SOOC Monochrome and Capture One Express

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Continuing the blog serialisation of my popular X-Pro Series lust/hate/love story:

Part 143: SOOC Monochrome and Capture One Express


You might recall last week that we looked at SOOC colour Jpegs made with Fujifilm’s X Raw Studio and the same files edited in Capture One Express (C1E)


This week we’re going to complete the same exercise but with monochrome files.


Since last week I’ve updated C1E to the version that has the official Fujifilm film simulations. But I wasn’t sure the best way to proceed with this. Last week’s article (to me at least) ended up being more about the colour differences between C1E’s native profile and the (charming) colours of the inbuilt Fujifilm simulations, as well as the differences in rendering between the RAF and the Jpeg engines.


But monochrome presents a different challenge, I could of simple set the same Fujifilm film sim profile for each file, but I didn’t really want it to be about comparing Fujifilm Acros vs C1E Acros – I’m sure that’s been done already!


Personally I tend to create black and white images by desaturating colour RAW, then using the colour channels to blend the look I want (YMMV). But this isn’t an option available in camera.


I could of used the desaturation/colour channels in C1E from RAW, then picked a colour filter from the standard suite of Fujifilm black and white simulations, but I don’t think that’s really that helpful…


So in the end I decided to use my own go-too monochrome process in C1E (desaturating colour RAW) but dropped using the colour channels to blend the look, compared with a SOOC Fujifilm monochrome film sim with no filter.


I mean don’t get me wrong! 🙂 None of these methods is an apples and apples comparison, but equally it works for me (as ever YMMV) as that’s the way I tend to roll with monochrome RAW and that’s the thing I wanted to see compared to the SOOC output. The dropping of the colour channel blend (in RAW) and the filters in SOOC (eg Acros Y) was to provide some teeny-tiny semblance of a level playing field, in that I was effectively comparing both ways of monochrome rendering and not introducing the complication of different methods to hone the end result.


No doubt there’s a great many holes you, I, we can pick in this methodology…


……however it is what it is, so let’s take a look!


Edited in C1E




Edited in C1E




Edited in C1E




Edited in C1E




Edited in C1E




For those that are interested, the SOOC rendering was completed with the following settings:


Acros Standard

Highlight -2

Shadow 0

NR -4

Sharpening -1

WB/Push-Pull EV to taste.


Much like last week’s colour images comparison, I’m surprised just how much more I prefer the C1E edits (YMMV), and like I said last week, I’m sure if I was a seasoned SOOC shooter or X RAW Studio user then I could greatly improve upon my SOOC edits.


With the colour edits (from last week) I loved the bite and contrast of the C1E edits, but the subtle nuances of the SOOC colour profiles surprised and charmed me.


There’s not (to my eye at least) such an immediate uplift in charm to the SOOC in monochrome (compared to the SOOC colours), but in some images I feel the SOOC variants work well, better or worse (than C1E) it’s hard to say, but certainly close enough that personal preference comes into play.


In the images that have more nitty gritty detail (the bridge, the signs on the door) C1E seems to provide tangibly more texture. Yes, yes I know I set SOOC sharpening to -1, but I also turn down sharpening in C1E too!


Personally I’m glad I took the time to compare the two different ways of working, to see up close how SOOC might fit into my personal workflow


….but for me (so YMMV) I find that C1E works very nicely with the X-Pro2 RAW files, in both colour and monochrome and I personally prefer what I consider to be the greater convenience of a RAW based workflow


You can find my C1E user guide here


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