Color issue: Leaf Capture vs. Capture One Pro

I am testing some RAW files from Leaf digital backs and especially the Aptus-22 since I plan to purchase a medium format system – better detail, better dynamic range and true 16-bit color.

It is not easy to find RAW files from MF digital backs on the Internet. Fortunately, there are some on the Leaf website. I downloaded almost all files and registered to be able to download the Leaf RAW developing software – Leaf Capture.

I do own PhaseOne’s Capture One PRO, and since Leaf is owned by Phase, as you can guess, Capture One Pro opens all Leaf RAW files. The two programs are quite different, but they share exactly the same color profiles and curves presets. As the two companies belong to one family, I was thinking their processing algorithms are the same. So, it is normal that they produce the same color, if I use the same color profiles and curve presets. But, as you’ll see, not exactly…

Bellow is a sample from a RAW file I downloaded from Leaf’s website and processed with both Leaf Capture and Capture One PRO with the same presets: color profiles and curves, all other settings at default. The big picture is the whole frame, bellow it are two 100% crops from a shadow area. At first look, images from LC and C1 look the same (excluding sharpness), but after I examined the shadow areas, I noticed a very strange (and not expected) behavior of Capture One: shadow areas have increased reds.

Leaf Digital Back test image
Click to enlarge (opens a new window)

This is not the first time I notice increased reds in Capture One PRO… I shoot with a Nikon and I develop NEF files with C1 Pro. To obtain correct color in dark images, I have to cut the left side of the red channel by 1 or 2 levels. Yes this is not too much and it is not something to worry about, but it is present and I see it. With images containing less dark areas it is not a issue, but with dark images it could be, especially if you work some color-critical project.

Finally: The Leaf RAW files files, processed in Leaf Capture look absolutely flawless, with superb dynamic range, correct natural colors and great detail. I have to say that I’m really impressed with the image quality from all Leaf back, even the quite old Aptus 22. I will probably buy one in the near future.

The file I used for this “test” is shot with the Aptus-II 6 on a Mamiya AFD system (© Alex Amengual) and is publicly accessible as a RAW file from the Leaf website HERE

Related posts