31
Dec
2012

Capture One – When the Going Gets Tough…

…the Tough Get Going. Demosaicing the X-Trans sensor is a tough task, and in about a week, Phase One is expected to release a new final version of their successful Capture One (aka C1) RAW file processing software. Although it’s just a minor update (7.0.2) on paper, this is major news for Fujifilm X-Trans camera users. There’s also a crazy amount of hype  going on about it in the virtual sphere. Several beta testers have been stating that C1 is putting Lightroom/ACR to shame. This usually refers to X-Trans image detail reproduction, which is pretty lame in Lightroom. So this is a no-brainer: Of course, detail rendering is better than in Lightroom! DCRAW and Silkypix put Lightroom/ACR to shame in this category, as well.

That said, I think detail rendering is pretty decent in this C1 beta, but it’s also nothing to brag about too loudly (at least if you know how to use Silkypix 5 or the DCRAW based “RPP” converter). In any case, it’s always great to get new workflow options, because competition is good for us customers. I’m also confident that Phase One’s X-Trans market entry and increasing sales of current and future X-Trans camera models will put more pressure on Adobe to get their act together. Not that I really needed Lightroom, as I appear to be one of those very few human beings on this planet who have no problem at all processing X-Trans RAWs in (gasp!) Silkypix 5.

I have played with C1’s beta version for almost two weeks, and I’m quite pleased with its ability to recover highlights, which seems to be on par with Lightroom/ACR and definitely better than Silkypix 5. There are still several issues, though, which I will not get into specifically at this time, as I expect them to be ironed out in the final version of the software. It’s called “beta” for a reason, at least hopefully so.

Here are a few successful examples of me developing some of my high dynamic range test samples  in Capture One (click on them for high-res versions):

DSCF6339 (Capture One version)

DSCF5915 (Capture One version)

DSCF5528 - A Storm is Coming (Capture One version)

Please let me take this opportunity to thank you all for your warm welcome here on Fujirumors – and for so many of you also expressing their support by pre-ordering “Mastering the Fujifilm X-Pro1“, which will start shipping in just a few days, as my publisher has told me.

With respect to the topic of my next regular column, it appears like we already have a winner. However, please still cast your vote if you haven’t done so already. Your votes are not just helpful in determining what topics to discuss in future editions of this column, their accumulated number is also a good indicator of your general interest in this column altogether. That said, I’m already mentally preparing to write something insightful about “extended ISO” settings. See you next Friday here on Fujirumors, and have a great start in 2013!

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Rico Pfirstinger studied communications and has been working as journalist, publicist, and photographer since the mid-80s. He has written a number of books on topics as diverse as Adobe PageMaker and sled dogs, and produced a beautiful book of photographs titled Huskies in Action (german version). He has spent time working as the head of a department with the German Burda-Publishing Company and served as chief editor for a winter sports website. After eight years as a freelance film critic and entertainment writer in Los Angeles, Rico now lives in Germany and devotes his time to digital photography and compact camera systems.

  • Gritty Monkey

    Hi Rico,

    I think one of the reasons why people are allergic to Silkypix is because they already took time to learn another software (for example Lightroom), and nobody likes the idea to have to go through the steep learning curve of another programme because of a sensor technology… Well, at least I don’t. Also, there is significantly less quality learning material available on Silkypix on the web, compared to the hundreds of Lightroom tutorials/blogs/YouTube channels… I think it would be great if you could take one of your pictures and go step by step through your developing process in Silkypix. Maybe it is an option you might put in the next polls to see if other people are interested?

    Speaking of things people might be interested in, do you find any practical use to the continuous autofocus mode of the X-E1 (on fast moving subject)? What is the best way/situation to use it in your opinion?

    Many thanks in advance for all the good work :)

  • Markus

    Even if the detail quality is not beyond silkypix, capture one still seems like a good investment if the price ends up being similar. Not that I am excited about needing another program besides lightroom.

  • http://www.lets-ride.de Rico Pfirstinger

    It’s true: Many people don’t want to change or to invest in yet another RAW converter. And who could blame them? Personally, I love to have options, that’s why I’m also looking forward to Sandy’s new AccuRaw converter. I’m an Apple Aperture user, but I also bought Lightroom and Photoshop, I bought Silkypix, and I will buy Capture One, as well. In the end, all my TIFFs and JPEGs end up in Aperture, anyway, which serves as my cataloging tool.

    Regarding learning curves: It took me an afternoon to understand Adobe Camera Raw in Lightroom 4 (it’s really simple, easy and straight-forward, which is a good thing), several days to “get” Silkypix 5 and about two days to tame C1. Luckily, RAW converters aren’t rocket science (as least from a user’s standpoint, developers may disagree, especially with regards to X-Trans). I don’t know if I’d consider those different packages good investments, but I’d agree that they a necessary ones if you want to have the tools to make the most out of your X-Trans camera.

    Ah, yes: the elusive AF-C. In my book, there’s a pretty extensive illustrated section on how to shoot (fast) moving objects with the X-Pro1 (or X-E1, or X100, as they all work the same). Rest assured, using AF-C isn’t one of the methods to pull it off. IMHO, other tactics are more effective here. Ironically though, Fuji’s recent X-Pro1 version 2.00 firmware update (already incorporated in version 1.00 in the X-E1) made it more difficult to catch objects moving towards the camera with the AF, because the wide-spread so-called “autofocus trick” that relied on the camera’s AF priority over shutter priority doesn’t seem to work that well, anymore. This is quite unfortunate, if you ask me.

  • jean pierre

    Hi Rico
    Many thanks for the helpfull informations. I share with you. C1 7.0.2 beta is great for the raf-file from X-Pro1 and X-E1!

    Happy New Year!

  • Markus

    Oh the choice is definitively great to have and I will buy Capture One if Lightroom doesn’t step it up. But the fact remains that 200€ are 200€ are 200€ ;-). I guess in the end the problem really is and remains that Lighroom does a poor job and Aperture is missing.

    A happy new year to all of you!

  • Charuteiro

    Could you comment on Silkypix DSP5 vs. Fujifilm RFC-EX v32130? I’ve read that the DSP5 RAF file algorithm may not yet be optimized for the X Trans RAF file. Has DSP5 been updated for X Trans? Also, how does the highlight/shadow recovery of C1 compare to the single image HDR feature of DSP5?

    Thanks.

    .

  • Michael

    Question regarding workflow

    The concept of deciding later what “film to put in the camera” is brilliant. As user of Aperture I tried now everything, Capture one to SilkyPix etc..

    Is there a simple workflow that allows to generate from one RAW file all the Fuji film simulations, analog to the option within the X-E1?

  • http://www.lets-ride.de Rico Pfirstinger

    Regarding highlight recovery, I have prepared a little comparison between SOOC and various RAW converters (C1, LR, SP5, RPP) on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/25805910@N05/sets/72157632405016657/detail/

    Of course, SP5 is perfectly capable of demosaicing X-Trans sensors. It’s two generations ahead of SP3 (RFC EX).

    • Charuteiro

      Thanks for the link and comparisons.

      I downloaded and carefully reviewed each image. I found interesting each software creates a different amount of distortion and/or digital shift. These effects are apparent by toggling back and forth between images; none of the images align exactly.

      In order to determine which of your sample images has the most detail, I created a single image HDR for the Capture One and Silkypix samples with Oloneo PhotoEngine as follows:

      1.) Create a EV -1 and +1 JPEG;
      2.) Create a Stacked image with original, EV -1 and EV +1;
      3.) Set Tone Mapping to 25% and EV -0.25;
      4.) Create JPEG.

      The results are here:
      http://www.flickr.com/photos/91782021@N04/

      Which do you think has more highlight and shadow detail, Capture One or Silkypix?

      I am also interested in your opinion of the SP-DSP5 HDR feature as compared to standalone HDR software such as OPE.

      Thanks.

      Footnote:
      The SP-DSP5 HDR feature is described here:
      http://www.isl.co.jp/SILKYPIX/english/features/hdr.html

  • Rui

    I liked Capture One better than Lightroom, but when they failed to implement m43’s software distortion correction, they lost me! Anyone knows if they’ve finally fixed it?