Migrating from Capture One to DXO Photolab

Hi, I am thinking of migrating from CaptureOne to DXO Photolab. I was wondering if DXO offers any way to transfer my CaptureOne adjustments on my photo work to Photolab. I realize it is not likely but I noticed that Capture One does have software specifically for Lightroom users to migrate there work to Captureone. My only hesitation in migrating to Photolab is that I have spent a lot of time working on the images in my collection adding complex layer adjustments. I want to be able to go back an edit my old work without paying for the Capture One subscription. I could use the free version of Capture One but the does not support layers. Any suggestions?

Welcome to the forum, @anza1

Start with a 30 day trial of DPL and don’t even bother to transfer settings from C1 to DPL.

If you find DPL to fit your needs, get the license and a one time license for C1.

Doing this will enable you to deal with your (old) C1 images as well as your (new) DPL images. As of today, DPL is unable to import development settings unless they are baked into exported files. I don’t suppose that you want to export all your previous images from C1 though…

Be sure to check system requirements before committing. Neither C1 nor DPL are supported in a wide range of OS versions and updating your computer’s OS can move the apps out of their respective support window.

If you use PL trial version @anza1 like @platypus suggests make sure to try out all your lenses and all your bodies as PL relies on “home-grown” sensor- and lens profiles. If a combination is not supported it can take extremely long (and sosmetimes long as in “never”) to get support for a certain combo.

There’s no way to transfer C1 edits to DxO else than export all edited images and lose the abilities to re-edit. Worse, once you eventually find out Capture One might be the smaller p.i.t.a., there’s also no way to get PL’s edits into C1. If you’re using catalog functions of Capture One you need to prepare to do the image management with another tool as PL rather sucks in this area. I also came from C1, tried PL and after the last version of PL didn’t improve what I missed, I went back to C1. So far I haven’t regret both steps, it was interesting to see “how it’s done in another valley”, but comparing both apps I have no reason to continue with DxO products.

And I’m no subscriber of C1, I bought my licenses both in DxO as in C1 for one version.


Malcolm, is there any special reason why you are thinking of migrating?

I did like Joachim and am back with C1 again after many years with Photolab but once I went the other way just like Joachim because at that time, I felt Photolab was more efficient and also had better denoise. I also liked that Photolab is using the core filesystems folders straight on without any cumbersome import processes like Lightroom and C1.

It wasn´t an easy decision to go back again because I think the C1 sessions system is more complicated to use in a DAM-structure, since it relies on its own folder hierarchy. In fact, it´s far more convenient to index a straight folder hierarchy like the one in Photolab.

If you have used the XMP-metadata in C1 to tag your images, you also have to export the XMP-files and reindex them with Photolab.

With this said it can for sure be reasons to migrate to Photolab. It has a lower learning curve than C1 but you will also find that some of the tools you have used is not there or a little bit less advanced. It is to get access to them I have left Photolab.

Good luck with the migration.

…we can always use C1 in catalog mode.

Or setting up one session you use for ad hoc jobs. I have done so for years when I have felt Photolab wasn’t up to do the job but there is still that data interchange problems with DNG and the need to use these clumsy heavy TIFF-files. Photolab can’t still read the DNG-files I export from C1 after converting my Sony ARW to DNG - even from cameras that Photolab has profiles for.

One of the main reasons leaving Lightroom before migrating to C1 was to get rid of that slow and single point of failure catalog. It has never been a receipe for speed having to compromise between smaller previews in the catalog and the need for 1:1 previews in the converter. A DAM like Photo Mechanic doesn’t need to scale previews and that is the main reason why it’s so much faster.

Together with PM Plus it would be possible to inactivate the catalog for those using external solutions. Then Photolab wouldn’t need to suffer from the same compromises Lightroom has been suffering from for so long. I have a fast computer now but Photolab 6 has gotten so much slower rendering previews than I ever have seen before and that was really one of the most important reasons leaving it.

Even C1 has got a lot of bashing for it’s slow and unstable general catalog mode. That’s one of the main reasons to use session mode instead. Sessions also have other things going for them. The most intresting is that a session is selfcontained and can very easy be moved if needed.

@Stenis, although I had my share of crashes during importing and applying a style for B/W “scans” (only RAWs from a Nikon Z 7 with a macro lens): Since version 22 of C1 (and 23 was introduced yesterday, but, welllllllll… nothing to go crazy about) and the replacement of my Intel iMac against a Mac Studio, simply no crashes anymore. Also, my catalogs are on SSD and only contain previews/thumbnails and links to nearly the same structures of folders and files (YYYY/MM) I also had in DxO PL. In fact, the DxO archive was a structural copy of the C1 archive. So, no reason to not use a “workaround DAM” :grin: except maybe, that an external DAM can’t show any RAW edits :sob:

The import settings are quite refined, as they use tokens to define folder and file names. So, the file structure is open to all other apps, no container like importing all files into C1’s catalog. advantage against sessions: Within the catalog I can use projects, albums, folders, groups and smart folders to organize without touching the simple folder structure. If you need more information, let me know. Downside (and still in V23 :rage:): These guys keep on “forgetting” to implement a decent full-text search in their DAM, how modern is that? :yawning_face:


I’m a little exited - and that means a lot (since most swedes are not overly excited about anything - or at least we don’t pretend to be - unless we win the ishockey World Cup)

I really appreciate your comments and insights about the catalog mode. As i said I have never used it since the sessions historically have suited me better during all the years, I have used them.

I have just started with a few tests with the catalog properties in C1 and the metadata support. I agree to your verdict about the refinement of the settings. It’s flexible. I might try to use the “reference/file linking mode” of the catalog that leaves my Photo Mechanic/Photolab folder structure as is. That will be fine.

I have turned on the “Load”- variant of the metadata synch that is supposed to make C1 reading the XMP from the files without letting C1 corrupting the XMP. That worked surprisingly good in Photolab and I’m hoping C1 will be able to match that.

If this will work, I will stop using Photolab all together for everything except extreme low light images that needs a Deep Prime XD-tour.

… and I have to admit an embarrassing thing as a swede: I am really excited about the local adjustment tools of C1 and especially the “Style Brushes”. They are so good and really easy and efficient to use and the precision of them is just marvelous. I hope for all the Photolab users that even PL will get a facelift of the layers and the masking system.

Thanks’ again for your help end your interest in my case!

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Thanks for your perspective on this Sten. I was looking for a good alternative to C1 because I am not a professional and don’t want to pay the high monthly fee since prices went up dramatically. I would use Lightroom except I don’t love the user experience like I did in C1 where I could really customize my workspace.

It was on the C1 forum where I saw people saying how much better DXO is at rendering detail in images. Since so many C1 users were saying this I thought for sure it must be better software, but perhaps only in regards to rendering? The only tools in C1 I find essential are layer adjustments (with the ability to erase gradients where needed), color balance, basic color editor and content aware healing tool. Does Photolab have equivalent features? My main concern about DXO is I heard you have to convert your ARW raw files to DNG… is this true?

Hi! I think you will find mostly the same kind of tools in PL that you find in C1. Usually, they are more advanced in C1 but that said the learning curve in PL is not as steap as in C1.

Photolab have no diversified style brushes as the ones C1 have and not at all the refinement tools found in C1. it’s also a fact that the local adjustments are bolted on. That means that unlike C1 the Local Adjustments in the U-pointsystem they bought from Google feels like an own bolted on system. In C1 all the adjustment tools work throughout the applikation but that is not the fact with for example Local Adjustments in U-Point and the Color Wheel tool.

It is not at all true that you have to comvert ARW to DNG in Photolab. I think you have confused that with the fact that the DXO Plug in to Lightroom PureRaw uses DNG as an intermediate file format when exchanging data.

Overall, the detail rendering is very good in Photolab but I see some weaknesses in highlight recovery and shadows - especially in highlights.

The clone and heal tool have just been improved in version 6 of PL so it´s relly good. That is definitely better than the ones in C1 that for long have been inferior despite even they have been improved the last years.

C1 isn’t for everyone perhaps (everyone might not need it) and I think it’s twice the price of for example Lightroom. I have it since many years so I can live with 160 dollars for an upgrade. Photolab costs around 200 dollars but you really need both FilmPack (Fine Contrast for example) and ViewPoint (keystoning) so that adds up almost to the price of Capture One, so the DXO Suite isn’t all that cheap either is we compare what really should be compared.

Even Lightroom has got a good face lift with the new version and when it comes to functionality vs price nothing beats Adobe but the image quality is better in C1 and Photolab and nothing beats Photolab on the really high ISO-levels.

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