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Author Topic: Capture One - How good is it as a DAM?  (Read 1623 times)

mlondon

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Capture One - How good is it as a DAM?
« on: January 22, 2021, 08:43:22 pm »

Hi Folks,

I know Capture One has a superb reputation for its RAW processing and color controls.
But I also need a robust DAM to catalog and store my work in, and to be able to find what I'm looking for, use smart folders, etc.

I used Aperture for a decade and loved its capabilities. Since then have been relying on Lightroom Classic, but I'm less-than-impressed with its cataloging. When I looked at CP1 a few years ago the cataloging seemed geared towards people who mostly shoot for a client, then archive that shoot and move on to another one. That's not me. I'm involved with various long-term projects along with daily personal shooting and would like a solution where I can keep all my work in one place.

Curious to hear from CP1 users (and others) who may have had experience with LR and/or Aperture about using CP1 as a DAM, and another suggestions.

Thank you.
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Rhossydd

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Re: Capture One - How good is it as a DAM?
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2021, 06:39:44 am »

I think if you're finding LR's DAM options limiting, you won't find anything better in CO.

On paper CO might appear to offer similar options, but I find in practice it's much slower, less intuitive and has less useful productivity aids than LR.
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Ray Harrison

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Re: Capture One - How good is it as a DAM?
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2021, 08:34:24 am »

Capture one excels at raw processing, color controls, tethering, multi-recipe output and a host of other things. Cataloging is only average at best. It has two concepts for ingest: "Sessions", which is file system based, is very fast and is designed to be centered around a shooting session or small group of shooting sessions and "Catalog" which is for large groups of images and involves a database library. If you shoot gazillions of images and want to use catalogs, it would probably need to be broken out to a new one once you reach a certain threshold, which I understand to be around 30k images. I come from Aperture, which was excellent.

C1 does do reasonable metadata/key-wording, smart albums, etc. That said, I've been using a combination of Photo Mechanic Plus for ingest, backup, keywording, renaming and cataloging, since catalogs are the purpose of the "Plus". It's extremely fast, it has superb and intuitive search capabilities and can "watch" directories for adding images. This in combination with C1 sessions works very well for me. Obviously many people want a one-application-fits-all but I've always used PM, and using PM Plus was a natural extension for what I do.
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Ray Harrison

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Re: Capture One - How good is it as a DAM?
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2021, 01:18:46 pm »

I should also add that C1 v21 has apparently had some work done on catalog performance, and anecdotally seems to be improved. While I have v21, I haven't tried that aspect of it. I think they have a 30 day trial you can play with - backing up everything you have first  :).
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Yvan Bedard

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Re: Capture One - How good is it as a DAM?
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2021, 05:27:48 pm »

That said, I've been using a combination of Photo Mechanic Plus for ingest, backup, keywording, renaming and cataloging, since catalogs are the purpose of the "Plus". It's extremely fast, it has superb and intuitive search capabilities and can "watch" directories for adding images. This in combination with C1 sessions works very well for me. Obviously many people want a one-application-fits-all but I've always used PM, and using PM Plus was a natural extension for what I do.

Hi Ray,
I used to use PM v.5 to ingest and browse my photos. Then, after moving to On1 PhotoRaw, I started to use their brower. I never used their cataloguing capabilities because I don't trust the software (it is not a stable, even 2021 version, and we cannot backup the catalog database). Nevertheless, I have an excellent file organisation system that works for me and this is what I liked with On1 PR: you can work directly from your repositories.

I'm very interested to upgrade to PM+ and move to Capture One Pro (and leave the slow buggy one+application-fits-all PhotoRaw). I already use QImage Ultimate to print when PR crashes during printing.

Thus, instead of using one+application-fits-all. I'm planning to go back to my old workflow with three different softwares which are the best at what they do: (1) the ingest/browse engine (PM+), (2) the best raw processor (Capture One or DXO PL4), and (3) QImage for printing.

Questions: Will moving to PM+ with Capture One Pro allow me to keep working with my existing photo folders organization? Is it possible to open CO Pro from within PM+? Are the star/ranking systems compatible between PM and CO ?

I know I'll miss some capabilities from PhotoRaw (ex. everything in raw: layers, HDR, printing, some effects), but I'm loosing fate it will improve performance and robustness. I also will have to find the time to learn a new raw processor.

Thank for your point of view,

Yvan



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Ray Harrison

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Re: Capture One - How good is it as a DAM?
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2021, 06:34:15 am »

Hi Ray,
I used to use PM v.5 to ingest and browse my photos. Then, after moving to On1 PhotoRaw, I started to use their brower. I never used their cataloguing capabilities because I don't trust the software (it is not a stable, even 2021 version, and we cannot backup the catalog database). Nevertheless, I have an excellent file organisation system that works for me and this is what I liked with On1 PR: you can work directly from your repositories.

I'm very interested to upgrade to PM+ and move to Capture One Pro (and leave the slow buggy one+application-fits-all PhotoRaw). I already use QImage Ultimate to print when PR crashes during printing.

Thus, instead of using one+application-fits-all. I'm planning to go back to my old workflow with three different softwares which are the best at what they do: (1) the ingest/browse engine (PM+), (2) the best raw processor (Capture One or DXO PL4), and (3) QImage for printing.

Questions: Will moving to PM+ with Capture One Pro allow me to keep working with my existing photo folders organization? Is it possible to open CO Pro from within PM+? Are the star/ranking systems compatible between PM and CO ?

I know I'll miss some capabilities from PhotoRaw (ex. everything in raw: layers, HDR, printing, some effects), but I'm loosing fate it will improve performance and robustness. I also will have to find the time to learn a new raw processor.

Thank for your point of view,

Yvan

Hi Yvan,
Yes is the answer to all of your questions - obviously I don't know all of the details on how you like to work  :). Capture One has two main ways of working - "Catalogs", similar to how LR works and with database, etc. The other, and the one I use, is "Sessions". This is folder/file based and represents a given shoot or smaller body of work. A lot of folks use Sessions then import into a master Catalog. Catalogs in C1 have tended to draw performance complaints from people - the threshold for performance seems to be around 30k images.They have apparently made progress on that front in C1 21 but I haven't tried whether that's the case. I use PM+ for the catalog side of things. It's super fast and I have it watch specific directories where I put my C1 sessions and I'm good. 

A couple of great areas to learn about Capture One and its features is with the webinars at learn.captureone.com (David Grover is a fantastic teacher) and also another fantastic teacher -  Paul Reiffer's YouTube channel - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKDMi1iMPMijyZu8pqlVxng. Capture One's YouTube channel is at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJgJWICGMzzvXk2wIgqxVEQ and they have a lot of getting started videos.

C1 does use the concept of layers though not in the "blending of pixels" fashion of something like Photoshop - it's essentially layers of adjustments. Pretty powerful though. If you need to to do pixel blending like HDR or focus stacks, Photoshop, Affinity or specialist tools like Photomatix/Helicon are the best ways. You can also set up a "process recipe" to print using Qimage - which is what I do. People also print directly from C1, though I understand it to be pretty basic.

I hope this helps.

Cheers,
Ray
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budjames

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Re: Capture One - How good is it as a DAM?
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2021, 08:00:38 am »

I switched from LR to C1P about 4 years ago. My LR catalogue at that time had about 150k images using a referenced folder structure.
When I moved to C1P, I quickly realized that it choked on big catalogues. My solution was to break my single LR catalogue into a number of smaller C1P catalogues group in two year increments.

This as worked fine, but you lose the ability to search across your entire photo library. C1P does allow you to have multiple catalogues open at the same time.

With C1P version 20 and now 21, it seems that the catalogue speed has continually improved. I went back and consolidate several 2 year catalogues into few four year catalogues. I have not notice any performance hit since doing this.

Generally, keeping C1P catalogues under 30k images seems to be the sweet spot. The size you set for previews in preferences also affects performance. I set mine to 2590px. This works fine on my 2017 iMacPro with 64gb RAM.

I started using PhotoMechanic 6 Plus recently. It is a great browser. I add star ratings and GPS information to my Leica DNG files before importing them into C1P. The GPS info shows up in C1P and there are no XML sidecar files to worry about.

Regards,
Bud James

Please check out my fine art and travel photography at www.budjames.photography or on Instagram at www.instagram.com/budjamesphoto
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Ferp

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Re: Capture One - How good is it as a DAM?
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2021, 05:48:45 pm »

Windows users may wish to consider using Imatch as a separate DAM.  This would mean running sessions in C1 rather than catalogs, and configuring Imatch to handle the various buddy files and folders that C1 sessions create, but speaking from personal experience it's certainly doable.  I find it a more robust and powerful approach to separate RAW processing from image management.
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Yvan Bedard

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Re: Capture One - How good is it as a DAM?
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2021, 06:38:20 pm »

Ray, thanks a lot for your detailed and complete information!  I like very much the capabilities you are describing and will certainly look at the web sites you gave me.

It is very appreciated!

Yvan
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Yvan
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Yvan Bedard

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Re: Capture One - How good is it as a DAM?
« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2021, 06:47:45 pm »

Bud, thank you very much for your reply.

I have about 350,000 photographs over a 15 years period. My folders are organized by place and date (ex. PLACE 2021 02 29) and are split over 4 internal hard drives, backed up on 4 external hard drives, and backed up again on 4 external drives that I store at my daughter's house (updated once every two months).

Question: if I work with PM6+ for ingesting, staring and keywording, is it possible to make backups for my external drives? Then, is there a need to use C1's DAM or will working with sessions be sufficient (as I plan to rely on PM6+).

When I worked with PM and Capture NX2, I could see the jpg image embedded in the processed NEF (in other words, I saw in PM the image WITH the result of the edits). Am I right if I assume that PM will NOT display the C1 processed images "as they look after processing"? It does not for On1 PhotoRaw and it is kind of frustrating.

Thanks,

Yvan
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budjames

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Re: Capture One - How good is it as a DAM?
« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2021, 07:44:49 am »

Bud, thank you very much for your reply.

I have about 350,000 photographs over a 15 years period. My folders are organized by place and date (ex. PLACE 2021 02 29) and are split over 4 internal hard drives, backed up on 4 external hard drives, and backed up again on 4 external drives that I store at my daughter's house (updated once every two months).

Question: if I work with PM6+ for ingesting, staring and keywording, is it possible to make backups for my external drives? Then, is there a need to use C1's DAM or will working with sessions be sufficient (as I plan to rely on PM6+).

When I worked with PM and Capture NX2, I could see the jpg image embedded in the processed NEF (in other words, I saw in PM the image WITH the result of the edits). Am I right if I assume that PM will NOT display the C1 processed images "as they look after processing"? It does not for On1 PhotoRaw and it is kind of frustrating.

Thanks,

Yvan

PM6+ adds a catalog feature. The catalog can be backed up using TimeMachine on Macs or with whatever back up software you use. I back up my referenced folders containing my images with Synology Drive to real-time back up files to a Synology DiskStation NAS on my 10gbe network. The Synology NAS is real-time backed up to a Synology DiskStation installed on my office network in my office about 10 miles away from my home. This works great for me.

I only use PM6+ to cull, keyword, rate and add GPS info before importing into C1P. I'm still using C1P for my DAM solution.

I never tried using PM6+ to edit images so I can answer your question.

Regards,
Bud James

Please check out my fine art and travel photography at www.budjames.photography or on Instagram at www.instagram.com/budjamesphoto
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Ray Harrison

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Re: Capture One - How good is it as a DAM?
« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2021, 03:32:19 pm »

Bud, thank you very much for your reply.

I have about 350,000 photographs over a 15 years period. My folders are organized by place and date (ex. PLACE 2021 02 29) and are split over 4 internal hard drives, backed up on 4 external hard drives, and backed up again on 4 external drives that I store at my daughter's house (updated once every two months).

Question: if I work with PM6+ for ingesting, staring and keywording, is it possible to make backups for my external drives? Then, is there a need to use C1's DAM or will working with sessions be sufficient (as I plan to rely on PM6+).

When I worked with PM and Capture NX2, I could see the jpg image embedded in the processed NEF (in other words, I saw in PM the image WITH the result of the edits). Am I right if I assume that PM will NOT display the C1 processed images "as they look after processing"? It does not for On1 PhotoRaw and it is kind of frustrating.

Thanks,

Yvan

Yvan, to add on to Bud’s response regarding edits and how they would look in PM6+, a little context is in order and which hopefully helps. Most tools, with the exception of pixel editors like Photoshop, are “non-destructive” on the source file.

To use Capture One as an example (but true for On1, Lightroom, DxO, etc), when you “edit” an image in that tool, it keeps a separate set of proprietary instructions off to the side that tells it the specific changes you have made and renders those changes on screen. It never changes the raw file itself but even if it were to embed those instructions, only C1 understands them.  PM+ would not understand these, for example. That’s why you never see those changes when looking at a raw file in another program. The only way you’d see these in any other tool would be if you exported your image to something suitable for output, like TIF or JPEG. 

Cheers,
Ray
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john beardsworth

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Re: Capture One - How good is it as a DAM?
« Reply #12 on: February 28, 2021, 11:01:14 am »

When I worked with PM and Capture NX2, I could see the jpg image embedded in the processed NEF (in other words, I saw in PM the image WITH the result of the edits). Am I right if I assume that PM will NOT display the C1 processed images "as they look after processing"?

That is correct, as C1 doesn't change the raw file's embedded jpeg. Nikon's Capture NX2 did this, and any vendor can do the same with DNGs (Lightroom is the obvious app that can do so).

Maybe test if C1's own EIPworks with PM+. I am not sure if many people ever adopted it, but when it was introduced I understood that the EIP was a container file with similar benefits to NEF/DNG - their embedded preview becoming a separate file hidden inside the EIP file.
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Yvan Bedard

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Re: Capture One - How good is it as a DAM?
« Reply #13 on: March 01, 2021, 11:47:40 am »

Thank you all for your answers. It is in the direction I expected. I'll certainly give a try to C1 in the near future, i.e. once I've completed reorienting my photo business from a mainly art galery-oriented sales to a mainly corporate-oriented direct sales with new products. I'm presently too dependent upon the tourist cycle. This means I should be OK to try C1 in May-June period.

Yvan
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