#535. Lightroom vs Capture One in B&W

#535. Lightroom vs Capture One in B&W

Continuing my comparison of Adobe Lightroom and Phase One Capture One photo editors, here is a sequence on B&W conversions.

So it’s fitting to start with a colour image, right? Just to set the scene of the first conversion.

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Capture One in colour, AdobeRGB profile

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Capture One

This conversion used one of the built-in presets. The one below used a second. We can all agree the looks are very different, but neither is an overbaked caricature. Unlike some (fun but) exaggerated looks you can get from Nik Silver Efex, these two examples are very typical of what Capture One’s presets will give you: a very distinct set of aesthetics but with a strong dose of realism always present.

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Capture One

Let’s do that again. I’m loving Capture One’s B&W conversion so much, I can’t resist inflicting more on you 🙂 Not even sorry !

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Capture One

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Capture One, B&W profile 1

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Capture One, B&W profile 2

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Capture One, B&W profile 3

OK, two more, with Lightroom added for good measure.

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Adobe Lightroom

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Adobe Lightroom B&W

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Capture One

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Capture One, different preset

This is particularly revealing. By no stretch of the imagination a scientific test, but one that mirrors what was already visible in colour: there seems to be a better management of the luminosity channel in Capture One, which makes it sing in B&W.

It also shows how different presets produce different looks. Lightroom also provides a few “filters” that pretend to mimic glass or gel filters of traditional B&W film (or Leica Monochrom) persuasion. They look nothing like the results of actual colour filters, but the results are still worth your time.

More interesting results can be achieved in both software, by manipulating the hue, saturation and lightness of the colours in the colour mixer B&W conversion.

In both cases, sliders let you dial in more or less of each colour into the final monochrome (just like glass filters would) and a colour editor lets you alter the properties (as opposed to the quantity) of each of these colours. Capture One provides a Smoothness (and Uniformity in the pro version) slider that’s really helpful for tone control.

captureone-bwMost of this can be done in Lightroom as well, but the Capture One implementation seems to produce more visible, yet more sublte, results.

Lightroom

Lightroom

Capture One

Capture One

Capture One

Lightroom

Capture One

Capture One

Which conversion you prefer is a matter of personal taste, but on the two pairs above, it took considerable local retouching in Lightroom to come close to what was possible in Capture One with global adjustments alone.

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Adobe Lightroom B&W

Capture One

Capture One

Here are a few random conversions on a bleak shot.

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Adobe Lightroom

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Adobe Lightroom B&W Profile 1

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Adobe Lightroom B&W Profile 2

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Adobe Lightroom B&W Profile 3

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Adobe Lightroom B&W Profile 4

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Capture One

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Capture One, B&W Profile 1

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Capture One, B&W Profile 2

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Capture One, B&W Profile 3

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Capture One, B&W Profile 5

My preference, in general, goes to Capture One. That’s not to say this is systematic. On the example below (Paris, not Berlin), Lightroom does a more pleasing job. A similar result can probably be achieved by altering the colours behind the B&W conversion, but I couldn’t replicate the LR look easily.

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Capture One

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Capture One B&W

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Adobe Lightroom

So that’s it. There’s little more I can add to these samples. Photography is subjective and monochrome work even more so.

I’ve always been happy with Lightroom’s B&W conversions, particularly with the complement of Nik Silver Efex 2, and don’t want to turn this into a sterile match. My point here is merely that Capture One does a wonderful job and that Nik’s tools wouldn’t be missed at all given the range of controls Phase One have crammed into Capture One. And that’s without local adjustments.

To end this, here are a few more from Capture One, photos mostly from Paris and London.

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Capture One

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Capture One

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Capture One

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Capture One

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Capture One

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Capture One

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Capture One

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Capture One

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Capture One

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Capture One

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Capture One

What do you think?


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