I was very critical of Adobe in my last post due to the poor performance of Adobe Camera Raw 5.6 regarding the Canon 7D Raw files. Deservingly so, since it is clear that Adobe is saving the best Raw performance for Lightroom 3. I have never been a fan of Lightroom or “Adobe Bridge on Steroids“. The only reason Lightroom exists is to compete directly with Apple Aperture. As a paying Adobe customer for well-over 15 years, Adobe should do their supporters right and replace Bridge in all Adobe Suite Editions with Lightroom without increasing the Suite upgrade price again. (Do you realize that Lightroom is excluded from Adobe’s Master Collection too?) Think about it Adobe, you would eliminate the duplicate development costs AND stimulate sales which you could really use.
In continuing my 7D Canon Raw file testing, I thought I would include both Adobe Lightroom 3 Beta and Capture One 5 Pro. Both of these programs now include documented support for the 7D, so it is a fair test. Unlike the last round, I decided to really tweak the image in each program to generate the best results possible. I also added two new groups which focus on details in shadow areas. The Canon Digital Photography Pro version (DPP still at the default settings) is included as the base image in each group. Take a look.
Adobe Lightroom 3 even in Beta is a significant improvement over Adobe Camera Raw 5.6. Lightroom 3 makes it very easy to produce the above results. However, you can clearly see more noise/grain in the Lightroom samples than the Capture One Pro and DPP samples. [NOTE – Performance in the Beta was set to Version 1 since the Luminance NR slider is disabled in Version 2.]
Based on these tests, I am very impressed with Capture One 5. I experimented with both the Standard and Pro versions and used the Pro version in the above samples. Capture One goes beyond the features of Lightroom to include Tools for High Dynamic Range allowing the recovery of details in the highlights and shadows. Capture One has stronger noise suppression than Lightroom, yet does so without introducing halos. Taken to its extreme suppresion, Capture One can flatten details to a cardboard cut-out effect. There are plenty of tools to tweak and manipulate. It feels like a very polished program. I spent well-over an hour tweaking to get the above results.
I am still very impressed with the results from Canon Digital Photography Pro, especially since the included results were at the default settings! That means just loading the 7D Raw file into DPP and generating the JPG. What a time savings! Best yet, DPP is FREE and included on the CD with your Canon 7D.