Phase One Capture One Pro 9 £250/$300 (currency conversions – €279)
Stunning but expensive Lightroom-beater
Danish company Phase One also makes high-end medium format cameras – and this attention to professional image quality runs through its software. Capture One Pro has traditionally been used as a tethered shooting tool for studio photographers for controlling cameras remotely and making image adjustments and selections during the shoot.
The software supports RAW files from Nikons and works as a regular RAW conversion and image editing tool for JPEGs, too. Its image cataloguing database and some powerful localised adjustment tools makes it a very close rival to Adobe Lightroom.
Version 9.3 brings a new processing engine, adjustment tools, improved image rescaling and an airbrush localised adjustment mode. These join the powerful global adjustment tools that include automatic lens corrections via lens profiles, in-built perspective correction tools and powerful tone and colour controls.
Capture One’s RAW conversion quality is a step above Adobe Camera Raw’s, with a better combination of sharpness and low noise. It delivers pictures with a vivid intensity that you often have to work for in other programs, and its ability to render fine detail is exceptional. Its tab-based adjustment workflow, though it seems complicated initially, is efficient, logical and easily customised, so that if you find yourself using just a handful of tools you can add these to a single tab and hide the rest.
The layers-based localised adjustments are as powerful as Lightroom’s and easier to manage. Capture One doesn’t have pixel-based editing tools, but it can use Photoshop or any other application as an external photo editor. It doesn’t support plug-ins, however.
Platform: PC and Mac Requirements: Windows 7 or later, Mac OS X 10.10.5 or later, 8GB RAM, 10GB hard disk space Browsing: Yes Cataloguing: Yes RA W processing: Yes Lens corrections: Yes Localised adjustments: Yes Layers and masks: No Preset effects: Yes Plug-ins: No
Features Ease of use: Performance Value for money
Very expensive, but stunning – we’d give it more than 5 stars for quality if we could.