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



  • EM


    Fully agree.

    I have now spent several hours with the statements (English is not my national language) and with discussions with C1 support. 

    Further discussions are not worth my lifetime spent on this.

    I spent 209€ for the upgrade to V23. I will use V23 now and wait to see how the CaptureOne company implements the "loyalty program".

    I will use the time to test other programs extensively. I will export important photos from C1 as 16bit Tiff.

    All the best to you users, have a nice Christmas and a happy new year. 

    Let's see what CaptureOne brings us in the New Year ??? 

  • Weldon Thomson

    “ It's been a week since all perpetual licence holders received an email from C1 with far-reaching and sometimes momentous changes to C1's terms and conditions.”.

    I sincerely hope that subscription customers are also aware of all this. They will almost certainly be affected and will be next in line, after the perpetual license customers, for what ever changes the company will make next without regard for users.

  • Sascha Schlachter

    So what’s the plan? A Doodle with monthly subscription choices the customer base might accept? Or completely reject a subscription offer? Just thinking…

  • Ignacio Larrain

    I'm very disappointed with this news.  C1 is forcing us to buy a full price new version every year, the upgrade price is already outrageously expensive!  If nothing change I will be forced to migrate to a C1 alternative.

    C1: you exists because you have happy customers, with this kind of move you are jeopardizing your future

  • Thomas Kyhn
    Top Commenter

    Ignacio Larrain:

    C1 is forcing us to buy a full price new version every year […]

    This isn't entirely correct. As it says in the FAQ above, a new loyalty program will be introduced.

  • Sascha Schlachter

    @ Thomas Kyhn

    Well, knowing C1 this will be outrageously expensive, don’t you think. At least based on “loyalty” meaning that if you have the latest update ( sorry, upgrade, updates are so “has been”) it’ll be a little less expensive.

  • Thomas Kyhn
    Top Commenter

    Sascha Schlachter:

    Well, knowing C1 this will be outrageously expensive, don’t you think.

    Yes. At least I highly doubt that upgrades will be any cheaper than they currently are.

  • Robert Cope

    I agree with many, if not all, of the comments already made.  As an amateur photographer who always wants to own his own images and the licence (that I have paid for) in perpetuity to use the software that processes them, I will not allow Capture One to (a) drive me to a subscription model or (b) to exploit my “loyalty” with ever increasing (and functionally totally unreasonable) upgrade charges.  As such I am considering, along with many others, reverting to DxO - especially now that it handles Fuji files.

    CAPTURE ONE:  Your trust is now at an all time low and may or may not ever recover for non-professionals such as me.  However in the spirit of a constructive suggestion for a way forward I would propose the following amendments to your recent announcement.

    1. For those that have already purchased C1/23 (upgrade or new), extend the “free updates (dot or double dot)” timeframe to at least 31 March 2024 (i.e. a further 6 months).  If that results in a “free” new version as well so be it - that’s your cost of remedying the appalling bad practice timing of the recent announcement.
    2. For those on C1/22 (or lower perhaps) offer the same Black Friday upgrade price to upgrade to C1/23 before 1 February 2023.  Those that accept it should then enjoy the same terms as above.
    3. Regardless of which licence version is owned offer the following legally binding commitments to all perpetual licence owners:
      • Your licence will NEVER be de-activated so that it can be run on older hardware and operating systems for ever and without the need for continued internet connection.  This provides a workaround for the problem of your maintaining old versions on new operating systems.  After all we’ve paid for it, it should be our legal right to run it on the operating system which it supports.
      • Offer a reasonable and transparent chargeable camera update facility to older licences for a minimum specified term after the licence is out of date (e.g. 3 years).           
    4. For all subscription users (existing or new) provide a legal assurance that on termination of the subscription the software will still enable existing processed images to be viewed, exported and printed - but not further edited and no new images (similar to Adobe LR I believe).

    I have a low expectation that you (Capture One) will agree to these proposals - but they will allow you to continue with your planned changes to perpetual licences whilst giving your “loyal” perpetual customers some reassurances of continuity of use with your product and a longer timeframe to judge your “upgrade pricing practices” over a longer period.  It won’t satisfy all the current disgruntled users, but some (myself included) may be prepared to give you the chance to win our loyalty back with these inducements.      

  • Udo van den Heuvel

    I remember when Capture One was more or less only a solution for Phase One's own medium format cameras and only when Sidekick introduced support for other cameras as well.

    So over time Capture One became a formidable RAW converter. Since it was basically designed as a session based tether tool, the DAM solution of catalog based saving was flanged on later. Correction profiles for lenses were available, but never approached Lightroom quality, let alone DXO.

    When Adobe made the switch from LR 6 to LR CC, I went with it because the typical purchase price at 129€ / version was about the annual "rent" of 9,99€/month. In addition, there was Photoshop - a welcome addition.

    Then when I switched from Canon to Fuji X-Trans in 2018, I came to Capture One and treated myself to it in addition to the Adobe subscription, which I had never given up. Since Lightroom's DAM functionality is/was absolutely superior and I had taken more than 100,000 photos by then, Lightroom remained my main catalog management tool. After importing into Lightroom, I added the photos to a Capture One catalog and then processed them further. Lightroom at that point was slower, slower to export, didn't have good GPU support, and the rendering - especially in Edit mode - was much better in Capture One. In addition, the simple "copy / paste" of the settings made - ingenious.

    Phase One maintained Capture One as a rolling release despite perpetual license and over the year there were a good 3-5 .x versions, which in addition to bug fixes and new cameras also brought some new features. The customer was satisfied.

    Now - end of 2022 - Lightroom is much better than 3 years ago. Whether Fuji is usable in the meantime, I do not know - I do not care, because I am back to Canon. The DAM system of Capture One is still unusable for large catalogs and the manufacturer now announces that from February 2023 newcomers in the perpetual license quasi get a "snapshot" of the just on the day valid software for purchase. Only bugfixes within the same revision number should be available.

    Sorry - Phase One - but you didn't hear the shot. Profit maximization as a model thought up by a few business economists at the early table is a nice thing, but you have forgotten the most important factor: The customer. An old German proverb says: "The customer is king". You should remember your roots; realistically classify your product in the competition and continue to give the customers something like customer satisfaction. It does not hurt, but brings general mutual satisfaction.

    About the product: If you really want to exist in 5 years, you should completely redesign your DAM system. A plugin for calibration a la X-Rite Colorchecker does not exist for C1 until today; also no really good print module.

    With the current product you can exist well beside Adobe. But charging three times the price and forcing existing customers to rent - that will fall on your feet.

    Please think about your strengths. Ensure customer satisfaction. Continue to build your product. Think about a perpetual license with 15 months of full feature updates after purchase and finally expand your DAM.

    I will - after C1 22 - now again use my Lightroom more. Should an EOS R6 II soon come into the house, C1 will unfortunately be history. Nice was the time.


    Best regards,

    a (guaranteed EX CUSTOMER, if you stick to your policy)


  • Sascha Schlachter

    Well @Udo, nicely said. What I experienced since the beginning of Covid and the withcoming quarantines is that people working remotely apparently got too much time and pressure to think about new ways of doing business, thinking loosely and wracking havoc on ideals which actually made their companies grow. No more limits or thoughtful (meaning balanced) meetings where people actually take time to discuss things through. In the end, what counts are new ideas and sticking to them without even considering the effects. I’ve seen it in the airline industry. Total BS! Some white collars deciding new initiatives nobody actually could work with, forcing the blue collars to adapt with irregular procedures.
    The german proverb of the blind chicken comes into my mind. It will eventually find some grain.

  • Sascha Schlachter

    @Pip Definitely Yes! Have been loyal to them since the beginning! Slow, but steady. Really valuable!

  • Edwardsson

    Serif, the company behind Affinity, is IMHO a kind of a role model how treat its customers. 

    I hope that Capture One will consider its relations with us as customers and not just see us as some medieval subjects from whom to collect taxes through their ever-increasing subscription and perpetual licensing costs. They should rather see us as partners.

    Without us, there will be no Capture One. And without them, we would not have software like Capture One at our disposal. We need each other, but that relationship must be fair and confidence-building. If not, we will seek a reliable and trustworthy partner somewhere else.

  • Thomas Kyhn
    Top Commenter

    For those who are on Facebook, perhaps this is a good opportunity to let Capture One know what you think – link.

  • Thomas Kyhn
    Top Commenter

    For those who are on Facebook, perhaps this is a good opportunity to let Capture One know what you think.

    . . .

    On Twitter too: captureonepro

  • ernst.w

    perhaps this is a good opportunity to let Capture One know what you think.

    Where is Your screenshot from? I could not find the right place to add my comment. Maybe deleted in the meanwhile?

  • Thomas Kyhn
    Top Commenter

    I tried to post a link, but got the "Pending approval" status:


    It's the first item on their Facebook page:

  • Thomas Kyhn
    Top Commenter

    "According to EU law, all buyers of a product have identical rights for having defects fixed - regardless when and where the product was purchased."

    How will this work with software? There's probably no software, at least no software of some complexity, that doesn't have bugs.

  • Jacques Dubé

    When I think that, with everyday posts in Instagram, I promoted C1 for years adding the hashtag #captureone to my pictures, I feel betrayed.

  • J M Smith

    Phase One has not owned CO for a few years,  CO is owned by a private equity firm.

    Corporate and ownership changes came in 2019 when the Silver Fleet Capital exited the major ownership role and the Phase One Group was established.

    Previously you had just the Phase One company with company number 17 88 96 99 (established 1 July 1994) owned by Silver Fleet Capital from 2014 to 2019 (majority stake), employing 288 employees with Henrik Ole Hakonsson as Managing Director. The Chairman of the Board of Directors was Gareth Ridgwell Whiley from Silver Fleet Capital.

    Silver Fleet claims Phase One as one of their best examples of the huge potential of a fundamental change in business model. They bought Phase One in 2014 as a renowned manufacturer of high-end camera equipment and transformed it into the world’s leading brand in cutting-edge image processing software and medium format digital cameras.

    Phase One had two distinct business areas when Silver Fleet invested in the company: Image Capture Solutions and Software Imaging Systems.

    At that time Phase One had just secured US giant Google as a significant customer for its hardware business – to use Phase One cameras to take aerial pictures for mapping purposes. However, they had also identified Phase One’s other business area, its high-growth and much smaller in-house software business – Software Imaging Systems – as the primary focus for the future. Therefore, Silver Fleet invested heavily in software research and development and engineers, and worked with management to improve the functionality of the software and the rollout of new products. They also invested significantly in Capture One sales and marketing, to secure new customers and grow market share. Further more, it was Silver Fleet that had changed the way Capture One sold its products; it previously sold through perpetual licences, but they moved it to a subscription model, offering customers access to updates and increasing the likelihood of customer loyalty, improving stickiness, lifetime value per customer, and revenue visibility.

    So, in the words of Silver Fleet, their investment in Phase One helped drive a revenue compound annual growth rate of +38% in its Software Imaging Systems business unit between 2014 and 2018, and an increase in profits from the software business, from contributing 10% of group profits at acquisition to 70% of the whole of Phase One at exit.

    Silver Fleet sold the Phase One investment in June 2019 to funds managed by Axcel in a deal that valued the company at more than 15x earnings, a multiple uplift reflecting the business model transformation; generating a money multiple for the Silver Fleet clients of 4.6x.

    So, in 2019 three companies came out of Phase One:

    1) The Phase One Group, with company number 40 15 25 39 owned by Axcel Fund (56% majority stake), is employing 323 employees with Martin Høy as Director (he is with Phase One as CFO since 2018). The Chairman of the Board of Directors is Jacob Fonnesbech Aqrao (Investor in European high growth consumer tech companies), the Members of the Board of Directors are mainly from Axcel Fund. The Phase One Group was established on 12 July 2019 after Axcel bought the Phase One in June 2019. The Phase One Group owns both the Phase One and the Capture One companies. Axcel fund does not own Hasselblad.

    Outlook at the end of 2019: The Software division will continue its high growth in 2020, based on new products, new distribution systems and new OEM partnerships. The Imaging Solutions division has significant growth opportunities in primarily the Industrial market segments as the current product range is superior to that of its competitors in terms of ROI. In addition, a range of new solutions will be launched in 2020, including a new software suite. Each of the solutions will be tailored to specific customer segments e.g. aerial inspection or surveillance. Phase One Group will continue to invest in the further development and knowledge of the Group’s products, targeted distribution systems as well as potential new strategic partnerships.

    2) From the previous Phase One company with company number 17 88 96 99 the Capture One was demerged in 2019 (note: the group company Capture One was seeking to demerge, in which Phase One will be receiving the hardware activity, the demerge has effect from 1 January 2020), it is now the Capture One company with the same company number 17 88 96 99. It is employing 176 employees with Peter Granild Colsted as Managing Director (appointed in March 2020). The Chairman of the Board of Directors is Jacob Fonnesbech Aqrao (Investor in European high growth consumer tech companies), the Members of the Board of Directors are mainly from Axcel Fund. The company has entered into a merger with the parent companies XPP BidCo ApS, XPP MidCo ApS, XPP TopCo ApS as of 1 January 2019, with Capture One company as the surviving company.

    Management’s review in 2019: in order for the divisions to be able to grow on their own merits, the company is in 2020 seeking to de-merge the activities. The company organisation has functioned as such for a longer period, however, in terms of the operational backbone and legally the divisions have functioned as one company. It is expected that the de-merger will be approved mid-year with effect from 1 January 2020. The company has in late 2019 changed its name from Phase One to Capture One in order to prepare for the de-merger as the software division will remain in this legal entity. At the same time a new company has been established named Phase One and all hardware activities will be transferred to this entity.

    3) A new Phase One company with company number 40 98 66 42 was established on 3 December 2019 with Henrik Ole Håkonsson as Managing Director (also minority owner of Phase One company since 2001). The Chairman of the Board of Directors is Jacob Fonnesbech Aqrao (Investor in European high growth consumer tech companies), the Members of the Board of Directors are mainly from Axcel Fund. I assume it employs 147 employees.

    All three companies have their headquarters at the same address: Roskildevej 39, Frederiksberg, Denmark.

  • david fukuda

    Just purchased the Sony a7r v and C1 22 could not read files, contacted them and told me I have to upgrade to 23 and to use subscription to stay up to date. This is unbelievable considering that it’s not any feature update but just a new camera. What are they going to do in the future with there new loyalty program every time a new camera comes out, charge them for an upgrade, we will see. I have been using DXO lately and think they are an excellent Raw editor along with the Nik Collection and said that they are working on an update for this camera. C1 has the right to push their subscription plan if they want but be straight forward and not say that you have been listening to us. I started with version 9 and have seen pretty clearly in the direction I think they are heading. I will wait and see how this Loyalty program works and if it’s not fair to the customers who purchase a license I am out.

  • Bill

    Perpetual new full license for v23 on sale at B&H for $179 US $

  • J M Smith

    CO is now heavily moderating the posts both here and on FB...  There are several FB pages that a discussing the matter, Paul Reiffer's page for one.

  • Jeffrey Kogler

    With social media if you shut down criticism in a particular group it will appear more intensely in another.  Unless you apply multiple resources to it censorship is counter productive.  Better off communicating well in the first place.


  • Shane Baker

    It's not just the EU. Australian Consumer Law covers software and SaaS, and requires:

    • the Application is of acceptable quality;
    • the Application matches any description provided by the business;
    • the Application is fit for the purpose it was advertised; and
    • the maker of the Application complies with any express warranties made about the Application (such as warranties relating to the quality, condition, performance or characteristics of the Application).


  • Thomas Kyhn
    Top Commenter

    In order to avoid the endless "pending approval" status …

    … here's a modified link to the Facebook post (just remove the square brackets):


    and to the corresponding Twitter post:


    Not sure what's going on with the FB post; it says there are nine comments but only four are visible.

  • ernst.w

    Thank You. Saved.

    As I read in this Forum, Capture One is „moderating“ now this thread and Facebook postings too very strictly… Maybe this could explain missing comments.

  • Jochen Beck

    I was really annoyed by this announcement, initially. After more than a weeks time and seeing all the negativity in here, Id like to try to see something positive in this.

    I agree that this move aims to convince more users to buy a subscription (not going to happen with me).

    However, if perpetual licenses continue to exist as promised (so far I have no reason to doubt this promise) there could be something positive about this after all. In fact this move could indeed be a response to community feedback.


    Over the last (at least) 3-5 years a large number of users (read: perpetual licence owners like me) complained about every major version release either because new features were to few and/or not useful for them (e.g. V23) or not fully functional (e.g. Pano and HDR without de-ghosting in V22). Nonetheless, we all (presumably) paid the price for the annual upgrade simply because we wanted to avoid paying the full price again at a later time if we skipped a version (I am 100% like that). However, I believe it would have been more intelligent (especially economically) to skip a bunch of updates (say three upgrades for a total of approx. 450 €) and pay the full licence instead after three/four years (would have saved at least 100 €) when the sum of improvements justifies the investment for me.

    Thus, with the new licence model, Capture One forces us to actually think about the upgrade and could thus prevent the constant complaints about insufficient update content.

    This goes for feature upgrades. Paying the price for a full licence only because you need support for a new camera or lens would be outrageous and needs a different solution.


  • Christopher Bowyer

    Capture One have just emailed me their latest blog post looking back at 2022, which is insanely tone-deaf.
    The article has the title "2022 wrap up – thank you for being you", and ends with this glowing tribute to C1 users "We wouldn’t be able to create the tools you love without your support. Thank you for being part of our community. Here’s to making 2023 even better together."
    I am mystified as to how these honeyed words fit with Capture One's attempt to force perpetual licence users to switch to subscriptions, as C1 have just made 2023 worse for a lot of users.
    Talk is cheap, though, so I won't hold my breath for anything to change!

  • Christopher Bowyer

    Sorry, I forgot to give the link to Capture One's nauseating blog post - it's here


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