Using Capture One Express for first ratings of photos before moving to Lightroom

Capture One Express is available as a free download for Sony Cameras. Just search the sony web page.


I am a Lightroom user and had a look at Capture One Express. It was ok but I am lacking the time to get deeper into the topic and it seems not to be a big change to Lightroom. The time that I need to transfer my lightroom catalogue to Capture One seems not to be in relation to the benefits I gain therefore I stopped investigating the switch, but …


I noticed that Capture One is much faster in having the photos the first time shown after import and I was previously checking out Photo Mechanics for doing the first review of the photos before moving to Lightroom but Photo Mechanics was over 150$ therefore ...


I came up with the following idea

  • I import the photos into Capture One into the same folder that I would use for the Lightroom import.
  • I do the first grading with Stars and delete the photos that are simply bad.
  •  Then I import the photos in Lightroom. Instead of “move” or “copy” from the memory card I just use “add” since the photos are already at the location I would like them to have.
  •  And then in Lightroom I do my regular development on the preselected photos

The key point is, both programs support XMP sidefiles. I use these files for interfacing my star ratings from Capture One to Lightroom.


The only thing that you need to do in Capture One is that you select “full synchronization” for the XMP side card files. With this setting your ratings are automatically transferred later to Lightroom. You see the screenshot below but only in German, sorry for it. Please refer for the meta data section.


In Lightroom I will rename the folder (standard import folder name is is yyyymmdd). In Lightroom I add a description of the event to the date. That has the advantage that both programs can not work at the same time on one folder. 


For the import Lightroom autmatically uses the XMP files.


I did not investigate what other informations can be transferred from Capture One to Lightroom. If you have some ideas or experiences, just let me know.


Good luck and if you have questions just drop a comment or email.