This means preset-dependent photographers will have to leave their precious presets behind when migrating from Lightroom to Capture One. While there are third-party utilities that can convert Lightroom presets to work within Capture One, the results are often less than satisfactory. An even more advanced Lightroom importer with preset conversion support will surely help ease the woes for these photographers.
Another reason Adobe’s been able to maintain Lightroom’s foothold is their pioneering work in the mobile space. Capture One desperately needs a full-featured mobile companion app in order to stay competitive. Phones and tablets are becoming more powerful, and mobile editing will play an increasingly critical role in a professional photographer’s workflow. The ability to get a head start on culling and editing your images while on the go will transition from “Wouldn’t it be nice if…” to a necessity. In addition to shaving precious hours off of your overall post-processing time, it can mean the difference between being first to get images out to the public or playing catch up.
These issues notwithstanding, it’s great to see Capture One continuing to refine and innovate based on user feedback. With any luck, our prayers will be answered in a forthcoming update to Capture One. Capture One 21 perhaps? (Although they may want to rethink their naming convention.) The Capture One 20 update is available now.