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Capture One Pro 8.3 review: Aperture replacement light on library features, strong on editing tools

Jeff Carlson | Aug. 3, 2015
When Apple discontinued Aperture in favor of Photos for OS X--sacrificing most of the features that appealed to Aperture users--the presumed replacement was Adobe's Lightroom CC. But not all photographers are drawn to Lightroom.

The application also includes an "HDR tool," which is a little misleading: it's a control for bringing out detail in shadows and highlights. HDR (high dynamic range) usually refers to the process of combining two or more photos of the same scene that have different exposures into one image that includes a broader spectrum of tonal and color values. Capture One Pro doesn't offer that ability; instead you must export shots to an external application such as Photoshop, combine them, and then bring them back to Capture One Pro.

One unique feature I appreciated is the ability to edit offline images (where the original file may be on an external hard disk that's not connected). In most applications, offline images are off limits for edits, but Capture One Pro gives you the editing controls to work on the proxy stored within the catalog.

Bottom line

Capture One Pro feels like a focused tool that's been expanded to attract a broader market--which is a worthy goal, to be sure--but it's like the stage of a renovation where a few rooms still need to be finished. That's mostly limited to the organization features, which may frustrate photographers accustomed to the library features in Aperture or Lightroom. However, the editing tools have the potential to make up for that.

Then again, some photographers may be willing to put up with the software's limitations simply because it's not Adobe and not sold as an ongoing subscription as Lightroom CC is. Capture One Pro isn't inexpensive, though: a license costs $299. (Lightroom 6, which is identical to Lightroom CC but without any Creative Cloud features, is sold as a standalone product for $149.)

Capture One Pro can be downloaded as a 30-day trial, so I encourage you to give it a spin if the editing features appeal to you.


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