Capture One for iPhone
|Sorry, Android users, Capture One Mobile is only available for iOS.|
Capture One for iPhone is a pared-down version of the brand’s popular desktop photo editing app, Capture One Pro. And it shares many of the same core features found in the original, including tethered shooting, RAW processing, remote camera control, and tools for creative collaboration. But it’s also shy on some core features found in competing apps.
It’s similar in design to Capture One for iPad, which launched roughly a year ago – the two share the same touch-centric user interface. However, the iPad offers a more robust feature set and can make full use of the Apple Pencil – the iPhone version cannot.
The good news is if you already pay for Capture One for iPad, you get access to the mobile edition for free. New users can access both the iPhone and iPad editions for $4.99 a month via the Apple app store – Capture One provides a seven-day free trial if you’d like to try before you buy. Oddly, it will cost an additional $6.66 for Capture One Pro desktop users to bundle the iPad and iPhone editions into their monthly bill. Presently, the desktop version is $14.92 a month, while the ‘All in One’ bundle is priced at $21.58 a month.
No matter how you slice it, Capture One for iPhone is a recurring cost. So is it worth it? In this article we dig into the new app to get a better understanding of its key features, performance, and overall value proposition. Follow along for a tour of the basics and our overall impressions.
|Presently, Capture One for iPhone offers just two B&W filters or ‘styles.’|
Core features of Capture One for iPhone fall into one of three categories: tethered/remote shooting, image editing, and collaboration. Starting with tethered shooting, users can pair their camera with the app either by connecting to the same WiFi network, or via a USB to Lightning cable. The former gives you more freedom but is less reliable and slower to transmit files, while wired shooting is obviously limiting from a movement standpoint.
Presently, the app supports only a small selection of cameras for wireless shooting. But a healthy amount of recent models can be used via a wired connection. We dive more into this below.
With support for Raw processing, the editing tools found in Capture One for iPhone are fairly comprehensive, though not quite as robust as Lightroom’s toolset. If you’re stepping up from Apple’s perfectly fine built-in editing app, though, you will be greeted with quite a few new ways to adjust and correct your shots, as well as niceties like histograms and highlight clipping. And similar to Apple’s filters, you get 14 ‘styles.’ However, only two of them are monochrome, which feels a bit skimpy.
Finally, users can collaborate with others while shooting using Capture One’s Live feature. Enable it to make images appear in a shared cloud folder, allowing anyone with access to make selections or provide feedback, all in real time.
Importing & exporting
Just like George Costanza, the Capture One mobile app is both an importer and an exporter. The image of the car above was imported from my camera roll as a HEIF, edited to taste in the app, and exported as a B&W JPEG.
You can also export images as TIFFs or EIPs and have the option to scale the export to full size, any custom size, or at resolutions Capture One deems appropriate for Instagram or Web. A quality slider additionally lets users dial in a file size of their choosing. Finally, a text watermark can be added to your shot before export.
With four modern mirrorless cameras atop my desk, surely one should be cleared for wireless shooting/transmitting, I thought. After striking out with my personal Nikon Z50 and Fujifilm X-E4, as well as a borrowed X-T5, I decided to consult the compatibility list. The Canon EOS R7 (which I also have on loan) supports wireless tethering, so I was able to try the app with that camera.
Whether tethered via cable or Wi-Fi, Capture One for iPhone gives you a super-detailed rundown of camera settings in a well-organized, easy-to-digest list (see above). Over Wi-Fi, I noticed zero lag between changing settings on the app and the camera updating that setting in the live view. Shooting Raw+JPEG, it takes roughly 30 seconds to transmit the pair; five seconds for the JPEG and 25 seconds for the Raw.
I was unable to get wired-tethered shooting to work with the EOS R7, but according to Capture One images are sent almost instantaneously – just make sure that the cable doesn’t jiggle loose! One tethered shooting feature I find particularly cool is the ability to auto-apply edits to all incoming shots. Capture One calls this feature ‘Next Capture Adjustments.’ And it seems like it could be especially handy in a collaborative commercial setting.
Core features in the image processing interface are broken down into five categories located below the image: Review, Styles, Crop, Adjust and Sharpening. The first allows you to apply a star rating and/or color label to an image. Styles, as noted above, are one-click filters that can be used as a starting place for your edits, or as a one-and-done option. You’ll additionally find keystone correction options under the Crop category, while the Sharpening tab also includes noise reduction, moiré correction and ‘film grain’ tools. The Adjust tab, however, is where we expect most users will spend their time.
Adjustment options are further broken down into categories including B&W (which is simply an on/off switch), White Balance, Exposure, HDR, Clarity, Dehaze, Color Editor and Vignetting. Of note, the saturation slider lives in the exposure settings. HDR is where you’ll find sliders for Blacks, Whites, Highlights, and Shadows. Oddly, there’s no option for vibrance control. Advanced editing tools like masking, layers and spot/dust removal are also absent.
You do get a prominent histogram in the upper right, which can be hidden with a two-finger tap, as well as highlight clipping warnings. And copying and pasting edits from one image to another can be accomplished with just a few taps.
The wrap: who’s it for?
|I used the Cinema Cool style as a starting place to edit this Canon EOS R7 file.|
In the greater Capture One ecosystem, this iPhone-specific app makes a lot of sense. Users already dedicated to the Pro version get a handy new tool that can potentially speed up workflows, impress clients and increase collaboration. After all, image ratings/labels and edits made in the mobile app all transfer to desktop (and iPad).
But for non-Capture One Pro folks, the app is a tough sell, especially if you’re a casual user. The wireless tethered shooting is easily the star feature but compatibility is limited – case in point, neither of the cameras I own, both current enthusiast models, are supported right now. So what about the editing tools? The suite of image adjustment tools is solid but I found the spread of creative filters somewhat lacking.
Ultimately, I’ll probably stick with Lightroom Mobile for most of my image processing needs. I prefer the more robust selection of tools as well as the significantly wider range of filters. That said, if Capture One does add wireless tethered support for either of my personal bodies, I will probably take another look at Capture One for iPhone.