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Author Topic: Why are the previews of Capture One Pro of such low quality?  (Read 7327 times)

The View

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I always found the preview quality of Capture One Pro fuzzy and lacking in detail.

But Lightroom is no better.

Maybe they both use highly compressed JPEGs for previews (otherwise their databases would blow up)

I thought it was unavoidable for RAW converters, something bad you had to work with.


But I recently opened a few files with Canon's proprietary DPP - the images are much clearer and sharper in DPP's preview than in C1.

It's so dramatic that C1 looks, by comparison, like a low resolution preview.

What's more, C1's preview is so horribly bad that certain qualities of the image are not getting shown.

How am I supposed to do a good adjustment with such a horrible preview?

You can't trust what you see, because what you see is not the image but a highly compressed jpeg.

And because it's so fuzzy you are tempted to add too much constrast - invariably destroying the nuances of the image.


How do you deal with that?

a. Because you can't trust the preview don't adjust the RAW file. Modern cameras have such a great output that you don't really mess much with it any more and can get it right in camera. And do fine tuning in Photoshop.

b. Or you can adjust color and brightness - but leave contrast and sharpness alone.

Seen in this light that modern cameras don't need much fussing around in a RAW converter any more.

An alternative to the big RAW converters could be: a. a good database program b. the best interpretation of the file (which could be proprietary RAW processors by Canon and Nikon) I feel C1 oversharpens anyway. (I still think the skin tones are excellent and I'd have to see how DPP would be doing)

It looks to me that DPP previews are so sharp because they don't have to compress them so much for database needs.

But then: why not have a database with two previews: one for the catalog, and a second one, a large one, for the actual adjustment process? Yes, this would be a much bigger catalog, and it would have to be coded much better than the useless junk catalog C1 currently has.


PS: I have tweaked the preview quality, set it to my monitor's resolution. it's just built this way.


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Dave Rosser

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Re: Why are the previews of Capture One Pro of such low quality?
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2017, 06:55:56 AM »

If you want to look at detail simply view at 100% - this uses a full size rendition, you will see the image sharpening after you select this. It's the same in lightroom.
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BartvanderWolf

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Re: Why are the previews of Capture One Pro of such low quality?
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2017, 07:51:34 AM »

I always found the preview quality of Capture One Pro fuzzy and lacking in detail.

But Lightroom is no better.

Maybe they both use highly compressed JPEGs for previews (otherwise their databases would blow up)

I thought it was unavoidable for RAW converters, something bad you had to work with.


But I recently opened a few files with Canon's proprietary DPP - the images are much clearer and sharper in DPP's preview than in C1.

It's so dramatic that C1 looks, by comparison, like a low resolution preview.

What's more, C1's preview is so horribly bad that certain qualities of the image are not getting shown.

How am I supposed to do a good adjustment with such a horrible preview?

[...]

PS: I have tweaked the preview quality, set it to my monitor's resolution. it's just built this way.

Hi,

Mac or Windows?

Display type or resolution (pixels wide / width in inches = PPI)?

I assume you are talking about less than 100% zoom image scales?

Cheers,
Bart
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HCS

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Re: Why are the previews of Capture One Pro of such low quality?
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2017, 09:35:55 AM »

If you'd want to look at the actual raw file and not at a pregenerated jpeg, or the included jpeg, try Fast Raw Viewer (FRV).

It's really, really fast in extracting the raw data from the file and showing it to you plain and honest. It does look different than we're used to in a raw converter, because it doesn't apply curves by default etc.

By the way, i'm on Mac and don't find the previews fuzzy.
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Remko

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Re: Why are the previews of Capture One Pro of such low quality?
« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2017, 02:46:55 PM »

Check you settings in the Preference of CO.

I am on a Mac. Go to Preference and select the Image tab. The very first item is "Preview Image size (px)" and see what is chosen there.

For my 27" iMac (non retina) I have set it to 2560 px. What you choose here is dependent on your screen. It is my experience that if you choose the right setting you will not have low quality previews at all. On the contrary.

cheers,
Remko
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The View

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Re: Why are the previews of Capture One Pro of such low quality?
« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2017, 04:21:47 PM »

The image size is set to 2560 pixels - which is the resolution of my 27" monitor.

But compared do DPP, sharpness and detail is much reduced. I have experimented to set it to an even higher pixel size, but this did not bring any advantage.

Could it be that DPP has a very high contrast setting out of the box? The preview images is just so much crisper while the C1 preview is "soggy" and "softish", inviting the use of contrast and detail sliders.

The processed TIFF is much, much better than the preview and shows better contrast


PS: hardware acceleration (us open CL) is set to "never" for both display and processing. It was a recommended setting a while ago. Is this still the best setting? I'm on a 2012 retina MacBook Pro with 16GB ram.
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The View

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Re: Why are the previews of Capture One Pro of such low quality?
« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2017, 04:24:18 PM »

I have screenshots that illustrate the problem.

Just can't post them because all I get when I click the insert image button is a couple of HTML tags - no menu to import images.


update: by using structure and clarity I could increase the sharpness of the preview of the Capture One preview.

I understand those are micro-contrast settings - contrast from most general to finest detail: contrast - clarity - structure - sharpening 

It looks like the straight out of camera processing is very soft because of the havoc clarity and structure can do to skin - and skin is many our most important surface...


So the the low quality of the preview has likely to do with the intentionally low contrast. I was able to get the C1 Pro image  close to the sharpness as the DPP image.

I have always been very careful with the structure and clarity slider for what it can do to skin, but for objects they are indeed capable adjustments.

We have to be careful with those powerful sliders as we can rub out important nuances by going too far and end up with an overprocessed looking image.

« Last Edit: June 27, 2017, 05:45:06 PM by The View »
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David Grover / Phase One

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Re: Why are the previews of Capture One Pro of such low quality?
« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2017, 10:23:40 AM »

I have screenshots that illustrate the problem.

Just can't post them because all I get when I click the insert image button is a couple of HTML tags - no menu to import images.


update: by using structure and clarity I could increase the sharpness of the preview of the Capture One preview.

I understand those are micro-contrast settings - contrast from most general to finest detail: contrast - clarity - structure - sharpening 

It looks like the straight out of camera processing is very soft because of the havoc clarity and structure can do to skin - and skin is many our most important surface...


So the the low quality of the preview has likely to do with the intentionally low contrast. I was able to get the C1 Pro image  close to the sharpness as the DPP image.

I have always been very careful with the structure and clarity slider for what it can do to skin, but for objects they are indeed capable adjustments.

We have to be careful with those powerful sliders as we can rub out important nuances by going too far and end up with an overprocessed looking image.

The previews in Capture One are NOT heavily compressed jpegs with Low Quality.  If you have an issue, you should really send some screen shots to support or at least post them here. 

To post screen shots here, you need to click "Attachments and other options" just below the text pane.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2017, 04:17:33 AM by David Grover / Phase One »
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Jeff

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Re: Why are the previews of Capture One Pro of such low quality?
« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2017, 11:22:31 AM »

The previews in Capture One are heavily compressed jpegs with Low Quality.  If you have an issue, you should really send some screen shots to support or at least post them here. 

To post screen shots here, you need to click "Attachments and other options" just below the text pane.


Have I misunderstood ?

Surely the C1 generated previews are far better than being just " Low Quality "  ?
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David Grover / Phase One

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Re: Why are the previews of Capture One Pro of such low quality?
« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2017, 04:17:10 AM »


Have I misunderstood ?

Surely the C1 generated previews are far better than being just " Low Quality "  ?

Haha. Typo.  Will edit.  ;)
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David Grover
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The View

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Re: Why are the previews of Capture One Pro of such low quality?
« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2017, 01:35:11 PM »


Have I misunderstood ?

Surely the C1 generated previews are far better than being just " Low Quality "  ?

Here's the C1 preview - it is blurry, the text can't be read well, the whole image looks soft.

Below the DPP preview - it is sharp, in focus,

the third screenshot is the file processed by C1 without any adjustments and opened in Photoshop - it is sharp, in focus, not blurry, not mushy, and you see that the preview in C1 looks like a heavily compressed JPEG in comparison to it.

(click on the screenshots to see them larger)


Because of this issue I even had the graphics card replaced in my MacBook Pro retina 2010 16 GB - but it didn't help, as the issue was with C1, not with my computer. (And the DPP preview is perfectly sharp and not blurry)
« Last Edit: July 05, 2017, 01:41:07 PM by The View »
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BartvanderWolf

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Re: Why are the previews of Capture One Pro of such low quality?
« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2017, 01:56:48 PM »

Here's the C1 preview - it is blurry, the text can't be read well, the whole image looks soft.

Below the DPP preview - it is sharp, in focus,

the third screenshot is the file processed by C1 without any adjustments and opened in Photoshop - it is sharp, in focus, not blurry, not mushy, and you see that the preview in C1 looks like a heavily compressed JPEG in comparison to it.

(click on the screenshots to see them larger)


Because of this issue I even had the graphics card replaced in my MacBook Pro retina 2010 16 GB - but it didn't help, as the issue was with C1, not with my computer. (And the DPP preview is perfectly sharp and not blurry)

Hi,

When I compare the C1 version screenshot with the Photoshop viewed screenshot (both at 100% zoom), there is a difference in scale. That will affect apparent resolution (resampling by itself always does). The DPP version will be different anyway, because of a different Raw converter (assuming you used that instead of the output from C1).

So it might help to clarify the reason for the scale difference first.

Cheers,
Bart
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The View

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Re: Why are the previews of Capture One Pro of such low quality?
« Reply #12 on: July 07, 2017, 03:32:28 AM »

The key problem is that the preview of C1 is so much different from what you get when you output it to TIFF and open the TIFF in Photoshop.

This means you cannot see what you are doing adjusting the files in C1 - you are flying blind.

You can get the blurriness out by using the three contrast sliders, but what you'll output to Photoshop is an overprocessed image - totally ruined.

The key of any image editing software is to show what you are doing.

The examples posted show the great difference in sharpness and contrast between the preview and the output TIFF.


This is like color editing without a color managed system.



« Last Edit: July 07, 2017, 03:39:29 AM by The View »
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Doug Peterson

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Re: Why are the previews of Capture One Pro of such low quality?
« Reply #13 on: July 07, 2017, 08:52:25 AM »

The key problem is that the preview of C1 is so much different from what you get when you output it to TIFF and open the TIFF in Photoshop.

This means you cannot see what you are doing adjusting the files in C1 - you are flying blind.

You can get the blurriness out by using the three contrast sliders, but what you'll output to Photoshop is an overprocessed image - totally ruined.

The key of any image editing software is to show what you are doing.

The examples posted show the great difference in sharpness and contrast between the preview and the output TIFF.


This is like color editing without a color managed system.

There isn't a "right" way to display an image that is being downsized. The only "truth" in a file is the file presented at 100%. At 100% C1 matches any other imaging program. At less than 100% every engine out there renders differently.

The Recipe Proofing tool/button in C1 can be a good tool for working around this fundamental issue with digital imaging.
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The View

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Re: Why are the previews of Capture One Pro of such low quality?
« Reply #14 on: July 07, 2017, 12:17:41 PM »

There isn't a "right" way to display an image that is being downsized. The only "truth" in a file is the file presented at 100%. At 100% C1 matches any other imaging program. At less than 100% every engine out there renders differently.

The Recipe Proofing tool/button in C1 can be a good tool for working around this fundamental issue with digital imaging.

Downsizing shouldn't alter an image so much that you can't judge it any more. I need to see the full image for accurate decisions on sharpness and contrast.

It works with DPP, and Photoshop does a great job displaying an image well at major percentages.

Why can't C1 do it after over 10 years of development?


What would the recipe proofing tool change in this aspect? What does it do?

So far, the only option I see it to export without any adjustments except color from C1 as any adjustment made would lead to overprocessing and destroying the image.
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David Grover / Phase One

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Re: Why are the previews of Capture One Pro of such low quality?
« Reply #15 on: July 08, 2017, 07:27:17 AM »

Downsizing shouldn't alter an image so much that you can't judge it any more. I need to see the full image for accurate decisions on sharpness and contrast.

It works with DPP, and Photoshop does a great job displaying an image well at major percentages.

Why can't C1 do it after over 10 years of development?


What would the recipe proofing tool change in this aspect? What does it do?

So far, the only option I see it to export without any adjustments except color from C1 as any adjustment made would lead to overprocessing and destroying the image.

Downsizing will exactly do that in terms of adjusting sharpeness

No Raw converter EXCEPT for Capture One will give you an accurate representation of how the output will look.

As Doug describes Recipe Proofing in Capture One will do exactly what you require.

https://youtu.be/dRs1lZCDpLU


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David Grover
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alfin

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Re: Why are the previews of Capture One Pro of such low quality?
« Reply #16 on: July 08, 2017, 09:32:08 AM »

Downsizing will exactly do that in terms of adjusting sharpeness

No Raw converter EXCEPT for Capture One will give you an accurate representation of how the output will look.
That is one of the great advantage of Capture One over competition.
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Lars Mollerstrom

The View

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Re: Why are the previews of Capture One Pro of such low quality?
« Reply #17 on: July 08, 2017, 04:17:46 PM »

That is one of the great advantage of Capture One over competition.

But the output does look MUCH sharper and detailed than the preview.

That's the key problem!
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David Grover / Phase One

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Re: Why are the previews of Capture One Pro of such low quality?
« Reply #18 on: July 08, 2017, 04:54:32 PM »

But the output does look MUCH sharper and detailed than the preview.

That's the key problem!

At 100% in Capture One and 100% in Photoshop?

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BartvanderWolf

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Re: Why are the previews of Capture One Pro of such low quality?
« Reply #19 on: July 08, 2017, 09:29:41 PM »

But the output does look MUCH sharper and detailed than the preview.

That's the key problem!

It's an interesting observation to get to the bottom of, but it may be an inaccurate observation!

On-the-fly downsampling (as in screen previews smaller than at 100% zoom) can be done in several ways. Broadly speaking, all downsampling risks producing aliasing artifacts that may be mistaken for resolution (while they are actually artifacts).

So assuming ACR previews (either in LR or PS) of a TIFF output file from Capture One, there is a good chance of visible differences below 100% zoom. DPP will also have its own demosaicing and offers two levels of on-screen display (a slower higher quality one, and a faster lower quality one), so I'll leave that out of the comparison since there are multiple variables at play.

The question then becomes, which application does a better job of mimicking the full-size 100% display, after resampling to output size and post-resampling output sharpening, when viewed at sub-100% zoom levels (or simulated actual output size)?

The only way to really/reliably predict how the final image will look is by viewing it at a 100% zoom level (because that avoids downsampling), and mentally adopting output resolution at a given viewing distance. But even then there remains a mismatch in the case of printed output, which is of much higher resolution than the display we preview on is capable of showing. That obviously makes it harder to judge the full image from only a scaled down preview, but such is the challenge of displaying/previewing downsampled images. Therefore, resampling artifacts and viewing distances/resolutions keep screwing with our visual acuity (which also varies by individual).

Capture One (version 10) is pretty unique at providing an Output Sharpened Preview (the tool is called 'Recipe Proofing'), which is only really possible at 100% zoom level AFTER profiling for output and sharpening AFTER resampling for output size (with the obvious caveat of having adequate display gamut and resolution, which is also often not sufficient for a 100% predictable preview).

So not an easy task to declare which is better, but interesting enough to explore.

Cheers,
Bart
« Last Edit: July 08, 2017, 09:32:55 PM by BartvanderWolf »
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