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



  • Jacques-Albert De Blasio

    I am not sure I understand the following:

    Use that version of Capture One Pro for as long as you like. You will receive bug fixes until a new version is released, but you will not receive free updates with new features.

    To me, if "new version" means x.0, this means that we will receive bug fixes until that x.0 gets out. We will not receive new features (which is fine with me, personally, as I didn't see any great features for a while now). But that also means that there won't be any bug fixes for older C1... right ?



  • Claudia Mathys

    Why to talk still about "perpetual versions".

    Be honnest! Everything is only a subscription. Either you pay yearly or you only can buy a yearly subscription?

    What the hell! Are humans getting really so stupid?

  • Thomas Kyhn
    Top Commenter

    @Wolfgang Stoiber 

    Yes, you're probably right. But if they're making this change in order to introduce new features continuously rather than once a year, this would mean that you would have to pay $179 several times a year to stay on the latest version. If so, this is ridiculous.

  • BeO
    Top Commenter

    They did not clearly communicate about a fixed schedule of feature release cycles, bug fix releases etc. 

    This is disappointing because if this is being kept secret (or they don't have a plan) and if it varies from year to year then there is no way to assess the impact on perpetual license costs. 

  • Olaf Pokorny

    One more thing to consider: even the support for new cameras and lenses is declared as a new "feature". So if you buy a perpetual license and two month later you drop your cam/lens and have to buy a new one, remember not to buy the latest hot stuff from your favorite manufacturer or you'll have to buy a new license for C1, too, as soon as your new equipment is supported! So in a worst case you'll have to pay twice a year for a "perpetual" license.

    Sorry, but the support for new cameras and lenses should be something one would have called "service" in former days! But that seems to get more and more out of the mind of some men in suits... Maybe that's what they call "thinking out of the box".

    If C1 looses 20 % of it's customers but the rest pays 30%+x more, mission is accomplished! Less customers but even more profit!

  • Sascha Schlachter

    Well, just my cents, I would have done it differently:
    - Full Perpetual License Cost: 279€
    - Loyalty Full License: minus 20% incremental per year
    - Additional Feature Cost (to choose):1 feature: 49€ 2 or more features: 79€ (all within current license)
    -Bug fixes: free

  • Shane Baker

    So ... after buying perpetual licences for every version of C1 from Version 9 to Version 16, my "loyalty" discount is 40% off a subscription for one year, meaning my subscription price for the first year will be about the cost of LR + PS + other Adobe bits and bobs. Thereafter, the subscription will be full price.

    Oh - and I get to keep the perpetual licence I paid for a few months ago.

    I'm underwhelmed!



  • Weldon Thomson

    I just woke up and have only read through many of the latest comments. My initial reaction is that it sounds like this new plan, as bad as or worse than many have feared, is not only going to result in the software being more costly for many users, but is more trouble to read and figure out than the software (or the backstabbing untrustworthy company that produces it) is is worth.

  • Olaf Pokorny

    The upcoming licensing changes in a nutshell:

    Our choices are:

    1. buy a subscription license for $179 (209 €) and get every new feature, including new camera and lens support, within one year (no more pre-order discount!)
    2. buy a perpetual license for $299 (349 €?) and don't get any new feature, no new camera and no new lens support, for as long as you like (there are chances to pay the price more than once a year...)
    3. get away from C1

    So which one is the least annoying choice for you???

    Dear people at PhaseOne/CaptureOne: have you ever heard about the term "customer satisfaction"? THIS is the exact opposite of it!

  • Edwardsson

    I have only been using C1 v22 for less than a year now, but I really have become a fan of the software. But after the last months of turbulence regarding the future of the license model, I have been asking myself if I should take time to continue to keep learn the software or if I should move on and only use the Affinity Photo v2 instead. After the announcement today, I am still wondering if the software - Capture One Pro - and I do have a future together or not, or if I should use the CO as far as the software will continue to work and then move on to DxO Photolab instead. 

    The combination of Affinity Photo and Capture One has been a good combo. Will Affinity Photo and DxO be as good? Only the future will tell.

  • Bill

    C’mon CO, if you want me to me a loyal subscriber give me a product road map. 

  • Weldon Thomson

    Having just read their email, this morning, I see that the one option they are not offering is to refund the purchases of those very new users, who purchased capture one 22 during the Black Friday sale and/or 23 during the presale, under the promise of the old perpetual licensing model which they have now changed.

    The other option which they do not acknowledge, is the one they do not have to offer but which I have myself. To write off the $300+ I spent on capture one over the past 5 months, to buy 22 then upgrade to 23, and move in with other options which may be better anyway. I can also consider myself like clay that they dragged this out as long as they did (to keep some suckers like me from seeking chargebacks with their credit card companies), because I held off investing time in locking my images into their catalogue structure while I waited to hear their plan (which is amazingly exactly what I expected it would be). I think that capture one (the company) tho is way too much of itself and, as a result, is going to face many more challenges and hurdles which I have no desire, as a customer, to go through. There was a time I would have thought it might be worth it, that they were the best (for at least Fujifilm files). But that is clearly not the case anymore. They have some steep competition from a number of very worthy companies. There are many more good options available, and all of them seem to be getting better all the time (even Lightroom with or without plugins) at a rate significantly faster than I have personally seen from Capture One. They will continue to do so.

    Capture One (the company) has shown itself for what it is. They got me once, shame on them. They will not get me again. Barring some miraculous change, which I cannot imagine, my decision is pretty much made that I’ll be following path that will not include Capture One.

  • Richard Reader

    Well, ultimately no surprises. Yes, as Capture One stated, we still have perpetual licences, but they're going to be more expensive to maintain so the push is towards the subscription model.
    At £/$24/month (plus any local taxes), that's considerably more expensive than Adobe, and then through the loyalty scheme you have to pay extra, albeit a diminishing amount, to get a perpetual licence if you want to drop out.
    Over the past few years we've seen C1 increase their prices while the Adobe package has remained static. There's no assurance that C1 will now lock their prices.
    For me, I'll stick with v22, it does all I need at present and if I upgrade my camera soon then I know it already covers the model I'm looking at.
    C1 in my mind is creating a problem for itself. It has built this scheme, by its own admission, on the call that its users want more, regular features. I'm a bit confused as to how much they can actually deliver within the software as it stands.

  • Weldon Thomson

    “ I'm a bit confused as to how much they can actually deliver within the software as it stands.”

    It seems to me that this is not a sustainable model as, at some point, users will see fewer and fewer new features, or more features that really are not needed. This seems to be short term plan, aimed at increasing short to medium term revenue. What I would therefore expect is that the company will roll out new feature releases in a calculated manner for the sole purpose of maintaining desired revenue, rather than customer needs. Keep in mind that with new features and new releases often come new bugs, some of which can be rather irritating (or worse) for users just wanting to use the software the way they always have. Those who continue with Capture One should be prepared for more changes and uncertainty, probably no better communicated than this time, down the road.

  • Stefan Sipl

    Ultimately, what this company does is bully their loyal customers into subscribing. It is now up to the customer to send them the invoice for this.

    It is still understandable that new features are reserved for subscription customers. But not making bug fixes etc. available to buyers of the software is a classic take or die.

    The worst thing: after the catastrophic feedback, they now had time to find an acceptable solution. The fact that they didn't shows how much this company values their customers.

    There are alternatives on the market. Some even have advantages over Capture One. I very much hope that customers will wake up and stop going along with it. Maybe the company will wake up in 1-2 years and realize that it doesn't work that way (which is still sad enough). We'll see.

  • Thomas Kyhn
    Top Commenter

    As posted elsewhere:

    David Grover says on Facebook (in the Paul Reiffer Live group) that if you buy version 16.2, you will get updates 16.2.1 and 16.2.2, etc., but once 16.3 is released you will have to pay for it. 

    Consequently, if you want to stay up to date not just with new features but also with bug fixes (and stay on a perpetual license) you will have to pay for upgrades several times a year, i.e. at least twice the price of a subscription, assuming a minimum of two .x releases a year.

  • John Romer

    I have been thinking about this change for some time, and I feel I need to add my comments regarding this change in pricing and support. As a loyal client for nine versions, I have felt more comfortable with the perpetual license version. I want to ensure I can always access my photos, and the subscription plan does not offer that. I would need to buy a license. I understand now if I subscribe for 5 years, it is free, but that is new to this change. Before, you must buy at full price.

    But the new model, where a perpetual license is frozen in time with no upgrades, is a seriously flawed model. Capture One clearly must believe they are the world's mostest perfectest application developer, and their software will never have an issue. cvI have lived and suffered through Capture One bugs that created serious issues. We would be stuck with a flawed product with the only option of buying a new perpetual license or subscribing.

    So stop the marketing spin, and let the high-paid spinmeisters find a new issue. This change is a shameless combination of strategies that are a money grab. Capture One is dead to its customers and does not care about the loyal base of clients they have developed. Essentially move to the subscription model or face the consequences of your decision and hope the version you buy is stable and error-free or you are stuck with the consequences.

    It was bad enough when the upgrade price doubled. My experience is most people upgraded under the old program, so it really was mostly a subscription plan, but you owned a perpetual license.

    I know the time frames have been increased. Probably due to the firestorm that has been created.

    Overall, this is how I feel. I will use Clark Griswold’s quote from the movie Christmas Vacation: "If this isn’t the biggest bag-over-the-head, punch-in-the-face I ever got!”.

    Not sure I can be more eloquent than his rant, "I'd like Frank Shirley, my boss, right here tonight. I want him brought from his happy holiday slumber over there on Melody Lane with all the other rich people, and I want him brought right here! With a big ribbon on his head! And I want to look him straight in the eye, and I want to tell him what a cheap, lying, no-good, rotten, four-flushing, low-life, snake-licking, dirt-eating, inbred, overstuffed, ignorant, blood-sucking, dog-kissing, brainless, *&^&less, hopeless, heartless, fat-&^%, bug-eyed, stiff-legged, spotty-lipped, worm-headed sack of monkey #%$$ he is! Hallelujah! Holy )#%$! Where's the Tylenol?

    Dramatic, yes, but it expresses my feelings.

    I've been using Adobe Lightroom last month now to try. I think I can make it work for me, and I can salute the absolute disregard for loyal clients. Software companies all want the subscription model. But it becomes abusive with the costs continuing to increase, and we suffer death from papercuts.



  • Stefan Sipl

    “Flawed and shameless“. Perfect summary. 

  • bernhard sanders

    Well, C1 has finally announced its decision - all in all, no significant change for the perpetual license, no roadmap, many remaining ambiguities, no statements on qualitative aspects. Actually, most people here expected this, hardly anyone believed in a U-turn. 

    We were dubbed negativeness, speculation-driven and people on a crusade. Although most posts held C1 in high regard for its importance up to this point as a RAW converter. At least in general. And by no means all of the displeasure and anger has to do with the perpetual/subscription problem.

    I think everything is said about the C1 marketing and promotion Dpt - i feel sincerly sorry for the developers of the programm.

    However - and I already wrote this in my first post:

    In fact, we can be grateful to C1 - even if that may sound absurd: 

    First of all, because good developers put up a good programme that gave us very satisfying (and for a while uncompetitive) results for a few years.

    Nevertheless, we have started to think about what dependence on one provider means. This applies to the integrated DB, among other things.

    We have learnt that other providers have also integrated massive improvements in the meantime (see, for example, DxO, Affinity, even Adobe (Fuji X-Trans with the "enhancement" feature) - others will follow, I am quite sure of that and look forward to it.

    We took a closer look at the software costs as an ambassador recommended it to us (keyword "creativity<>value"). If we were to rent all the programs, we would be looking at 100-150 €/month. But C1 v22 (perp.) will still be useful to me from time to time in 2 or 3 years. Without rental costs.

    We have learned that Lightroom can be "upgraded" via plug-ins (like DxO Pure RAW and many others, e.g. for converting photographed colour negatives). In other words, just like Photoshop, LR can (but must not) become a central editing element.

    Certainly - we will have to retrain, modify or adapt our workflow, perhaps work more in Lightroom with RAW (even if it was - for me - rather never the favourite). Or Bridge, or v22 or DxO: 

    RAW editing  → then export as Tif → final edit in Photoshop (with layers where necessary) and save as PSD or Tif → and then archive with a proper and independent DAM. This would be both quite future-proof and creative from my point of view, because each of the 3 steps can be done with independent programs.

    It would be laughable if we had to rely on C1 (under these circumstances).

    Therefore - thanks, C1, to make us independent.

  • Thomas Kyhn
    Top Commenter

    Does anyone have a reference to the EU law that has been cited previously in this thread regarding bug fixes for software?

  • EM

    Well, the so-called "Loyalty Program" is disappointing for the existing users of a lifetime license of C1 and the announced conditions for the purchase and support of the replacement of the upgrades by the new regulations are an impertinence.

    I will not support this company with a cent in the future. 

    I write off my investment for the upgrade to V23 as a "lesson learned". Life is too short and time is too precious for me to fight for a refund. 

    In the meantime, for 90€ per year I have a subscription for LR/PS until the end of 2029. 

    Goodbye CaptureOne. I wonder if the company CatureOne will still exist in 2029. 


  • ernst.w

    „ So in a worst case you'll have to pay twice a year for a "perpetual" license.“

    Not even near to worst. There could be two or five or more feature updates per year. You would everytime have to pay a new license.

  • Weldon Thomson

    Getting new features, feature updates, ug fixes, etc., was a value added feature of the old perpetual license model. Now, like your box of corn flakes at the grocery store, the packaging looks the same, it’s the same size box, there’s just less in it and you are still paying more.

    New features requiring upgrades will be released, I have no doubt, in a calculated manner that Capture One and its investors deem will keep its customers on the hook while maximizing profitability.

  • ernst.w

    @Thomas Kyhn

    „Does anyone have a reference to the EU law that has been cited previously in this thread regarding bug fixes for software?“

    I think German is no problem for you. ;)

    There you can find links to the original EU directives, which are implemented into local laws.

    Note that theese laws are for customers only, not for companies.

  • Barry Justice

    Capture One seems to think of themselves as some kind of "Designer " software.  There are people out there who will pay $300 for a cotton T shirt just because it's some designer name brand.  Personally I pick up a two pack at Costco for $14.99.

    If this last month has taught me one thing it's that their is a "lot" of good competing software out there.   Some processes are done a lot better than Capture One,  some poorer but all in all it's really a wash.  All but one,  Adobe,  offer both subscription and perpetual licenses.  All are cheaper than Capture One.  

    I've blindly update my Capture One license virtually every update for the last 15 years without checking out the competition,  it's called loyalty,  some may call it dumb.

    Thank you Capture One for opening my eyes.

  • Thomas Kyhn
    Top Commenter


    Thanks for the link! German is fine.

  • Edwardsson

    ”… we want to make sure your cost of ownership does not go up”

    This line is deleted from the original text that Jack Williams wrote regarding “ Changes to the way licensing, updates, and upgrades work – FAQ”. Wonder why?

  • ernst.w


    Because the cost of ownership will go up for certain if you want to be up to date with your software; in this case you have to buy as many licenses per year as feature enhancements will be published.

    (Sorry I did not see that the sentence has not be deleted. The rest of my post ist valid furthermore.)

  • Goran

    To be honest, I have never seen such a stupid licensing model.

  • Mariusz Janosz

    This line is deleted from the original text that Jack Williams

    It is still visible in last sentence of post, but obviously it's not true.

    Jack-W could you release roadmap since now to the final quarter of 2023 to let us make decisions what to do with previous perpetual licence 21/22 (upgrade before 14 of February to 23 or stay forever with our current version)?

    This would be very fair from your side (now we don't know if will be any significant update and lots of us are afraid that even will be not too many service update with bug fixing).

    And is it true that perpetual versions will be supported with service update only to new version with features (so I can buy co 1st of November and if new version will be released 10 of November I will stay with bugs without service updates)?


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