What I dislike with C1?
1) User interface
2) Color rendition
The way I work with LR I mostly begin with a gradient on sky, mostly using highlights control to get better sky and very little under exposure, increasing saturation and clarity. That makes a fine sky and clouds without affecting tree tops so much. C1 has gradient on layers but has only "HDR" controls on "background" layers. Also, "HDR" controls simply don't work as well as in Lightroom.
The first thing I assume, correct me if I'm wrong, is that you are trying to use the same workflow in C1 as you grew accustomed to in LR. That would be a mistake. The reason you begin in LR with a gradient, and especially with highlight control, is due to the highlight compression you get in LR, in particular for ETTR shots. Capture One doesn't do such extreme compression, as long as you use a "Linear Response curve
", instead of a "Film Curve".
Check the attached Raw digger histogram and default Clipping in"basic" conversions of an image tile for a pano stitch. The image was exposed 'optimally', only approx. 3K highlight pixels in a single channel were clipped, and almost 1K pixels in the shadows. Only exposure bracketing by + 2/3rd and -1/3rd of a stop would have captured the entire dynamic range of the scene with this camera.
Now look at the basic conversions animation, all exposure corrections at zero, only White Balancing was applied based on the default camera profiles. It's obvious that the Lightroom result needs serious highlight work, and that Capture One requires shadow work. Two entirely different roads need to be taken for a better quality output. There it helps to be familiar with the controls.
Where Lightroom requires a minus Highlights correction to bring back some definition in the clouds, Capture One does not because the cloud definition is fine (I'd brighten up the upper part of the blue sky a bit though). Capture One requires lifting of the non-sky brightness, not by a gradient but by either the High Dynamic Range Shadow slider or, much better, an adjustment layer of the land area and an exposure increase, combined with some Saturation and Clarity.
Next thing I do in Lightroom is to adjust exposure (using the now reduced sky), setting black point, so I get some dark clipping (if it is a normal image) and use shadow control. This effects can be done in C1 but I feel they are less subtle than in LR. Only after these basic adjustment do I touch contrast. The "feel" I have is that LR controls are much more subtle.
Again, a different approach is required, and I prefer the quality that C1 offers (but I admit that I'm more accustomed to Capture One's predictable response versus Lightroom's under-the-hood automatic adjustments). I also prefer to do most post-processing in Photoshop, because it gives more accurate control, and better plug-in adjustment capability than either Raw processor offers in general. But that's where the overall workflow preferences also apply.