Input on Photolab to Capture One workflow

(Floris van Eck) #1

Hi everyone. I am looking for some input on my workflow which I am struggling a bit with and want to make sure I understand everything right. I have the following idea in mind:

  • Ingest my images with Capture One Session or manual disk copy
  • Cull my images and move the best ones to a ‘selects’ folder in Fast Raw Viewer
  • Open this selects folder in PhotoLab
  • Do basic processing of my images in PhotoLab: smart lighting, white balance correction, straightening and light cropping/straightening, lens correction and denoising
  • Export the resulting image in either TIFF (16-bit) or DNG (input welcome on which works best). I read the workflow article but this still confuses me as to which one serves me better (also because TIFF file size are relatively large)

Once images are exported I would continue to work with them in another editor (Capture One but same applies for Lightroom):

  • Import/sync the TIFF or DNG into Capture One
  • Do further cropping and recomposition (e.g. horizontal to vertical)
  • Create additional versions with different styles and film simulations applied to them
  • Export image to all kinds of formats for archival, social media use etc. using the powerful Capture One process recipes

My main questions:

  • Would I be better served with a TIFF or DNG? e.g. I like the Capture One color engine a lot so I don’t mind it processing the exported images
  • If I would apply one of the DxO Filmpacks styles or do color edits e.g. DxO Portrait preset, would this advice change (I believe TIFF would be the better format in this case but would like to confirm)
  • Are their advantages to using DxO Filmpack styles to Capture One styles, as in do these get applied on a more foundational level when applied in PhotoLab on the RAW file versus using the exported TIFF in Capture One?
  • Are their any negative downsides to using DxO exported TIFFs or DNGs for working in Capture One versus working with the raw files (assuming that my base corrections in DxO are done correctly)?
  • Any arguments for doing all versions/edits in Photolab 2?

TLDR; I want to process my RAW images into TIFF/DNG masters and use those as the input in the rest of my workflow. Do I lose anything in the process and what export format gives me most flexibility/power?

Many thanks in advance.

(Pascal) #2

This workflow seems to bo efficient … but a little beat complex :slight_smile:
It is a pity tu use COne on raster images.
Nothing special to reply to your questions. Your approach is good.


Take a look on #chapter 4


I would suggest you stick with TIFF instead of DNG as DNG is not a universal standard as such, whereas tiff is an agreed one.

(Floris van Eck) #4

Thanks! One more question: which color rendering would make most sense to create the master since I would create multiple versions in different styles after outside of Photolab?

  • Camera default rendering
  • Neutral color, factory tonality
  • Neutral color, neutral tonality

Camera default might make sense since other applications are likely to assume that in their camera specific profile?

(Floris van Eck) #5

Can you elaborate on that? I prefer the denoising, lens corrections and most of all DxO clearview on landscape shots but the rest of the workflow/color editing in Capture One.

I just don’t get the same result from my images using only Capture One, or if I want to it often costs me 10x more time.

(Pascal) #6

Neutral tone v2 is a good start towards another software.
I wrote about this in

This is the problem. You must decide wich software for demosaicing.
PhotoLab is a very good choice, but after that you cannot use C1 (or other) in an optimal manner.



When you export using the DNG format it’s best to do only white balancing, cropping, lens corrections, sharpening and PRIME in PhotoLab. The DNG file will be smaller than a 16-bit Adobe RGB tiff file, and you will be able to use the camera profiles available in C1 or Lr (the camera profile you use in PhotoLab shouldn’t matter in this case).

Things to watch out for with those DNGs in C1/Lr: check your sharpening and noise reduction settings, so that you don’t do it in both converters (unless you have a reason to do so). Look also at lens corrections – they should be off in C1, but just double-check.

If you like doing tonal corrections in PhotoLab and would like to do colour-grading in C1, then DNG is not for you – use 16-bit Adobe RGB tiffs.

(Platypus) #8

In my experience, export with DNG can introduce major color shifts on fairly saturated colours. TIFF with a colour profile usually avoids this. My conclusion therefore is, that I use DPL for lens corrections only and do all the rest in in my main app (Lightroom). I then usually use DNG, except when I get the aforementioned colour shifts.

To summarise: Try what suits you best and stick to it.

Then again, you might ask yourself if you really need/want several apps in your workflow and what you gain from it compared to the increased complexity of the system and possible variability/loses: DPL for one is not quite clear about how colours are managed. One of the posts says that it either uses sRGB or aRGB depending on the source file’s setting. This would usually mean that colours can be limited, which could explain the colour shifts I get in the reds…


One correction – I’ve just tested a file with blown highlights and it looks like it’s best to process such files as flat as possible in PhotoLab (Neutral color / Realistic tonality rendering; Smart Lighting; Selective Tone: Highlights [-100]), output as DNG, and then in C1 you can use No Color Correction in Base Characteristics and build your own tonality and colours, getting the best of the highlight recovery / reconstruction in C1 (which is superior to that in PhotoLab).

I find C1 demosaicing to be better than PhotoLab’s, but it has worse noise reduction and fewer lens corrections. C1 has a great Color Editor (hopefully the promised improvements are coming to PhotoLab3) but PhotoLab gives me access to a greater number of camera profiles that I like. C1 has better DAM and output options. Therefore, I prefer to process base ISO, highly detailed original raw files in C1, but for high ISOs PhotoLab is the best for me.

(Floris van Eck) #10

After a day of testing, I am coming to that conclusion as well. I exported a bunch of images and dit A/B comparisons and many times the DNG workflow loses detail/color detail. Also Capture One is noticeably slower working with TIFF files (file size perhaps). On my ISO 100 - 800 shots, I get the best results in Capture One period. But in the ISO 1600 - 3200 range (I don’t go higher) Photolab differs superior results. I just hate using two applications but it might be for the best.

The other situation that I find Photolab superior is landscape shots with Clearview. Especially when there is a lot of harsh sunlight and/or haze, Photolab delivers great results and Capture One doesn’t even come close to reproduce the detail and tonality.

Next month we should see Photolab 3 and Capture One 13 and I hope both plug the holes in their application and not only add superficial/incremental features. My main gripes in Capture One are dehazing, keyword management (too limited) and a lack of stacking/versioning. I wish Photolab had something like process recipes and better color management and profiles.


On the issue of DNG vs TIF.

When you create a DNG in DXO-PL 2 you are demosaicing the file and creating a linear DNG. If you clip highlights or shadows in your DXO-PL 2 adjustments then these are clipped in the DNG. It is thus advisable to do major tonal adjustments in DXO-PL 2 so that highlights are retained and shadows lightened above what would be final output. Remember that as you lighten shadows noise will increase but DXO-PL 2’s PRIME noise reduction will be applied thus reducing the noise. This noise will be further reduced if shadows are darkened in the final editing program.

A DNG in C1 Pro is treated like a raw file in that it has no white balance embedded in the file. Therefore C1Pro will provide its interpretation of this particular DNG file and the colours will be different to those that you set in DXO-PL 2. You are not losing colours in using DNG it is simply that the raw converter in C1Pro gives you a different initial result, the same thing happens whenever you use a different raw converter on a raw file, initial results look different. If you want the colours to be the same as in DXO-Pl 2 then you need to use a TIF file. If you have sharpened in DXO-PL 2 to take advantage of the lens profile sharpening which compensates for the lenses variable across field sharpness, then make sure no sharpening is applied in C1Pro.

In DXO-PL 2 you have the option to use DCP colour profiles. These can be obtained from third party sources like Huelight Colour Profiles ( This is a big plus for some users. The colour profile results are maintained if you use TIF.

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Hello Floris,

A few years ago I had about the same workflow as you have mentioned above: do most of the automatic corrections in DxO and exported a DNG-file to LR. Later I switched to C1 instead of LR and found that the DNG’s didn’t give the same result as the TIFF-images. From that moment on I exported TIFF-files from DxO to C1 and, to me, the results are better than with DNG (the DNG from DxO is a TIFF-file with a “DNG jacket” and no real DNG-file as far as I know). The management of my files I do with iMatch from Photools.
To answer your questions :

  1. I think it’s better to export TIFF-file to C1 than a DNG-file
  2. I don’t use Filmpacks or presets, so I can’t comment on that
  3. But if you export a TIFF-file I suppose the changes of the filmsimulation is in it?
  4. You get much bigger files
  5. I used to work a time only with C1 but the lens corrections (I work now with m43) in DxO are far supperior then the ones in C1. Also prime NR is better (in special for m43). On the other hand, the shadow and light controls are better in C1, also the color wheel.

So I think workflow is OK but a bit difficult because of different applications. A mix of C1, DxO ans iMatch would be great … but in the meantime I’ll follow about the same workflow as you do.

Best regards

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(Floris van Eck) #13

Can you elaborate on your workflow between these 3 applications, especially with regards to iMatch? In what order do you process/manage your images. I am looking into IMatch and Photo Supreme.