Phase One’s Capture One 4; A Comprehensive Raw Editor/Organizer Page 2

There is no advantage to working with a pen tablet with this program, as the adjustments are "global," but there certainly is to using a mouse with a scroll wheel. Using the scroll wheel you can zoom in and out of the image, move quickly through the browser window and make very fine adjustments when using the various and sundry slider controls, including very subtle changes in picked points on a curve. There are numerous keyboard shortcuts--so many that keeping a cheat sheet at your side when starting out is a good idea.

Sharpening/Noise Reduction
Sharpening and noise reduction is greatly aided with the 100 percent (and greater magnification, if desired) preview on the screen as you work. This allows you to select an area for inspection via the Navigator. You can also keep the Variant and original side by side and coordinate movement through the Navigator by using the Shift key as you work.

There are programs that take days to learn and appreciate to accomplish the most basic and necessary tasks, and then there are those that, given an hour or two and some reading, get you on the way. While taking some gambles with unstated tools and shortcuts and learning the ins and outs of Capture One 4 did take a bit of time, at the end of the day I have to say it was straightforward and quite easy to use. I know that any program has nooks and crannies that are revealed as you go deeper into them. But for downloading, processing, and editing raw files this program did quite a nice job in quite short order.

Black And White
CO4's Variants can be changed without fear of harming the original raw file. Here I've used the Phase One "profiles" to convert to black and white. If there is one area where this program does not come up the competition it is in black and white conversions; Adobe Lightroom and ACR have a hands-down advantage here.

Immediate Web Pages
A fun and very useful tool is Web Contact, which quickly turns a selection of images, and your choice of words, into a web-ready document. It even posts your copyright on the page and allows for enlargement of each thumbnail when clicked. While the page itself won't win any design awards it sure does the job quickly and easily. The Web tool generates all the thumbnails, full-sized previews, and HTML code required, then posts it all in a single folder on the desktop ready for posting.

Batch Work Made Easy
When you have a group of images shot close to the same time under similar conditions they often have similar problems--exposure, contrast, white balance, etc. You can batch these images easily enough and apply the same correction to all. Here all the images show a highlight warning on the white clothing. (top) To correct this individually would take quite a bit of time. To solve this one of the errant images was selected, then a Variant created from it. (right) The fix was made using the High Dynamic Range tools, then the same fix was applied to all the images in the selection using the Adjustment tools and the Copy and Apply commands. Quick and easy!
Photos © 2008, George Schaub, All Rights Reserved

For more information, contact Phase One Inc., 200 Broadhollow Rd., Ste. 312, Melville, NY 11747; (631) 547-8900; www.phaseone.com.

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