Review: Phase One Capture One 4.6 PRO
By Stan Sholik
Nikon photographers rejoice! With the release of Capture One 4.6 PRO, we can now shoot NEF raw files directly into Phase One’s software. Currently supported Nikon digital SLRs include the D3, D700, D300, D200, D80, D60, D40x and D40. Best of all, if you already own Capture One 4 PRO or a v3.x version (even if you have no activations left on Capture One 3), the 4.6 update is free of charge!
While this is a major addition for some of us, it is only one of the new features and updates incorporated into v4.6. The others are primarily concerned with further improving your productivity when using the software.
Tethered shooting has always been the ideal way to work in the studio. It allows you and your clients to see and evaluate the evolution of an image’s creation on a large, color-corrected monitor. Photographers using Phase One digital backs and Canon digital SLRs have long enjoyed this privilege with Phase One PRO software. Now Nikon users can do the same.
Capture One software automates your setting up the tethered capture process. Selecting New Session from the File menu opens a set of folders to hold captures, deleted files, output files and a folder into which you can move your best images rather than rating them, although ratings and color tags are also available. You are given the option of naming these folders to your liking and storing them wherever you want on your local computer or on your network. This is all done in the Library module.
After naming your new session, Capture One organizes your workflow by creating a set of folders.
You have the option of naming session subfolders to your liking and storing them locally or on a network.
In the Capture module, you select an ICC profile and you’re ready to begin shooting. Presets for nearly every Nikon digital SLR are included, although only the models mentioned above can capture directly into the software. You can also create your own profiles before, during or after the shooting session and apply the profiles to any of the captures.
Once you have selected an ICC profile, you are ready to begin shooting. ICC profile presets are available for nearly every Nikon digital SLR (above), although tethered capture is available only for the latest models. The D3X is not yet supported for tethered shooting.
At this time, Capture One 4.6 PRO doesn’t offer the full functionality of Nikon’s own Camera Control software. While you can trigger the camera from v4.6, you cannot change exposure settings as you can in Nikon Camera Control.
However, if you are shooting with the Phase One P65+ back on a Phase One or current Mamiya 645AF body, you can control program, shutter, aperture and EV adjustment directly from the application. There is no indication of whether any of the other P+ backs will inherit this functionality in the future.
But you don’t need to be a tethered Nikon or P65+ photographer to benefit from the productivity changes in v4.6. One of the initial sources of confusion and complaint with Capture 4 was the need to hold the shift key while mouse clicking in order to apply adjustments or commands to a set of pre-selected images. Phase One incorporated the same need to shift-click into Capture 4 PRO. In v4.6, Phase One has eliminated this requirement for a more productive workflow.
Capture One 4.6 PRO adds a new icon into the toolbar and it appears as the first icon to the left among the icons grouped to the right of the toolbar. With this icon active, adjustments you make are applied only to the primary file, even if you have selected multiple files. Another seemingly small change, but one that can yield productivity gains by eliminating multiple mouse clicks to deselect files.
With the new Edit Primary icon in v4.6 selected, any adjustments you make are applied only to the primary image you selected, although others may be selected also.
Another productivity enhancement is the new Navigation tool. On a Mac with the Hand cursor selected, you access the Navigation tool using the cmd key and clicking the mouse when the image is zoomed in. On a Windows computer the Navigation tool will appear no matter which tool is selected — hold down the spacebar and left-click in the image when you are zoomed in. On either systems, doing so will open a small thumbnail of the full image. Within the thumbnail is a white-bordered frame showing the portion of the file displayed on the screen. Moving the frame pans around the image. When you move out of the thumbnail, the thumbnail disappears, but you can bring it back by repeating the correct procedure for your operating system. This is a great way to navigate when zoomed in to the large files with which we are now dealing, but I would have preferred that the thumbnail stay on screen, with the ability to drag it around if it covered an area of interest.
The new Navigation tool opens a thumbnail of the full image (lower left) with a rectangle showing the portion of the image on the screen. Dragging the rectangle pans around the image.
With the introduction of Capture One 4 PRO, Phase One made the look and feel of the interface on both Mac and Windows platforms identical. While this remains so in v4.6, Mac users, but not Windows users, can save their customized workspaces. You are able to recall saved workspaces for use in a later session. You can also copy and transfer them to another Mac computer to make its workspace identical.
Phase One Capture One 4 PRO requires Mac OS 10.5.5 or later. More information is available on the Phase One website, www.phaseone.com. There is also a growing wealth of information on Capture-U a new website devoted to Capture One software. This site, under the leadership of Toronto-based photographer Walter Borchenko, includes free as well as subscription courses, news and downloads.