Colors in Capture One

Colors / Process images / Process recipe

Discover how Capture One deals with image color, how to set a permanent color space, and calibrate an Eizo ColorEdge CG monitor.


Essential information regarding colors in Capture One:

  • Capture One deals with colors in two ways: internally and for output.
  • Capture One works in a very large color space, similar to that captured by camera sensors. A large color space ensures that little clipping of the color data can occur. Clipping is the loss of image information in a region of an image. Clipping appears when one or more color values are larger than the histogram (color space of the output file).
  • At the end of the workflow, the RAW data has to be processed to pixel based image files, in defined color spaces. These spaces are smaller than the internal color space used by Capture One. When processing, some color data will be discarded. This is why it is paramount to perform color corrections and optimizations to images before processing to a smaller color space.
  • Capture One provides accurate color by reading the camera-generated RAW information, file header and settings file.
  • A RAW file is assigned a color profile once Capture One has established which camera model has been used. The RAW data is then translated to the internal working color space of Capture One and it is here that edits can be applied.
  • Image data is converted, by means of ICC profiles, to industry standard spaces such as Adobe RGB or sRGB during the processing stage.

Purpose and color spaces

Color Output Settings
Capture One Express for Sony can output to any RGB color space while Capture One Pro can also output CMYK. (It is necessary that the ICC profile is available on the local machine).

For Web
Images that are intended to be published on web sites should always be processed into the sRGB color space as few web-browsers are capable of color management and the subtleties of images will not only be lost but can also be incorrectly displayed. Images processed in larger color spaces like AdobeRGB will be displayed with less color (especially green), and are often slightly too dark when shown in browsers that only support sRGB.

For Print
Images for print should be output to suit the requirements of the client or lab. Adobe RGB is a large color space that is capable of expressing a wider gamut of colors than sRGB. Adobe RGB is, therefore, the preferred choice for images that are likely to receive extensive processing or retouching.

Camera Profiling 
Embedding the ICC color profile into the processed file (ICC Profile > Embed Camera profile) ensures that no color changes are made to the image data, which is particularly important for creating camera profiles.

Image files that are intended to receive intensive retouching and manipulation can benefit by being processed and output in 16-bit to ProPhoto RGB, which is an even larger color space than Adobe RGB.

CMYK Color Spaces
Capture One Pro provides a selection of the most common CMYK color spaces. The photographer can convert to CMYK during processing to ensure image quality, instead of applying this color space conversion in postproduction. CMYK can be selected from the Output Tool Tab.

Setting a permanent color space

Capture One Pro allows you to proof color space profiles, including CMYK for output, prior to processing from the menu (View > Proof Profile). Alternatively, as Capture One displays the image in the Viewer using the ICC profile that’s selected in the highlighted Process Recipe, you can use a recipe to display the color space permanently. Note, a permanent color space profile seen in the Viewer may produce moderately different colors than the actual output image.

  1. Select View > Proof Profile and select the desired profile from the list.
  2. Perform final corrections before processing, using a recipe with the desired profile.
  3. Alternatively, select the desired ICC profile in a Process Recipe for permanent display in the Viewer.

Monitor calibration

Adopting a hardware calibration device is the most reliable and objective method of calibrating a monitor. There are a number of inexpensive models to choose from and most are bundled with software offering advanced features that allow you to manually select target values and adjust the monitor for brightness, white point, gamma, and the black level. If you use an Eizo ColorEdge CG monitor, Capture One can even re-calibrate the display settings using the monitor’s built-in calibration sensor.

Eizo monitor calibration

A number of Eizo ColorEdge CG monitors with a built-in calibration sensor can now be re-calibrated from within Capture One. Calibrating and profiling your monitor on a regular basis is essential if you want your monitor to display colors as accurately and consistently as possible. This feature leverages the hardware-calibrateable electronics of these monitors with the simple-to-use, built-in calibration sensor and Capture One’s standardized target settings for predictable color reproduction.

The following Eizo monitor models are supported:

CG245W, CG246, CG247, CG247X, CG248 (UHD 4K)

CG275W, CG276, CG277

CG318 (DCI 4K).

A number of Eizo ColorEdge CG monitors with a built-in calibration sensor can now be re-calibrated from within Capture One.

Calibrate Eizo ColorEdge CG monitor

The following description assumes you have one of the supported monitors listed above connected to the computer using a suitable signal cable. A USB cable must also be attached for successful calibration. The cable should be connected to the monitor’s default enabled upstream port, typically USB port 1. Please refer to the monitor’s User’s Manual for additional information. In a multiple monitor set-up, Capture One identifies all of the compatible monitors connected and re-calibrates them in-turn, regardless of where the application is displayed. If the calibration fails, first check the USB connection. If the connection is not faulty, try powering the monitor down, then powering back up. If calibration fails a second time, please exit all applications and restart the computer.

  1. From the main menu, go to Capture One > Preferences (Mac) or Edit > Preferences (Windows). The global Preferences dialog box opens.
  2. Select the Color tab.
  3. Under Monitor, click on the Calibrate EIZO button. A dialog opens asking whether you want to make a new default monitor ICC profile for it. The dialog box displays the target settings. Note these are standardized target settings and cannot be changed within Capture One.
  4. Select Yes to continue with the calibration. The monitor’s calibration sensor will appear from the bezel and the calibration will start.
  5. When the calibration has ended a dialog opens and the sensor returns to the monitor’s bezel. The display is adjusted and updated with the new profile. This profile is saved to the computer and the adjustment result is registered to the monitor’s specified (e.g., CAL) display mode used for customized calibrations. The monitor’s other display modes remain unaffected.
  6. To return to an earlier calibration setting and profile, or to adopt another relevant to your workflow, it is recommended that you open the Eizo ColorNavigator software provided with the monitor and select it from there.

Under Monitor, click on the Calibrate EIZO button.