Digital photography presents as many difficulties as advantages sometimes. Chief amongst them if you have dedicated yourself to a good raw-file work flow is how to process the raw images.
At various times over the last few years I have used many or maybe most of the available options including Bridge, DXO, Capture One (in various incarnations) and more recently, the all-conquering Lightroom.
The advantages of Lightroom are obvious; a powerful feature set allied to nimble processing speed, excellent support for new camera file formats and the knock-out punch of a seemingly unbelievable price-point. Combine that with the Nik software plug-ins for pre-acquire and it made it a mighty tool for photographers to get the best from their files.
However, various versions of Capture One had always delivered the best colour of all of them (I confess never to have seriously used Aperture) and for all serious high-end output projects I have tackled over the past decade or so, it has been my favourite software.
A few days ago and somewhat cryptically, my friend and colleague Drew Gardner asked me if I had any examples of Raw files from a few different cameras that I could give him in readiness for a new C1 launch at an unspecified future date. He explained that he could say no more than that and asked my understanding. His idea was to try a real world test on a broad range of subjects and light-levels, over different cameras. He wanted to have these ready for release day so that he could get the first results out onto the net.
Naturally I said yes and waited for some kind of announcement from him. But just to make his job as tricky as possible I sent him some low-light shots from a Canon 5D mkI and a 1D mkI, both of which had presented me with problems due to noise at high ISO shooting, as well as a few pictures from a recent sailing event I shot in the summer where the sails, water and spray all provide lots of fiddly details to be rendered.
This morning, as I started setting up for a shoot, he called briefly and said that I should check his latest post on "the Dark Art" and that I would most likely be surprised by the results.
Now, I haven't had enough time to fully digest these and I'll write a detailed post later today but the initial results are not just surprising, they are nigh-on unbelievable.
I suggest you read Drew's comprehensive post (here) and then check back in a few hours time for another take on this issue.
Although, it must be said that both he and I are very taken-aback at the sheer chasm between the two in terms of fidelity and colour accuracy.
It means that the new C1 version 7 will be an absolute must-have for all my high-output assignments. I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of it.