Capture One vs Lightroom for Black + White. And what about Photoshop?

Should you use Capture One or Lightroom for your black and white edits? PLUS where does Photoshop for black and white fit in?

We’re going to test that in today’s video with direct comparisons. Taking the sale filed and editing them in each to see what gives us the best black and white in the least time. I’ll give you tips for all of them along the way.

Also, see my Lightroom vs Capture on 2022 video here for a general overview of these two great apps. For now, let’s watch today’s video and do some black and white tests.

Since I started digital photography 20 years I’ve seen just about every technique for Black and White in digital Some needless complex. some are just ugly. Simplifying that process led me to bypass plugins and create tools Like Silver 4 presets and Blackroom BW Actions.

Pure Capture One. While there are fewer BW sliders, you can make up for it with the more advanced color tools and get a stunning result.

Honestly we B&W lovers occasionally get a little snobby, so this question can be complex. But since we no longer have the chemicals we used to use in the darkroom the traditional color filters do not have the same effect. Today to take the same principle and make it work digital.

The best black and white conversions usually start for a color photo because with those color channels we can convert and extract the colors, much like we did with filters in the film days but with more detail. Darkroom like green filter, lighter reds, etc. If you bake black and white in camera, you lose all that power. That’s not to say your BW photos are wrong. Just that they are not as flexible.

So I usually convert on the raw file. In LR or C1. I use my SIlver 4 presets if Filmist. But whether you use creative presets to go further, or all manual. You don’t want to supply desaturate. Use those channels and the power of your RAW.

Watch today’s video above, because we’re looking at Lightroom VS Capture ON in a side-by-side level. Does one give you a better black and white conversion than the other and what are the advantages between Lightroom and C1.

After that, you can go deeper into your black and white edits..

If I’m going to edit my best work. I go beyond RAW. I’ll restore the color channels before going into Photoshop, leaving my other edits in place. Then I can go deeper with my black and white edits. But they are also more complex in Photoshop.

Sometimes it’s not even clear how you can make a better black and white in Photoshop. I use Blackroom to convert to a more complex BW because it always helps me find a way to improve the edit without stumbling around. That’s what it was built for.

More about how I do those more advanced edits in this video and on the Blackroom page.

Lightroom is a little more user-friendly compares to Capture One. But with Styles or presets, you can get your look fast in both.

In conclusion. Which is best? LR, C1 or PS

When it comes to Lightroom VS Capture One for black and white. I think Lightroom has the edge for ease of use and results that just work. Capture One with its other available tools can perhaps give you more options but with more work. Both are going to work great if you save presets or styles or Have a pack like Silver 4 or Filmsist on hand.

In the end, both are good and the results will be good.

But comparing both to Photoshop. Photoshop offers more options, but with a lot more time spent. Even if you use Photoshop actions to vastly speed up these more advanced edits, Photoshop should probably not be where you start.

Edit normally in Lightroom or in Capture one or another RAW-type editor. Then take the very best images you want to showcase to Photoshop to give them that edge that makes them win.

Lastly, plugins for black and white are heavily hyped. I used them when I all this starting out but native tools have improved a LOT since those days. As I mentioned in the video, a plugin adds another step and takes away control.

Yes, using presets and styles and actions help a lot because they make hard tasks fast. But they use the native app tools in Lightroom, Capture One, and Photoshop. So instead of a new file or a flat image. You just highly refined sliders, adjustable layers, and a totally transparent process. To be that’s a huger win.

Let me know if the comments what you think is the best black and white tool.

Gavin Seim

The detail in Photoshop is almost impossible to beat. Layers and details equal more refinement. So I still take by best photos here in the end after using a RAW style editor.
Don’t be afraid to edit your black and white a little more. Whatever app you use. In the end, it’s all about shadow and contrast.

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  1. I like your Silver presets, in Lightroom, but I also like to use Nik’s Silver Efex within Photoshop. The best = no conversion from a Leica Q2M and a real filter on the lens!

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About the Author

Glad you're here.

I'm from WA State USA and started studying photography in 97. I started work as a pro (using that word loosely because I sucked) using film at age 16. I learned fast but was not as easy to find training then. Sometimes I beat my head against the wall until I figured stuff out.

As digital dawned I went all in and got to study with masters like Ken Whitmire. In 09 I founded the Pro Photo Show podcast. I started promoting tone-focused editing. When Lightroom arrived, I started developing tools to make editing and workflow better.

20 years of study and photography around the country earned me a Master of Photography (M.Photog) from PPA. I got to see my workshops and tools featured in publications across the industry. Once I even won the prestigious HotOne award for my "EXposed" light and tone workshop.

Wanting something calmer, I moved to Mexico in 2017. It's a land of magical light. I'm here now exploring light and trying to master my weak areas. I make videos of that for my Youtube channel, sharing what I learn. I hope you'll stick around and be part of Light Hunters Tribe... Gavin

Gavin Seim

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