As part of our #StayAtHome series of articles we look at Capture One Pro 20, the best photo editing software - in my opinion. We also take a peek at the Wacom Cintiq range and how these tablets (or interactive displays) work with Capture One for photo editing. And finally we direct you to other excellent accessories for post processing images from your newly organised home photography studio. I’ve included several video’s to watch about Capture One and Wacom Cintiq editing displays.
"It doesn’t matter what level of photographer you are, the chances are that you have, or will start to edit your pictures. This is as much a part of photography as having a camera nowadays".
Being stuck at home during the Corvid-19 lockdown is the perfect time to learn new skills and techniques in photo editing. Many photographers have a back catalogue of images on various hard drives (drives are recommended for storage and portability*), which they’ve either forgotten about, or have in a queue waiting to be edited during some free time. Now is that time for many of us, so it’s time to get stuck in and edit your older pictures and apply new techniques, together with trying some new gear to make the job easier and more enjoyable. Many photographers enjoy processing as a creative pursuit in itself. Even the great masters who worked in film edited using a darkroom, with skills like dodging and burning.
*If you keep all of your imports on external hard drives you will not only be able to move around with all of your data, but you'll be able to take them travelling (when we can go out) and can daisy chain series of drives together. Backing up is the biggest consideration for your images, which is something we talk about in detail.
Capture One Is The Best Photo Editing Software
Clearly this is open to debate, however after having used Lightroom for many years I switched over to Capture One in 2018. There are a number of reasons that I switched, the main one being that I could purchase Capture One outright rather than subscribing, which suited me at the time. Aside from that I LOVE the way my raw files were rendered straight away. Sharpness and clarity were spot on and colours and tones seem rcher than those from Lightroom. This is all before starting any editing, straight out of the box.
High Dynamic Range Menu with Capture One
At that time I was using a Fujifilm X-series camera however I’ve since been using a Sony A7Riii. Capture one also renders Sony raw files beautifully, drawing out detail from the high resolution Sony sensors. Support for Fujifilm was swiftly adopted by Capture One which already includes the new X-T4. In the past Lightroom rendered sharpened images from Fujifilm raw files with ‘worms’ where there should be crisp detail. I’m not sure if they fixed this issue but it was a real downside at the time.
There was definitely a learning curve when switching, having used Lightroom for so long, but Capture One is intuitive, especially the latest version Pro 20, which is really adaptable. Menus can be moved around and follow a similar layout as those in Lightroom. What I really like about the new version are the easy ways to handle highlights and shadows with the High Dynamic Range sliders (pictured). Four sliders pull back highlights and raise shadows really naturally without any type of HDR look to the results, despite being called HDR in the menu! This feature works with just about any type of image, including landscapes and portraits.
Our photo and video guru Gareth has already made a couple of tutorials about Capture One which we have here below for you to watch.
Editing Photos in Capture One: Getting Started Tutorial Video
If you are new to Capture One this video will teach you the basics of navigating, importing and how to get started with this photo editing software package.
Editing Photos in Capture One: Using Layers Video
Layers are a powerful tool, which let you apply edits and masks to a layer just like in Photoshop. Any layers can be adjusted and have opacity settings changed, without affecting the base layer.
There are three purchase options to buy Capture One from Park Cameras:
Speed. OMG it is so much faster. From importing to editing, Capture One is designed for professionals working with super high resolution Phase One cameras. These are capable of over 100MP so the software is blisteringly quick. It also spends a few minutes caching (creating previews) when importing, but you can still begin editing when it’s busy on this.
RAW file conversion. As outlined above the way raw files are handled from the outset makes them punchy, crisp and clear. Quite honestly I do very little editing since moving from Lightroom as the pictures are so fantastic off the bat. This is especially noticeable with Sony or Fujifilm cameras.
Layers. Gareth’s video demonstrates how to use layers and it is an incredible easy and useful feature in Capture One.
Autocorrections. The default corrections which are a simple ‘one click’ are very realistic and sympathetic by default. These are a great way to see how the software thinks the image should be as a starting point for editing.
Colour adjustments. It’s a piece of cake changing colours. Whether this is a complete hue adjustment or subtle changes, masking shows precisely what you’re doing so you know which areas will be affected. Very quick and easy to use.
Smooth adjustments. Sliders and menus provide really smooth adjustments when making edits. This means you can see what the changes are to your image dynamically when it is happening. This doesn’t sound like a big deal, but makes the whole process intuitive and quick.
What don't I like about Capture One?
There are of course some downsides which may or may not affect your particular workflow, depending on what type of photographs you like making. For me there are two glaring omissions:
No panorama stitching. I really enjoy making landscape panos, but have to use Photoshop to stitch them together. Lightroom does a great job of this in the RAW editor. Hoping for this feature very soon!
Focus stacking. This is something I rarely do, but when it is necessary to focus stack an image, it would be perfect if they could be merged in Capture One. Focus stacking is used to get a greater depth of field than a camera is capable of, for scenes such as macro, deep landscapes and where you’re focussing very close to the lens.
That’s it as far as downsides go, for me personally. Let me know what you think.
Which Size Wacom Cintiq is Best For Editing Images?
This really depends on your home studio set-up. We can see from the table that the 22” screen is substantially larger, with a larger active areas for drawing. That luxurious real estate comes at the price of weight. It’s a lot heavier. So if you are thinking about using the tablet to walk around and be as mobile as possible whilst at home, the smaller screen may be better.
If on the other hand you enjoy diving in to details during your edits along with some pixel peeping, the large screen definitely has the edge.
Both provide rich HD resolution, with accurate colour rendition in sRGB - perfect for screens and internet displaying at 96% sRGB. Both come with the superb Pro Pen 2 which takes power from the tablet – so it requires no batteries or recharging.
I would be really happy with either of these Wacom models when editing images using using Capture One. See the table below for a comparison of main feature differences:
Using Wacom Cintiq For Photo Editing With Capture One Video
So if we might be trying new photo editing software whilst at home, why not think about a Wacom tablet instead of the old desktop or laptop? Wacom is the definitive tablet manufacturer with some excellent tools for us photographers. Watch Gareth’s review of the Wacom Cintiq 22 Interactive Pen Display here:
"Overall when you consider the speed and quality which Capture One is capable of, together with the flexibility of a graphics tablet, this combination makes a superb choice for photographers who edit their images".
You can move around your home freely, even when lugging the large 22” Cintiq from sofa to home working space. You can edit images with a powerful Pen rather than old school mouse. Masks, painting, brushing and clicking are more natural and far quicker with a pen.
If you use portable drives to store your work (which is a great idea by the way), you can easily take these around the house with you.
If you'd like to join us on social media we're posting from our homes and would love the company!
Watch our Youtube channel here
Instagram and Facebook here.
We’re keeping our shops closed during this time, but our warehouse team has been whittled down and are working in a safe environment to keep shipping items to our customers. We have lowered our trade-in home collection service, so customers can swap camera gear without leaving their home.
Click below to see what your unwanted photography gear is worth:
Now could be the perfect time to try a manual lens. With time and patience, the rewards are clear.
We'd love for you to comment or post your suggestions and experiences with using any of these tools as well as follow us and support each other during this difficult time. The main thing is to keep your chin up, keep shooting and keep your photography passion alive. When we are safe to go out again, you'll have new skills to bring with you going forwards.