- 13 portraits in less than 10 minutes
- Shooting with Diana
- Kukerlandia 2013 masquerade festival
- Capture One Pro 7 mini-review – does it worth to upgrade
- Free 2013 calendar template
- Dimana – fashion shoot in town
- Black and White nature photos
- Free wallpapers 1920×1200 HD
- Some fashion and glamour portraits with Dimana
- Color issue: Leaf Capture vs. Capture One Pro
- Free web Christmas card templates
- Free 2012 calendar template
Category Archives: Computers and Software
Capture One Pro 7 by Phase One has been recently issued. I am testing the trial version for two days now and I found some very nice improvements.
In the beginning I want to declare that I won’t make here a complete review of Capture One Pro 7, nor have I tested it so deeply to be able to do a detailed review. I will just share my opinion on how good (or maybe bad :D ) is the new version.
So, let’s start!
The first thing to notice is that there is absolutely no difference with your old images, when you open them in the 7-th version. Confusing? Well, it is. You have to go to the Color tab of the editing tools, then take a look at the Base Characteristics tool. You’ll see a notice at the bottom, stating that you’re using the engine of Capture One 6. (This statement will appear for every image you have imported in C1-6.) Next to this you’ll see a button with “Upgrade” label as seen in the image below. When you hit it, you switch to the new engine of Capture One 7. Beware, you cannot go back from 7 to 6!
If you have made some corrections on the selected image and especially Exposure, High Dynamic Range and Clarity, you’ll notice a big difference. If you have not made changes on any settings, you’ll not see any difference. Both engines produce almost the same output with settings at default. I say “almost”, because I saw some difference in noise suppression only. There may be others I haven’t noticed.
Shadows and Highlights
One of the most important changes (for me) is how Shadows and Highlights sliders in the High Dynamic Range tool work. I see here a big improvement. The tool is working so precisely that you easily achieve an almost HDR effect directly from your RAW file. Here is an example with a portrait: The left frame is always the non-corrected version and then you can see the difference between the engines of 6th and 7th version of Capture One Pro with only Highlight correction and Highlights and Shadows correction.
The big difference using the High Dynamic Range tools comes with high contrast scenes.
This cave is a good example on how good the new tool works in comparison with the 6th version.
As you can see, details from highlight and shadow areas are well recovered, but the image from v7 lacks this nasty flat HDR look from the version 6 image.
Clarity is the other evaluated tool in Capture One Pro. There are now two modes of clarity: Neutral and Punch. None of them works the same as with version 6. Both produce better results IMHO.
EDIT (February 16, 2013): The current version has now 3 Clarity modes – Classic, Neutral and Punch. I like how Classic mode works, very nice addition!
Additionally, there is a new Structure slider with the Clarity tool. I don’t know how it works exactly, but I like it. It’s some kind of High Pass sharpening I guess and it is useful in some cases.
Let’s see what’s happening with a portrait when adding Clarity.
Not a big difference here. C1-7 produces stronger effect with the same settings. C1-6 used to produce nasty hallows with high settings (above 25). This seem to be corrected in the new version of Capture One Pro.
Finally! In local adjustments there is now a Gradient tool in addition of the Brush tool. You can now easily create the effect of a neutral density filter with a few clicks – very useful in landscape photography.
The new noise reduction engine really does the job. Now C1 is a real successor of Lightroom and ACR. There is much less chromatic noise at default settings and the produced grain is pleasant and film-like.
Using Capture One Pro 7 you will notice that sliders work differently – a little movement of a slider makes big impact on the image. For example, Contrast +5 is less in v6 than in v7.
The short answer of the question in the title is YES. The upgrade is definitely worth the money (only €69 in Europe excl. VAT). I will upgrade, for sure. You should too.
I shoot with Nikon cameras and I made this “test” with RAW files from my D3x. With other brands and models this could be different.
Here is an image that reveals the power of Capture One Pro 7 with high contrast or under-exposed photos.
Today I found in my computer an old (in fact not so old) folder with photo wallpaper backgrounds I’ve made when I’ve got my first Mac computer – a 17″ MacBookPro with screen resolution of 1920×1200. I’ve been using these wallpapers lately when I got a 21.5″ iMac, which was 1920×1080.
So, I decided to share these wallpapers with my site visitors. Many of today’s computers are using displays with screen resolution of 1920×1200, so I hope a lot of people will enjoy these pictures.
WHAT YOU CAN DO WITH THESE WALLPAPERS
You can use these wallpapers on your home or company computer, personal use only.
You can freely distribute the wallpapers, while noting my name and website.
Back-links to this page are highly appreciated.
WHAT YOU CANNOT DO WITH THESE WALLPAPERS
You cannot use these pictures for any other purpose than desktop backgrounds.
You have not the right to change/modify the files in any way.
You cannot sell or rent these wallpapers.
Almost an year passed from the first “universal” Hasselblad Phocus release that was able to open third-party RAW files… I have an earlier article related to Phocus, located here.
Today I downloaded the new 2.5.5 version and noticed that a very little to nothing has changed…
I shoot with a Nikon, and was very happy when Hasselblad announced the ability of Phocus to open NEF files. I was very disappointed when I realized that with NEF files I can’t make some essential corrections: Recovery, Shadow fill, Clarity, Noise filter and Lens corrections. While I can live without some of these, I find the Lens correction to be very important, especially when I shoot with wide angle lens.
I often use a Nikkor 14-24/2.8 lens and it’s amazingly sharp, but at some aperture settings, very strong amount of chromatic aberrations appear, and these need to be corrected to obtain a high quality image. This, unfortunately, can’t be done with Phocus, and this fact is the main reason for me to prefer any other converter, that has the ability to correct chromatic aberration. (I own a licensed copy of Capture One, I love it and I use it for serious work.)
Here is an image, shot with Nikon D3x and Nikkor 14-24/2.8 lens, this is the whole frame:
And here are two 100% crops from the top-left corner of the above image, processed with Phocus 2.5.5 and Capture One 5.2:
The difference is clearly visible. While Phocus can’t remove chromatic aberrations from NEF files, Capture One has done a pretty good job on this.
I expected that after an year from the Phocus 2.5 announcement, some of the hidden corrections should be revealed, at least the lens corrections tool. This was not done till today’s 2.5.5 revision. Hope it will be done in the near future.
I have installed CaptureOne 6 right after it was available for download.
The new version of the best (in my opinion) RAW converter has many new exciting features, such as masking and local adjustments, new perspective correction tools, new style presets, black-and-white conversion panel and some other…
Well, this sounds very good, but after playing a couple of hour with CapturOne 6, I decided to continue using the old 5.2 version. And here is why:
First to mention: I use an iMac with Intel processor and Snow Leopard, with attached secondary NEC MultiSync 2690WUXi2 display. I use a WACOOM tablet too.
The new version of CaptureOne is designed to be a true 64bit application and to use the graphic card processor to speed-up the rendering processes. But when I work on my second display (which is in fact the main), the adjustment sliders behave very strange: when I select and drag a slider, I see no change on the image – I see the change after I deselect the slider. This is very frustrating and absolutely annoying, and I find I just can’t work this way.
Another strange bug: when I use the tablet, I can’t select some of the instruments, such as Crop, Hand and Straighten. I have to switch to the mouse to be able to use these instruments.
After noticed these bugs, I immediately switched back to the smoothly running 5.2 version – it works with no flaws with the second display and the tablet.
I hope the next version 6.1 will be corrected and I will spend these 69 Euros to upgrade :-)
PS: There is 5.2.1 version, but it also contain a posterization bug with files from Nikon D3x, so I still use 5.2.
Capture One PRO 5.2 just came out and is available for download as trial for new users or update for owners of previous version.
The press-release says that:
“Capture One’s tailor-made Nikon camera profiles are renowned for providing ultimate image quality for Nikon’s top DSLR cameras. The new release improves colors, tone response and consistency for the following Nikon cameras: D3s, D3x, D3, D2x, D700, D300, D300s, and D90.”
I’ve made a quick comparison of the new and the old profiles and here is the result:
ATTENTION: The image is tagged with AbobeRGB profile, so to view the correct colors, it’s better to download the image and open it in Photoshop. Some browsers, including IE do not have color management and will not display correctly photos with profile other than sRGB!
The photo is taken with Nikon D3x camera and PC Nikkor 85/2.8D lens. There are no any other corrections in Capture One than only changing the color profile and the curve preset.
There is also a new “Portrait” curve added for better colors and halftone transitions on human skin.
Well, I have a new iMac 20.5″ for a couple of weeks. It’s an amazing machine – fast, silent and extremely compact.
When I decided to go for an iMac, I was very suspicious about it’s display capabilities. When I powered-up the machine for the first time, I was surprised with the good display. (Good, but not even close to my NEC 2690Uxi2. The NEC 2690 is a wide gammut display, capable of displaying the whole large AdobeRGB space and a little bit over it.)
So what about the iMac display?
Well, at its factory setting, the display of the iMac has very dark blacks an because of this it can’t be used for any serious work without recalibration. How do I judge this? I have a self-made calibration chart, that I often use for quick evaluation about the qualities of display of my friends and clients. The chart has 5 levels of the darkest and the lightest grey tones, that should be visible on a calibrated monitor. If you do not see all 5 dark and light circles and squares, you monitor needs a calibration for sure. (Click the picture for full size!) Depending on your display manufacturer, model, technology etc., you display could or could not be calibrated successfully.
Please, do not use this chart outside Photoshop – this can be misleading, as it is very possible that other software you use may not have proper color management, especially on a Windows system. For example, even the latest version of Internet Explorer has no color management.
I have an i1 Dispaly2 calibration device, so I calibrated my iMac as soon as it was possible And what a nice surprise: the display turned very balanced, with good color and almost perfect rendition of the dark and light tones. Very useful for my everyday graphics and photo editing work.
On Mac, you have the ColorSync utility, that can display graphic chart of a color profile. So I decided to compare the profile I’ve made with the i1 calibrator and the factory profile against the sRGB profile, which is the minimum required from a display for graphic and photography editing work. And here they are:
The sRGB profile:
The default (factory calibration) profile of the 20.5″ iMac (2010)
The profile, made with the i1 Display2 calibration device
It’s not very hard to see that both display profiles are larger than sRGB.
To make it easier to see the difference between the three profiles, I placed both display profiles over the sRGB profile. The largest is always the display profile.
The factory profile compared against sRGB:
The profile, made with the i1 calibration device against sRGB:
The display of the iMac 20.5″ 2010 is completely usable even for demanding users, especially for those that don’t use AdobeRGB or any other color space larger than sRGB. The display is capable of displaying larger color space than sRGB, but after calibration, a very small clipping of the green tones occur. The factory display profiles clips a very tiny part of the Red tones from the sRGB color space.
The factory display profile is not good. It darkens the blacks and if you work with this display profile, you will obtain in fact lighter tones than those you see on the monitor. Calibrate your iMac as soon as possible to be sure you get most of it’s IPS display panel technology.
If sRGB is not enough for you, just buy a good wide-gammut monitor and connect it to your iMac trough the mini-display port – you will have a nice dual-monitor system, a pleasure to work on.
Quick comparison of 3 top raw converters – CaptureOne Pro, Phocus 2.5 (Mac) and Nikon Capture NX.
Well, it’s not a real test, but a quick side-by-side comparison of the same NEF file, converted with every one of these top-level pro converters.
I wanted to test the ability of the software to extract maximum detail in highlights and shadows with a regular ISO400 file. High ISO noise reduction is not essential for me, as I shoot mainly at ISO100, but controlling the noise is an ability that many photographers do need.
For the conversion I used a 17″ MacBookPro laptop, attached to a hardware-calibrated NEC2690WUXi2 monitor. My main machine now is a powerful PC, but the new Phocus 2.5 exist only for Mac, so I used my laptop to do the test.
The file is a 14-bit NEF from a Nikon D3x with a EF-S 300/4 lens, shot hand-held at ISO400, f5 and 1/1250 sec..
I have a licensed copy or C1Pro that allows me to install it on two computers, so I have it installed on both a Mac and a PC. It works well on both platforms, but has some bugs on PC and works significantly faster on the Mac, no matter that my Mac is a 2.5GHz C2D laptop , while the PC is a powerful 3.6GHz C2D with a fast RAID0. The RAM on both systems is 4Gb, but while the PC runs with a 32-bit Windows XP, it uses only 3Gb of all 4.
This is a very powerful software with lots of options and controls. You can do everything that can be done with a converter and obtain a ready-to-use high quality photo without having to use Photoshop or other photo editing software.
Pros: lots of controls, very convenient interface, works very fast for such a feature-rich software, very powerful tools to work with batches, opens files from a large range of manufacturers
Cons: expensive ($399.00 US at this moment)
I downloaded Phocus 2.5 from the Hasselblad site and I was very excited about the opportunity to convert NEF files, as I have some experience with previous versions of this powerful software and Hasselblad H3D files and I know how good this software is. It was a big disappointment when I realized that some of the main functions do not work with NEFs and other third-party files – these are the Shadow and highlight corrections, Lens correction and Noise reduction options.
The file I used for this comparison was shot with Nikkor 300/4 lens and has no big problems wit chromatic aberrations and distortion, so especially in this conversion the missing options were not a problem. But if you work with some wide angle and/or zoom lenses, correcting aberrations and distortion is always preferable.
Pros: absolutely free (USD 0.00), works very fast on Mac – fastest from all 3 converters
Cons: missing essential controls
I use an evaluation version of the latest CaptureNX from Nikon. I still doubt about buying it, because it shows very controversial results. Sometimes it makes wonders, but sometimes I just can’t obtain an acceptable result and all this is very strange for me. It seems that CaptureNX makes lots of works in the background and I have no options to control this.
The main benefit of using this software is that lens distortions and aberrations are corrected automatically and you do not worry for these at all. Color is good, but a little over-saturated. The white balance controls are a crap – color temperature can be set with accuracy of 1K, but the Tint slider is a nonsense – if I move the slider with 1 point to the left or to the right, this makes a dramatic change in color. Because of this, the Tint control is completely useless! The noise is controlled generally very well, but the fine detail is often sacrificed on behalf of the smooth picture – something that is very impressive for amateurs but I do not like at all.
CaptureNX works EXTREMELY slow on both Mac and PC. Yes, it works faster on Mac, but still much slower than CaptureOne Pro and Phocus. And this is the main reason I prefer CaptureOne Pro.
The controls are many, but I find the big part of them completely useless and confusing. There are duplicate controls for sharpness, contrast and so on, while some essential tools are hidden. When I open a new file, all the controls are reset and hidden. This is no good when working with many files, as I have to do the same clicks again and again with every new file.
The most confusing thing with this software is that it is paid ($179.00 US for online purchase, and more expensive for a CD package) even for the users of PRO bodies like D300, D700, D3(s) and D3x. All other manufacturers offer their own software for free, but Nikon does not.
Pros: very good automatic correction of aberrations and distortion, good control over noise at high ISO settings
Cons: very slow, perplexed interface, working with series is a pain, controversial results
In practice – the results
Here are the three frames. As you can see, there is a significant difference in colors and contrast, as I used the default settings for all converters. Only the color temperature was set manually at around 4500K. Some other adjustments were made in CaptureNX to achieve acceptable result. My goal was to fill-in the histogram, so the tonal range is from black to white. The settings for every converter are mentioned bellow the photos.
And here are 100% crops:
The center of the frame, with the white house, to show how the converters handle highlight and fine detail, and the bottom-right corner to show detail, contrast and color rendition in dark areas.
It’s better that everyone makes its own conclusion if it’s possible with this type of very basic comparison.
My thoughts (based on some time of using these converters, not only on this particular image):
CaptureOnePro – Good result straight from the camera. The rich multitude of controls allows to tune-up the picture according to your needs and achieve almost perfect result. Very good detail in light and dark areas. Light areas a little blown-out because of the high contrast by default, but this can be easily corrected via a slider for highlight recovery (not done here).
Phocus 2.5 – Despite it’s limited functionality with non-Hasselblad files, Phocus is a good alternative to the paid converters. The results are very good to perfect, especially with good quality lenses that do not need correcting aberrations and distortion. The colors in shadow areas are very good, but there is some little posterization, the same I see in files converted with Adobe ACR/Lightroom, but it is not an issue if you do not need to print at very large sizes. The highlights a little washed, but not too much – can be corrected by a little exposure correction. The colors are very natural and pleasing, as they are with native Hasselblad files. The overall quality is very good, especially if you have in mind that you pay nothing for this software. I really hope that Hasselblad will make future version full-functional.
Nikon CaptureNX – Not as good as I expected, but a must-have since sometimes files, processed with it are much better than the ones converted with other software. The shadow areas are with very good micro-contrast, but there is some lost of color in these areas. The highlights are well controlled. The price of $179 is not an issue, but it is strange that Nikon does not provide this software free of charge as other manufacturers do.
The new version of CaptureOne Pro is here – 5.1.
It has many improvements and some brand new features.
This is what the Release Notes said:
• New spot type ideal for removing imperfections in images.
• New advanced noise reduction tool.
• Multiline fields the metadata tool.
• New metadata fields including GPS information in the metadata tool.
• New advanced recipe options controlling what metadata are included in processed files.
• New preference determining how to handle conflicting metadata during load.
• New inverse color slice feature in the color editor.
• New preference to disable JPEG/TIFF editing.
• New auto and style selector items for the toolbar.
• New size options for the focus and process recipes tool.
• Aspect ratios available directly from the crop cursor tool.
• New welcome screen.
• New option for naming without appending numbers.
• Customizable toolbar on Windows (already on Mac).
• New Auto Pause option to determine how auto selection of images works during capture.
• New Importer option for setting when to select import folder or to notify upon completion.
• Capture One gains basic color editor, clarity tool, full metadata editing and predefined
• Workspaces now including the toolbar configuration.
• Clarity tool now allowing negative clarity values useful for portrait work.
• Streamlined Edit All Selected replaces old Edit Primary feature.
• Sorting now including sort by process state and smarter sorting by name.
• Better performance when selecting a recent folder and doing freehand rotation of images.
• Generally improved interactive speed.
• Fixed issue with tethered capture on 64-bit versions of Windows if the computer has 4GB or
more installed memory.
• Improved colors for Phase One P65+ and P40+.
• EIP support for all supported RAW files types.
• A number of other enhancements and bug fixes.
Additional camera tethered support:
• Leaf Aptus II 10, Aptus II 7, Aptus II 6, Aptus II 5 (all preliminary on Windows)
• Leaf Afi II 10, Afi II 7, Afi II 6 (all preliminary on Windows)
• Leaf Aptus 75S, Aptus 65S, Aptus 54S (all preliminary on Windows)
• Leaf Afi 7, Afi 6, Afi 5 (all preliminary on Windows)
• Leaf Aptus 75, Aptus 65, Aptus 22, Aptus 17 (all preliminary on Windows)
• Canon 1D Mark IV, 7D
• Nikon D3s
Additional camera file support:
• Leaf Aptus II 8 (preliminary)
• Leaf Aptus 75S, Aptus 65S, Aptus 54S
• Leaf Afi 7, Afi 6, Afi 5
• Leaf Aptus 75, Aptus 65, Aptus 22, Aptus 17
• Canon 1D Mark IV
• Nikon D3s
• Sony Alpha DSLR-A500, DSLR-A550
You can learn more about the new release at: http://www.phaseone.com/5
I was a Windows user for a decade and some more years. Last year I discovered the world of Mac. I have a MacBookPro 17″ laptop and after some months of usage I think I’ll never go buying a PC again…
Why? Because PC always tend to fall down, the operating system is a mess and needs very much of attention and maintenance to work. My Adobe CS4 programs run flawlessly on the Mac and on Win they always have small, but very annoying faults, that are cutting my nerves every single day. For example, a simple transform action very often causes Photoshop to freeze and stop responding. I need to shut it down through the Task Manager and I loose any unsaved information.
Things go further with CaptureOne Pro – a very nice and capable software, but it has been written mainly for Mac and has limited functionality on Windows – for example, I can’t delete folders. And many more… Bug on WinXP: If I move to another folder more than 1 image, I always receive an error message and the last of the selected photos won’t go to the new folder. If I retry, C1 tells me that “The destination folder already contains a file named bla-bla-bla”. I replace it and it’s OK, but this is ridiculous! This never happens on the Mac – programs run as flawlessly as you can expect it to be on a Mac.
The only software that runs better on Windows is Canon’s DPP (Digital Photo Professional) – it generates photos’ thumbs slower on the Mac than on the PC.
Have I told that a 2.5Ghz Core2Duo MacBook Pro with 4Gb of RAM and SnowLeopard runs faster with many photography and graphics software than a workstation PC with 3.2Ghz C2D, 4Gb RAM and XP SP3…