I’ve been growing more and more frustrated with Lightroom lately. It’s slower than the paycheck when your rent is late, there’s an update every couple of days but in the last year or so it’s just getting slower and clunkier, and I’m tired of having to go through shortcuts (e.g. the smart preview trick) for it to perform (sort of) decently. So, after many years of “I’ll check it out tomorrow”, I gave Capture One a thorough try, considering that in autumn 2018 they announcend a new version in which they collaborated with Fuji. And… I’m impressed. So much that after one day I knew I was done with Lightroom. Many reasons, the main ones are the followings:
It’s fast. Yes. Out of the box, no magic dust needed. Importing, viewing, editing, exporting. F-A-S-T. (even on my 5 years old pc)
It’s 99.99% customizable. OMG. (which by the way makes it even faster) You can arrange your workspace to your liking, and choose your keyboard shortcuts for everything. Well, almost: the only problem that I can think of is that there is no shortcut for BW conversions. On top of that, it looks way more sleeker and professional than Lightroom.
IQ is better, shadow and highlight recovery and color editing are galaxies ahead of Lightroom. My Canon 6d’s files look better, but my Fuji’s X-Trans raws are just… wow. Almost like buying a new camera. The folks at Phase One recently partnered with Fuji (you can even buy a Fuji-only version of C1, I bought the full version as I use Canon as well), and it shows. No artifacts even in the most stupid shootings conditions, japanese-knife sharpness, spectacular tonality. The files just look… thicker, if you follow me. Oh, and good riddance to the crucifyiing LR/X-Trans slowness. Superb output, no doubt. On top of that, every slider is much more gradual and subtle, (a +3/100 change looks like a +3, unlike LR where between +10 and +15 there’s hardly any difference, but between +15 and +20 there might (might) be a life and death change, or no change at all). Unfortunately, they don’t offer film simulation for Fuji X-Trans I & II cameras (e.g. the X100T, the F is fine). Funny thing, you can apply the new “Eterna” simulation to X100F raws, even if the camera doesn’t have it.
While Adobe forces on you the subscribtion plan (which leaves you with nothing the moment you quit them), you can buy a C1 full license and not be a slave of them. You know what? I made the math of how much money I gave to Adobe in years of 12,19€/month, and it’s a lot. We should part ways with me having at least the possibility to open old catalogs, but I leave empty handed. I have licenses for old versions of LR and PS, and that’s all. There has to be a reason if their products are the World Most Cracked right? Right. I paid 350€ for my C1 Pro12 license. Their subscription is more expensive than Adobe’s (which makes sense since their product is superior), but the point is, I want a license. If I don’t buy cameras that are not included in C1 12, I’ll be good with that. If I wanna update to a new version when it comes out, I don’t have to pay the full 350€ again, only (if they keep update prices similar to their past ones) around 150€. Which if you do the math, it’s less that what you’d pay in constantly keeping the subscription mode. Anyway, I’m not sure whether prices change according to your location, so you might wanna check them out yourself. You can download a (full) 30 days free trial, so give it a try. Just don’t try to make it look and function as if it were Lightroom, which kinds of defeats the point to me. It is better dammit. Trust it.
Oh, another PS. Just out of curiosity and given its low price (29,99$), I tried Iridient Transformer for Fuji raf files. it doesn’t replace Lightroom, it converts your Raf files into Dng ones, and it does a better job at demosaicing them. Basically, you add one step at the beginning of your workflow. Downsides:
Dngs are heavier (roughly 55-70mb) (and you’ll probably keep the Rafs as well)
it complicates your worflow
I can see some slight advantages in some pictures (especially with trees and foliage), but negligible 99% of the time. I haven’t printed any picture from a DNG, but I guess the difference would be even less noticeable. And…
… Iridient’s DNG files are noisier (yes, I checked my settings) ( I even bought this Thomas Fitzgerald ebook, which for 4€ I recommend if you’re interested in Iridient)
it’s very slow. LR edits Dngs a bit faster than it does with Rafs, but the little time you save in editing you lose it in creating the dngs
So to me, it’s a no-go. You take the World Slowest Software, Lightroom, and you drag it down even more, complicating your workflow with dubious results. It might make sense if you have a particular image where you see weird stuff happening and you wanna try to correct it. But, but… Do yourself a favor and try Capture One. Or stick with Lightroom.
Another, maybe last, PS. I wanted to cancel my Adobe CC subscrition, and when I clicked on “cancel”, the following screenshot appeared.
It’s in Italian, but it goes pretty much like this: “Please don’t leave, here for you 2 months for free if you stick with us please please please”. Translation: you gave us so much money we don’t really care about losing two months. Or better: we’re asking you more money than we should, that’s why we can give you free months as soon as we see you might wanna leave. Since my annual subscription ends in october and when you leave you have to pay half of what’s left to pay before the automatic renewal, I took the offer, gained two months, and paid less to leave (I’ve just canceled the subscription, and in two months I’ll be done) Here’s my advice; if you: a) Wanna stick to Adobe but sure wouldn’t mind two free months b) Wanna change to something else and pay a bit less to switch Just click on “Cancel subscription”, and see if they propose the same thing they proposed me. I don’t garantee it, but it might work. Anyway, that’s all folks.
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