Why I have returned to Lightroom


December 9, 2022

Back in October 2018 I wrote an article on why I had changed to Capture One Pro as my primary Photo editor. At that time I was firmly of the opinion that Capture one was producing superior results from my Nikon RAW files than Lightroom.

I continued to use Capture One through each of it’s updates to Capture One 21. When version 22 came out I was somewhat underwhelmed at the idea of paying another years update fees for, what I considered at the time to be very minor enhancements, and certainly not IMHO a major upgrade.

At around the same time I was seeing article touting the vast improvements in Adobe Lightroom, particularly with regard to it’s masking capabilities. As I was already paying for Lightroom as part of my Adobe subscription for Photoshop I decided to give it a try. To cut a long story short it seemed to me that Lightroom had caught up to some of the capabilities previously only offered by Capture One. So I reprocessed a few RAW images and ended up really not being able to tell much difference in the finished product, nor the amount of work to get there.

That led to the question, could I really justify spending an additional $273 US for an updated license to Capture One (or $164 US for a subscription license) when I was already paying for Photoshop/Lightroom. As the cost of replacing camera and computer hardware continues to rise and the value of my collection of stock images continues to fall (thank you very much microstock) I decided the answer was, in fact, no.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not knocking Capture One as a product, it is still a fine image processing program but the fact is, for the type of photography I do, now mostly wildlife and nature subjects having pretty much retired from professional sports photography, Lightroom, with the occasional round trip to Photoshop for some advanced image clean u where necessary does the job I need. If I was shooting more tethered work in a studio it might be a different answer, but that is not what I do.. Added to that, if Lightroom is good enough for the likes of Art Wolfe, Frans Lanting, Daisy Gilardini etc. then it’s certainly good enough for me.

I am not going to spend hours of work going back and reprocessing all the images originally handled by my years using Capture One. All those processed files are already in my image catalog ready for use. I have imported all the Raw files into Lightroom, simply so I have all my images in one place. This will of course also import any images that have been converted to tiff format so the work I have put into the images will be preserved as an output ready image, even though this will not be the original RAW file.

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