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Pantone CAPSURE Review: Is This Tool the Best Way to Match Colors?

CAPSURE™ gives you a portable way to match colours from any surface or material accurately. Then you can turn it into a Pantone® colour that you can use for business logos, designs, or fashion. It’s one of the easiest ways to create consistency for your marketing materials.

CAPSURE comes with over 10,000 Pantone colours pre-loaded into the product. It can also store up to 100 “inspiration” captures with time stamps and audio notes.

A syncing feature will update your library with the latest colours automatically.

If you feel inspired by colours found on specific fabric or materials, then this product will give you the closest match possible from the Pantone Colour System.

CAPSURE is a Portable Colour Identification Tool

What makes CAPSURE unique is that it can isolate specific tones within a multi-coloured pattern. This approach makes it a lot easier to develop a matching or contemporary palette. Then it syncs with several digital design programs, including the Creative Cloud® from Adobe®.

Using CAPSURE is a straightforward process. When you hold the instrument by its sides, you can press the “Measure” button on the side.

The tool works best when you place it flat against a colour sample for CAPSURE to capture the measurement correctly. The centre of the sample you wish to obtain must be centrally-positioned under the measurement optics. If you press the Measure button lightly, then you’ll receive a preview of the sample.

Hold the button firmly, and you’ll hear a sound that is similar to a camera. That means you’ve taken an actual sample that’s ready to get compared with the Pantone library.

You’ll see a progress bar appear at the bottom of the display. Users must hold the tool steady until it reaches 100% to receive an accurate sample.

Pantone CAPSURE works horizontally, vertically, and at angled orientations. The only requirement is to have good, flat contact with the colour sample you wish to obtain.

When the matching process is complete, then you’ll receive the reference name and number of the Pantone colour that’s the closest match to it. Then you can take that information into your new digital designs and other graphics work.

What CAPSURE Gets Right

  • It does an excellent job of compensating for surface irregularities. The tool uses a surface flattening algorithm that creates a practical comparison between smooth fan decks and textured measurements.
  • It picks the dominant colours from a sample that contains more than one hue in the measurement view area with excellent frequency.
  • It can measure small, medium, or large sample areas at 2, 4, or 8 millimetres, respectively. The automatic setting gives you the “large” sample by default, which you can also use to measure a colour example that’s less than 2 mm in size.
  • It measures textile samples without opaque weaves by removing the background colour during the measurement process.
  • It offers a scanner that captures RGB, CMYK, and lab values for each colour so that you can quickly drop them into a personal CAD application.

Where CAPSURE Could Use Improvement

  • It is almost impossible for users to obtain an accurate colour sample from materials that have no flat areas.
  • Colours that change their appearance based on the user’s perspective may take an inaccurate measurement. This result frequently occurs in samples that contain pearlescent, metallic, or flake-based colourants.
  • If fluorescing pigments are included in the sample taken, then the measurement result can appear unusually bright.

Alternatives to the Pantone CAPSURE to Consider

Pantone has done an excellent job controlling the market for its colours. If you want to use them in your design and want on-the-go control of your design inspirations, then CAPSURE is going to be the best tool to use.

NCS Colour Scan 2.0 provides a similar outcome outside of the Pantone set of hues if you’re looking for an alternative.

This tool uses the same scanning technology to choose a coluor from any flat surface. Then you can retrieve the closest match from the NCS Colour Notation in just sections. It comes with many of the same features, including a zoom function with crosshairs that enables users to isolate and scan specific areas of colour.

If you need affordable colour-matching solutions, then the Nix series of colour sensors is another alternative to the Pantone CAPSURE to consider.

It comes with three options: a miniature colour sensor, a professional version, and the “QC” colour sensor.

The Nix system allows you to scan any surface to capture its colour. Then you can save the hues in the Nix smartphone app for future reference. This option will enable you to share what you find with colleagues or customers by email or over social media.

It also provides a free colour converter online or in the app so that you can get the closest Hex, CMYK, and RGB.

DIY Ways to Analyze and Choose Colours

Colours are an easy way to connect with emotions. That’s why you see specific combinations of colour in marketing products.

It can be challenging to connect with people on a psychological level through colour because preferences can vary widely. Some people like blue, others prefer red, and yellow might be a popular choice in some circles.

When businesses choose colours to represent a brand, the selection usually involves the personal preferences of the leadership team.


The best marketing messages on business cards, television advertising, and digital applications all use contrast effectively.

Contrast comes from the use of complementary colours on the spectrum. That means you would look for tones that are on the other side of the spectrum to create a match. Human vision picks up these opposite colours more effectively, making it easier for the information in the marketing effort to register and get remembered.

This principle of complementary colours is the reason why word processing software defaults to black text on a white background.

Some examples to consider when designing your next graphics are blue and orange, red and green, or yellow and purple.

You don’t want to create images that are half-and-half of these opposites. If you have a background of blue, then any bit of orange will stand out dramatically. A 7:3 ratio tends to pair up well with modern designs.

Verdict on the Pantone CAPSURE

Although the Pantone CAPSURE works with all materials, it tends to do better when taking measurements from printed items. If you work with pastels frequently or tones that fall outside of the library of hues, then the accuracy can sometimes be questionable.

Thin fabrics can have light come through the material to impact the colour matching process at times. Controlling your environment can reduce this issue.

It is understandable to worry about an investment in a product as expensive as the Pantone CAPSURE. When you spend that much, then there is an expectation that it will work. Colour accuracy is essential to those in fashion, marketing, and more – this tool can make it much easier to obtain the results you need.

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