(Editor’s Note: We welcome this guest post from Derrick Story, creator of TheDigitalStory Podcast. Derrick is a writer, photographer, teacher and podcaster. You can follow his weekly shows on TheDigitalStory.com, as well as read his blog posts, check out his workshop schedule and find links to his social accounts, including Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. TheDigitalStory show is also available where ever you download your podcasts.)

Even if you have thousands of images cataloged in Lightroom, there’s nothing wrong with keeping tabs on what’s happening with other software. There’s no harm in looking, right? One application that’s been getting a fair amount of attention is Capture One Pro. And the latest release, version 20, seems friendly to Lightroom photographers considering a change.

New features like a simplified color panel, more friendly crop tool, and even a keyboard shortcut that matches Lightroom for switching from a single photo to thumbnails (G) have been designed to ease the transition from one platform to the other.

But is Capture One Pro truly a viable alternative? Let’s take a look at a few strengths of each application to help us decide.

Capture One Pro 20 strengths

  • RAW Processing. The hands down winner, in my honest opinion.
  • Layers and luminosity masks, so easy, so powerful.
  • Fully configurable workspaces — very customizable
  • Outstanding color tools, especially for portrait work.
  • Almost magical exposure controls, especially Contrast, Highlights and Shadows.
  • More flexible catalog management ranging from temporary sessions to managed catalog to the referenced approach that Lightroom users are already familiar with.

Lightroom strengths

  • HDR and panorama processing. Won’t find those in Capture One Pro.
  • Cloud integration with outstanding mobile apps. Again, not in C1P.
  • More training, third party plugins, bigger ecosystem.
  • Price. Yes, believe it or not, I think Lightroom is more affordable for users who want to stay current.
  • Better integration with Photoshop and the entire Adobe ecosystem.

So if you’re dissatisfied with Lightroom, the place to start, I think, is why you’re looking for a change?

If it’s price, then there’s really not that much difference between the two. And in fact, Capture One Pro will probably cost you a bit more.

If speed is your issue, you might be happier with C1P for certain activities. But to tell you the truth, I don’t see a huge difference in my day to day work when using either app.

So I think the two determining factors are software gravity and feature list. Software gravity applies if you have a huge Lightroom catalog and you want to migrate it to another application. That feels like a lot of work. My inclination would be to start the new year with Capture One Pro and evolve your Lightroom catalogs into archives. Many people will find that an unsatisfying solution.

Features are a different matter. I really like the RAW processing and catalog management in Capture One Pro. So I use it for my professional work. But, the features that are important to you could be much different. You might want to review those lists at the top of the article.

You also might want to listen to the podcast that I published on The Digital Story that covers this topic. Hopefully, it will bring a bit of clarity to your pros and cons list. Either way, like I said, it doesn’t hurt to look.

Ready to get started with Capture One Pro 20? Be sure to check out the 2019 Limited Edition Styles kit, which includes 145 styles in 13 packs! Get started today at captureone.com.