Alternatives to Capture One

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15 comments

  • Ian Wilson

    Affinity is a realistic alternative to Photoshop, for instance for retouching, panorama stitching, etc. Its "develop" persona, though, is in my opinion much more rudimentary than camera raw in Photoshop, and I think that you would be seriously disappointed in trying to use it for developing raw files, compared with Capture One. 

    Another downside is that when you work on a raw file in Affinity it will create an .afphoto file which can grow to be quite large, so there is a considerable storage issue if the space needed for your raws plus your .afphoto files for every picture is as much as double the space need for the raw alone. On the other hand with Capture One, the extra space taken up by storage of edits and previews is much more modest. (Not so if you end up taking the image on to do more work in Photoshop or Affinity, for instance, but you wouldn't always need to do that, perhaps?)

    I'm not sure what you mean by "providing you use the right format".

    I've been using Capture One for some years, since version 4.1 if I remember correctly. I'm afraid that whenever I try other apps out of curiosity, it is Capture One that I compare them to, and generally they fall short. (However I and a great fan of Affinity, but as a complement to Capture One, not as a replacement.)

    Ian

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  • Peter Edwards

    Ian

     

    Thanks for your message. I am genuinely conflicted because I really like Capture One and have invested hours, days & weeks in learning how to use it. 

    Peter

     

     

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  • Thomas Schneider

    Hi Peter,

    with the CO21 update which has angered many users and the new price increase, many users will probably think about an alternative. So also me. I feel the same as you.
    I find Capture One one of the best raw developers but the behavior of the company suggests that I should look for an alternative in the foreseeable future.

    I find DxO Photolab quite equivalent to Capture One. Partially even better for example in noise reduction. I always use both programs alternately depending on my needs. A big disadvantage of DxO is the poor catalog management. The only program that has an equally good catalog and RAW management is Adobe Lightroom, but there probably many users do not want to go back again.

    At the moment I am testing Photo Mechanics Plus with an excellent catalog management. It is extremely fast, but unfortunately has limited functionality offline. It is especially useful for very large image catalogs with sophisticated IPTC editing. Good RAW developers like Capture One and DxO are very well integrated. The price is a bit of a downer. Otherwise, I would think about connecting with Capture One and DxO, as it provides an incredibly good management.

    I'm curious if there are any other suggestions.

    Thomas

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  • Shane Baker

    Hi Thomas

    I just looked at the Photo Mechanics web site. Wow! Your describing the price as "a bit of a downer" must be the understatement of 2021 (so far). :-)

    As to Affinity Photo - I bought a Nikon Z6II a couple of weeks back and of course, C1 can't open its files. I just established that Affinity can!

    Stay safe.

     

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  • Claude CAUWE

    Z6II update for C1/21 is out in the D/L section

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  • David Mantripp

    I’ve been going around the loop of DAM and Raw development software forever. The first generic Raw developer I bought was C1 3.7, which ironically I used together with Media Pro. Tempted by a fully integrated workflow,  I bought Lightroom 1 when it came out. Soon after when Aperture 2 appeared, with a lower price and much less demand on resources, I switched to that, and stayed with it to the bitter end. It was an amazing piece of software. On the demise of Aperture, I moved back to C1 probably v7 or 8. But I fiund it quite frustrating, and eventually moved to Lr CC. I stayed there right up until Lr 10, which is an abysmal disaster, pretty much unusable on my and my other people’s setups, to the remarkable extent of freezing MacOS to the point it needs a power cycle. I don’t believe C1 had ever accomplished that. When Adobe released 10.1, they made things even worse, despite the fact they had clear warnings and evidence from Beta testers. That was the final straw for me (note, they still haven’t fixed it. Probably don’t know how to). I had maintained C1 licensing all the while, and have now switched to C1 21. In any case the (for me) killer feature of Luma curves was a strong temptation, and the Colour Editor is also superb. Not to mention layers. For my tastes, C1 allows me to get the look I want from Raw much faster and much more reliably than any other tool. And its stable, with a catalog of 80’000+ photos. I’ll never forgive them for killing MediaPro, and the pricing is extreme, but C1 is still the best tool. For me.

    I do keep an eye on other options though. DxO PL4 is indeed good, but in my opinion mostly for Deep Prime and Viewpoint. Otherwise I still find it clunky and too wrapped up in jargon. Exposure X6 is really excellent, and closely rivals C1 and Lr. Exposure’s DAM tools, which are not catalog based, are probably better than C1’s, and its Color editing is just as good. And it costs half the price. Sadly, it has no Luma curve, and the performance, at least up to X5, is a bit laggy.

    But if you’re looking for a good alternative to C1, Exposure is what I would recommend.

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  • Peter Edwards

    Thanks for the full response. Overall I think C1 remains the one to beat but the downside of a subscription model is that it reduces loyalty.

    I am inclined to give C1 v21 another spin but I will investigate the Exposure offering. I am quite happy invested in C1 but the large price hikes encourage competitors and further out investigation.

    Thank once again

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  • billtils

    Bottom line:

    I find C1v21 plus Affinity Photo to be as good as it gets - more than good enought to dump Lightroom and Photoshop after 9 months.  The only reason to look at DxO is becasue they now own and are developing the NIK suite - your choice as to whether or not it's worth the cost.

     

    Some background:

    I was one of the many refugees seeking a new home when Apple pulled the plug on Aperture.  While still using Aperture I was one of the pre-release Affinity Photo beta testers and would probably never have gone anywhere else if they had released a library module.   After exploring the free trial  versions of everything I could see, I ended up with Capture One (with Lightroom a distand second).

    About a year ago I moved to the Adobe suite (short version:  I'm active in a camera club and most of the better photographers there use LR and PS so I thought it worth looking even if just so I knew what they were talking about).  Nine months later, greatly regretted that action and delighted to move back to C1 (after they released the more realistically priced Nikon version).   The raw conversion is super, the library does all I want, and edits beyond what C1 can do (or do well enough) are more than catered for by AP and at least as well as anything I could do with the Adobe stuff.

    In the interim I tried most of the rest including DxO PhotoLab because of it's supposed superiorty in noise reduction - it's good but no better than the NIK option (ironically now part of the DxO empire).

     

     

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  • Peter Edwards

    Thanks

    Ofter a lot of thinking (overthinking?) I am in the C1 v21 camp with Affinity Photo. I am using DXO for the Silver Efex Pro 2 but I am not totally convinced it adds a great deal.

    Peter

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  • billtils

    Peter

    You are probably correct on DxO/NIK.  I used SilverEfex Pro, Color Efex Pro, and Dfine a lot in the original free version which sort of hooked me into buying the DxO offering but hardly use them now and certainly am not at all impressed with their Perspective Efex.

    Bill

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  • don maclean

    I have see good reports about MyLio, even though it has limited editing functions the DAM seems to be good as it is multi platform. I believe there is a free version for up to 25000 images.

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  • Simon Knight

    Hi,

    Like many others I have used many different softwares over the years to manage my ever growing collection of digital images.  I started with iView MediaPro which was excellent and then took the common route through Aperture then Lightroom then Capture One.  I loved image editing in Capture One but the database is a disaster and proved incapable of tracking my 90,000 or so image files on a MacBookPro late 2013  i7 with GPU and 16Gbytes. So I moved.

    At the moment I track my images using an application called NeoFinder which is both cheap and powerful.  I edit using DxO PL4 which saves its edits to sidecar files that are saved alongside the original raw.  When I have an edit I want to save and reference later I save a low resolution jpeg with the same name as the original plus a suffix -prefixn.  After an edit session I have NeoFinder rescan the folders which means that it will import the preview jpegs into its database.  The previews are assigned the same keywords as the original so are captured by the same key word searches.  When I wish to edit the file I just select the raw file and use open with to open it back into DxO which will display all the variants.  Its clunky but it works and NeoFinder is a really good database.  I tried using Capture One as just a raw editor but it needs a database or a session to store edits/variants/virtual copies in and proved to difficult.

    From my point of view a functioning database is as important as the raw editing tools.  I should add that I went to some effort to restructure how I store my images on my hard drive so that I never have to run a flawed import from ???? type command moving between tools. 

    I have not looked at Exposure or the new version of Photo Mechanic but will do having read this thread.

    Stay safe.

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  • CSP

    https://affinity.serif.com/en-gb/supporting-the-creative-community/

    get 50% off on affinity photo sounds much nicer than the price rollercoaster capture one thinks is the way to deal with customers in a pandemic...

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  • Simon Knight

    To complete my post from above I have had quick looks at both Exposure X6 and PhotoMechanicPlus.  I only read about PhotoMechanicPlus because it is far to expensive for me given my requirements.  It looks good but they do not explain how you move the results of searches to your raw editor of choice.  Also I have no idea if deleting an image will also remove any sidecar files associated with the raw file.

    Exposure X6 shows promise but the file handling / management is not that good.  I did download a trial version and moved some folders by accident because the scroll bar was on the left of the pane and almost invisible.  If does read keywords stored in Adobe xmp files but it only seems to scan these files when the images are displayed in the viewer.  I nominated my top level folder as a "Bookmarked Folder" expecting the software to scan all the sub-folders but this did not happen and as I have several hundred sub folders I do not feel like selecting them one by one.  It shows promise but is no better than my present set up.

     

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  • Simon Knight

    Update on my use of Exposure.  I have been in contact with Exposure X6 support and followed some very detailed instructions that they sent me which greatly improved how the software operates on my late 2013 machine. 

    Image file management is operating system folder based but the app does allow smart searches to be created and saved based on a number of parameters such as keywords.  I suspect that the feel of Exposure X6 will depend on where the images are stored along with the speed of the drive and the connection.  I would say that Exposure X6  is well worth a test if you are interested in decoupling your images from a proprietary database such as Lightroom or Capture One.

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