Thursday, 25 April 2013

Lightroom 4.4 (ACR7.4) vs. Capture One Express 7.1.1 vs. Aperture 4.05 (X-Trans)

Hi All,
As usually I do not pretend that my test is a scientific research. I was looking for a Fujifilm X-Pro 1 raw file converter  that works for me and would like to share my findings. I excluded supplied RFC (SilkyPix) from this comparison simply because I don't  like its interface and hardly can imaging using it in the future. But don't  get me wrong, RFC is very capable raw converter.    
I leveraged Raw Photo Processor 4.7.0 (excellent free raw converter) to see how much details Aperture can resolve.
For test purposes I used my own files and raw files available from DPReview and Ryan Williams (Respective Owners, thank you and let me know if you would like to remove them from this review)

The file above was processed (with some adjustment) with three different engines  but results look very similar. Why? 
First, I set all tools to their default settings, to find how different "out of the box" results are.
“Water colour” effect 

Pixel-Peeper's comment:  I still can find some  details smearing in ACR 7.4 but significantly less visible than before (I really consider it negligible). Almost none in C1 and ZERO in Aperture

“Colour bleeding”
Look at the superscript dot in the letter "i"  in the "Washington St" sign and the brake lights on the silver car. 

Pixel-Peeper's comment:  ACR 7.4  still has it, but it is significantly less visible than before (again, I consider it negligible). Almost none in Aperture and ZERO in C1

"Special conditions"

Pixel-Peeper's comment:  I think it is obvious who is the winner. C1 was the only one to render the photo properly. I couldn't even open this file with RPP:)


Pixel-Peeper's comment: ACR is the winner, closely followed by the Aperture. But ACR result looks too soft to my liking and blue/aqua colours are washed out (just above the Lady's head). C1 has some visible moire.


Pixel-Peeper's comment: Aperture,C1 and RPP (with some "zippers") are almost equal with ACR behind. 

Details: RPP vs Aperture

Pixel-Peeper's comment: Aperture extracts slightly more details than RPP, which was arguably the "King of Details" to  date. 

Highlights/Shadows Recovery

I used "an extreme" situation that you may never come across in your everyday shooting.

OOC jpeg

Highlights/shadows sliders were only used to process the raw file 

Pixel-Peeper's comment: ACR is the winner here, closely followed by Capture One, Aperture is well behind. Odd colours can be easily corrected with each program.

Bottom line
You can't go wrong with any of Big Three. Each tool offers Digital Asset Management capabilities and tons of adjustments. Both Aperture are Lightroom are well integrated with Nik Filters and Photoshop. 
These tools can make the picture look completely different, and, with very simple adjustments you can get pretty much the same results from all three :)

In my opinion it is just matter of your personal preference and either one will do the job just fine.

Since I have all three what is my choice?

I am keeping LightRoom as my primary DAM system and raw file processor. It is the only one that supports ALL my raw files, including 20 years old Kodak DCS420
While with default settings the X-Trans raw file may look soft and dull, but with the little help of my presets I am getting consistently good results.  I also think that LR/ACR works  well for portraits and provides  very accurate skin tones.

Capture One Express 7 is excellent for my landscapes/cityscapes and handles well some rare "problem" photos. The moire issue is insignificant and easy to deal with. RPP's "zipper" effect can be much more problematic in some instances.

I am really impressed with Aperture. Colours and details are just amazing, same if not better than Capture One.  It can be a perfect raw converter for pictures when I need a "Velvia" look, which seems more accurate than in-camer Velvia jpeg simulation.There are some colour artefacts here and there but very easy to deal with. 
Couple more samples:

Fujifilm X-Pro 1+ Konica Hexanon AR 50mm 1:1.4, processed in Aperture

Fujifilm X-Pro 1+ Nikkor 180mm 1:2.8 ED AI-s, processed in Aperture

Now, with only few exceptions, I am shooting raw elusively and can explore the true potential of Fuji's phenomenal sensor.

Thanks for dropping by,



  1. Well, at least they fixed it. :) Unlike in S5 (and others S) case.

  2. Thanks for sharing all your hard work.


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