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New License Model: Changes to the way licensing, updates, and upgrades work



  • Jacques Dubé

    So, you are going to abandon us non-subscribers, as Adobe did?

  • FirstName LastName

    This is so disappointing to have news like this just sprung onto us like this so suddenly.
    I just purchased a licensed last week! You really ought to have announced something like this during the launch week of capture one 23-- or during the weeks leading into it. If i knew, i would have just waited and purchased a license after the 1st of February to maximize my yearly update. Actually somewhat sneaky to just spring this onto your loyal customers like this so suddenly and so soon after the launch of C23. 

  • Christopher Bowyer

    Perhaps what is most amazing in all of this is that C1 thinks that the way to get more customers and cash is to push them towards a subscription model when the main competition offers so much for so much less in their subscription model. What does C1 expect? That during a time when everyone is suffering from a cost of living explosion that they will hang around to pay double for half the product. They should be reducing the perpetual licence price to try to lure customers from adobe, but that logic seems to have passed them by. 

    I agree, this makes no sense to me.  

    Also, I don't understand why it is in Capture One's interests to keep their "loyalty scheme" secret until mid-January?  I mean, that is 5-6 weeks of disgruntled perpetual licence holders investigating alternative software, posting about how C1 has treated them on internet forums/social media, and telling photographers they know to avoid C1 like the plague.  

    Does C1 really want their reputation trashed (and users exploring alternative software) in this way?  Would it not be better to come clean now about what the "loyalty scheme" involves, so users know where they stand!  

    As well, when C1 say that they haven't made any changes that affect purchases of v23, they insult their users' intelligence.  The screenshots posted previously show that the perpetual licence option stated that there would be a 33% discount on upgrades, which is now no longer the case. 

    I am fortunate to not have purchased v23 (I'm still on v22), but C1's sharp practice over v23 purchases leaves a very nasty taste in my mouth.  I will struggle to purchase any software from C1 in future, given that they think it is fine to treat customers this way.  An honourable company would offer refunds to any purchaser of v23 who wanted to cancel it.  

  • Tom Yeung Loi Keung

    You gives up the last of the advantage you have

    R.I.P. C1

  • Tom Yeung Loi Keung

    Why did you not talk about this plan before the sale of V23, because you afraid no one to buy v23

  • Guenther Bernhard

    My answer to Capture One after receiving a refusal of my requesting a refund for my C1 23 license.


    Hi Kristina,

    Thanks for your reply. Sadly a non personal copy and paste answer with the companies diction, which you will send to all other people who are claiming for the same reason. It’s your job to do so. This and your decision not accepting my claim shows me that in case of claims your company seems to act like „money first, customers satisfaction last“ rule. But it could be different. I know it, because I was customer care manager for over 20 years. In my times of working there was a rule, that a complaining customer which you could satisfy with your act of generosity would be a loyal customer for the future. But that seems not to be your investors philosophy. Regarding cause and effect it is to be feared that this case will chip away at your image. Look at the comment sections at Capture One in Europe and  in USA. Also DP Review comment section. You are on the way loosing customers. Many years ago I left Adobe because of subscrption for C1 and now I leave C1 for another better company. That‘s the circle of life…


    I am greatful that this case opened my eyes , that your company owned by a private Equity firm is not that company anymore I would spent my money for picture editing.


    Kind regards


  • Barry Justice

    The biggest problem with going this route is to do with bug fixes.  Right now if you buy a perpetual license you get 12 months of bug fixes as well as the updates.  Now,  if a week after you buy a license a .X  (new feature) update happens you have no more .X.X (bug fix) updates meaning you had the grand total of one week of bug fixes and you could be left with glitchy software until you buy a new version.  What a joke.  I have no problem of buying software "as is" in terms of features but I have a HUGE problem with buying it "as is" in terms of bug fixes. 

    Capture One's track record of fixing bugs is very poor.  Some bugs are still evident in the software 2 years after release of features.  Along with this is the problem of them releasing features in an "unfinished state",  pano's and HDR are great examples of this,  and never getting around to fine tuning them!

  • Anders Svensson

    I would have no problem purchasing a license for a version whose contents I know ahead of time and that has no feature growth until I purchase another feature version, Given that there's no feature growth I would expect that to be cheaper than the current asking price for upgrades. Perfectly reasonable since I'm getting less than now.

    I would have a big problem with bug fixes only being provided for a period that's not specified ahead of time. The next feature release could be in two months, so why would I pay anything close to the current upgrade price for that? The support period has to be known at the time of purchase.

    Do I think this is what will be offered? No, in which case C1 has lost me as well. I'm not going to pay more (or the same) for less, and I'm not going to purchase a subscription that leaves me without a functioning product if I stop paying rent. I'll just move to Affinity Photo, which has given me astonishingly good value for the money.

  • J M Smith

    "Guenther Bernhard 
    My answer to Capture One after receiving a refusal of my requesting a refund for my C1 23 license."

    I spoke with my credit card company and they have no issue reversing the charges.

    The challenge is a) getting CO to reissue a v22 license and b) the catalogs will no longer be compatible with v22.


    What I have decided to do is go the route of credit card charge reversal, and writing off V22.  I have for the most part decided to consider C1P a sunk cost and move back to Adobe (while holding my nose).  My biggest fear is the private equity firm will exit in a couple of years and C1P will not be a long term reliable solution.

  • Dariusz Lis

    No subscription that's was the main reason why I switched to CO mamy years ago, totally disappointed. Good bye Capture.

  • Barry Justice

    Yes,  and they know that your version 22 won't work anymore that's why they are not worried!


  • Weldon Thomson

    Having gone through working for a privately owned company that was hell-bent on going public, and eventually did, the explanation proposed by a few others here, that Capture One is positioning itself for sale, makes some sense. If so, they aren’t concerned about customers, or even the product. All that matters is increasing revenues and adding to their bottom line in order to make the company appear more valuable to potential buyers and shareholders. If the company is bought out, even if by some fairly reputable company, all bets will be off for the future of the software. Does anyone remember Nik software, that was purchased by Google (and offered by them for free to original license holders), then bought by DXO who currently has it. It was ground breaking software in its day, and set standards for others to follow. It is still good software even if it hasn’t changed much since it’s inception. However, even though I spent a lot of $$ buying perpetual licenses to several of the stand alone components of the Nik suite, I no longer own useable copies of any, since the original versions I bought from Nik, and updated with Google, have not had updates and fixes that make them compatible with current operating systems, hardware, and raw files. It is not hard to see how Capture One might be headed in a similar direction, and I think that is what will likely drive people away from continuing with Capture One.

  • Mark Hopgood

    I am happy to hear that we will NOW know what the loyalty program will be whilst still able to make a choice to upgrade to CO 23 or not.  

    I understand that purchasing CO 23 prior to Jan 30 with give me bug fixes and new features until Sep 30 otherwise only bug fixes until new feature release.  So on Sep 30 next year everyone will be in the same boat.

    You have already stated that the main impetus was to be able to introduce new features when they were available rather than on a yearly basis to encourage upgrades.  So this means that as new features will likely arrive every few months, then bug fixes will only be available for a few months unless we upgrade.  This seems to be a poor outcome compared to the current situation.  For CO 22 there were 4 feature releases (your words) and a total of 11 service packs.  Usually 2/3 service packs between each feature release.  Under this scenario with the new perpetual licence system I would need to upgrade 4 times in one year.  A definition of what is a feature also needs clarification.  Is new camera/lens support a feature, support for a new OS, or a change in how a certain tool operates e.g. Crop Tool.  

    I suspect that under the loyalty program costs for a feature will be less, however, over the full year more than is currently the case. It is already extremely expensive to upgrade compared to other software.  I imagine that each upgrade cost will be cumulative, so if I miss one upgrade I will be charged for both upgrades if I get the subsequent one.  I guess we will have to wait and see how that goes.

    Trust is important in any relationship.  So we have to trust you that a feature upgrade is a real feature not just a way of obtaining more revenue.  I think you can get a sense of how you fair on the trust scale with your customers currently.

  • bernhard sanders

    I think C1's plan is quite subtle and I have the fear, that the switch to subscription for us clients will become a real problem afterwards - more or less forced by C1.

    Those who have once landed in the subscription trap might find that they cannot easily unsubscribe, because the projects they have created are then no longer accessible ! One of the many reasons that a subscription model is an absolute no-go for me. Because then I make myself totally dependent on C1.

    This is not that easy with a perpetual licence, because it continues to run. For me, this means that I can open and continue to work with my edited photos and projects as long as my hardware and OS are still compatible. Even more - I have created a system image (Windows 10) with activated C1 using an HDD imager (in this case Aomei). I can restore this without any problems, regardless of whether my e.g. V22 can still be activated on the C1 activation server or not. This also works when restoring to another disk.

    So I will definitely not upgrade to V23, stay with V22 and wait calmly to see what happens. Of course, this is also a workaround for those who have already installed V23 and whose V22 activation via the C1 server is no longer possible - provided they have a system image.

    C1 has to do something more to regain trust after this disaster, and if C1 comes to its senses and comes back to reasonable prices and a reasonable licensing policy, possibly really learns to be a reliable partner for the customer, I can still upgrade to e.g. V24 or V25. And in this case I would be happy to do so, if C1 perpetual licences are still available. And if I still haven't found another, maybe even better software.

    Ok, C1 - it is only your choice to be a reasonable and trustworthy partner for us. By the way, this could be done even with significantly reduced prices and if you get rid of expensive marketing whizzes in favour of photo enthusiasts with an understanding of the needs of professional or hobby photographers and a deep understanding of software development.

    I would even go so far to say that you could use the current negative hype concerning C1 to change your business model. That would be brilliant. Who knows? And I mean that seriously, because I believe in the good.

  • D Marsh

    If I read the post correctly, I can buy a new perpetual license at any time and continue to use it. I can then upgrade whenever I want as new things come out. If I want to wait a year, I can buy a year's worth of upgrades, or I can buy each new tool/ feature as it is released. If the cost of purchasing each upgrade separately over the year is less than/ same as a whole new licence next year, I can't see the problem.

    It does sound, though, like a push towards subscription so I can see why people are angry. Our maybe Im just being naive...

  • Ralf Bonmann

    That's so disappointing and absolutely annoying. Just a try to rip off licensees. Many years ago I made the selection for C1 because it offered sessions and a license. Well, it seems that only the sessions really remain. I'm still at version 22 and I'm glad that I have not updated to C23. I will not pay to ride a dead horse!

  • mattspace

    A perspective on C1's obligation to backport bugfixes:

    If I buy a car, and only 5 out of 6 cylinders in the engine, or only 4 out of 5 forward gears in the gearbox work, the car company can't turn around and say "well you can still use most of the car", so the only fix we're offering is you buy the 8 cylinder engine from next year's model.

    100% of features, working 100% of the time is the most basic standard for most consumer codes fitness-for-purpose and of-merchantable-quality laws. Also, many, if not most jurisdictions do not accept the idea that a product can contain some quality-obligation-free "free" aspects bundled with a quality-assured "paid" aspect.

    If you have a statutory warranty of 2 years on software, it would be reasonable to insist that every feature included in that software when you purchased it worked reliably, and if not, to insist on a refund if the company refused to effect a repair, or replacement at no cost to you.

  • EIW

    I didn't buy C1Pro 23.  I held back this time. I used to buy a new latest version of Adobe product about every other year. I decided to do that thisyear, wait for a newer version in 24 months time. I am happy with version 22.  And I understand it is my version to keep and use as long as I'm happy with what it offers me. That's fine.  

    I have a question as to how perpetual licenses are going to work with no actual version ....... just updates.  I we to just jump in any time a new feature comes out and buy "at that version' until we decide to buy again for some other newer feature?  Is this the way a perpetual license is going to work? Or what? 

    You've really not explained perpetual licenses... what exactly are perpetual licenses going to get you, if your version numbering isn't going to be the same as it is now? 

  • Joshua Meadows

    "I am altering the deal, pray I don't alter it any further" -Darth Vader

    [Edited 12-9]

    I seen that your current v23 license is essentially the same update policy as previous versions, it wasn't communicated very well.  However the future changes to the licensing is very suspect

    I changed systems to Capture One when Adobe changed to their rent-ware model.  I've updated every year since version 11 even when the feature improvements weren't something I needed as I wanted to support your licensing model and perpetual licenses... despite the fact there were cheaper options.

    I think it's bad communication to say we're changing licenses after the push for the latest version 23. Want to know what they are?  Wait until February.  It's a bad tactic. This should all be available when the new license change was announced.  Maybe the loyalty program is $100 per new feature with a feature dropping every week, maybe it's something very reasonable.  It's all pure speculation right now and really makes people question their support and purchase.

    I would prefer to stay with Capture One as I like the software and your previous Perpetual License terms... but there's a lot of missing information with your new policies, and I've lost alot of my good will with how this was handled.  I will be re-evaluating the same software I considered as Adobe Alternatives back in 2016 DxO, On1 (Heck I get a discount for an old license on On1 already).   I will change if I don't like your info dropped in February, (I might change anyways as I haven't given the competition a good look in a while as I haven't had to.)

  • Ben McPhee

    If every one of the almost 500 comments here WAS worth $1500 to Capture One through lifetime perpetual sales (conservatively), and we represent just 2% of the people who are angry enough to look for alternative software, then:

    25,000 people x $1500 = $37,500,000 in lost revenue.

    I hope I'm wrong. I hope that if you do this... it's much worse for you.

    We won't accept greed, shady timing, or broken promises. Roll it back before it's too late.

  • SHS

    I bought C1Pro 23 and this will be my last update. IIRC I moved from Adobe to C1 about 6 years ago and bought the yearly updates. The way CO communicates the licensing changes is unacceptable for me and it is obvious that it's only about pushing users to the subscription model. I lost confidence that CO can treat customers with respect. Even a  reasonably priced "loyalty program" cannot win me back. 

    I will spend some time next year to revise the tool selection and streamline my workflow. High on my list is DxO and there are some other options I will look into. 

  • truepictures

    Yesterday, Paul Reiffer spoke out on YouTube about the changes to the CO licensing model. Firstly, he explains how he understands the changes. On the other hand, it lets us know his point of view on it. It might be worth watching these few minutes at the beginning of the recording of "Live Editing Sessions - Capture One 8th December 2022 (Colour Balance, Perpetual License Changes)".
    David Grocer unfortunately missed the opportunity yesterday on YouTube (Capture One Livestream | Gearing Up for Cold Weather) to make a statement on behalf of CO about the new, planned licensing model. This is a pity, as he, unlike Paul Reiffer, is an employee of CO and thus directly affected.

  • Thomas Kyhn
    Top Commenter

    Here's a link to the Paul Reiffer video mentioned above: "Live Editing Sessions - Capture One 8th December 2022 (Colour Balance, Perpetual License Changes)".

  • Thomas Kyhn
    Top Commenter

    The Paul Reiffer video mentioned above.

  • SHS

    David Grocer unfortunately missed the opportunity yesterday on YouTube (Capture One Livestream | Gearing Up for Cold Weather) to make a statement on behalf of CO about the new, planned licensing model.

    I think he was clever enough not to touch on this subject :-) 

  • Chris

    One thing, Paul Reiffer said, was "Yes, this is a push to subsription..." and to go on and explain, why subsription is not such a bad thing...!

    Here you have it from a prominent source, what it means. Come on CO, you know this also! We are not stupid. Yes perpetual license will stay for at least a time. But is it one year, two years or...? In your reply to my question to give us a timeframe you admitted, that can not promise perpetual licenses to stay for even the next five years!

  • Maciej

    I had a look at the comment of Ian Farlow that says the following:

    I just browsed around the Capture One web site and I can't find any reference to this change except in this article, and the article appears to be well hidden. For example, I see nothing on the main page of the site, and I see nothing when reviewing pricing options. It's as if nothing has changed or is planned to change.

    I also do not see any mention of this licensing change on the page that describes the Pro version.
    However, I do see a mention about 33% discount when a new version is released.

    Wouldn’t it be false advertising when CO now plans that there will be no future full version releases and no upgrade pricing starting next year?


    I myself luckily moved to DxO PL 6 after CO v23 was announced due to disappointing new features, poor support for cheaper Canon RF lenses and very uncompetitive denoising vs Deep Prime. Previously, I did not upgrade to v22 as well, as I got fooled at the time of v21 that promised HEIF support - the pre-announcement however did not mention that exporting to HEIF is not supported. I bought v21 before it was released and found out that HEIF support is only for importing files, which is useless when shooting RAW.

    Anyway, my lesson has been learned and I’ve abandoned CO and even though I wish DxO had some of CO’s features, overall it’s been a nice transition.

  • bernhard sanders

    Paul Reiffer was right when he explained, subscription is not such a bad thing.

    He forgot to add: .....for us as a company.

    For the customer it is a trap

  • Thomas Kyhn
    Top Commenter

    Paul Reiffer was right when he explained, subscription is not such a bad thing.

    He forgot to add: .....for us as a company.

    As I remember, he did point out that he isn't in any way employed by the company.


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