Capture One Pro 7 is a big upgrade on the previous version, and one of the biggest additions is the built-in library function. It now works just like Adobe Lightroom, storing all your images in a searchable database, complete with Lightroom-style Collections and Smart Collections.
You can also use it in offline mode. This means that you keep the database on your computer’s internal hard disk, but all your high-res images can be stored on an external drive. Capture One will store previews of your photos in its internal database, so you can browse, and organise your photos even when your external drive is not connected.
That’s not all. Capture One can also carry out certain basic image enhancements even when your external drive is not connected. This means it has similar functionality to Lightroom’s Smart Preview feature. It’s just one of the pleasant surprises in a program which has really come on in leaps and bounds.
01 Import your images
Start by pressing the Import button on the top toolbar. This displays the Import Images window where you can navigate to the folder containing the pictures you want to import. The key thing here is to make sure you choose Current Location from the storage options, top left. The images will stay on your external drive and Capture One will simply build previews in its catalog while referencing the external files’ locations.
02 Folder panel
With the Library tool tab selected, you can open the Folders panel towards the bottom and check your file locations, browsing your images by folder if required. Note the small green lamp at the top right of this panel. This tells you that your external storage is ‘online’ – in other words, your drive is plugged in. Note too the progress bar, which shows Capture One is building previews during and after the import process.
03 Offline mode
If you disconnect the external drive, the lamp at the top of the Folders panel turns red. A ‘? Offline’ label appears at the top of the image preview (main window, right), and a question mark also appears against the image thumbnails in the browser below. These simply alert you to the offline status, though – you can still browse and organise your images.
04 Image enhancements
Surprisingly, you can still carry out some image enhancements on your images, even though they’re offline. Certain adjustments require the original files, but here it’s been possible to change the Saturation, Shadow enhancement and Clarity while the file is still offline.