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Capture One Express or lightroom?

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19 comments

  • Keith Reeder
    Express is cheaper, but significantly lighter on functionality and features.

    You need to compare Lr with Capture One Pro.
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  • NNN635335223551185331
    Keith Reeder wrote:
    Express is cheaper, but significantly lighter on functionality and features.

    You need to compare Lr with Capture One Pro.


    Fair enough, which features would justify the pro price tag vs. Lightroom?
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  • SFA
    NNN635335223551185331 wrote:
    Keith Reeder wrote:
    Express is cheaper, but significantly lighter on functionality and features.

    You need to compare Lr with Capture One Pro.


    Fair enough, which features would justify the pro price tag vs. Lightroom?


    Realistically I think only you can decide that.

    Run the 60 day Capture One trial (fully functional) alongside LightRoom and see which of them you find most comfortable.

    My personal preference is to be able to avoid Catalogues. So Capture One sessions are ideal for me and LightRoom, so far as I know, has no equivalent. I suspect your criteria may be very different to mine. Only your opinion matters for this choice.


    Grant
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  • Keith Reeder
    SFA wrote:
    Realistically I think only you can decide that.

    This.

    As it happens though, I have only recently "upgraded" to Pro, having been an Express holdout for a longtime.

    And all I'm actively making use of that's Pro only is sessions (same as Grant - and sessions used to be available in Express too, until Phase One arbitrarily broke this workflow option); and the watermarking feature.

    Local adjustments are still better in Lightroom - you can apply everything, including highlight recovery and noise reduction, locally with Lr - but (if it matters to you: it doesn't to me) you've got layers in Pro.

    As Grant points out though, your priorities might be entirely different to mine or his. I will close though by saying that - for me - the upgrade from Express to Pro wasn't money well spent.

    But then, I've long considered Pro to be heinously overpriced for what you get, and if Phase One hadn't killed sessions in Express, I would not have "upgraded".

    Added: And I've just realised - having spent an entire bloody morning converting images - that the text watermark is completely broken: it doesn't work in anything like a logical or sensible way.

    In Lightroom, it doesn't matter how much you crop an image, the watermark/signature stays exactly the same in terms of size and position: in Cap One, the thing changes size - significantly, sometimes - and position, when you crop!

    For the love of God, who thought that was a good idea?

    So we're down to one useful reason for the Express-Pro upgrade as far as I'm concerned - sessions. Which I remain convinced were only removed from Express for the most petty of reasons.
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  • SFA
    Keith,

    The watermark works for me. Rescales with the recipes. As I recall it was not entirely evident on first set up but once set works fine - as far as I can tell. My needs may be simple though.


    Grant
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  • Keith Reeder
    Your needs can't be much more simple than mine, Grant - my name staying the same size on the output image, regardless of whether or not I've cropped.

    Thanks for the response. Could you let me see a screenshot of the settings you use in the Watermark set-up dialogue?
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  • Keith Reeder
    In the meantime, what I'm seeing (Win 7, 64 bit machine, Capure One 7 Pro, v.7.2.1).

    This is the signature in an uncropped image;

    This is the signature in a crop - clearly bigger. Not by much in this example, but it's nevertheless scaling with the crop, which is ridiculous and entirely counter-intuitive; and

    This is the icing on the cake - no crop, but the image resized in Capture One before output (the other two being resized outside of Capture One).

    What a mess!

    So what am I missing? The available guidance doesn't clue me in at all into how I can get a signature that's the same size across the board, and I'm not convinced it's possible.

    It's nonsense like this that makes it hard to love Capture One, because this looks exactly like careless coding and inadequate testing.

    I can think of no reasonable use-case where this would be expected - much less desirable - behaviour.
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  • Keith Reeder
    So am I the only one seeing this ridiculous behaviour?

    Or is this how people actually think watermarking should work?
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  • Keith Reeder
    Oh, it gets better - the watermark changes size in an uncropped portrait-mode image too.
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  • SFA
    Keith,

    I will have a deeper look at this - been a bit short of contiguous time to get into it today.


    Grant
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  • Keith Reeder
    Don't worry about it, Grant - I'll appreciate your input at your convenience.

    I was really hoping one of the Phase One "official voices" would contribute something, but I've raised a support case anyway, so we'll see what comes of that.

    I do hope that Phase One doesn't try to argue that this an as-designed "feature"...
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  • Keith Reeder
    Support asserts that it's not a bug, but expected behaviour, and that if I want the same-sized watermark across different crop sizes, I'll need to set up a Process recipe for each crop.

    Which is a ludicrous suggestion. As a wildlife/sport photographer I have no control over my subject matter and therefore over the amount of "compositional" cropping that might be necessary from image to image, so this suggestion is about as far divorced from being a realistic Real World option as it's possible to get.

    But - having said its not a bug, they also say:

    If...you choose a Fixed Percentage scaling options such as 100% or 50% then the size of your water mark will stay one consistent size (in pixel terms) while your actual images will vary based on how much they are cropped.

    And it's precisely this behaviour which is not happening.

    So I've fired the issue back at them arguing that is a a bug, by their own definition of what should happen.

    (To the OP - sorry the thread has gone off on a tangent, but it's still relevant to the Lr vs. Capture One question, because Lr gets this right).
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  • SFA
    Hi Keith,

    I think my brain is getting too old to handle all of the permutations for this.

    Basically as far as I can tell the Phase support team statement you quoted above is correct but only tells part of the story since there are so many potential adjustments and additional considerations - like upscaling or not and whether one is working in px/in, px/cm, px/mm etc. Was any of that covered in the rest of the support response? It seems to me that it would be a good thing to expand on the Help file content - perhaps as an appendix item.

    Anything "Scale" option EXCEPT "Fixed" seems to scale but the font size selected (assuming a text watermark) will be set as a number of pixels (presumably per character dimension) in the recipe. Thus if one changes the recipe in some way - resolution and scale type and size for example - a number of contributory factors are changed with them. (I expect you already know this but mention it for completeness, of a sort, this being an open forum.)

    If the crop is working with measurements other than pixels (i.e., in, cm, mm) things seem to be slightly different.

    Scaling will happen so long as the dimensions used are within the capabilities of the application. So if the indicated measurement(s) related to the selected "Scale" are viable (i.e ORANGE colour) compared to the number of pixels available in the cropped area in each dimension, then scaling occurs. If the values in the boxes contain RED numbers it mostly does not occur although there may be some grey areas in there. I THINK the viability assessment may also take into account whether Upscaling is enabled or disabled.

    So the scaling, so long as not using "Fixed", works within whatever fine degrees of adjustment may be required for a few pixels based on the font size and cropped pixel sizes chosen. If one crops to less than the number of pixels specified for the comparative dimension (Width/height or some combination) there is potential for the watermark with its fixed number of pixels (especially a large watermark) to exceed the available width or height of the cropped image. Of course this can be adjusted using the Watermark tab's "Scale" slider if required. Or change the font size I suppose.

    So far as I can tell an "image file" watermark performs in the same way.

    As far as I can see to date the potential for upscaling an image will not also automatically upscale the watermark unless it is achieved by changing the px/in (etc) value to make the scaling viable. If so that would seem logical since the Watermark is set by pixel values rather than interpreted measurements. I assume the same is true of it is set by Points but using Points may have some other constraints.

    All of that said, and with apologies to the OP for the hijack as Keith has already observed, that's where I have got to so far.

    One observation here is that if this functionality is differently handled in LR AND is important to the OP then attempting to understand the differences or the different approaches that exist may be significant.

    I have not used LR since V1.4, other than a couple of brief trials, so I cannot really comment about comparisons. However I do find the Processing methods available in Capture One Pro extremely useful for setting up recipes and being able to multiple process files for different sizes and purposes to different output locations as a background batch process. On the other hand I often process hundred or even thousands of files in this way so the benefits are probably greater than they would be if I was only processing for output one file at a time.

    I'm fairly sure there is a simpler way of writing this up once one is in full control of the concept and rules. I might have another go at some point although my own use tends to be well covered by the simple aspects of the application for the specific needs I have. It might be better if someone who can check exactly what does happen (and why) could document the options available. I think it is probably a lot less complicate than it appears to be.

    I'm interested to hear if you get different results Keith. That's always a possibility I would guess.

    HTH.


    Grant
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  • Keith Reeder
    Thanks for that thorough and detailed reply, Grant - much obliged.

    The help from Support was a lot more high level, and didn't go into any detail about the interaction between the various parameters available in the resizing/watermarking processes - as you say, waaaay too many possible interactions, and as I say, waaaay too (unnecessarily) complicated.

    I doubt I'd have "upgraded" to Pro if I'd realised how complicated.

    Interesting thing though: Support had suggested setting the image size in the output recipe to an arbitrary "fixed" size - this didn't work.

    And then, it did!

    Weird: it initially continued to act in its previous "broken" way, but after closing Capture One down for a while and then re-opening, sure enough, the watermark stayed constant whether or not the image was cropped.

    Having to choose an arbitrary fixed size in the output recipe that is necessarily smaller than I'm likely to crop means that I'm throwing away some of the resolution of my camera simply to accommodate what I still argue to be a broken function, so I'm still not happy.

    I'd written a detailed, well-argued - quite long = response about all of this to Support, but when I sent it, the Phase One site threw yet another freaking "Server Error 500"...

    😡 😡 😡
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  • SFA
    Hi Keith,

    I think if one is immersed in the resize/crop/watermark process on a daily basis it is probably a pretty smart system given what the background process sets out to offer. However ...

    It might be VERY useful to have an optional "idiot" mode that can be turned on and off while using the application (not a Preferences setting) that could deliver observations about which parameters are actively in play and what settings will or will not work at that moment. Something a little more expansive than is available currently.

    I think it is a little more complicated than it might be because the control parameters are across 2 tabs in the tool - we never see a snapshot of the whole toolkit in a single screen. I suppose having 2 instances of the Process Recipe tool active, one showing the Basic Tab settings and the other the Watermark settings might be a usable way around that.

    I could see the subject making a good blog entry or maybe a webinar ... but would still like to see an extended description with an interaction table of some sort in the Help documentation.

    Like you I seem to see things not working as expected and then working again. But in almost all cases I have looked into more deeply it could be associated with probable changes in one or more of the other parameters that were 'not the centre of attention at that moment'.

    Thankfully I think most of us most of the time tend to find something that works with what we usually do. Like you I have a lot of variables in crops rather than working to fixed sizes as one might in a studio setup (for example). I tend to have a few recipes that I use regularly and do the job for me 99% of the time and having stumbled into them I don't often need to create more (though it can be a puzzle when I do). Perhaps now I have looked into it more deeply I can refine the results somewhat - though I'm not sure I have much need to do so - my use of Watermarks is not really that smart at the moment and I don't know whether it would make much difference if it became smarter.

    For other people it might make a huge difference to what they do - providing that C1 is their final output processing platform.

    Grant
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  • Keith Reeder
    I've never been a fan of complexity for its own sake - and it's bad design, too.

    Every other software I've used that supports text watermarking (Lr, ADCSee Pro, Aftershot Pro, PhotoShop, PaintShop Pro - even Irfanview, for pity's sake) does it essentially the same way - you crop to your heart's content, and regardless of the crop and the size of the output, the watermark/signature appears at the size, in pixels, I've specified.

    They're all wrong and Capture One Pro is right?

    I don't think so. The Capture One way is an illogical, heinously overly-complex, unintuitive, royal pain in the gluteus maximus, and for all it's "sophistication", I still can't do what I want to do.
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  • Dovydas Gaidamavicius
    OMG I can not believe that this crap is not fixed after a few years. I just purchased CaptureOne and came from LR, everything seems fine, but just now, after editing of ~300 I came to finally export them to JPG with my watermark, guess what - in every single picture the watermark is different size! And with usage of high megapixel camera and heavy crop on some images, my watermark takes half of the image while in others it looks fine! I do not understand how can anyone use this crappy watermarking tool built into this program. Anyone can recommend fast software only for watermarking images? Since seems that this one "working as intended"..
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  • Christian Gruner
    thedovis wrote:
    OMG I can not believe that this crap is not fixed after a few years. I just purchased CaptureOne and came from LR, everything seems fine, but just now, after editing of ~300 I came to finally export them to JPG with my watermark, guess what - in every single picture the watermark is different size! And with usage of high megapixel camera and heavy crop on some images, my watermark takes half of the image while in others it looks fine! I do not understand how can anyone use this crappy watermarking tool built into this program. Anyone can recommend fast software only for watermarking images? Since seems that this one "working as intended"..


    It does work. You just have to match the recipe and watermark settings.

    So there are 2 ways to match if you are using different resolution raw images:
    1: Pixel based, chose Px in Watermark -> Size, chose a recipe with a fixed dimension on at least 1 axis (like height, long egde etc), units here should also be set to Pixels.
    2: as above, but with cm, in, mm or so set in recipe, and Points in Watermark size.

    So, if using a watermark, follow the above guidelines, and don't use the normal relative scaling options (like "Scaling")
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  • peter Frings
    Christian Gruner wrote:

    It does work. You just have to match the recipe and watermark settings.

    So there are 2 ways to match if you are using different resolution raw images:
    1: Pixel based, chose Px in Watermark -> Size, chose a recipe with a fixed dimension on at least 1 axis (like height, long egde etc), units here should also be set to Pixels.
    2: as above, but with cm, in, mm or so set in recipe, and Points in Watermark size.

    So, if using a watermark, follow the above guidelines, and don't use the normal relative scaling options (like "Scaling")



    So, I take it that the watermark is rendered using the specified scale (from the watermark tab) at the resolution from the basic tab (in this case, 300 px/in), and then superimposed on the image. Because the image is not scaled to a specific size, the size of the watermark is different on images that have a different number of pixels. However, when printed at the same output resolution (say, 300ppi), the watermarks would all have the same size. Correct?

    That makes sense.

    Still, I do believe that there ought to be a way to scale the watermark relative to the actual output size in pixels, regardless of the output resolution or actual dimensions. The watermarks will then have different sizes when printed at the same resolution, but they will appear at the same size when those cropped images are scaled later using a variable scale (e.g., in a web page).

    (speaking of dimensions, what's the difference between "Dimensions" and "Width x Height" in the "Scale" option of the "Basic" tab?)

    Cheers,
    Peter.
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