Test and review: Capture One 11

Capture One 11 review

Best on professional photo editing

Capture One is the best option for Photoshop, and best for pure image processing.

  • Beautiful color control, very good raw conversion and extensive adjustment options. Quickly in use, and nice interface.
  • Enjoying a little more, missing tethering for some cameras, and support for some mid-size cameras.

With the right tools, your photos can go from ok to amazing. Most people choose Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom, which has long been the gold standard for advanced image editing, but there are many good alternatives.

Phase Ones Capture One is one of them, and for advanced amateurs and pros, it is perhaps the most interesting option for Photoshop and Lightroom.

The latter is the best among the affordable options for Photoshop. Which really is not the best photo shooter for photographers. Unlike Lightroom, it does not display metadata, and the interface is too limited to the perfect photo frame.

Capture One (C One), on the other hand, comes very close to perfection.

I’ve used C One ever since I needed a better raw file converter than Adobe four years ago. Today, C One is on version 11 and supports virtually all digital cameras, a wide range of lenses, and it’s still the best software out there for advanced color management.

However, it is not perfect. For example, there is support for Fujifilm GFX50 mid-format camera, not for Pentax 645D or Leica SL either, and the tethering support (connected computer) is not available for all cameras. But of course, Phase One’s own, and Mamiya Leaf, now owned by Phase One.

There is a free full version of C One, lasting 30 days. After that it costs 20 Euro a month for a subscription, or 180 Euro (plus VAT) for one year at a time. An ‘Eligibility License’ costs 348 Euro (including VAT) and there are packages of movie and cinema effects – and not least, own versions of C One that support Sony cameras.

These start at 99 Euro.

Capture One 11 Color Management

The learning curve can be steep if it comes from Adobe Elements, or Lightroom for the part, because C One has some more comprehensive tools and adjustments.

The above-mentioned color management gives you total control over colors, white balance and, not least, black and white images. Portrait and wedding photographers will probably love C One, which has a very accurate adjustment of skin tones and extensive retouching capabilities. You can also put on layer masks, almost everything possible. Toning of landscapes, removal of objects, and I do not know what.

The only obstacle is to learn all the symbols, keyboard shortcuts and the many more possibilities in C One, compared to Lightroom.

A Quick Look at Capture One 11

Nice interface

The interface is delicious with clear selections and great graphics, but complex enough to take time to get into more than the basics. After a while, C One is well-managed, so you can not constantly review Phase One’s excellent video library, with useful tips and instructions.

If you learn the keyboard shortcuts too, you will be driven C One user after a relatively short time.

Then it also finds that C One does not support the layout of picture books, so far no face recognition is available and there is no direct link to Facebook sharing.

But if you are looking for a rich image tool, the list is long over features and possibilities. They are too many to be listed here, but C One shows all metadata, color adjustments are a dream to use, and cropping, exposure, white balance, black and white (not least), rich submenus palettes and live view of adjustments – with practical before and now viewing.

The interface looks basically equal to whatever you do, but fields and tabs can be hidden and retrieved when you need them.

In the eleventh version, final duplicate detection is integrated. This prevents you from storing multiple copies of the same image.

C One is also fast. Importing photos from a Sony a7r III to a three-year-old iMac, and a new MacBook Pro, went smoothly and you can browse through the photos without any delays of any kind.

Machine Requirements

Importing many files and batch processing of many images requires a newer computer with at least 8GB of memory. I would argue that a four-core processor and a minimum of 16 GB, preferably with SSD storage, is definitely preferable if you use C One professionally.

This is especially true if you often use many layer masks and run multiple heavy files in batch (simultaneous rendering).

Since C One relies on the graphics processor (Open CL) for rendering, there is no notice for delays. Working with layer masks on black and white images never leads to any frustrating moments where everything stops for a couple of seconds, as it can do in Photoshop, and smallpicks like removing a pimple or retouching hairy hair are a breeze.

It is worth mentioning that C One not only supports cataloging of images. But also storage in so-called smart albums, making it easier to find tagged images, and import (migration) albums from Photoshop, older versions of C One and Aperture.


Capture One is so polite and has so extensive possibilities that it’s definitely worth trying for any photographer. It costs a little more, but many will find it worth it, just for the coated color treatment in C One. The learning curve can be steep and there are still missing here, but as a framed picture tool, it’s our favorite choice.


  • For Mac and PC
  • Raw file converter
  • Filter effects
  • PSD support
  • Masks
  • Cataloging / album
  • Notes
  • lens Profiles
  • Web: phaseone.com
  • Price: 99 Euro

Is Capture One really a better Raw converter than Lightroom?

Capture One Pro 11 in 10 minutes

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