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Capture One 4 raw-image software released

Phase One has released its new version of a venerable program used to edit raw images from higher-end cameras.

Phase One's Capture One 4 software devotes as much screen real estate as possible to photos. Phase One

Phase One, a maker of high-end digital-camera components, has released the first major update to its raw-image conversion software in years.

Capture One 4 includes a new user interface with maximum screen real estate devoted to the picture itself, better abilities to edit images' shadows and highlights, support for reading and writing Adobe Systems' Digital Negative (DNG) format, and the dark background that's currently popular as a way to get photos to stand out better.

The software costs $129, but upgrades are free. It runs on Windows XP SP2 and Vista and on Mac OS X 10.4.11 and 10.5. Capture One 4 is available now via download at

Although Phase One's chief business is selling its own camera "backs," the image sensors and related electronics that mount onto high-end medium-format camera bodies, the Danish company also sells the Capture One software with support for raw-image files from many manufacturers' cameras.

All digital SLR (single-lens reflex) cameras and some higher-end compact models can produce raw images, the sensor data before it's been processed by the camera into a JPEG. Raw images can provide higher quality, but they also require time and effort to edit manually into more convenient formats. Capture One competes with software such as Apple Aperture, Bibble, and Adobe Photoshop Lightroom for the raw-processing task.

Phase One signed a technology partnership with Microsoft in October that will give the company the ability to deal with programming challenges such as handling gargantuan image files. Also as part of the deal, Phase One will support Microsoft's HD Photo format, which Microsoft is standardizing at the Joint Photographic Experts Group under the name JPEG XR.

(Via Rob Galbraith)