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Capture One after years of Lightroom

I’m currently experimenting with the trial version of Capture One Pro 10 because of Adobe’s announcement to make Lightroom only available through subscription. It’s not the subscription per se that holds me back from continuing with Lightroom. After all, cost per month won’t be much lower with Capture One, regarding the relatively high price of the stand-alone version and upgrades. It’s more the idea that Adobe wants my photos on their servers (there are too many speed and bandwidth constraints at the moment) and, more importantly, that I lose access to my edits if I cancel my subscription. Moreover, going for Lightroom CC Classic (to retain a complete editing toolbox and local file management) doesn’t exactly make me confident about the future.

Although the user interface takes some getting used to, I’m amazed by Capture One’s output quality. It renders so much more detail from my Fuji RAF (RAW) files than Lightroom, and I don’t think this is only because of its “juiced-up” default settings, as has been suggested elsewhere. Take the images below. The first is a quick edit of an X-Pro2 RAF file in Capture One (still learning). The second is an edit of the same RAF file in Lightroom 6 (stand-alone version). Just look at the details around the right eye. Also the skin tones in Capture One look much more natural. My attempts to get comparable results with Lightroom were of no avail.

Capture One Pro 10 (trial version)

Capture One Pro 10 (trial version).

Adobe Lightroom 6 (stand-alone version)

Adobe Lightroom 6 (stand-alone version).

Given Adobe’s forced subscription approach and Capture One’s obvious output quality benefit, I’m inclined to say goodbye to Lightroom. I have never fallen in love with it anyway (pointless module-based interface, unimpressive output quality). I just considered it as the only viable alternative to Aperture, which was heartlessly abandoned by Apple some years ago. Adobe’s decision may just turn out well for many of us, especially if you are a Fuji shooter. Now I just hope that the subscription-only virus is not all too contagious.

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