Capture One’s newest iteration, Capture One 20, just dropped, and it’s full of improvements that photographers have been requesting. Some changes are significant, some are small, but all will make your Capture One experience (and results!) much better.
High Dynamic Range tool Improvements
Capture One 20 introduces major changes to the High Dynamic Range tool. The previous release, Capture One 12, had two sliders - one for highlights and one for shadows. Both were recovery tools; the zero position for sliders was all the way on the left, and they could be moved to the right to recover highlights or shadows.
Capture One 20 adds two new sliders, Blacks and Whites, and has set the zero point in the center of the slider, meaning changes can now have positive or negative values. In other words, you can now choose to bring highlights, shadows, blacks, or whites up or down.
The Whites slider corresponds to the brightest highlights, while the Blacks slider is used to adjust the darkest shadows. This gives impressive control over the tonal values in the image, with super clean results.
New Basic Color Editor Tool
Capture One 12’s Basic Color Editor tool showed a circular chart of colors with sliders to adjust color characteristics, like the Advanced Color Editor and Skin Tone Editor. The Capture One 20 Basic Color Editor tool has restructured into a space-saving version of its old self and added some excellent new functions.
The circular chart still exists, but it has moved to a pop-out tab that’s accessed with the “three-dot” menu in the upper right corner of the tool. That’s also where the “smoothness” slider and “view selected color range” checkbox live. What shows in the primary tool now is six square color range swatches and a seventh, rainbow-colored swatch for global adjustments. Below the swatches are sliders for hue, saturation, and lightness.
Beyond appearances, a significant change in the functionality of the Basic Color Editor is the ability to make “direct adjustments.” Either use the “D” keyboard shortcut or select the “Direct Color Editor” tool icon from the bottom right of the Color Editor tool panel, click anywhere on the image, and adjust only the color you’ve selected by dragging your cursor. Dragging up or down will adjust the selected color’s saturation while dragging left or right changes the hue. Holding the “alt” key and dragging left or right alters the selected color’s lightness value.
Another cool feature of the new Basic Color Editor is that the sliders are dynamic - they change color and feature a gradient to show what the adjustment you make will actually do to the selected color.
Crop Tool Improvements
Capture One 20 has brought improvements to its cropping experience. There are now easily visible handles on the edges of your image when you enter the crop tool, simplifying applying your desired crop.
It’s now easier than ever to rotate your image while you’re using the crop tool. Previously, you’d have to crop a little and move your cursor around the corners until the rotate icon popped up. Now, all you have to do is hold the command (Mac) or control (Windows) key, and you’re ready to rotate. Let the key go, and you’re back to standard cropping.
If you want to crop into the center from all sides, rather than cropping from the corner, hold the “alt” key.
Finally, there’s a much-requested change to how the crop is applied. In the past, you’d need to press a keyboard shortcut to enter a different tool to set the crop, but now you just use the “enter” key.
Improved Noise Reduction
Capture One 20 has made strides in its ability to intelligently reduce noise while retaining detail and color accuracy. The new noise reduction automatically applies a level of noise reduction on import according to ISO settings and camera used. It can recognize patterns and edges to help ensure more noise is removed from areas with less detail while avoiding blurring essential details.
There’s a new function you can toggle on called “select next when.” You can toggle it on in the menu under Select > Select Next When. It’s turned off by default, but you have the option to activate “select next when” for “Star Rated,” “Color Tagged,” or both. What this does is lets you cull more efficiently by automatically moving to the next photo once you’ve applied a rating of your choice.
Gone are the days of strategically collapsing your tools to see the tool you’re trying to use. Now, tabs are partitioned into a pinned area and a scrollable area. Tools in the pinned area stay put at the top of the tab, and tools in the scrollable area can be scrolled with your mouse or trackpad.
You can control where tools live within the “three-dots” menu of any tool. Just open the menu and choose “Move to Scrollable Area” or “Move to Pinned Area.”
Better DNG Colors
Capture One users who use a drone, smartphone, or unsupported camera will notice improvements in DNG colors. Added to the Base Characteristics dropdown is the “DNG Standard” curve, which will make a noticeable difference in color handling for DNG files that had looked lackluster in older versions.
New Layer Features
In Capture One 20, you can now easily copy and paste layers between images. Each layer gets its own checkbox in the Adjustments Clipboard, so when you choose which settings you want to copy from one photo to another, you can select all the layers or choose individual layers. Copied layers will add to existing layers on an image they’re pasted to, rather than replace what’s already there.
All in all, it’s an exciting update that opens up a lot of new photo-editing possibilities. Capture One has shown with this release that they are really listening to user feedback, so make sure to contact them with your improvement requests!