I never really understand why people have such negative attitudes about developments and technology that are designed to help them. That’s why I was mystified at the mixed response this week to the release of Capture One Pro v7.0.2, which included preliminary support for the X-Pro1 and X-E1. I had tested it over a couple of weeks and was keen to give it a run out. It finally gives people the level of controllability of fuji RAW files that they were looking, nay baying, for.
However many self appointed experts decided to rubbish the output from Capture One (C1), claiming it creates artefacts on photos, doesn’t remedy the colour bleeds and mush that vegetation can become in Adobe Camera Raw and Lightroom. Others turned up to say it doesn’t match or only really matches the level of detail in the OOC jpegs which rather ignores the flexibility of a RAW Processor. Most disappointingly of all, some generally reliable commentators and websites seem to have jumped on this noise and pointed fingers at Fuji and Phase One in this regard, notably DPR (DPR) with a flawed RAW processing test and David Taylor-Hughes on his SoundImagesPlus blog (SoundImagesPlus).
I can only say to the likes of David, try downloading a C1 trial… 😉
In any event, they are wrong. Capture One is great for Fuji X-trans RAW conversions.
I could bang on and on and on about how good C1 is but I will limit myself to posting a couple of comparisons (to which I will add over time). I’ll begin with OOC jpegs to output from C1 (with a view to adding some from LR by way of comparison later). By way of warning, in colour, I like punchy output verging on the over saturated and over sharpened… It’s also worth noting I’m not interested in being fair to the OOC jpegs and I intend to post process each of these examples as much as I can get away with. To me there isn’t much point to a RAW conversion UNLESS you can enhance the image quality far beyond that of the OOC jpeg. Note that the full size files should be available by clicking on the versions on this blog post. I strongly recommend you click through and enlarge the full versions as differences aren’t fully visible on these web/blog embedded versions.
Example 1 – OOC Jpeg is first, C1 output second, LR is third.
Example 2 – OOC Jpeg is first, C1 output second, LR output third. Note that with this one the original shot was underexposed by way of an over adjustment of exposure compensation by me (-1.67) to compensate for high dynamic range which seemed beyond the DR recovery function of the camera. To give a fairer comparison I reprocessed the OOC jpeg in camera to pump up the exposure by +1:
Example 3 – OOC Jpeg is first, C1 output second, LR third. Note that with this one the original shot was underexposed as above for example 3 and to give a fairer comparison I reprocessed the OOC jpeg in camera to pump up the exposure by +1:
Example 4 – OOC Jpeg is first, C1 output second, LR is third.
It’s worth making a couple of points though. The shadow recovery in C1 isn’t quite as good as LR. It’s better than Aperture, but it isn’t as good as LR/ACR. It pulls out phenomenal levels of detail but the flipside of that is a possibility of generating artefacts and moire (worse than the OOC jpegs). With respect to the artefacts, these can be removed by reducing the “Detail” slider under “Advanced Noise Reduction”. I’ve been pretty happy with the ability of the local adjustments tool to rectify moire too (although it does need some fine tuning to achieve the best results).
All of those aside though, the results are (to my eye) simply beautiful and much better than the likes of ACR, Silkypix and RPP can manage. To finish up, here is the DPR test shot as reprocessed by me in C1.
I don’t claim this is perfect (it’s certainly oversharpened), but it does demonstrate that a default settings conversion creates a misleading impression…
Now (for comparison) here is the same image processed by LR. All of LR’s issues with the x-trans sensor are brutally exposed in this picture (look at the tree behind the yellow sign).
Update 29 January. I happened to come across an article by Lloyd Chambers on his “digilloyd” blog/website. It purports to be a report of testing C1 7.0.2 with results no different from LR: Phase One Capture One Pro with Fuji X Raw (ARW) Files? How well does it work?
I can’t say much more than say I consider the “report” to be incorrect and question both the results and technique. I note he publishes no pictures to back up his claims. As I noted above, artefacts can be created in capture one processing of shots with high dynamic range. They can also be removed easily as well, either by toning down the DR sliders or reducing the detail slider. If he publishes some RAW files for comparison I would be delighted to demonstrate my own results with C1 on such files.
Updates to follow