About Thomas Fitzgerald

Thomas is a professional fine art photographer and writer specialising in photography related instructional books as well as travel writing and street photography. 

Capture One’s Preview Problem and How to get Around it

Capture One’s Preview Problem and How to get Around it

I really like Capture One, but I do have one major issue with it which, has been driving me mad. It doesn’t render previews that fully represent what the final output will be like. What do I mean by this? If you are viewing an image set to fit the screen, certain things like sharpening are only approximated, and certain things like aberration correction and fringing aren’t rendered at all. In order to see these properly, you need to view the image at 1:1. There is a way around this, however, but more on that in a minute.

There are several discussions about this in various places on different forums and parts of Phase One’s website. They claim (in response to comments) that it would be impossible to properly represent these things at zoom ratios other than 1:1 so they don’t bother, which, frankly is bullshit, because other major applications manage to do a better job. Lightroom doesn’t have this issue, and neither does Apple photos. It has improved with recent versions, and the quality of the preview can be improved by making sure the preview size is set properly in the preferences, but it still doesn’t excuse the issue. In my opinion anyway. 

The other problem is that vertical images appear softer than horizontal ones. This can often lead you to think when looking at images, that they are soft or out of focus, when they’re not. I may be being a bit harsh in my criticism here, and based on discussions I’ve had with a few other Capture One users, it doesn’t bother them that much, but an image processing program should be able to properly display the images in 2017. The only way to really see your image fully is to export it, which is kind of ridiculous, in my opinion. 

Screen shot of the preview in application. Note the fringing still around the bright areas (even though it's actually removed) - Click to view larger

Image exported as a Jpeg (Note the bright patches around the top of the trees)

(Incidentally there was a similar issue with Aperture in an early version, and I kept badgering them until they fixed it. I’m sure it wasn’t because of me, but these things may seem minor to engineers, but I really do think that you should be able to see what your image is going to look like without having to export it first)

recipe settings - anything similar will work - Size will depend on your display size

recipe settings - anything similar will work - Size will depend on your display size

There is, however, a kind of a work around. It’s not ideal, but it does seem to work. The trick is to use a new feature introduced in version 10 called process recipe proofing. This basically renders a preview of what your image will look like when exported using the selected process recipe. There is a problem with this though. It only properly renders aberration and fringing removal if your scaling is set to less than 50%, which means you can’t use a recipe set to export at 100%. So my solution is to create a special recipe just for screen proofing. I set a “width” amount which will scale the image based on the width of my display (1800px in this case) so that the resulting image that will be just the right size to fill the display area. Again, this isn’t ideal, but it seems to work. It also solves the vertical soft image problem. The downside is that it’s slow. 

To turn on recipe proofing, first select the appropriate recipe. Then click on the button in the interface that looks like a pair of glasses. This will activate proofing, and give you a preview of what your output recipe will be like. The preview will now be something like this:

Screenshot of the interface in Proofing Mode


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You can also show support by buying something from my from my Digital Download Store where I have Lightroom Presets, and e-books available for download. If you're a Fuji X-Trans shooter and Lightroom user, check out my guide to post processing X-Trans files in Lightroom. I also have a guides for processing X-Trans files in Capture One and Iridient Developer. For Sony Alpha shooters I have a new guide with tips on how to get the best from processing your A6000 Images in Lightroom.

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