Capture One for Sony Shooters - It’s worth considering for one reason…
I’ve written a good bit about Capture One for Fuji shooters, including a whole book about it, but I think it’s something you should consider if you shoot Sony too. While the advantages aren’t as clear cut as they are for Fuji shooters, given the problems that Lightroom has with details and Fuji RAW files, there is one big benefit for Sony Shooters - the colour is better.
Time and time again we read about problems with Sony’s colour science. Having shot with a Sony A6000 for many years, and having tried a friends Sony A7II multiple times, originally I agreed. Then I realised that the issue wasn’t with Sony per se, although it does have “different” colours to other cameras - the issue was that Lightroom’s colour profiles were way off. You can tweak the calibration in Lightroom to improve things and I’ve detailed in the past how to do this (it’s also in my A6000 Lightroom guide) but there are still issues.
For whatever reason, Adobe’s colour profiles for Sony Cameras are just problematic, or at least for the cameras that I’ve tried. Capture One, on the other hand, seems to have calibrated its profiles better. While it doesn’t have the options to match all the camera picture modes, it’s default calibration is more natural looking than Lightroom’s in my opinion. They also seem to contain less errors.
Here’s an example on a particularly mundane file. When I was going through these images for something else the other day, I came across this and noticed the discrepancy, and that spurred me to write this post. Note: the crop is slightly different on these two versions.
The one on the left is the Lightroom version, and the one on the right is the Capture One version. At first they don’t appear too different, but if you look in the shadow areas, the Lightroom version shows a purple tint on the ground, and it's fairly "splotchy" too. This isn’t there in the Capture One version.
So how do I know which is right? Well, I was there! The ground isn’t purple, and to my eye the Capture One version is much more accurate to how this scene actually is in real life.
This is just a pretty boring example that I thought I’d share as it demonstrates the issue quite clearly. I did try and use the calibration tools in Lightroom to fix the magenta in the shadows, but it starts to affect the flesh tones. For many, you might not find the differences that great - and it will depend on the scene and the particular camera (although I tried some raw files from the A7RIII from DpReview and they were fairly off in Lightroom too.)
By the way - this post isn’t an attempt to “prove” that Lightroom is worse than Capture One - and I still use Lightroom much of the time. It’s just a quick demonstration to show you that it can be different, and make you aware of the issue so you can try it on your own files yourself.
Anyway, the point of all this, is that if you are a Sony shooter who uses Lightroom and you have found issues with the colour, then give Capture One a try. There’s a free “Express” version for Sony shooters, and they have a 30 day trial of the full version too. The Sony “Pro” version is also currently on sale for 50% off too.
Incidentally, I’m considering adapting my recent Capture One guide for Fuji Shooters tomato a similar guide for Sony Capture One users. If you’re interested, please let me know int he comments, including any particular areas of Capture One you think needs explaining specifically for processing Sony Files.
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