New features in Capture One 20

Capture One Pro 20 is the new version after Capture One Pro 12 and it’s available starting today. Let’s see what’s new in Capture One 20 and how these new features will improve our photography workflow. I’ll be using the Fujifilm version which includes all the updates in the new Capture One 20.

Direct Color Editor: new interactive tool in Basic mode

The Basic color editor now takes less space and features two new color ranges: pink and orange. Another cool improvement is that it now works in layers, but the remarkable new feature is the Direct Color Editor. This was simply a color picker in previous versions, but in Capture One 20, the Direct Color Editor allows you to click on a color and modify it according to the direction of movement of your mouse. As shown in the image above, if you click on a color and move the mouse horizontally, you’ll change its hue; if you move vertically, you’ll change its saturation, and if you hold Alt and move horizontally, you’ll change its lightness.

One thing that could be improved is that it’s no easy to see which ranges were edited, unless you click the range and see if the sliders are modified. They could’ve added some kind of mark, like for example a dot below the swatch, to indicate which ranges have been edited.

Revamped Crop tool

The Crop tool now has keyboard modifiers: while dragging a corner, hold Alt to crop around the center or Shift to lock the current aspect ratio. Freehand rotation can now be accessed by either moving the cursor around the corner of the cropped area, or by holding the Command key. The Crop handlers have also been updated in Capture One 20 and they’re more useful now in my opinion. However, if you prefer to hide the crop handlers, you can hide them in the Preferences which now has a new option dedicated to this. I like this update since I can now crop and rotate at the same time.

New White and Black sliders

Capture One 20 now features two new sliders White and Black in its High Dynamic Range (HDR) panel. These allows to control the darkest shadows and brightest highlights. Of course, you can achieve this with Levels and Curves, it’s nothing revolutionary. That said, they’re handy improvements for a faster workflow.

Negative Highlights and Shadows sliders

These sliders, also in the High Dynamic Range panel, now start in the middle and while they still provide Highlight and Shadow recovery when you move them to the right, as they did in previous versions, in Capture One 20, these sliders allow to add more contrast in Highlight and Shadow areas when you move them to the left.

New Pinned Area for panels

This is a useful productivity feature. Capture One 20 allows you to pin some panels that you want to keep always visible to the top of the column. The rest of the panels will scroll as usual and those panels in the pinned area will remain always visible. If you no longer need a panel, you can return it to the scrollable area.

Change Viewer background brightness

If you right click on the Viewer’s background you can quickly change its brightness. It might not look like much but I think it’s handy to quickly see how the image looks against dark or bright surfaces.

Automatically select next image after rating or tagging

Another small feature that will speed things up for photographers that need to work with many photos, culling or tagging them, is the ability to go to the next image automatically, after tagging or rating them. Previously, after assigning a color tag or a star rating you’d have to do this manually, but now Capture One 20 does this automatically. You can enable this feature as shown in the image above.

Under the hood

Capture One 20 includes other improvements like

  • improved noise reduction based on the original ISO setting
  • better DNG support
  • the ability to copy single layers when copy adjustments between images (previously all layers were copied)
  • reengineered White Balance tool that provides more consistent results. According to Phase One, results of previous tool could be biased according to the noise on the image
  • people having issues with blurry thumbnails might benefit from the 50% increase in thumbnail resolution

Update or skip?

It’s true that most of these features are not groundbreaking like the Luma Range in Capture One 12. Some might be handy for a faster workflow, like the Direct Color Editor tool, the White & Black sliders or the Auto Select Next after tagging/rating, but all in all, none are a compelling reason to update. I only upgraded to support its future development.

I think the only features that I’m using steadily since testing them in the beta program, are the Crop tool combined with the Rotate tool, and the Pinned Area. Previously, I’d have to Crop and then Rotate but now I can do it all at once, and it’s nice to have the layers panel always visible.

Have you updated to Capture One 20 already? Are some of these features useful for your workflow and will you consider updating?

3 thoughts on “New features in Capture One 20”

    1. Hi Vernon! That’s the Fujifilm RAF with Fuji’s Classic Chrome film simulation, and the settings you see in the image. What didn’t fit in the image was a Luma curve and a slight red tint in the shadows, applied with the Color Balance panel.

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