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Your Aperture Files Imported into Capture One Pro 8; the Good, the Bad and the Missing

Lee Harris's picture
March 23, 2015 - 8:00pm

Following on from my first post I have now taken a look at what happens to images imported into Capture One Pro 8 from Aperture. Capture One attempts to re-apply adjustments created in Aperture when importing an Aperture library. This post only looks at some basic adjustments, but it's great to see that at least some of these will carry over. 

If people hoped for a perfect solution they will be disappointed, however I think there are a few ways to look at what one hopes or expects, and then accept that even if Capture One was somehow able to import all of Aperture's settings it would still not be 100% the same.

If I am importing older files for whatever reason there is a good chance that quite a few of them would have been run through some other programme (PhotoshopNik, etc) and then had the post production “baked” into a TIFF file. But if I am importing RAW files then I would have to say that its highly likely Capture One does a better job of rendering the files than Aperture, so you would likely want to re-edit anyway to get all of the advantages.

For me the most important things to carry over are star ratings, labelscrops and any Metadata.

I have done some tests on what happens to files when imported and this is what I have found (I used Adobe 1998 Colour Profile in both applications for on-screen proofing).

Incidentally, curves and levels don’t seem to come across, and quite frankly I can’t understand why this is the case as you might think such settings would be based on some universal set of coordinates.


Let's take a look at some screenshots taken from each application. This screenshots are from the original Aperture library, then that same library imported into Capture One Pro 8.

First, a RAW file In Aperture without adjustments:

And the same image as it appears once imported into Capture One Pro 8:

The most notable thing at this stage is that the Capture One Image seems to be more saturated. This could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on personal preferences.

Next we see an image where I bumped up saturation and contrast in Aperture:

Here is how the same file looks in Capture One Pro 8:

Again it is apparent to me that the same image in Capture One looks more saturated.

Next, an image in Aperture with basic B&W conversion and a crop applied:

3x_aperture_with_bw_crop.jpgScreenshot of an image in Aperture with basic B&W and cropped applied

 And now how it looks in Capture One:


Here the Crop looks pretty much spot on and is of course editable. The B&W has a little more contrast, I think.

Note that star rating and labels have also been maintained, and my keywords came across intact, but not the flags.


One could run endless tests like this and I am not sure what it would achieve; it is obvious that the files will look different when dealing with the issue of colour interpretation, but as I said above if you have brought an image into Capture One it is probably because you want to take advantage of its RAW conversion and you are most likely only going to want to work on final selects, which if star rated, etc., will be very easy to find.

If you desperately want to hang onto a look you created in Aperture then you might want to make a Version of it and turn it into a TIFF.

I have to bring up one thing, before I finish, that has irritated me a little. I have seen opinions on other sites that suggest Capture One Pro 8 is in some way obligated to provide Aperture users with a perfectly identical user experience, as if Aperture was the gold standard they should aspire to. Capture One has been around a long time and was originally aimed solely at professional Medium Format users. If you are going to go with Capture One as your post-Aperture solution, then you will have to accept change, but also realise that with a little research you can customise Capture One to a degree that puts Aperture and Lightroom to shame and, as I said in other posts, out-of-the-box it is more in-line with the Aperture UI anyway; customise it a little, and you can really make it your own.

About the author, Lee Harris:

Pro photographer for about 20 years, from the UK, but I left London in 2002 to go live in Argentina. In 2007 I moved to Barcelona.

Primarily  a photographer of people, I also love doing architecture/interiors, but living in BCN is not the easiest place to get work, so I will turn my hand to anything if needs be.

Apple Aperture Capture One Pro
macOS Windows
Lee Harris

In general, my testing had similar results to yours. I'm glad to see you writing about it here. I'm leaning in the Capture One direction as well, though I do worry about future proofing myself with Lightroom as I know that those who will likely inherit my catalogs are already well educated in the Adobe ecosystem.

Lee: I agree wholeheartedly with the comments in your last paragraph. C1 is incredibly customizable. In addition, I would point out that the C1 staff engage in the “user to user” forums, have an informative weekly blog and run a series of nearly weekly webinars. This is far more support than Aperture users ever received from Apple. Personally, I have found the information they provide very valuable. 


Wow, I have never even considered the issue of inheritance… I think I am happy to let mine disappear; I get a queasy sensation just thinking about how much digital info is out there now, I bet more images are taken in one day, these days, than were taken in a whole year not so long ago.

Lee Harris, professional photographer based in Barcelona, Spain.

Dear Lee, thanks for sharing, I had similar positive experiences with C1 and I also think that good pictures can be reworked from the RAW files with the C1 rendering engine, if not transferred as externally edited or as versions converted to TIFF. I like C1 very much, but might in the end end up in Lightroom, essentially because I have not found an easy and proper way to handle the keywords with C1. Has any one experience with transferring images keyworded with aperture into a pure image management system, like Photo mechanic? I would be happy with the combination Photo mechanic / C1, but did not find a way to import the keywords lists and keyworded images into photo mechanic…

Pascal: Photo Mechanic is not a DAM–as of yet. It does not have a Library/Catalog to import your images into. As to your keywords,  you could export your keyword list from Aperture and, then, have it load (overwrite) or merge with the keyword list you have set up in PM.

 I use PM and C1 together and am very happy. PM and C1 can exchange metadata through the XMP side car files. You just have to have your Preferences in PM and C1 set up for it. Personally, I use the XMP side car file to have C1 recognize the Hierarchical Keyword structure I have setup in PM




Phase One also owns Media Pro. This product is a DAM. I used it for many years before I started using Lightroom and later Aperture. It's origin is iView Media Pro. The DAM that you see in Capture One originates in Media Pro, but Media Pro can do more as a DAM.

When Adobe came out with the DNG file format, I was sold and converted all my raw files into DNG files. Media Pro knew exactly what to do with them from day one and has kept up with the changes in DNG standard format. Capture One also knows how to handle a DNG file. Capture One also knows how to export and import Media Pro catalogs.

As I wrote below to Pascal I saw a page dealing with this and it seemed to suggest hierarchical is very easy, I will look into it when I am free, got to go take some pics now! (which I will process entirely in C1).

Lee Harris, professional photographer based in Barcelona, Spain.

I have gone back to Media Pro as my ultimate DAM (giving Photo Supreme a rest at the moment).  It too can write metadata to sidecar files.  The difference between it and Photomechanic is that PM is not (yet?) a DAM.  

Andrew Macnaughton

Hello Pascal, I saw something in passing recently, regarding how to use Keywords in C1, I was feeling a little like you but this kind of reassured me, I will try and track it down, I have a feeling C1 may prove to be pretty capable once you get used to it.

Lee Harris, professional photographer based in Barcelona, Spain.

Have a look at this post in the Phase One C1 8 Mac forum: 

There are quite a number of Aperture-related posts in the forum.

Andrew Macnaughton

Just so you know and update version for Capture One Pro was released today.

Color Grading with the Color Balance Tool:

8.2 Update Features

New Features & Improvements:

  • New 3-way Color Balance Tool for color grading
  • Dynamic Locations for optimized workflow
  • Resizable Curve and Color Balance tools
  • General under-the-hood improvements for tethering
  • Improved graphics in Library tool
  • New 5-point Curve preset for ease-of-use

Bug fixes

  • Several stability improvements
  • Fixed a number of alignment bugs
  • Fixed a number of localization bugs
  • Improved mask drawing (Mac)
  • Fixed an issue where the application would crash if external hard drive was disconnected
  • Fixed an issue where slideshows would show very slowly
  • Fixed an issue where integration with Media Pro was broken
  • Fixed an issue where Folders Hierarchy in the Library tool would not show
  • Fixed an issue where Masks would not be saved to EIP files

Camera support

  • File and tether support for Nikon D5500
  • Tether support for Nikon D750
  • File support for Olympus OM-D E-M5 II
  • File support for Fujifilm X-A2
  • File support for Panasonic GF7
  • File support for Sony NEX- VG900E
  • Improved color for Canon EOS 7D mk II
  • Removed tethered support for Nikon D200

Lens support

  • Zeiss Distagon T* 3.5/18mm ZF.2
  • Zeiss Distagon T* 2.8/21mm ZF.2
  • Zeiss Distagon T* 2.8/15mm ZF.2
  • Zeiss Distagon T* 2/28mm ZF.2
  • Zeiss Distagon T* 3.5/18mm ZF.2
  • Zeiss Distagon T* 3.5/18mm ZF.2
  • Zeiss Distagon T* 2.8/25mm ZF.2
  • Zeiss Distagon T* 2/25mm ZF.2
  • Zeiss Distagon T* 2.8/25mm ZF.2
  • Nikon COOLPIX P340
  • Nikon AF-S DX Zoom-NIKKOR 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G IF-ED
  • Sigma 8-16mm F4.5-5.6 DC HSM (Canon EF)


Oh thanks Stuart, I'll turn this into a tip and embed the video. Appreciated!

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Very good stuff, Lee. For me, the conversion of the adjustments is just some sort of a “nice to have” and I consider it nothing more than a “starting point”. It saves you some time, because things like cropping will be converted accurately and you don’t have to do it again. But in terms of color accuracy, contrast etc. it just makes no sense to expect a 1:1 conversion of the “Aperture look”. The C1 engine is so far ahead and more advanced than Apertures’, that I advise everybody converting to C1 to really go ahead and filter all their images based on ratings and take the time to re-do them in C1 from scratch.

Could not agree more with your last paragraph!

Pretty good reading, thank you. I just imported almost 65.000 pictures from Aperture into C1, some really old from different Digicams but mostly from a range of Canon DSLR. Mostly went well though it really takes time (i.e. hours) to rebuild all the previews.

Two observations:

C1 does not carry over if a pic is cropped and aligned at the same time.

Saturation of RAW files seems to be a bit overdone for some cameras. For my taste, it seems better to use “Film Extra Shadow” as default gradation curve. You can use the “copy and apply” functionality to apply this setting easily to pictures you have imported already.    

I am in the process myself using the C1 feature to import the Aperture Library. Have a little over 80,000 images.  Started at 12 Noon yesterday (Mar 24) and still shows 9 hours to go as of 6:00pm CT

Now for some tech info. Currently Aperture Library is on an external 4TB WD DUO Thunderbolt Drive. Computer is the Apple MacBook Pro Retina 15” (June 2012) 16GB DDR Ram with 512 Flash drive and 1GB Video Ram. Have the same images on a Drobo 5D Thunderbolt where I have it setup for Lightroom. Had kept Lightroom going over the years since I started with version 1 now 5.7. However started using Aperture when I switched from a PC to Mac nearly 6 years ago.

One item I did noticed is that so far C1 has used over 40GB of disk space even though it is referencing the images on the external drive. Now Lightroom uses less then 3GB of disk space for the catalog.  So from what I can tell so far is if you have a large Aperture Library make sure you have disk space. 

Will post more once the entire process is completed.

Have you checked what size reviews are being generated?  That can make a big difference.

Andrew Macnaughton

I’ve just checked one of my catalogues.  The overwhelming majority of the catalogue size is taken up by the smart previews.  That would definitely be my first port of call.

Andrew Macnaughton


That just maybe the cause of the large disk space needed. Will have check once this is completed.

Ok just a follow up and you are correct. It is making a Smart Preview. Just went and rewatched one of the C1 Webinars and he mentioned the Smart Previews. Now what this allows is you are able to do full edits to any of the images even if you do not have the external hard drive attached. Only thing you can not do is export because you do not have access to the Raw data. You are able to change the preview size but he states it is best to leave at the defaul setting.

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