Beach Revisited - or the end of an experiment.
I was dead serious about leaving Lightroom behind. And I did: until today both Lightroom and Photoshop were on the verge of leaving my Dock, after weeks without a single launch. The switch to Capture One hadn't gone without a few hiccups, but overall I was super happy with the results and had completely rewired my brain to the Phase One workflow. A couple of big jobs edited, processed and delivered, a few blog posts...all good.
But then on Wednesday something happened: I got my brand spanking new iMac 5k. Gorgeous machine obviously and I was stoked to start editing with a state of the art computer again, in full resolution no less. So after 14 hours of file transfers I sat down the next morning, fired up COP...and it crashed within 5 minutes. On a small client catalog, not my huge library. That day I think I sent 8-10 crash reports, some of these while working in another very small Session—so this wasn’t solely a catalog issue. Now, as depressing as that was, what really got to me was how little different my new computer felt from the old one while using the app. Certain things—like brushing— were even slower. In fact when the day ended I was rather bummed out: all that money for this? A vague speed bump? I told Cynthia about it that night and went to bed somewhat disillusioned, dreaming of the days when replacing a six year-old machine was like stepping into a whole new universe. Bummer? Yeah.
Thursday came and went. Same deal. Everything outside image editing was downright zippy but I figured this had to do with that 5K resolution vs scaling trickery going on in the OS, Capture One having to push pixels the rest of the system didn't need to deal with. Then on this morning the app crashed again and I just decided to open Lightroom, just for the heck of it. Just to see…
So this is where the speed had been hiding.
As stubborn as I can be, I can admit when I've made a mistake: this is one of those times. As much as I love many, MANY aspects of COP8, I have to go back. The difference in performance can't even begin to compare—and we all know performance has not been the star of this latest LR version (which, incidentally, is the dreaded 6.2.1 on this new Mac). Everything is lightning fast, even with images at 100%. I'm talking processing, moving around, the sliders, the modules, the brushes…all of it. I'm suddenly running the iMac I paid for. I have another 16 gigs of ram ordered so this is bound to become even better.
I believe part of the bottleneck in Capture One has to do with UI animations that appear to slow the app down. I've also noticed significant and possibly unnecessary disk reads when accessing files, as though the app needs to pre-read every single file in a folder instead of just the ones displayed on-screen. So accessing All Photographs on a large library would send my external hard drives grinding for several minutes, which makes no sense—it should only access the files it needs or better yet, use internal previews until we actually select the images we want to work on. If this is how it works then I'm not sure what's going on exactly; but I suspect this was a big part of my main library problems.
Beyond the speed issue however, I had also begun to realize the number of workarounds I'd need to figure out in order to do certain things I had always taken for granted: no round-tripping to speak of (files are always sent without adjustments unless going through the export panel), no built-in metadata editing beyond keywords (can't change capture time for instance), no mobile solution or any sort of syncing. Some of these I discovered, others I already knew about but was prepared to deal with (Fuji tethering)...but 1+1+1+100 is eventually too much of a load. Death by a thousand cuts.
I've paid for the COP8 license so it's not going away. The way I see it, I've got a shiny new drill in my toolbox. I've learned a lot about processing in that application and will have zero trouble switching from one app to the other if I feel it's the right tool for the job. The raw decoding for X-Trans files remains way better than LR and the colouring/toning tools are spectacular (tint wheels AND colour editors AND levels AND curves). Everything it does can be more or less achieved in LR but the process is so much more intuitive once you grasp the concepts—it feels more like film grading. And it's extremely visual, especially compared to manipulating a single red, blue or green curve. COP8 also has an amazing grain engine that goes way beyond what LR or others can achieve. I'm going to miss all of these capabilities a lot.
If there's one thing this entire episode has showed me, it's how much more Adobe could be doing for photographers. There's great stuff in LR but why not give us UI/shortcut customization for instance, or anything I've just described above. Is it really asking too much to be able to sort my collections and collection sets either manually or by creation/modified date? Alphabetical makes ZERO sense. I can’t imagine I’m alone on this one. Go ahead and copy Aperture, I'm sure Apple won't mind at this point. Think beyond marketing tactics and please, PLEASE don't focus on newbies. Instead, make an app worth learning. There's nothing wrong with effort in life. Nothing at all. It's called craftsmanship and it should be encouraged not stifled and sacrificed on the altar of Instagram. Anyway...
I’d been using the images below to experiment various looks in Capture One when it crashed and sent me packing. So I redid them in Lightroom and created a new preset for myself along the way. I think I’ll call it Mann. Or Sally.
Or eating crow...