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Capture One Pro 7 mini-review – does it worth to upgrade

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!

 

Engine switch

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!

Capture One 6 to 7 upgrade button

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.

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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.

Shadows and highlights correction in capture One Pro 7

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

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.

Clarity tool in Capture One Pro 7

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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.

 

Local Adjustments

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 gradient filter with a few clicks – very useful in landscape photography.

 

Noise Reduction

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.

Capture One Pro 7 noise reduction

 

Other changes

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.

 

Conclusion

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.

 

Disclaimer

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.

 

Sample

Here is an image that reveals the power of Capture One Pro 7 with high contrast or under-exposed photos.

Image editing with Capture One Pro 7

 

Does it worth to upgrade

Absolutely YES!

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