Photography / Capture One Tutorials

Capture One vs Lightroom

Capture one vs. Lightroom
Published 16 August 2020

Last updated on 9 March 2021

I know that everyone is super used to Lightroom by now, but how about Capture One? In this article, we’ll go over some of the main aspects and see what the differences are when it comes to Capture One vs Lightroom.

While both of them are popular and can do the same thing, there are some differences we need to point out, as well as the special features they offer.

Let’s go ahead then, and take a look at some of the specifics, and see which one you should eventually work with. 

1. Photo Organizing

Both Lightroom and Capture One offer incredible photo organizing options. For me, Lightroom seems a little more intuitive, but Capture one allows you to sort photos by their name, date, ISO, aperture, shutter speed, and even the lens you took the photo with and will order them differently depending on what you choose.

Capture one vs lightroom

Lightroom, on the other hand, will give you a few filters to choose from, and then you can only select the photos that have those stats,  

Capture one vs lightroom 2

When it comes to photo organization, Lightroom definitely wins over Capture One.

2. Camera and Lens Support

In general, Lightroom was always the first to adapt to new cameras and lenses, and a very good example is the Nikon Z7 launch. Lightroom introduced it somewhere mid-October, while Capture One started supporting it in late-November. 

Of course, most people won’t just go ahead and buy any new camera that comes out, so this is not necessarily a minus for Capture One, but in this Capture One vs Lightroom dilemma, it’s worth mentioning.

Since Lightroom offers faster support for new camera over Capture One, it wins this round too.

3. Interface Customization

Depending on your needs, you may want to be able to fully customize your interface and shortcuts. While Lightroom is pretty basic from this point of view, in Capture One you can pretty much move everything around to create that perfect layout, but also to customize your own shortcuts. 

Capture one vs lightroom

I personally found this to be very useful. Because I’ve worked with Lightroom for such a long time, it would have been difficult to learn another series of shortcuts for Capture One. 

Interface customization can be incredibly important, so Capture One wins here.

4. Layers

Something Lightroom is lacking but would have been very useful, are layers. Capture One, on the other hand, has this option, and you can create different layers for different edits. Of course, with Lightroom, you can use all kinds of filters, but layers can really make a difference.

Here, Capture One perfectly combines Photoshop and Lightroom functionality, giving it a lot of extra points, and it’s not as laggy. Sometimes while adding a lot of edits in Lightroom, the whole program slows down. 

You can check out the Capture One skin smoothing tutorial and see how easy it is to work with layers.

Capture One wins this round, as most photographers really need layers.

5. Color Adjustments

Even though Lightroom offers a lot of different color adjustments, Capture One manages to bring something more. 

Capture One has this “Color Balance” tool that allows you to edit the Shadows, Midtone and Highlights, that’s pretty similar to Lightroom’s “Split Toning” tool, where you can only edit the Shadows and Highlights.

Besides, Capture One has a lot more color adjustment options that can be incredibly useful if you spend the time learning them.

For the multitude of color adjustments featured, Capture One wins this round.

6. Tethering

This is something very useful for any studio photographer, and Capture One offers it. You can connect your camera to the software and see everything in real-time. Lightroom, on the other hand, doesn’t offer something similar, so if you need tethering, then you should consider Capture One. 

Tethering is a must sometimes, so Capture One definitely wins here.

7. Plug-ins And Presets

Since Lightroom is incredibly popular and allowed third-party resources for quite some time, it’s safe to say that you can find pretty much anything you need for it, from plug-ins to presets to extend its functionality.

Capture One, on the other hand, didn’t allow any third-party options up until November 2018, so it can be hard to find different assets to add to your projects.

When it comes to plug-ins and presets, Lightroom is the one you need!

8. Price

Like it or not, price is also an important thing when choosing an editing software, so let’s take a look at that. Right now, you can get the Lightroom and Photoshop pack for about $10 a month from the Adobe Website. 

Capture One, on the other hand, comes in four different packs. There are the specific ones for Fujifilm, Nikon, and Sony you can get for $10 a month, or the all camera pack that’s $24 a month. They also offer you the possibility of subscribing for one year for $173, or buy your own license for $349, but you’d have to pay extra for every new update.

Considering the price, Lightroom is cheaper on the long run, so it can be the better choice.

9. Accessibility

Something I really like about Lightroom is the fact that I can synchronize all my files in the cloud, and have access to them from all my devices, and this is something I can’t do with Capture One. 

If you only need to use it in the studio, that’s perfectly fine and you shouldn’t have any problems with it. If you’re like me though, and you move all the time, it’s amazing to have everything on all your devices.

Lightroom definitely wins here, because accessibility is important.

Conclusion – Capture One vs Lightroom

In my opinion, it’s hard to pick a winner, because everyone has different needs. It all comes down to what you do and what you really need for your photos. If you are the type that shoots in the studio and you have no reason of moving around, and you want to fully edit your photos, then maybe Capture One is the best for you.

If you are constantly moving around though, and you don’t apply a lot of edits, then Lightroom is the way to go, and you won’t lose anything. 

What you can do, is try them both, and see which one is better for you. In this Capture One vs Lightroom matter, we don’t have to pick a winner, as they are quite different and serve different purposes. 

About Author

As a digital marketer, Andreea also has an incredible passion for photography, so she's here to give you all the information you need on the topic!

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