Capture One 22 Pro is the most obvious example of a RAW editor that’s reached the pinnacle of its capabilities. There’s no further improving on features already available, so the developers start adding new ones. In this case, it’s the ability to create panoramic photos and true multi-photo HDR, in addition to wireless tethering for Canon cameras and AI-driven batch-capable rotation.
Panorama software isn’t just stitching images together. A fully featured pano app will include features that enable masking out unwanted elements, manually editing control points, straightening horizons, and working with very large and multi-row panoramas. The panoramic feature set of Capture One 22 Pro is a first iteration that you can bet your life on will be expanded in upcoming updates and upgrades. It allows for four projection types of the approximately ten that exist.
Capture One’s “Perspective” equals a rectilinear projection, while its Panini projection is the only type that makes sense if you photographed a whole sphere. Capture One 22 Pro has multi-row stitching, which means you can build an extremely high-resolution image in all directions. The resulting panorama is a DNG file that allows further working on the RAW file. There’s also the ability to select a stitch size in a range of 25% to 100%. The whole process is quick and simple.
The second new feature has been on my wish list for a long time. It’s true HDR, meaning the kind of HDR that you create by combining several images shot with slightly different exposures. Capture One 22 Pro HDR Merging gives you a single high dynamic range DNG in just a few clicks. It’s the “few clicks” that worried me, but after comparing the 5-second HDR output of Capture One 22 Pro with that of the two most powerful dedicated apps, I must say the developers did a fine job. The Capture One HDR image was sharper, more accurately layered and with natural colours even using its Auto settings. And, as with the Panorama functionality, you can further edit the RAW DNG image afterwards.
Here too, it’s only a first iteration that will probably evolve — there’s no getting rid of ghosting, for example.
Other new features in this interesting upgrade include a wireless tethering capability for Canon cameras — which I could not test by lack of Canon equipment — and Auto Rotate . The latter is a very fast and accurate way of straightening all of your photos at once — select the images in the Browser and click Rotate’s magic wand, that’s all there is to it. Auto Rotate is Capture One’s first AI-driven tool and it does a good job on images that have a clear horizon; on others not so much yet. The good news is that it does not harvest any of your data.
Still lacking in Capture One 22 is an overhaul of its metadata section, which is becoming a bit of a laugh. Compared with Photo Mechanic 6, it’s ridiculous, but since DxO’s last upgrade of Photolab, it’s even worse than theirs.
Finally, there’s faster filtering, loading and image browsing on Windows.