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Sharpness comparison LR Classic vs Capture One

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I have read several posts in other forums about the supposed advantage that Capture One has over LR Classic when it comes to sharpness. One person on YouTube stated that sharpening in Capture One was 1000 times better than LR! I decided, as a longtime LR Classic user, to investigate for myself. This is not some definitive scientific study, just what I found with one image (actually with a few, but I am showing only one).
I processed a dng file from my Fuji X-T30 (converted from a Fuji raf file) in LR Classic until I thought that it looked good, again just my opinion. I then processed the original dng file in Capture One Fuji Express until again I thought that it looked good, and reasonably matched the LR version. That file was exported back into LR as a tiff file. I viewed both files at 1:1 in LR and took a screenshot of the two files side by side. The png screenshot of that 100% crop (I think that's what it is called) is attached.

LR-vs-C1-comparison-1.png


The file may be too small to see (or not see) any differences. How would I allow access to the full processed photos since they are too big to attach? There are certainly some slight colour differences, but what about the sharpness? Is there a difference, and if so is it significant?
I have deliberately not identified which photo is LR and which is Capture One. I would be interested in knowing if anyone else has compared the two editors, especially with regard to sharpness.
 

Jimmsp

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I use both LR Classic and Capture One.
I'll admit, though, I have not compared the results of sharpness between the two processors.
I can see the differences in your shots. The photo on the right is sharper.
I tend to finish my "good" photos using Topaz Detail as a plug in to Photoshop, as I have always felt that neither software gives me exactly what I want.

I'll have to go and compare on a suitable photo. Unfortunately, I am currently shooting a Canon 90D and CO v12 doesn't support that; so I will have to use a converted DNG.

I will say that on higher ISO shots from my Canons, that LR has better noise reduction than CO.

Jim
 

Jimmsp

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I have just played with a file. I tried to match WB and output color profiles, as well as clarity and texture.

See Attached file.
CO denotes Capture One from LR.
While one looks a tad "sharper" than the other, I think it is more a combo of clarity and texture which I didn't work extra hard on matching.

Jim
 

Attachments

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Makes this a pretty pointless post and waste of our time reading it.
Sorry I wasted your time.
I wanted to see if anyone could or would want to see if there was a difference - you obviously were not interested, and that is fine.
The left file was Capture One, the right was LR.
Thanks Jim for responding in a more positive way.
I haven't tried Topaz Detail but I have read good things about it. You may be correct about the clarity causing a difference in sharpness, but I just read an article by Martin Evening on Kelby Insider that states that Capture One's default sharpening is more aggressive than LR's, and that will cause images to look sharper when sharpened in Capture One. See this link:
He goes on to show how you can make photos processed in both editors look very similar. I read this article after my initial post - if I had come across it beforehand, I probably wouldn't have posted!
My apologies again if I wasted anyone's time.
 
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That's a well-known article, one I've pointed out a few times.

Don't worry about time wasting - there are many more guilty! For what little it's worth, I would have guessed that the one on the right was from C1, which rather proves your point about similarity.
 

PhilBurton

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Makes this a pretty pointless post and waste of our time reading it.
Not at all. We are doing a "blind" comparison. All serious medical studies work on a "blinded" basis, where the people doing the study don't know who is getting the new experimental drug and who is getting the placebo, and the people in the study don't know either. That approach eliminates biases based on expectatiions of outcomes, and the results of the study are far more trusted by the scientific community. The OP's approach is much more likely to lead to unbiased conclusions.

Phil
 

PhilBurton

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Sorry I wasted your time.
I wanted to see if anyone could or would want to see if there was a difference - you obviously were not interested, and that is fine.
The left file was Capture One, the right was LR.
Thanks Jim for responding in a more positive way.
I haven't tried Topaz Detail but I have read good things about it. You may be correct about the clarity causing a difference in sharpness, but I just read an article by Martin Evening on Kelby Insider that states that Capture One's default sharpening is more aggressive than LR's, and that will cause images to look sharper when sharpened in Capture One. See this link:
He goes on to show how you can make photos processed in both editors look very similar. I read this article after my initial post - if I had come across it beforehand, I probably wouldn't have posted!
My apologies again if I wasted anyone's time.
Fifer,

As I just wrote in a prior response, you did NOT waste our time. You challenged us to consider the results from Lightroom and Capture One without allowing us to pre-judge the results. That's good.
 
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Thank you Phil and John for your responses - much appreciated. Phil, you are correct - I did not identify which photo came from which app, since I did not want people to decide which one appeared sharper based simply on knowing the app used.
It seems that some people (not on this forum!) like to be very critical of LR, and claim that almost any other editor is superior to LR in one way or another. I happen to like LR, but also like to try out other editors to see if there is any noticeable difference. While there are no doubt differences in the end result, I have not yet found any other editor that consistently gives a better result than LR. I am sure I could be happy with Capture One, or ON 1 Raw, or Luminar, but I don't believe that they are, for what I do, better than LR.
The initial post was partly due to that quest for a "better" editor, but specifically related to image sharpness. I think I am learning (maybe too slowly!) that it really doesn't matter which program is used - they are all capable of producing excellent results.
For now, I have no intention of leaving LR.
 
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But surely the settings used for sharpening each photo will make a huge difference ... you could have made either one look sharper than the other simply by using different settings, no? So I'm not sure that this comparison makes much sense; or am I missing something?
 

Zenon

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Since looking at this fellows work in 2006 I strived to achieve the same clarity. I put a lot of work into it.


When LR went subscription I didn't want any part of it. When I test a developer the last thing I care about is colour, noise etc. I only work on capture, creative and export sharpening. C1 pro is a good developer but it didn't blow my socks off. I wanted it to. I prefer LR's fine detail's especially with wicked cropping, which is what I need for wildlife photography. It is even better now since Texture was added. LR works with both the detail panel and export page to produce optimal IQ - based on the media it will be viewed on. Utilizing both correctly is critical. Hard to beat LR's export process.

I found all the sharpening related adjustments in C1 and IMO I can do as good or better using LR. A few months after I decided to go with the plan I came across this video. Starts at about minute 10. My tests showed the same results. This video was released before Adobe Colour became the default.


C1 came out with an official video showing how much better files looked "out of the box". Basically little editing needed when you open a file. Several months later Adobe came out with new colour profiles (Adobe Colour being the new default) and capture sharpening was bumped to 40. Competition is good. What we now need Sensei NR ;)

The key to LR is taking time to learn how to use it.
 

Zenon

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One more thing. For the cost of C1 it does not list lens corrections for any of my telephoto lenses.
 

Jimmsp

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But surely the settings used for sharpening each photo will make a huge difference ... you could have made either one look sharper than the other simply by using different settings, no? So I'm not sure that this comparison makes much sense; or am I missing something?
Of course the settings will make a difference. The OP said " I processed a dng file from my Fuji X-T30 (converted from a Fuji raf file) in LR Classic until I thought that it looked good, again just my opinion. I then processed the original dng file in Capture One Fuji Express until again I thought that it looked good, and reasonably matched the LR version. "

In my quick comparison, above, I tried to match the perceived sharpness between the two packages. But perceived sharpness is effected by a lot of settings other than the sharpness amount slider, such as (but not limited to) radius, masking, clarity, and texture. You are really working in a multidimensional space with a lot of variables. Trying to match different software, LR & CO, in this complex space is near impossible. It is also near impossible to determine which one is "better".

In the end, the OP said it best: "I processed .... until I thought that it looked good. "
 

Zenon

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Of course the settings will make a difference. The OP said " I processed a dng file from my Fuji X-T30 (converted from a Fuji raf file) in LR Classic until I thought that it looked good, again just my opinion. I then processed the original dng file in Capture One Fuji Express until again I thought that it looked good, and reasonably matched the LR version. "

In my quick comparison, above, I tried to match the perceived sharpness between the two packages. But perceived sharpness is effected by a lot of settings other than the sharpness amount slider, such as (but not limited to) radius, masking, clarity, and texture. You are really working in a multidimensional space with a lot of variables. Trying to match different software, LR & CO, in this complex space is near impossible. It is also near impossible to determine which one is "better".

In the end, the OP said it best: "I processed .... until I thought that it looked good. "
Yes better is not a good way to look at it. You choose software that best suits your needs and budget.
 
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Of course the settings will make a difference ... Trying to match different software, LR & CO, in this complex space is near impossible. It is also near impossible to determine which one is "better". In the end, the OP said it best: "I processed .... until I thought that it looked good. "
Yes, exactly my point, that therefore the comparison doesn't make much sense.
 
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But surely the settings used for sharpening each photo will make a huge difference ... you could have made either one look sharper than the other simply by using different settings, no? So I'm not sure that this comparison makes much sense; or am I missing something?
You are at least partially correct. However, I was prompted to post because of claims that C1 was much "better" at sharpening than LR. This apparently is due to the fact that the default sharpen settings (and maybe even the contrast settings) in C1 are more aggressive than those in LR. When I adjusted the default settings in LR to my liking, I found that there was little to choose between the two programs. So yes, you can change the settings in LR, or any other program for that matter, to produce an image that you like, and it probably won't look hugely different in the different programs. You may prefer one program's edit over another, but can we really say that one is better than the rest?
My very limited testing has shown me that for my "old" eyes and my personal taste, LR's sharpening is NOT noticeably worse than that of C1. You may come to a different conclusion if you compare the two programs (or any other editing programs). I have decided that I am quite happy with the sharpening in LR, and see no need to change to C1. I'm not trying to convince anyone else that LR is better than any other editing program; it simply suits my needs.
 
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Yes, exactly my point, that therefore the comparison doesn't make much sense.
It may very well not make sense to you, but it obviously made sense to Martin Evening in the fairly lengthy article that I mentioned in an earlier post. He did a much, much better job than I could ever do of comparing Capture One and LR.
This is what he said as part of his conclusion:
"Capture One’s philosophy is to produce a more optimized look that doesn’t necessarily require further editing. This may have led to the perception that Capture One is sharper and punchier, but in reality neither program is inherently better than the other when it comes to actually working on your images and adjusting the settings to suit individual tastes. "
While I only talked about sharpness, he investigated in much greater detail. But he did deal with sharpness and that is all I was trying to compare. So at least read the article, and I am sure it will make more sense than my comparison!
 

Zenon

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It may very well not make sense to you, but it obviously made sense to Martin Evening in the fairly lengthy article that I mentioned in an earlier post. He did a much, much better job than I could ever do of comparing Capture One and LR.
This is what he said as part of his conclusion:
"Capture One’s philosophy is to produce a more optimized look that doesn’t necessarily require further editing. This may have led to the perception that Capture One is sharper and punchier, but in reality neither program is inherently better than the other when it comes to actually working on your images and adjusting the settings to suit individual tastes. "
While I only talked about sharpness, he investigated in much greater detail. But he did deal with sharpness and that is all I was trying to compare. So at least read the article, and I am sure it will make more sense than my comparison!
This is what I also found when tested it. From Martin Evening's blog. It was written before Texture was introduced which even squeezes more detail out of the image. I used to push the Detail slider for (75) that but since Texture I set to back factory of 25 for better halo suppression.

Once you balance out these differences by increasing the sharpening, noise reduction, and midtone contrast in Lightroom, it’s apparent that the Lightroom approach seems to preserve more micro detail.
 

Zenon

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Actually my first question at this forum was to confirm what I had read about the Detail slider. Not much info on that slider out there. I figured a Lightroom Queen would have to know :)
 
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"Capture One’s philosophy is to produce a more optimized look that doesn’t necessarily require further editing.
Since Martin's article, LR's own philosophy has moved a little in the direction of the more attractive starting point. Auto is the most obvious example.
I'd also add that in using a Fuji file, you also opened up another set of issues - crude use of LR's Detail panel sliders cause problems.
 
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Since Martin's article, LR's own philosophy has moved a little in the direction of the more attractive starting point. Auto is the most obvious example.
I'd also add that in using a Fuji file, you also opened up another set of issues - crude use of LR's Detail panel sliders cause problems.
Yes I have become aware of the "wormy" issues with LR and Fuji files. I only recently switched to a Fuji X-T30, so the problem is new to me. To be honest, I have not seen the wormy issue unless I view images in LR at 3:1, and occasionally 2:1. I haven't printed an image yet, so will have to see what happens when I do. I did try the "Enhance image" feature in LR, and saw an improvement in the image, but again only at 2:1 or 3:1. Again in very limited testing, I could see the worms on flat surfaces of buildings or in a blue sky, but by using the Masking slider, the worm effect was greatly reduced. I will have to try other images to see how they appear. Based on my initial experience, I don't think there will be a major problem unless viewing at 2:1 or higher, or making large prints, which I don't do.
So I guess the lesson is don't over sharpen Fuji files in LR, and use Enhance details if necessary. Thanks for your thoughtful input.
 
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And I would concur with that. Crude oversharpening messes up Fuji files more easily in LR, and pixel peeping isn't a healthy pastime!
 
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It may very well not make sense to you, but it obviously made sense to Martin Evening ...
By "the comparison doesn't make much sense" I was referring to the comparison of the two images in your original post. Obviously, an in-depth comparative review of software products is a completely different issue.
 

Jimmsp

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By "the comparison doesn't make much sense" I was referring to the comparison of the two images in your original post. Obviously, an in-depth comparative review of software products is a completely different issue.
I think you keep forgetting that the OP said : "I processed a dng file .... until I thought that it looked good, "
Nothing scientific, and nothing definitive.
What he found was that he could (easily) produce two images that looked good. When he did a little pixel peeping, he saw a small difference.
He was responding to postings that said CO was much much better than LR for sharpening. He did not find that.

I happen to agree with him. And I use both CO and LR (both from version 2 onward) - and I happen to like both. Both have their strengths and both have weaknesses. But neither is "much much better" than the other. They are different.
 
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I think you keep forgetting ...
I am forgetting nothing, I even quoted that "I processed a dng file ..." line in an earlier response. You seem to be misunderstanding what I am writing. But we are getting nowhere (apart from well off-topic), so I'll leave it alone for now :)
 
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