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

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1065 comments

  • Weldon Thomson

    Olaf

    The best thing about what Cature One has done, for me, is that it gave impetus for many of us to look seriously at alternative solutions. A few years ago, I might have agreed that there were no competitive alternatives. However, I do not find that to be the case anymore. Even Lightroom has gotten significantly better and is still cheaper, having made many more changes and upgrades than Capture One has, in my experience, over the same period of time. Other companies, such as DXO, are rising up and also offering very good alternatives for many photographers needs.

    The bad thing, for Capture One, is that word is spreading that this is the case, while recommendations of Capture One are declining.

    You said it yourself - “for a professional photographer, it’s not the easiest task to change . . .”

    This is certainly true for most. They have you by the short hairs, and will continue to for as long as you agree to let them. Certainly, new photographers and those looking for a new workflow, need to be aware of this, now, before it is too late for them.

    2
  • Class A

    @Olaf Pokorny

    You wrote "... no-one has to upgrade to any new version."

    While that is true in principle, and is the main draw of the perpetual licence, there are two, potentially overlapping, classes of users for whom not upgrading might no be an easy choice:

    1. Those who suffer from bugs that did not get fixed before the next major release. They may not want the new features, but they'll need the bug fixes.

    2. Those who are hoping for some new features they desperately want/need and would like to keep a decent discount alive.

    Personally, I'll always stick to a perpetual licence (or change the product, if it is not offered with one), precisely because I'd like to be able to vote with my wallet in favour or against new features, but with the recent changes to the license policies, that freedom will come at a cost.

    1
  • Mariusz Janosz

    I considered upgrade from v21 to 23 and just try v23 and I am in shock how many bugs I met on my Mac mini M1 and Sony A7III raw files. For 209 EUR new version need has some killer new features. Otherwise this is a joke. For 300 EUR... Heh.

    1
  • J M Smith

    The anger is still very palpable…

    2
  • Shane Baker

    Class A

    @Olaf Pokorny

    You wrote "... no-one has to upgrade to any new version."

    While that is true in principle, and is the main draw of the perpetual licence, there are two, potentially overlapping, classes of users for whom not upgrading might no be an easy choice:

    1. Those who suffer from bugs that did not get fixed before the next major release. They may not want the new features, but they'll need the bug fixes.

    Precisely. We've all been effectively on a subscription for some time because C1 will not address bugs in versions earlier than the latest - and of course, often not even then.

    Can you imagine if Apple decided they would cease support for versions of MacOS earlier than the latest? All hell would break loose. Instead, they support MacOS for several years after a release, and I believe MS does the same with Windows.

    What is being done is certainly in breach of EU requirements (not to mention, Australian consumer law). I hope the EU will step in soon on this issue.

     

     

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  • Michael Parker

    If I subscribe for 5 years I can get a perpetual licence free.

    So why don’t you offer perpetual licence holders that upgrade every year for 4 years the 5th year upgrade for free as part of this loyalty program ?

    1
  • Michael Parker

    No guarantee subscribers will continue getting 20% discount and eventuality a free copy after 5 years

    *Capture One may change the terms and benefits included as part of its loyalty program at any point in time. Capture One shall notify affected users in writing no less than 30 days before any change.

    2
  • Stefan Sipl

    We need to accept that Capture One as we knew and loved it is dead. Look at the univocal outrage here. Going on for months now. They simply don‘t care. It‘s this company‘s right. They knew from the very beginning that it‘s contrary to what loyal users want from them. They did it anyway. Now be consequent. Let them follow their path as we will follow a new/different path. With Capture One not playing a role in it anymore. A company that is so brazen with loyal customers should feel the reactions. There are alternatives. 

    3
  • Stefan Sipl

    My first step. Not following their Youtube Channel anymore. Subscribing to the ones of competitions to make the transition possible in the future. 

    Also: Unsubscribing to their newsletters. 

    1
  • Michael Parker

    Of course those of us on a perpetual licence and are happy with the current features can simply remain using it until an OS update breaks it completely or we buy new gear it doesn’t support, rather than walking away right now, which is my intention.

    It’ll be interesting to see how they tweak this like Adobe decided they had to when they first introduced their subscription model.

    1
  • Jochen Schmidt

    This new licensing scheme is a smack in the face of any loyal customer. I've purchased perpetual licenses over the years even when it did become more an more expensive. I did wait years for an iPad app to come and now it is out and is only available as a subscription and to use it with my desktop version of Capture One I would either have to buy an obscenely expensive desktop subscription of pay the raised not even reduced price for a full license.

    This is a greedy and dishonest move... even worse then what Adobe did.

    0
  • J M Smith

    Michael and Jochen,

    I was so disgusted by CO that I resubscribed to Adobe’s photography package. I am not going to create any further assets in the dead end app, that is COP.

    0
  • Jochen Schmidt

    J.M

    Same... I will not buy anything from this vendor anymore - yet another vendor who gives a shit on its customers

    0
  • Michael Mazzola

    So through all of this mishegass, I've tested and am using several competing softwares, in the mix with CO1 23. What I have learned is that Capture One is just another vendor, with an ok product (yeah their raw engine is…ok, at least one other is better to my palate) in some areas and absolutely smells in others. So: Just another half assed software tool thinking it's all that. Just another nailgun in the pouch to me. It gets old or worse, it gets left behind. I am committing to reorganizing forward everything by folder date + keywords. As for the  thousands of CO1 files: in the end I still have my raws. I still have my Tiffs and Pngs and Jpegs from the raws I thought counted most, so I'll be fine. I have no respect for the handling of this situation on the part of CO 1 brass. See—that's because their communications have only reinforced my opinion that it's a money grab. Only the grabbers like that. Everyone else tends to feel taken advantage of. The abject failure to state an adequate case for their new pricing structure has clearly failed with a major part of this community.

    Sidebar: is there an adequate case to be made? If so, very unskilled attempt.

    I'ma use you like you use me & toss you away when you're no longer of use to me

    (Do I feel bad for the feet-on-the-ground CO1 employees having to deal w/ this, yup. It's not about you, folks, it's about them)

    1
  • J M Smith

    Michael, Exactly, COP is just another Raw Developer.  I am getting the same results with LR that I was getting with COP.  Plus I have a working catalog system with LR.

    What CO is not considering (maybe they are and don't care) is it is a big deal to change Raw Developers, people are angry enough to ditch a paid for working application.  I will NEVER come back to COP, EVER.  LR works great and I am not pissed off while using it.

    The real question is what company will purchase the CO carcass?

    Ps. I just watched Paul's Q&A with Rafael Orta.  That event strongly  reenforced my departure from COP...  Not to sound arrogant, but, I was a technology strategist and also consulted with companies on how to recognize and act upon disruptive technologies.  Based on the interview, CO needs serious help on both fronts. 

    The real telling part of the Q&A was Mr. Orta stated that there were ~250,000 COP users.  So let's make some assumptions in US$.

    1.  If every user updates every year at US$200 then CO's top line would be ~ US$50M.

    2. If the perpetual users (about half of the user base) upgrade every other year, then CO's top line will be about US$37.5M.

    3. CO is a tiny company and the only way that they can remain viable is to transition users to subscription only model. If half of the perpetual users leave and the other half move to subscription then their top line is still US$37.5M.  So they don't really care about losing a number of perpetual users.

    4. In all likelihood CO is being prepared for an exit, it will be interesting to see who the eventual owner happens to be.

    5. It is clear that they should not have wasted their time and precious resources on functionality such as pano stitching and HDR.  There are much better apps for that and COP will never be as good as they are.

    ***************************************

    As an aside, had CO simply laid out the facts and indicated that they were going to transition everyone to a subscription model on Jan 1 2024, I would have been happy to support them, but they insisted on lying to us...  So I exited...

    I tend to agree with Thomas Fitzgerald regarding CO's motives.  Following is his quote, not mine.

    "I’m pretty understanding of a company making decisions to protect the health of the business, even when others are generally angry. I always do my best to see all sides in these kinds of situations, and I can even understand the push to subscriptions, and the removal of feature updates from the perpetual licences. Likewise, I don’t like these moves, but I can understand them from a purely business perspective. But I’m finding it really hard to find any reason to justify deactivating previous licences. I wonder if this is even legal. In my opinion, this is something an accountant at a struggling or failing firm would insist on, not a company that cares to love its users. It’s just not acceptable."

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  • John Romer

    It has been a while since I posted my first complaints here, and I still continue using Capture One. I don't like their policies, I have 2-3 alternatives and have had them for years also, yet I gravitate back to CO since I was an Apple Aperture user and feel far more comfortable with CO. Like me, most of us posting here are hot headed angry with the change. However, compared to Apple the application lives on. I get just as upset with all the other applications that switch to subscription model. Each time it happens I get a visceral reaction. Death by paper cuts.

    I was a loyal Photoshop purchaser. They moved to subscription. I dropped using them for a year, and came back. Sure other applications do what it does, I likely have all of them. But years and years of comfort made me suck down my pride and pay the subscription. I get Lightroom. Still hate it .... not sure why....but I hate it.

    CO has tons of issues from my perspective of usability. Catalogs have major issues. Upgrades often become CPU utilization hogs. Imports and preview generation seem to take longer and longer and longer and I use it on a MacBook Pro 16 M1 Max which should be blazing fast but now seems slower when importing.

    So I am saying I will soften my stance over time I am sure. I will likely drift back to loving it, and likely get a subscription since when it comes down to it, we love mama's home cooking. That means we like to use what we are comfortable with using. I have at least 100,000 pictures in Capture One. At least 130,000 in Aperture. Comfort zone.

    But the reason for my post is something I saw yesterday when I finally got around to upgrading. When I looked at my License details it now shows Free Upgrades Left  as 0. I would think I have upgrades remaining until September? If I look at Capture One Pro 22 I just see a "--" for Free Upgrades Left. Has it always been like this and I just never looked?

     

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  • Class A

    @John Romer

    According to my understanding, you have free updates left. You'd only have a free upgrade (not update) left, if you bought a C1 version so late in its cycle that it made you eligible for owning the next version as well.

    Regarding "mama's home cooking": The attempt of forcing an export dialogue on users, the half-baked panorama and HDR implementations, the botched brush selection design (which was perfect before it was "improved"), the lack of being able to change the browser zoom with the mouse wheel, etc. (I could go on for quite a while), is not "mama's home cooking". C1 was on a great trajectory, but Capture One recently started gearing the application towards beginners and tries to widen the user base. Furthermore, it took forever to get productivity enhancing features like being able to overwrite existing files during export, and many of such user requests remain ignored; they are not even acknowledged as received anymore (as it used to be the case).

    C1 is still my preferred raw converter but I'm not on the latest version since I don't need the new features and as soon as the license model turns to subscription only, I'll never consider C1 again. "Mama's home cooking" is very different to what C1 wants to become, if the users let it (remember the export dialogue was only undone due to the strong user reaction).

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  • John Romer

    Class A

    Thanks for the clarification.

    My Mama's Home Cooking applies to how I use it. Not implying that for everyone. 

    Honestly, I use a multitude of applications for photo processing and workflow. For me (just me maybe), Capture One has fewer warts than others. But I understand your usage is different.

    I don't take many panorama pictures but I have used Photoshop to do them, and I find it works great for me so I use and never considered using the feature in Capture One, I guess. 

    The Brush Selection tool...ok, messy. But I like the Magic Brush more and more and more. Maybe I am a noob here. But 100,000 pictures in, and I am getting the hang of it. I wish I mastered the Color Editor...but that is my stupidity, I guess.

    I understand your points....

    I was just making the point that since my original post was based on me being very upset with the change, I have processed another 5,000 pictures in Capture One. It just works very comfortably for me. I still hate the change and think the management team is tone deaf and has ZERO regard for its clients and ZERO ability to connect with us meaningfully. They need to take steps to keep the shop running and this new model is how they see it. But they managed to handle it in a horrible way.

    I tried Lightroom again (I own it and have it via my forced Adobe subscription) and it is just awkward. Hands down I love the RAW importing of Capture One so much better for my Canon pictures. Other brands may have different results. Somehow the RAW importing in Photoshop looks immensely better to me than the RAW importing in Lightroom. I use other raw importers at times too when I don't like the results in Capture One.

    Mama's cooking is what makes us each comfortable. I might like my mom's Turkey Parmesan, you may like your mom's Stew. Both are good, but we each prefer one as our comfort item. My mom's Turkey Parmesan could be improved has flaws but I like eating it. My point is I can go out and sample other meals (photo editors), and I feel I may keep migrating back to CO.

    I hate the changes, and I agree with many of your issues and other people's issues.

    However, how outraged were you when Adobe forced us to subscribe? Did you swear you would never go back? Sure there are many other applications that can do what it does, but when my clients are watching my work, I guarantee you they are expecting me to be working in Photoshop. I likely leverage 30% of its capabilities. Same with Capture One.

    Just my ramblings as I am working on another set of 500 pictures for a college soccer team......

     

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  • J M Smith

    John,

    It is interesting that you are seeing a difference in LP and PS raw imports.  They both use Camera Raw and the images should be identical.

    Many of us were outraged when Adobe moved to a subscription model.  They quickly made it much less onerous than what CO is proposing and made it a great value.

    I still don't like subscriptions but after the CO announcement I was very angry every time I launched and used COP.  I am now happy as a clam using my newly subscribed Adobe Photography Package.

     

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  • John Romer

    J M Smith

    I agree, I would think the LR and PS raw imports would be the same. For my setup running on a MacBook Pro 16 Intel and a MacBook Pro 16 M1 Max, either connected to the same LG 4k monitor that is calibrated but certainly not am In-Plane Switching $5000 monitor, the Photoshop import always looks better. As I will always reference, I could be an idiot. 

    I'm still unhappy with Adobe still about the change.....but I pay every year. The cost to me, if I remember, is less than Adobe but it does not matter. I pay for both applications since I need, and want, Photoshop. I have 3 potential replacements to Photoshop. I just don't use them. Witness my mama bear comment. I am not sure I agree the Adobe model is a little better, I don't get to keep a perpetual copy of Photoshop ever now...which just sucks eggs. I keep my copy of CS6 well protected.

    So to me, Capture One did try to provide a few good elements - at least after an ungodly long period, given I was a long-time loyal user, I can walk away with a perpetual license, or I can buy a perpetual license. That seems better to me.

    The treatment by CO was so poor. I was an early complainer. I sent an email to them the day they announced the change. The reply was pretty well "Suck It".

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  • J M Smith

    That crazy that you are getting that significant of a difference…

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  • John Romer

    J M Smith

    Maybe I am an idiot....the world has enough of us. 

    I have DXO Photolab and Lightroom and Capture One. I find the import of my Canon EOS 7 Mk II, Canon EOS 5 Mk III and IV, my Canon R5 and my Canon R7 all look better in Capture One. Particularly regarding the midtone and shadow details, I find that Capture One is better, and the easiest to adjust the results with their adjustments. 

    There are a number of good comparisons, maybe I am wrong.....

    Example: https://www.lifeafterphotoshop.com/dxo-vs-lightroom-vs-capture-one-pro-best/

    I know I can go in and adjust to make pretty close...but since I have to review a few before I can make a more automated adjustment, I find it costs me at least 5 seconds and more likely 10 seconds to adjust to the same import quality I get in Capture One Pro. So for example, I shot a college soccer game with the R7. I took  500 images and I culled to about 425 usable good images. At 5 seconds an image to make it look just as good regarding details and midtones, that is 35 minutes longer work in Lightroom (425*5)/60 = 35.4. At an estimated hourly value of $125 (low for me, more likely $350) that is $75 in savings to me (35.4/60)*$125 = $75. At $350 that is $205.60.

    So for the cost of the Capture One Pro subscription, if I process just 1,500 pictures in LIghtroom using my value at $125 per hour, then I am just the same as sucking it down and buying Capture One Pro. Since this is part-time gig and I make much more in my other work, I tend to use a much higher billable rate to figure out my breakeven on this type of calculation. Like 500 images and I am better off.

    I don't see many people looking at things in this calculated manner...but I do.

    Im sure 99.9% of you will disagree with parts of all of how I look at it. Trust me, I hate what they did and how they did it.

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  • J M Smith

    John,

    You have to use what makes sense for you. Both financially and emotionally…

    I would take that article with a grain of salt, it is fairly dated (August 2020) and all three apps are significantly improved.

    I no longer do higher volume production work. The project that I am currently working on is taking about an hour per image, using a combination of LR and PS.

    When Adobe rolls out layers for LR, then they will have surpassed the competition.

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  • Class A

    @J M Smith
    LR already has the equivalent of C1 layers.

    If you are talking about PS layers then I doubt Adobe will close the gap between PS and LR any time soon.

    0
  • Antonio Scribano

    the decisive fact is one: capture one is simply out of the market! the cost of direct competition subscriptions is much lower

    3
  • J M Smith

    Class A

    I don't really consider LR masking overlays to be equivalent to layers, it may just be semantics.

    There is quite a bit of chatter that LR will indeed be adding a more robust layering function.

    Only time will tell, but in the meantime masking overlays are great.

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  • maxime blanc

    Fun fact, I came to C1 seduced by the idea of escaping the on-going subscription fever by being able to update a perpetual licence with a discount... not feeling enchained by a monthly payment. And now you change the rules...

    I am now ironically strongly considering the Adobe's subscription cause it offer more tools for a lower price...

     

    What a disapointement

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  • Don Nguyen

    I left Adobe because of their business model. I have been more patient with the lack of features as Lightroom leaps ahead because I believed Capture One’s business model was fair and not predatory. Now that we’re just going the way of Adobe, what reason is there to stay? With Adobe you get Lightroom and Photoshop. Lightroom alone is ahead in feature set, usability and has a huge community and would be worth the price alone. Throwing in Photoshop on top of that is the nail in the coffin.

    I grew a lot as a photographer using Capture One and so I will remember it fondly but I’ll be taking my business back to Adobe.

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  • John Harper

    I’ve just subscribed to the Photoshop/Lightroom model for the first time, $12.49AU per month, 2 cups of coffee, how cheap’s that.

    Capture One has made no move to improve their software since they shafted their dedicated perpetual customers.

    Photoshop/Lightroom are streets ahead and that includes the iPad app thrown in.

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  • J M Smith

    Yeah I have already moved on. V23 is still loaded on my machine and I still have some images to transition, but I an working full time now in LR. This will be a great case study in biz school…

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