Posted on Dec 8th, 2020
Updated on Dec 14th, 2020
Capture One Pro 21, new features to improve the daily workflow
I’ve had the opportunity to try out the Beta version of Capture One Pro 21 over the past month. So the question may arise: what’s new in Capture One Pro 21?
So let’s check out what are the main features that have been introduced.
The biggest workflow change in Capture One 21: Speed Edit
This is a new way to edit your photos quickly: instead of going to look for the adjustment in any of the panels, hold down a button for a short time and drag the mouse left / right to change the parameter.
The default keys can be changed in the “Edit -> Keyboard Shortcuts -> Speed Edit Keys panel”. For example, by default, holding down the “Q” key changes the exposure, the “W” key the contrast, the “E” key the brightness and so on.
This is a good addition, however, honestly does not revolutionise the concept of what was already possible to do with the previous Capture One Pro: in fact, I personally mapped a combination of keys that I used to change the exposure settings, highlight , shadows and so on.
However, from my previous workflow, when I was working with the fullscreen mode, I was missing a visual response to the commands I was going to give. Now with the Speed Edit in Capture One Pro 21 I can see the name of the command I am working on at the bottom of the screen.
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A much requested feature: the Dehaze slider
Following numerous requests from mainly landscape photographers, the “Dehaze” adjustment that is present in Camera Raw / Lightroom has been added. In practice, the “Dehaze” command allows you to remove the slight haze that can be found in some landscape photos (it can also work the other way around by adding the feeling of haze).
The algorithm works in an intelligent way by automatically identifying areas of shadow and light by separating them to apply the effect in a uniform manner. The panel has a picker that allows you to click on the shadow area (it must be taken in the part where the haze is) in order to improve the performance of the instrument.
In my specific case I think I have almost never used this feature in Lightroom and therefore also its presence in Capture One Pro 21 will remain quite unused for me.
Improved the import tool in Capture One Pro 21
Specifically, the changes that have been made, as expressed by Phase One are:
- Picker functionality to easily make the import selection.
- Bigger import window with high-resolution thumbnails.
- Improved terminology and descriptions of import destinations in Catalogs.
- Option to select multiple folders to import from at the same time.
- Option to select images directly in the Folder Browser.
- First-time import requires fewer clicks.
Personally I’ve noticed two bigger improvement in the importer in Capture One Pro 21:
- The first I can apply filters to the importer, in this way I can filter from the card only the raw images and not import the jpgs if i’ve set the camera to shot raw+jpg.
- There’s an overall great speed improvement in loading the thumbnails and then importing the images to the catalogue!
ProStandard camera profiles in Capture One Pro 21
This is a new addition from the already amazing color profiles that ship with Capture One Pro 21. As Phase One states, this ProStandard camera profiles render the colors more naturally. They have multiple purposes:
- Better preservation of color across contrast gradients, resulting in more natural colors from shadows to highlights.
- Better transition between colors of different hues.
- Better retention of colors when applying image adjustments.
- More standardized colors across different camera models.
Phase One states that these profiles are suited more for portrait photography and product photography. So let’s check it out!
There’s a note to point: at the moment only few camera are supported for this ProStandard camera profiles! For example, all my Fujifilm camera are out from the selection!
So I could test it using back my “retired” Canon 5D Mk2 that is one of the camera supported with this new ProStandard camera profiles. I am a bit surprised that in this moment there’s no support for the recent Canon Eos R and Canon Eos Rp: I had some files ready to be tested with the extraordinary Canon RF50 mm f/1.2, but I will have to wait a bit more…
Other new features in Capture One Pro 21
The other features I would call “minor” but they are still welcome:
- Improved performance: this is maybe the first and main reason that I’ve decided to pay for the update. I’ve notice a massive improvement in the importing speed on Mac Os and a general performance boost. I think that the program is however still far from the performance from the new Lightroom CC (that was written from stracht in 2017) but Capture One Pro is for sure a more complex software compared to the new Lightroom CC.
My biggest wish is a deep commitment from Phase One to port Capture One to the new Apple Silicon architecture and a full embrace of the Apple Metal Graphic API that would boost the performance from night to day!
I haven’t tested the performance on Windows (even if I have a quite capable workstation for 3d works) ’cause isn’t my favourite work’s environment.
- Heif Support: Capture One Pro 21 now support HEIF 8bit file. It means you can import photos you have shot with iPhone and edit inside Capture One without having to convert in JPG. Now, even more and more camera start to support HEIF, the latest Canon R5 and R6 is an example, so it will be interesting to see how it perform this editing compared to the jpg version.
- The “Photoshop way” of adjust the Brushes: now in Capture One Pro 21 you can adjust the size and the hardness of the brush in the same way and with the same shortcut as Photoshop. On Mac for instance, I keep pressed Option + Command and then I drag with the mouse to the left to increase the side of the brush to the right to make it smaller. Up and down will work for the Hardness.
- Some improvement with graphical tooltips that will help the new users of Capture One Pro 21.
Developing Apple ProRaw Photos
Here are some photos taken with the iPhone 12 Pro Max in the new Apple ProRaw format. Not only Capture One Pro 21 interprets perfectly the file, but like usual, it render better colors compared to Adobe Lightroom.
Is it worth to upgrade from Capture One Pro 20?
Well from my point of view, this year the number of upgrades and new features have been quite marginal. I feel like that more than a new version, this is a small upgrade from the Capture One Pro 20.
I decided however to buy this new version mainly for the overall speed upgrade: time is always money when you work with the images, so this improvement in speed will gain in my daily use of the program.
On the other side I really hope that Phase One will address a new update later in the year bringing to the table some more interesting features.
My wish for new features in Capture One Pro 21.1? A better and automatic prospective correction tool, like the “one click” that is available in Adobe Lightroom CC, a much more easier and faster way to copy – paste selective part of a correction in a photo (with an overview window), keyboard shortcuts to styles or to correction presets (wait! I’ve discovered a workaround on Mac Os!).
Would be lovely to see also a Capture One Pro running on iPad or iPhone like Lightroom CC does, but Capture One is not targeted at the moment to “casual photographer” as Adobe is doing, so I think we will have to dream this feature for quite a long time.