There are many great reasons for using a Catalog.
However, if working with Sessions works with you, then nobody is forcing your hand - thats why they are still supported.
Sessions are job specific - i.e. you create a new Session for every job you shoot and it neatly packages up all the Raw Files, Selects and Output.
A Catalog can do the same thing and additionally give you access to your whole database of imaging with much more powerful virtual organisation options and a whole host of search options.
- Want to find all your images tagged with a particular keyword in a particular year? Done with two clicks. Thats the whole Catalog, not just one Session.
- With a Catalog we don't have to physically move the raw files to organise it (Virtual Organisation). We can use Albums, Smart Albums, Projects and Groups to create the structure that makes sense to you.
- A Catalog can store the files inside of itself so you don't even have to consider where to put your images. The Catalog takes care of that.
- OR reference the files in an existing location. Think about this scenario..
You have many Gigabytes (maybe Terabytes!) of images stored on external storage / Server. The Catalog was created on your laptop and has referenced the files in that location. What if that server is no longer available, if you are away from the office / studio?
Doesn't matter as the Catalog holds a preview of each image so that even when the originals are 'offline' you can still browse, organise, search, filter and even make adjustments!
. The only thing you can't do of course it export a final image. You do need the original for something.
- Sharing. Want to share that server full of images amongst several users? Easy with a Capture One Pro 7 catalog. The Catalog can be Locked
so multiple people can open it, or it only one person can view / adjust at once. Simple mechanisms to avoid damage to the catalog. Try doing that with Lightroom?
- Catalog as a document. A CO7 catalog opens like word opens a word doc. Have several open at once! Have a Catalog for each client? Have a Catalog and Session open at once! Again, show me that with Lightroom. Only one Catalog at a time.
Shall I continue?
For me, and why I like Catalogs is the virtual organisation. I import the raw files, and then forget about them. All management is then done with Projects, Groups, Albums and Smart Albums. See the screen grab for my arrangement.
If I am diligent with keywording then finding images in my entire catalog is a breeze with just a few clicks.