A first look at Capture One for iPad

Back in June, Capture One released its long awaited Capture One iPad edition under a subscription plan with a monthly fee of $4.99. At the time of the launch, the iPad version of Capture One has many of the edition features that are very familiar to existing users of Capture One’s desktop version. However there are several strong features in Capture One Pro’s desktop program that are not yet on the iPad version.

Capture One has stated that they have many other features in the pipeline for future releases; this initial iPad version is beneficial for photographers who want to upload and edit images while away from their desktop or laptop computer. The cloud sync function allows later editing with the powerful features in Capture One Pro.

Styles in Capture One for iPad

Importing images and getting started

Images from a camera’s memory card can be transferred easily using a memory card reader to the iPad. Alternatively, images may be imported from cloud based sources such as Dropbox or iCloud. Once imported, the images can be organized by creating albums.

Easy to use touchscreen interface

Capture One for iPad was designed to take advantage of the touch screen with the use of hand gesture controls as follows:

  • Two fingers to zoom in or out
  • Double tap to quickly zoom to 100%
  • Long tap to toggle between before/after mode
  • Two finger tap to display the histogram

Basic editing tools

  • Star and color ratings: These ratings will carry over to the Capture One Pro desktop software
  • Styles and presets: The iPad version includes preloaded standard legacy styles and presets that are similar to those provided in the desktop version. Custom and purchased styles can also be transferred and used for editing on the iPad.
  • Cropping, rotation and keystone adjustments
  • Black & white conversion including color channel adjustments
  • White balance adjustments for kelvin and tint
  • Exposure adjustments for overall exposure, contrast, brightness and saturation
  • High dynamic range adjustments for highlights, shadows, whites and blacks
  • Clarity and structure adjustments
  • Dehaze
  • Basic color editing for overall color, hue and saturation
  • Vignetting
  • Sharpening, noise reduction and film grain adjustments

Cloud Sync to Capture One Pro for desktop

One nice feature of Capture One for iPad is the ability to transfer edited image to the cloud. Initial basic adjustments can be made on the iPad and further edited with powerful features in the desktop version. It is important to have the latest version of Capture One Pro, as this has a cloud transfer features that wasn’t available in prior versions.

In Capture One Pro on your computer, right-click on the Toolbar and choose Customize. Locate the Cloud Transfer icon and drag it up into the toolbar.

In the iPad version, create an album containing the images you want to bring to the cloud and over to the desktop. Click the three dots beside the album and select Upload Changes to Cloud. On your computer, select the Cloud Transfer icon and select the cloud album to be imported along with an import to folder.

Features I would like to see in future versions

A black and white iPad conversion of an infrared photo.

While Capture One has already started to tease new features coming soon (like tethering), here’s a few features I’d like to come to the iPad app:

Spot removal tool

As shown in the black and white image above, dust spots in the sky are visible. I would have to bring this into the desktop version to clean these up.

Curves and Levels

I use the curves and levels adjustment tools in Capture One Pro for nearly every image I process. While the basic exposure and high dynamic range tools in Capture One for iPad are useful, I feel my images are not complete until I apply curves and levels adjustments.


One of the key features of Capture One Pro is the ability to apply targeted adjustments with the use of layers. I frequently use the Luma Range tool for making specific adjustment layers based upon luminosity masks.

Radial and Linear Gradient tools

These are features that are available in most image processing software.

Advanced color editor

Capture One Pro’s color editor is one of the features that sets it apart from other popular editing software programs. The basic color editing tools in Capture One for iPad are good, however I miss the advanced and skin tone features that are in the desktop version.

Perfect for getting started with your edits

I am happy that Capture One has developed an iPad version of its popular image editing software. Capture One has superior color rendering when compared with other popular editing programs, and the iPad version has similar color rendering as the desktop version.

Capture One for iPad will be very beneficial to those photographers who spend time away from home. It allows basic image processing during downtime while traveling. The current version lacks several features that I frequently use in the desktop version, however the company has stated that many features will become available in later iPad versions. Stay tuned.