Reviews

Finally! Finding the right workflow in Capture One! by nicole struppert

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I have Capture One for a few years now, but I never made the full transition from Lightroom. The reason for it was that Capture One is very complex and has a different workflow. Lightroom is more intuitive, well structured and easier to learn. But with Capture One you’ll get the best outcome of your pictures. The Raw Converter is amazing - I have no idea what Capture One is doing with the files. The pictures look outstanding compared to the LR files - they don’t look flat and you’ll see more details and more sharpness.

I tried the full transition to Capture One a few times, but always ended up with using LR - 'cause it was easier… This year, I set myself a goal. I was travelling to Lisbon and started to use just Capture One. I worked hard to find the right workflow and set up. I changed the shortcuts and finally, I am overwhelmed… There are still bits and pieces what Capture One could improve, but till now I am very happy with the results and my workflow. 

I’ve written a few blog posts about Capture One and I know that some of you are looking for more details. So here is my current workflow and set up in Capture One.

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Catalog size
The last time I had problems with my catalogue. The catalogue size with 50.000 shots was 38GB.  I redirected my files from an external HD to Capture One and after the import, the catalogue crashed and I had to restart the whole process. As you can imagine I wasn’t happy about it - and so I ended up with LR again. It took me some research to figure out a solution.

I changed my preview file size to 1920 px on my 27’inch iMac. My catalogue size with nearly 54000 pictures is now 1.68 GB. Capture One runs smoothly. This time I imported my LR Catalog to Capture One and I didn’t have any problem.

Workspace
In Capture One you can set up your workspace for your prefered workflow. There are so many possibilities, that it can be pretty confusing in the beginning. To adjust the setting, I wrote down my workflow and adjusted then the workspace. This is my workflow of most of my pictures:

  1. Import the files (Redirecting files to an external HD & extra Back Up Copy) + Copyright
  2. Go through the image, select the keepers & delete the bad pictures
  3. Analysing the shots:
    - Keystone correction
    - Simple adjustments:
      Aperture, Contrast, Light, Shadows
    - Tone Correction
    - Curve
  4. Sharpness / Clarity / Vignette
  5. Presets? (Sometimes I use some User Presets of Capture One to try different looks)
  6. Detailed corrections with the brush
  7. Export
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Therefore I adjusted my Toolbar for my workflow. I deleted tools for tethered shooting ('cause I don’t use it), B&W, Details and a few more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Selection:
When I uploaded my pictures to Capture One I start with the selection - same like flag & unflag the pictures in LR. Capture One is not having a special shortcut for selecting the pictures. I decided to use stars - if I select an image, it gets 3 stars - if I unflag an image it goes right into the trash, by pressing x. After selecting the pictures I go into the 3 stars selection and have a proper look at the files and start with my editing process. The Shortcuts help me to run quickly through my pictures.

Editing Process:
My editing process is the one I described in the adjustments for my workspace. Everyone has a different workflow. I don’t do lots of portraits and colour correction, that is why the colour correction tool doesn't play a big role in my editing process - but it is very powerful. Overall I try to edit as less I could… 

Sometimes I convert my colour files into black & white or use some of Capture Ones presets, just to compare different looks. To do this I added a new Shortcut for „Copy Variant“ by pressing alt+command+C. 

Exporting images:
Exporting images is such a joy in Capture One. You can have several „recipes“ and run all of them at the same time.

I use 2 recipes for my archive:

  • High Res for prints
  • 1600px for Web

In Capture One you can adjust the recipes with different ICC Profiles, naming the files, sharping the image for Displays, Metadata, Watermarks etc. There are so many options. The great thing about the exporting tool is, that you can export many images and recipes at the same time. This is such a time safer!

Shortcuts:
In Capture One, you can adjust the Shortcuts to your needs. One thing which drove me really nuts in the beginning was that I wanted to confirm my adjustment by pressing the return/enter key.  It took a while to get used by pressing the V key (selection tool) to confirm edits. Here are the Shortcuts I most use:

V : Confirm / Selection Tool

H : Handtool, double-click to get to a 100% view

C : Crop Tool

K : Keystone Tool (You'll get better results when you use the markers, not in the middle of the image)

# :  Grid on /off

+ : Assign color tag: red

X : deselected images, which go straight to the trash

Cmd + : Zoom in

Cmd -  : Zoom out

Cmd 0 : Zoom to fit

Cmd + Z : Undo

1-5 : Star Rating

Arrow key right: next image

Arrow key left: last image

alt+Cmd+C : Copy Variant

Final Thoughts:
Learning Capture One takes a while. I am still in the process to learn more tricks to make my life easier. There are still a few things I miss in Capture One, but I am sure the team of Capture One is working constantly to improve the software. For me, the most important thing is, that I do have the best outcome for my images. After using Capture One for a while now, I don’t look back to Lightroom. 

I hope I could help a bit for those who are also thinking about making a full transfer from LR to Capture One. If you have further questions don't hesitate to contact me.

Love & Pain - the Leica Q by nicole struppert

The last few weeks I got many emails where people asked me what settings I use with my Leica Q. I thought it would be the best to write a blog post to share my settings and how I use the Leica Q.

Honestly shooting with the Leica Q is a bit like love and pain. I usually prefer to work with the rangefinders - with the Leica M I am quick and precise - no lack of time while using the AF of the Q. But I really love the Leica Q files so much, that I am constantly working on improving my workflow with the Q.

So here are a few topics of the questions:

DNG & Jpeg
The Leica Q can shoot DNG & jpegs site by site or just jpeg. The color jpegs of the Q are not as good like the B&W jpegs. Unfortunately it is not possible to shoot just DNG - which I would prefer. Shooting DNG & jpegs site by site eats the memory card and slows down the writing process especially while shooting continuously. What I have done is that I have changed the jpeg resolution to 12/ 8 / 4 M. This gives me bit better writing process. I really hope that Leica is doing a software update to shoot just DNG.

B&W Settings
I like contrasty B&W images. My current settings are:
Contrast: High
Sharpness: Medium High

Rome, 2015

Full auto mode
It is possible to use the Q in full auto mode like a point and shoot camera. The AF is fast - but depending on light situations the AF can search sometimes a bit too long, that situations can pass by.

Full auto mode, ISO 3200, Rome 2015

1Point AF Mode
Like with the Leica M - 90 % of the time I am using Zone Focusing - 1 Point AF Mode. I put the AF square in the center of my screen that I am quick to focus my object and by half press shutter I can recompose my image.

Multi Point AF Mode
I used the Multi Point AF Mode a few times - depending on the subjects the AF didn’t focus that well as I wanted and often my object wasn’t in focus but the surrounding.

Rome, 2015

Tracking Mode
I used this while shooting my dog or kids running around - this mode works pretty good.

Touch AF & Release
This is a very easy to use AF mode. Just press on the screen where you want to set the focus and at the same time the photo will get shot. This focus mode works pretty good and fast. I got brilliant results.

 Touch AF & Release Mode

Touch AF & Release Mode

Manual Focus
Since a few weeks I started to work more and more using manual focusing. I found out that there is much better control and precise results whenyou are using the manual focus. In the beginning I used the focus peaking mode - but you got more distracted by the red/green/blue or white peaks, that I now just use the MF Assistant - Auto Magnification. I am still working to get better and faster with MF - but I am pretty optimistic that with a little practice I am getting as fast with the Leica M.

Manual Focusing @ f 1.7 , London 2015

Aperture Mode
80 % of my time I am using the Q in Aperture Mode. I put the time on Auto and depending on light situations I have the ISO !00/200 (sunny weather), 800 (indoor), 3200 (night). Sometimes I am lazy and put the ISO on Auto Mode. The Aperture Mode gives me the freedom just to be focused on the Aperture without thinking about time and ISO.

Fully Manual
More and more I am using the Leica Q fully manual. I think you get pretty good results using f 5,6 with 1/125 and set the AF to 1,5 to 2 meters - The ISO I mostly put on Auto / Max ISO 3200.

The Leica Q is a fantastic camera. It takes a while to get used to it. I still need to learn how the camera reacts in certain situations but I hope I could help you a little bit with the Leica Q settings. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me...

Camera with character - One Hour with the Leica M262 by nicole struppert

Leica M262. 35 mm Summicron, ISO 200

Last week the Leica Team from Munich was so kind to give me the new Leica M262 with a 35mm Summicron to test. Some of my friends asked me for my opinion about the latest M, that is why I want to share my thoughts about it.

I was curious if the Imagequality of M262 is different to the M240. Shooting with a Rangefinder is such an experience. I love the worklflow and I dont feel the need to use the liveview or video with a rangefinder, that is why I was happy to see that Leica put out a „cheaper version“ of the Leica M.

Leica M262. 35 mm Summicron, ISO 200

Shooting with the Leica M262 is not different to any other M. Everything feels right. I had the M262 for an hour. I took some random shots in the streets of Munich - to test the ISO and compare it to my files of my Leica Q and the Leica M.

Leica M262. 35 mm Summicron, ISO 800

The M262 produce slightly more noise than the Leica M240. But the noise looks more like film grain, which gives the M262, in my opinion, character. For me it seems that there they used a different sensor - but the Leica team told me it is the same sensor of the M240. They use a different software version, which I like a bit more than in the M240. The files of the M262 produce a but more noise, but in my opinion it looks more „natural“. 

Leica M262. 35 mm Summicron, ISO 3200 

I also compared the M262 files to my Leica Q files. I have to admit, that the Q files are much  crispier, produce less noise and show more details… This might have something to do that the sensor and the lens of the Leica Q is the perfect match up. 

Leica M262. 35 mm Summicron, ISO 1600

Would I recommend to buy the M262?
Yes. If you are looking for an experience to shoot with a rangefinder and don't feel the need for a liveview or video - go for it. But be sure that you are not a pixelpeeper and want clean files at ISO 3200 - you won't get this with the M262 or M240. There are other camera brands which do a much better job in handling noise. Of course you can fix this later in the computer.

The best camera is always the one who helps you to transform your vision. If you are looking for a camera with character I can highly recommend the M262. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Shooting Architecture - using the Leica Q as an artistic tool by nicole struppert

I love to shoot architecture. For me a building is much more than a space where people live or work - a building with its form, light and space can be like poetry to my eyes.

A few weeks ago I have been in Rome and had the opportunity to take some pictures at the Maxxi Museum. Zaha Hadid is the architect and I always wanted to present her work seen through my eyes.

For that I used the Leica Q with the 28mm 1.7 Summilux lens. I had the Leica Q for a few weeks and was mostly shooting street photography with it. I was curious how I could use the Q, not just to shoot architecture - I also wanted to see if I could use the Q as an artistic tool.

The advantage of the Q is that it is a small and light camera. The 28mm lens is superb and so it was easy to take shots at the museum without being noticed too much. I experimented with perspectives, ISO and the aperture. Used the AF and MF. I did not have a tripod with me and took most of my interior shots at ISO 800. 

Being back home  I went through my shots and tried to analyze the files of the Leica Q. With any new camera there is a learning curve to use the camera, but also a process to read and edit the files.

I couldn't see any distortion, which makes is perfectly for shooting architecture. But I have to admit, that I didn't like the noise handling at ISO 800. In my opinion it was a bit too much digital noise and I had the feeling to loose some details. There is no problem to fix this in LR - but I don't like to spent too much time editing. At ISO 3200 the noise of the Leica Q looks great, mainly natural, and it is great to use it as an artistic tool. 

It is fun to use the Leica Q as an artistic tool. The size of the camera and the live view makes everything easy. I like to use the thumb wheel for the exposure compensation. Everything works easy and smooth.


I am using the Leica Q for a couple of weeks now... Honestly there were days where I was thinking to sell the Q again. I had trouble to get used to the AF and sometimes I think the files are a bit too clean. But then there are days where the Leica Q surprises me. I finally found a great way  to use the Q in manual focus to shoot fast enough on the street and liked using the Q as an artistic tool. I think I am gonna stick with it for while and give it time to get to know each other better.

Leica Q: Black & White Settings by nicole struppert

80% of my work is in B&W. Usually I do process my DNGs into B&W. The Leica Q just can shoot DNG & jpeg site by site. While I was in Rome I started to experiment a bit with the Monochrome settings of the Q. I was looking for a contrasty B&W look and found that the following settings work the best for me:

WB: Auto
Contrast: Medium High
Sharpness: Medium High

ISO: 100/200 (sunny weather)
       800 (indoor)
       3200 (night) 

With these settings I get a punchy black and white look. The jpeg outcome is very good and most of the time I don’t need any editing at all. From time to time I change a bit the shadows and increase the Black & Whites to give the image a bit more punch - but that depends on the picture. 

ISO 3200

After all I am very surprised with the outcome of the jpegs at ISO 3200! The images get a grainy look which gives the picture some character. Shooting at night with the Q is very much fun!

100% crop @ ISO 3200

I hope I could help you a bit with the Leica Q Black & White settings & editing. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me... 

My First impression oF the new Leica Q by nicole struppert

Nearly a week ago Leica presented the new Leica Q. Since the camera came out, I was reading the reviews and was quiet excited about the idea of the Q. Today I had the chance to take a first look on the Q and get a first impression.

Full frame sensor, 28mm f/1.7 uninterchangeable lens, macro functionality, electronic viewfinder, and 35mm and 50mm crop mode - all in a compact body.

I have to admit, I immediately got hooked up! The Q feels just right in your hand... It is much lighter than a Leica M - but not to light -  it feels well balanced and the ergonomics is great. 

The Q is a mixture from the X and the M System - which makes it pretty easy to find direction to control the camera. I love the idea that you can work pretty easy in AF and MF Mode - side by side. Focusing manually is a joy. If you turn the focus tab, the center of your screen gets zoomed in and you can focus precisely. Everything works quickly and smoothly! It feels like working with a Rangefinder, but much easier to use. 

The AF is very quick and accurate. My Leica Dealer told me, that it is also pretty quick and accurate in low light situations. 

The shutter sound is very discreet, which is perfect for street photography. The EVF looks bright and right - all informations are shown. 

28mm.
There are some people who already complaining that 28mm might be to wide for that camera - 35mm would be just perfect. For me, who likes to shoot architecture, documentary and street photography, 28mm feels just right. I love the fact, that you can use the camera in crop mode while shooting DNG and jpeg side by side. The DNG will always be in 28mm - but the jpeg will come out in crop mode (35mm or 50mm). 

Till now, I haven't tested the camera - so I can't say anything about the Image Quality. The 28mm Summilux 1.7 ASPH seems to be a fantastic lens - sharp till the corner with wonderful bokeh. The images I have seen so far look wonderful! 

I am curious how this camera will work in real situations and I hope I can test the Q more detailed soon. Till now I just can say the Q seems to be like a real package! The price of 3.990 € is a lot of money, that is for sure - everyone has to decide if they want to pay this amount of money for the Q. I guess it all depends what kind of photographer you are and how much it is worth to pay for a digital camera system with a fixed lens.

My personal opinion is that Leica managed to produce a modern camera without loosing focus on their craft-ship, tradition, the simplicity and focus of "Das Wesentliche".

Angelo Pelle, Vintage Camera Strap - Hand made in Italy by nicole struppert

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There is one thing I really don't like about the Leica M - that is the camera strap. I never understood why Leica is not shipping the Leica M with a simple leather camera strap like the Leica X? 

Therefore I was looking for a simple and practical leather neck strap. I love good design, craftsmanship and like to support companies who produce their products with passion and tradition. I finally found a beautiful Vintage Camera Strap by Angelo Pelle.  

The strap is hand made, of top quality leather from the tuscany and very resistant. It looks beautiful on the Leica M or any other camera. I highly recommend this strap. It comes in two lengths and with a fantastic price of 39,90 €! 

THE NEW EXTENDED FILM STYLE PRESETS for Capture One! by nicole struppert

Last August I wrote a review about the new Film Styles for Capture One.  Now, some months later, the Capture One Film Styles Extended Set is released. Alexander Svet, a Phase One Certified Professional and editor of http://1styles.pro asked me to write a new review about the set.

The new extended set contains 100 new film styles and 25 grain emulation styles. The new set includes new film styles like Kodak Gold and Royal Gold, Kodak Ektar, Agfa Vista, Rollei Retro, Kodak Max and UltraMax and new variants of existing film styles from the first set. 

The Film Styles Extended Set is compatible only with Capture One Pro 8 and not seen as an upgrade or replacement to the first set. 

CAPTURE ONE.

The latest version of Capture One 8 was released in September 2014. As I mentioned in my Capture One Review in March 2013, C1 was and still is the best RAW Converter on the market - especially when it comes to render the Fujifilm x-files. 

With Capture One you will get a huge software package, with many options to personalize the GUI for you're editing and workflow needs. For me personally - it is still a bit to overloaded and sometimes to complex to use. That is why I still don't use it as my main film editing software. I use Lightroom and Capture One side by side! I guess I would swop to Capture One only if they would simplify a bit their GUI. But maybe I need to invest some more time and build my own set up for my personal workflow needs! 

THE NEW EXTENDED FILM STYLE PRESETS.

The set up of the Style presets in Capture One was easy. The different styles are organized in B&W, Color and a new film grain presets folder which keeps everything simple and organized. 

The extended set is coming with new film presets including styles like Kodak Gold and Royal Gold, Kodak Ektar, Agfa Vista, Rollei Retro, Kodak Max and UltraMax. All styles come in different variants and this time the set includes Grain presets - which I like a lot. The 25 universal film grain styles are arranged by different ISO and film development specifics.  

What I absolutely like about the new preset set is, that you can combine the film styles and grain styles together and even stack different film styles from the Original and Extended Set or the preset set which comes with Capture One. 

MY FINAL THOUGHTS ON THE EXTENDED SET FOR CAPTURE ONE.

Well, first of all I have to say that it is nearly impossible to show the same result of a digital image to a film image. Film still has a unique texture and character - and it always will have. But the film styles presets from http://1styles.pro or VSCO do a really good job.

For me, presets are always a starting point of my own vision - they help to get a first impression and support to get deeper in the editing process. But at the end of the day the photographer needs to feel that his images has the right look and feel.

WOULD I BUY THE EXTENDED SET?

I would  buy the extended set if I would like the film look of Kodak Gold and Royal Gold, Kodak Ektar, Agfa Vista, Rollei Retro, Kodak Max and UltraMax. I am much more a B&W person and prefer the classic color film look of Portra 160 and 400 or Polaroid simulations - the first version of the Capture One presets included this set of presets. But I really liked the B&W presets of the new extended set.

I loved as well the possibility to stack different styles and grain options. Thisgives you an endless possibility to find your own version which shows your personal vision or to experiment with crazy version of your image.

I think the team of http://1styles.pro presets did an excellent job! The price of 69,95 $ is good and I highly recommend downloading a free trial of 5 film presets and 2 grain styles of the extended set and play a bit around! 

Shooting Sport with the Leica M240 by nicole struppert

Last August I was testing the Leica M240 for a week. As a Leica M user I felt "home" after a few shots... The M is actually not meant to be for sport photography - but I was curious what I can get out of the camera shooting the Eisbach Surfer in Munich.

The M shoots 3 frames a second - not much compared with other cameras. But my goal wasn't to get as many shots out of the camera  - my goal was to find out if I could shoot action and freeze a certain moment. Would the camera respond quickly and would it be able to get the shot I want.

As I mentioned in my earlier review - the M240 is a joy to use! Everything feels just right, at the right position and it is easy to control the camera. There are just 3 simple ways to control light, ISO, aperture and time. The M is not having an autofocus, a menu for sport shooting, face detection or anything else. The M is simple and focusing on the essential. 

With manual focusing I am in total control of the shot. It takes some practice to get used to it. For most of my shots I pre-focus the scenery using the zone-focusing method. I highly recommend Thorsten Overgaards blog post where he writes about using the Leica M with giving lots of information and tips how to focus right.

For my shooting I had the M240 with a 35mm Summarit 2.5.  The weather was good and I was shooting all day long with ISO 200. I used aperture mode (f8) , pre-focued and was just focused on the action. The M240 was very responsive and so I could freeze great moments.

I wished I would have had more time to test the M240 - to experiment more in different settings, like how does the M240 behave while setting the camera to f8, 1/1000 and bump up the ISO or shoot wide open with 1/800 sec. and an auto ISO - and how could I freeze moments with a faster lens... I am sure I would have get much better results - but for the short time and was pretty happy with the result I got.

What showed me that day was, that the M240 is a great partner on your side for almost any situations. For me the Leica Rangefinder is my most favorite tool to use. It feels just right as an extension to my eye which I can use and trust blindly.  

Test Drive #YouAndLeicaM - Final Thoughts by nicole struppert

Here are my final thoughts about the Leica M240 after testing the camera for nearly a week. First of all I wanna thank the Leica Store in Munich for letting me test the M240 for a whole week.

I am a Leica user for a couple of years now  and always liked Leica for their craft-ship and tradition, the love for design & simplicity. It is always a joy to work with Leica cameras and so it was with the M240.

Handling.

The M240 brings it to the point. Leica has improved a lot the M which helps to make your workflow easier and faster. Everything feels right - at the right position - the new discreet shutter sound is fantastic. I loved the new manual shutter speed dial for the exposure settings. The new Live View modus felt a bit weird in the beginning with manual focusing. But it was helpful in certain situations and with a little bit of practice I was able to focus very well with it. 

The image quality.

The image quality is superb! The images are clear, sharp and detailed. For me personally they looked a tiny bit too clear, too perfect. Someone on the web compared the DNG files of the M240 and the M9 - it seems that the M240 lost a bit of sharpness compared to the M9.

The ISO - fantastic! The B&W conversation and filters - excellent! The color files are coming out a bit different with the M240 - but they are still looking good.

The images of the M240 feel just right - there is not much editing needed. This camera is a blast! 

Video.

...mmh, this is the only thing I didn't like. The results were to shaky. I guess for good results the usage of a tripod is necessary. Video is always nice to have - but honestly the quality on the M240 isn't good. My iphone will get a better result - but hey, this camera is for shooting pictures and not for filming the new Scorsese movie.

Final thoughts.

The M240 feels just right! The camera was overall a joy to use. A workhorse and nearly perfect for every situation. 

Would I buy a M240?

Paying 6.200 € for a camera body is not peanuts. You have to feel right to make such a big investment. I for myself can tell - I am looking for a camera which helps me to transform my vision. I want to express something with my images and the camera is the tool which helps me to bring my vision alive. I absolutely would buy the M240. This camera is versatile!  Fantastic for clean files for commissioned or personal work and awesome for artistic and experimental work.

The test drive of the M240 is still going till 31. October 2014. I highly recommend to get in touch with the M experience.

Here are a few shots I took last week with the M240.