Capture One 20 Beyond Film and B&W style packs review

Two new style packs are available for Capture One 20: Beyond Film and Beyond B&W. Both are a collection of preset styles created with associated grain settings. You can mix the Film and B&W settings with any of the grains, so these styles are not meant to fence you in.

The Beyond packs combined include nine Styles in three contrast variations and eight Grain Presets.

The Beyond Film pack contains adjustments that make your image warmer or cooler and that flatten it or turn it in a high-contrast picture. The Film Styles are inspired by the most popular Fujifilm and Kodak film stocks.

The Beyond Black pack offers settings that create soft contrasts for smooth skin rendition to adjustments that create a dramatic look with more detail like the one I got in my photo of crepuscular rays.

With Capture One 20’s ability to use styles and even stack them, these nine packs give you a lot of creative leeway. However, it is important to understand that stacking Styles and Presets is not an additive process, which means that if two styles stacked onto each other contain an identical setting, only the last one will be applied.

This allows you to stack grain on top of a B&W or Film setting but also to stack two different packs and obtain slightly different results. I tried this with a few styles in the new “Beyond” pack and stacked some of them on top of each other. The results were visibly different from when I applied one style only, but not in an unpleasantly harsh manner as is often the case when you stack adjustments in other apps that just add them without any intelligence applied.

I also compared the Capture One packs with Exposure Software’s Exposure X5 and its many film presets. Exposure Software tries to get as close to the real thing as possible. The results were much like Capture One’s, depending on the film you select. The only advantage Exposure X5 gives you, is that the app lists films under their brand and type names, which makes it easier if you want to apply a specific film effect. However, some years ago I asked Exposure Software if the film effects were exact, for instance as a result of scanning each film and analysing its spectrographic characteristics. The answer was that it comes close but probably not exact.

In both apps, you can still adjust after a style pack has been applied, so the discussion about whether it’s truly a specific film is without merit. The Beyond Film and Beyond B&W Style packs at the very least save a lot of time by offering you a starting point for your own further creative adjustments. The Beyond Styles Kit retails at 89 Euros.