The gallery above shows three variants of the same image edited in Capture One 8 using the Film Styles for Capture One set of film presets available at the link. I was approached by the creator Alexander Svet after I posted a review of my first impressions of Capture One Pro 7 back in the summer.
To start with some background, Capture One is a Raw processor, image editing and catalog management program published by Phase One, which is most known for its high quality and expensive medium format camera systems. Capture One serves the same general purpose as Lightroom and Aperture. Lightroom from Adobe is the market share leader. Aperture, which has been my choice for the past 5 years, is made by Apple and is being discontinued. When Apple made that announcement about the demise of Aperture, Capture One offered an attractive price to lure people over and I took the bait. I still do not know what I will use to replace Aperture, which still works fine and should be good for most of the next year or so.
It took me a while to install and review the Capture One Film Styles set of presets because I spent most of the summer shooting and posting images taken with real film. Since then, Capture One released version 8, and fortunately the styles work equally well with both versions 7 and 8 of the Capture One Pro program. According to the product web page, they also work with Capture One Pro 6 but not Capture One Express 6 or 7, although I have not tested any of the last 3 mentioned.
The set of images in the slideshow above are the same image treated with 3 different presets from the package:
SL Kodak Ektachrome mid-1970s (red)
SL Fuji Fortia SP v1
Fuji Superia 800
As you can deduce from the names, some of the film styles have variants based on the ISO rating; other have variants simply labeled v1, v2, etc., and the Ektachrome has 3 variants based on a specific color cast. Some of these varieties do seem to reflect specific possibilities from the original film, while others seem to have been created (this is just my guess) in order to reach the total of 100 presets, but even if that is the case the variety is welcome. There are 58 color and 42 black and white presets in the pack.
One thing missing, even in the ISO variants, is any simulated grain. This is largely because Capture One was not capable of simulating grain until version 8 was very recently released. Mr. Svet informed me that he plans to release an Extended Set of the Film Styles next which might add a film grain feature. In any event, it is now very easy to add grain from within Capture One should you desire.
The styles are very easy to install, and Capture One also makes it easy to organize your added styles, as long as you take a bit of care during installation. I also like how Capture One allows you the option of stacking styles when working on an image, or having a new style overwrite any previous style you applied. I am not aware that either Aperture or Lightroom has this option.
For the images I am showing here, I pretty much limited my edits to the Styles alone, except for minor basic adjustments such as exposure and sharpening, because I wanted to really feature their capabilities. As with any presets, however, your best practice would be to apply one of the styles as a starting point and then tweak the image to your personal preferences.
Overall I think this is a very tempting product for anyone looking for a preset pack for Capture One. The Lightroom market for Presets is well populated, but they have always been lacking somewhat in the Aperture and Capture One universes. I am glad that this new company has seen an opening and made these available to the Capture One community of photographers. Many people who consider switching to Capture One explain that it is a considerable obstacle to give up their Nik plugins or VSCO One film presets. This package can help overcome that limitation.
Finally, no digital preset – and no amount of digital manipulation – can fully re-create the look of real film. Even the home page for these styles admits as such. But, as I mentioned earlier I have been using real film a lot lately and these do reasonably approximate the essence of film in a digital format. Before I fully make the images above “my own” I will undoubtedly tweak them some more, but these presets got me to a point where I was comfortable posting these shots without any regrets. And just so you don’t have to scroll back up, the styles are available here. You also have the option to try 5 of them for free, and the direct link to the purchase page is here.
DISCLAIMER AND DISCLOSURE: I was not paid for this review, nor am I an affiliate of Capture One Styles or Capture One, and I will not receive any compensation should you purchase a copy of the presets. I was given a free copy of the styles in order to test and generate this review.