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



  • Edwardsson

    @Ian Farlow ”Capture One would do well to look up Trust Thermocline, read about it, and understand it before it's too late.”

    Thanks for bringing attention to the term "Trust Thermocline". It was just spot on regarding the actions of the C1 company.


    I bought my first Capture One license in July earlier this year, Capture One 22. It cost me about 175€. Didn’t want to upgrade to version 23 and have to pay once more the same year, but I did plan to upgrade to 24 later next year. But now I will probably continue to only use Affinity Photo 2 instead, especially since my computer is too old to use other software like the new DxO PhotoLab 6. 

    For me, the combination of software like Affinity Photo 2 and Capture One,  are more or less perfect for my workflow. I will probably continue to use Capture One version 22 as long as I can, but I’ll will not upgrade to C1 version 23. It is far too expensive to upgrade and after the announcement from the Capture One company earlier today, we could not be sure that there will be a Capture One to upgrade to in the future at all. 

  • Michael Mazzola

    These actions by the folks who bring us C1 are very clearly & eloquently delineated by Pablo above.

    The "many of you…" rationale is so poor I had to read it a few times to understand C1 actually expects me to swallow that.

    Where's the spittoon?

    And may I say when a corporation tells me it'll reward me for loyalty, I really struggle because I am not feeling that warm return gesture of C1 having my back, rather I am feeling taken advantage of. This of course guaranteeing my intense interest in other competing products.

  • Eric

    I don't normally voice my opinions on things like this but I need to add my voice to the disappointment about this.  I too have been faithfully updating every year because I've wanted to support Capture One's ongoing development, even though I haven't appreciated many of the recent developments (I don't use tethering or an iPad).  V23 was the first year that I have not upgraded because I didn't see enough value in the features being added for me. I thought, that's fine, I'll update next year. Well, after this announcement, I too, will likely switch back to Adobe.  It's honestly been a couple years since I've seen a Capture One feature that's really been significant for me.  There have been way more significant improvements on the Photoshop/LR front over the past year for me than what I've seen from Capture One.  So, I give up.  If I'm being forced into the subscription model, I'm going to choose the one that gives me the best bang for buck..... and that's not Capture One. 

    Good bye and good luck on your future endeavors.  

    (BTW, if this announcement had been done with more honesty and sincerity, i.e. "we're struggling with revenue and though we don't want to switch to a subscription model, it's the only viable way forward for our company", rather that marketing double-speak, I would have felt more inclined to continue with Capture One.  But the marketing spiel just disrespects your loyal customer base, which is an indication of how you really think about your customer base.  So I no longer want to be part of your customer base).



  • truepictures

    Now that I have fought my way through all the comments so far, I would like to make my opinion known - every vote counts!

    1. Obviously, there have been some changes in CO's internal business structure, which makes the announced changes understandable. And, as was once the case with Adobe, there will be no turning back. Whether CO will survive as an independent product is therefore questionable. Adobe, on the other hand, is too broadly positioned and has many products that are relevant in the world of work. CO it is definitely not an industry standard. In my opinion, CO's days are numbered as we know it to date. Time will tell.

    2. Yes, I confess: I upgraded to CO23 from CO22. This in the hope of innovative functional enhancements in the course of 2023. In this respect, nothing will change for me for the time being until October 2023. I will continue to use CO23 (it is already paid for :-)). For those who have stayed with CO22 for certain reasons, nothing will change until the (virtual) next version CO24 in December (which will not come). Those who would have bought an upgrade to CO24 will then look around for another provider.

    3. Many people are "annoyed" that they did not take advantage of the last Black Friday to find offers from other software manufacturers. To all of them: the next Black Friday will most likely come - and then you can show CO the red card with a smile.

    4. I will use the time to test other providers who continue to offer a purchase option until the end of 2023. In the comments, DXO is very often mentioned as an alternative. Who can guarantee that DXO won't get a taste for it? Bad times for all, including me, who are not prepared to subscribe. Serif with Affinity 2.0 shows that it can be done differently.

    5. All in all, let's not forget that CO has performed very well for the most part over the last few years. At least with me. Quite in contrast to LR, which I could use free of charge via a company account. In that respect, it's not necessarily the product that's the problem. Nor is it the marketing department, which is forced to present unloved facts in an alternative way. And even those who try to optimise the software every day are not involved in this dilemma. The problem is merely those who have the say. Who will ultimately survive, CO or the decision-makers, will become clear in the course of the next 24 months.

  • Lutz Jacob

    It has all been said here, but I need to tell you, that I'm absolutely disappointed. You want to go the Adobe way to make more money? Your decision, but you will lose me as a customer. And I feel cheated, why did you not publish this change a month ago, when you were selling many upgrades?

  • Simon Bergman

    So now you will change the license policy for perpetual licenses. No more upgrade pricing for perpetual licenses. Loyalty schemes instead. Please tell me, how does the loyalty scheme work? Upgrade pricing is available until the end of January, but your perpetual license users need this information now, not after the date when there are no more upgrade pricing!

    I chose C1 because of the availability of perpetual license. I was an Adobe user before that but really disliked their subscription only move. I remember Capture One having a strong marketing message to those who disliked Adobe’s subscription only, that C1 is the alternative for those who value that. What happened to that message?

    I have been a happy user for many years, I really like Capture One. I have bought many upgrades. The changes you announced today made me sad. If you read comments to the news here and on dPreview you will se I am not the only one. Not offering upgrade pricing for perpetual users will be the nail in the coffin for the perpetual license. And sadly, that is probably the intention.

    At least, tell your perpetual license users the details about the product in the future - especially the loyalty scheme. Asking your loyal perpetual license users to upgrade one last time and not telling important details, like the loyalty scheme, is disrespectful.

    More importantly: Please reconsider this whole policy change.

  • Noah Bershatsky

    They refused my request for a refund:

    "Kristina (Capture One)

    Dec 6, 2022, 16:55 GMT+1

    Hi Noah,
    Thank you for taking the time to reach out.
    Historically we have released a paid update to Capture One Pro in the last quarter of each year. As you have already purchased Capture One Pro 23, you will receive all updates including new features for free until the last quarter of next year. As such you will not be receiving ‘less’ than in previous years.
    So while new users after February 1st will not receive any feature updates for free, existing users like yourself will.
    We can’t grant you a refund as there is no change in the product you have purchased. What is listed in the terms and conditions still stands.
    Please read the FAQ for any additional questions and let me know if something is still unclear.

    Kind regards,
    Customer Service Lead, Capture One"

  • Tobias Franz

    Ich nutze jetzt C1 seit über 10 Jahren mit jährlichen upgrades, vielen C01 styles. Habe auch gern dafür etwas mehr bezahlt um nicht das Adobe Abo zahlen zu müssen. Was ihr jetzt mit Euren treuen Kunden macht ist doch eine Frechheit. Nicht nur das ihr versucht uns in ein Abo Model zu zwingen. Eure Preise sind auch noch um einiges höher. Adobe LR+PS+Cloud+alle mobilen Apps kosten 12 Euro/mo. C1 desktop ohne alles, 29 Euro/mo fast den 3-fachen Preis. Was hab Ihr Euch denn dabei gedacht. Die Zeiten als C1 noch von einer engagierten Photographie liebenden dänischen Firma entwickelt wurde scheinen auf alle Fälle vorbei. Sorry so kann man seine treuen Kunden einfach nicht behandeln vor allem wenn es so viele Alternativen gibt. Ich hoffe Ihr überdenkt Eure Entscheidung noch einmal. Viele Grüße an David Grover für die vielen schönen Tutorials der letzten Jahre.  

  • francois pellegrini

    I first purchased a C1 Pro 5 license in Dec. 2009, and since then have always upgraded it to the latest version (except to C1 23, which would not bring me any value in spite of a steep price increase). In the light of what is proposed for the future, I will continue working with C1 22 for the time being and then move away from the Phase One line of products as soon as a good opportunity arises elsewhere (e.g. during Black Friday 2023). 

    The cost to upgrade C1 Pro 6 was only 69€ in Dec. 2010, VAT (i.e. 25% of this amount) included. The marketing approach for C1 now looks like a farce... and this will be without me in the future. They have decided to milk cows, but I am not a cow ;)

    BTW, when reading the comments made by the "listened to" customer base and the poor (no to say lack of) response from Phase One, it seems pretty obvious that the marketing gurus behind this move are not communication experts. The shitstorm they have created through some terrible decisions and poor communication has indeed resulted in a crisis. And hard luck, they have never been prepared to crisis management either. 

    Good luck, Capture One. 

  • Pete Malan

    This would be the "right thing to do", Move the date of upgrading to March 1st. 

    Release the info on the loyalty program on February 1st or sooner. 

    That gives us time to evaluate what the Loyalty program is and then make a switch or not make a switch. 

    I've been with Cap One since it was version 8. I've also paid yearly since it costs less then subscription. 

    What your attempting to do is, to my mind, is forgetting who is supporting you and making a very greedy move. 

  • Hans-Joachim Guhr

    Noah Bershatsky

    I received the same email verbatim from Julia Seutsova (Capture One).



  • C-M-B

    For anyone who has the CO 23 license:

    • How does a perpetual license work?

      Make a one-time payment to own your Capture One Pro license outright, with minor software updates included. Plus, save on future versions – existing license owners get a reduced upgrade price with a 33% discount on every new release, which is automatically discounted in store.

    That's what CaptureOne claims here:

    But that's highly confusing because there ARE no upgrades for new releases, only upgrades OR new releases... so you're getting a 33% discount for what exactly? Those in-between-upgrades? That's not a new release. That's for the same version. And you're not getting a 33% discount because *drumroll* those are only available for users of perpetual licenses, so you can't promise a discount on something that is only available for people who will get a discount anyway. Pretty sure that's against consumer laws to have a "reduced price" on something that isn't a "reduced price" but just the regular price everyone else has to pay anyway....

    So what's going on, CaptureOne? Did you miss that one? I mean if I had bought CaptureOne23 perpetual license on the promise that every new release gets a 33% discount but you remove that entirely...? 

    If you're unlucky you may look at a class-action lawsuit from people who bought CaptureOne23 if you're going through with this - and a ton of legal issues due to violations of consumer rights... but maybe you already had your legal team look over that.  

  • Paul Johnson

    I switched to C1 to avoid a subscription.  I left PS for the same reason.  I'm trying to get control of my budget and you're doing a money grab.  I've got a year or so left for C1V23 updates, and then I'll stick with my perpetual license until something better with a perpetual license comes along.  In fact, C1 is already much of an overkill for me. 

    Why pay for something every month when I really only need to consider an upgrade every 3 years or so.  I look forward to seeing what your newly independent ex-employees come up with.  Still, sorry to see you go, but I'm no longer going to support you.

  • FirstName LastName

    After reading so many comments here, the consensus seems to be that this is a bad idea. I want perpetual license, not subscription. That means I'm limited to the version I'm on now. When it no longer supports any new lens or cameras I may buy in the future, I'm moving on. I suggest you find a better solution for users with perpetual licenses.

  • Davor Zunic

    - Runs from Adobe because of greed model.
    - Discovers Capture One.
    - Converts most of my colleagues and students to Capture One.
    >>> Capture One shapeshifts to Adobe :O...

    Basically, you are enforcing subscription model.

    Not sure what is more infuriating:
    Your sudden change in pricing strategy (after recent marketing campaign where you convinced lots of the users to purchase version 23)?
    Or "many of you told us" intelligence insulting justification for this move, that is clearly and solely motivated by profit?

    You quickly forgot that from 250 000 Capture One customers, very large base is made from ex Adobe users who abandoned excellent software because Adobe did very same thing that you are doing now.
    Capture One is very good, but I am not sure that is THAT good.
    Sure, I will remain with Capture One for a while, but will abandon you at first sight of decent alternative and company with respectful policies and pricing.

    Best of luck to you with new pricing and good luck with finding single positive comment in this thread.

  • Petr Bajer

    I am not sure, how this will exactly work, but I am afraid, that this is next step to force people into subscription-only model. We will see how the "new loyalty scheme" will work.

    The reason, why I switched to C1 was because I didn't accepted Adobe's rent-only policy. Switching from Adobe Camera Raw wasn't easy, because I had lot of photos edited in it. Now I have huge C1 photo database and I feel like I can be blackmailed again (my photo database is held like hostage).

    I upgraded to new version of Capture One every year. Not only because of new improvements, but also to support you, so that you don't have to go into subscription-only model. I would accept subscription if there is a way to cancel and continue using last paid version (as a precaution).

    I fully agree with comments by Guy Daudelin and Henk de Haan.

  • Adam Husek

    You must have gone absolutely crazy in there.... I always tolerated updates towards the end of the year when I actually had no idea what I was paying for .... because you introduced the features after some offer .... I didn't switch to version 23 and I'm quite glad I didn't, because what you've introduced now is a kick between the legs , I guess there were few takers for version 23

    Now you are again giving conditions until February and again you can not write what exactly we will pay for or how it will continue with version 23, I will not fall for it this time. When I do the math, the Adobe package works better for me


  • gb

    Yes pretty disappointing.
    For me continuing with C1 will probably depend on the loyalty scheme they mention,
    though since they were recently selling a new license for less than an an upgrade, I have my doubts.

  • Thomas Kyhn
    Top Commenter

    The way this change is presented makes it seem like a bad excuse for charging more / giving customers less for the same price. While I wouldn't mind paying a bit more for Capture One if some of the long-standing issues and limitations were finally fixed/improved – first of all its poor handling of larger catalogues and the extraordinarily slow customer support – but so far there's been no indication that such improvements are at all likely.

  • Michael Mazzola

    Just gonna point out that folks who stay with the current release will have limited use, at least in MacOS world, where it's common for OS changes to invalidate any number of software packages, just ask any user of Vectorworks, a 3D Cad app.

    And - indeed for those who depend on their Pro products for reliability and stability - new features traditionally bring a certain amount of chaos and confusion, none of which a pro shop can afford. Just ask Vectorworks customers who get new features while the prior batch of added features are still not quite (or worse) working, often for multiple years. That's exactly what I feel like we're being promised here.

  • Class A

    The reason you cite ("many of you have told us...") comes across as disingenuous since you could supply even perpetual license holders with say one year worth of "rapid updates".

    Effectively the change is to devalue perpetual licenses by cutting them off from anything but bug fixes.

    It will be interesting to see how many current C1 customers will follow the nudge to move to a subscription. I believe there are many who switched from LR to C1 precisely because they wanted to avoid a subscription model and I hope they will stand their ground.

    FWIW, the phrasing "There will not be a Capture One 24" is potentially misleading. I believe some have taken it to mean the phasing out of any kind of perpetual licence. Rather, it appears that since you want to decouple major releases from the calendar year, you are just moving back to a version numbering scheme that is not linked to a year number. I think that could be communicated more clearly.

  • EM

    Black Friday 2022 @Amazon Germany:

    Lightroom for Desktop, Lightroom Mobile for iOS und Android, Lightroom Classic and Photoshop subscription per year = 79,99€ incl. 19% Taxes


    CaptureOne 23 (only one program, not including CaptureOne for iPad) subscription = 219€ incl. Taxes

    Any questions?

    Hard to stay as a loyal customer of CaptureOne :-(

  • FirstName LastName

    Here’s the biggest flaw that I see to your new model (I see a lot of flaws, but this one stands out to me as the most egregious)…

    When users purchased annual version updates, they were usually getting a list of new features. A few big ones, some smaller ones, but one way or the other there were generally multiple reasons to upgrade.

    Now, it seems that you want to release every new feature one at a time, and call every new feature a major version update requiring a separate new purchase to receive. These updates may be a year apart, or they may be a couple of months apart. Or, for all we know, they may be weeks apart. You’ve really left it open here.

    Users are never going to know when it is the “right” time for them to upgrade. Sure, they can look at a new feature and say “I want that.” But many will hesitate because they won’t know what the next new feature coming down the path will be, or when it will be coming. Others will upgrade, and then the next new feature weeks later will be something else they want and they’ll be pissed off. You’ve made choosing when to upgrade the perpetual license a gamble and a no-win situation.

    Furthermore, what is the situation with bug fixes going to be? You say that bug fixes will continue to be free between major version updates. But if your major version updates are only a few months/weeks apart, does that mean that users will only get bug fixes for a few months/weeks? Or will you be going back and applying those bug fixes to previous major versions that had been released within a certain time period as well?

  • Jacinto Liao

    Pay $299 for every new version? vs $179 CO annual subscription vs adobe annual LR+PS for $239.88.

    with Adobe I get 2 software + Extras

    • 1TB of cloud storage
    • Step-by-step tutorials
    • Adobe Portfolio
    • Adobe Fonts
    • Behance
    • Creative Cloud Libraries
    • Access to the latest features


  • FirstName LastName

    @Jacinto Liao - If you don’t need the 1TB of cloud storage, you can get Adobe LR + PS for half that price.

  • Skopey

    You really need to understand, you are not just competing with other software solutions on features, you are competing on business practices as well.

    You have destroyed a mountain of trust in your customer base with this move, not only because of the questionable pricing models themselves (perpetual licenses having to pay for bug fixes within the same version number, are you actually insane??), but also in the unfathomably poor timing –  coming right after you proudly sold so many people Black Friday upgrades – and then taking it a step further by not even bothering to explain whatever limp olive branch the 'loyalty pricing' is supposed to be (do you think you'll have much loyalty left with us after this?).

    I started on Aperture, moved to Lightroom and eventually came to C1, and when I did, I totally revamped how I organized my Libraries (both professional and personal) to make them 'software agnostic' because after two moves, I realized that no software can be taken for granted and some day I may have to pull up stakes and migrate to something again. I have to be frank, after only 5 years on C1, I didn't think this one would come so soon, and not for this reason.

    Maybe pick up the phone and call Affinity to talk about to build a business and community that flocks to and raves about it because they're finding the exact thing they were leaving the competitors for. Put your house in order FFS!

  • bernhard sanders

    Well - let's look at it in a more positive way !

    Capture One (perpetual) has now shown us its true character, and that pleases me to the extent that I have saved myself the upgrade to CO23. As a result I have CO22, which runs quite well and I have also saved about €200. And CO has €200 less in the till. That's good under these circumstances.

    It's true, CO has developed a great solution for RAW processing - one may love or hate the UI, but the results are great. Well done by the software developers.

    But since the marketing sharks took over the leadership in the company, without any doubt the real character of CO shows up in the fact of announcing all this strange news just after many of us have just bought an upgrade because of the special offers. I feel sorry to all of those who did, for me it was the case that I already became suspicious when upgrading to CO22 due to some poor communication in autumn 21 and therefore instinctively gladly gave up the 20% extra discount this time by not upgrading.

    So i can safely carry on with CO22 as usual - ok, the extremely few new features are not available to me, so what ? I can live with that wonderfully. And save the money for different and may be even better solutions.

    Let us not forget: There was once a time when some of us were happy with iView Media pro, later renamed to Media Expression DAM after it went to Microsoft. It has been avaible for a short period for nothing and then CO aquired it. And as a result, they developed it just a bit but have  added tons of bugs - now it is dead.

    The software world is always evolving, as are cameras etc. And there are a lot of companies who treat their customers with respect, they constantly develop their products and don't focus on profit maximisation and marketing bla-bla at the expense of quality and meaningful features. Like Ed Hamrick with Vuescan or even more Blackmagic Da Vinci, the latter even, only slightly limited, for free, and also the licensed full version is in the price range of CO - as an extremely versatile and professional programme. Both have great success (on different scales), both are feeding their owners and employees and both have happy customers. And these are only 2 examples of many.

    CO's extremely unfriendly and incomprehensible actions are now enraging us, but one can also see it positively - we now know where we stand.

    After all, YOU, CO, want to sell something to ME or to all of us ! And we are in the fortunate position of being able to decide from whom we buy what. It's not all just about product quality, but also about service, reliability, trust and credibility.

    They say the customer is king - but we don't have to go that far. 

    It would be good enough for me if I were a respected partner as a customer. And if even a respected partnership is not possible, then it is great that I get to know about it ( in this albeit unattractive way ) and can - still with CO22 - look around for an alternative in peace.

    In other words: we can ( and should ) vote with our wallets - obviously the only way.

    Or see it from an other perspective - you depend on us as customers. I and we all have a choice. Isn't that great ?

    You want to create your income from our wallets. So please behave more sensible, open and customer friendly. That would be great.

    In this aspect: CO, you are no longer a partner for me as long as you continue on the present course. If you change that behaviour, I will probably be glad to forgive your faux pas and might still think about an upgrade - if I haven't found anything better by then.

    Good Luck



  • James Rolevink

    What a crock. The perpetual license model served customers well until companies started getting greedy. Adobe was dragged before an official Parliamentary inquiry named “The Australia Tax” because they charged four times more for electronically distributed software licenses here in Australia. It was cheaper to jump on a plane, fly to the US, buy Creative Suite, and fly home than buy it here.

    They used subscriptions as a way to deflect the heat, promising parity. Shock horror: after they performed the bait and switch, Adobe subscriptions prices have skyrocketed.

    I swapped to Capture One from Adobe to stop being screwed by yet another bloody vampire subscription. Just how many subscriptions are we supposed to bear? Creative Suite, Capture One, Office, Netflix, Stan, Binge, Disney+, Amazon Prime, Kayo, Apple TV+, Paramount+, Britbox, YouTube Premium, World of Warcraft, Mobile Phone, Internet… How many more? Care to do the maths?

    Since I haven't finished the transition away from Adobe, and I am still paying for the full CS - including Lightroom - why would I choose Capture One any more?

    You say you listened to “many of you”? Well hear this: this feels like the Adobe bait and switch that only scummy companies like Adobe would deploy. Is Capture One going to choose to be scummy? I really hope not. This thread should give cause for a rethink.

  • Eric

    Further to everything being said here is the INFLUENCE that all of us have, which is not something not to be trifled with.  I have in the past suggested to friends/colleagues to try Capture One as an alternative to Adobe, as I'm sure many of you have.  Well, I will no longer being doing that.  As word of this spreads, and we all begin NOT recommending Capture One, the effect of this will multiply. Companies like C1 may no longer value loyal customers but they do value good reviews because those lead to sales, and they hate negative press and bad reviews, because those impact their bottom line.  So don't just vote with your pocket book. Use your INFLUENCE.  Big companies have been known to realize the folly of their ways (anyway remember Coke Classic??). 


    I am in agreement with those who have commented.  I will add, I believe C1 has underestimated the impact of any major changes to their business model, which will force at least half of their users to switch to C1 subscription-based model in an indirect manner. Have they thought that their calculated future revenue will fall drastically when the newly transferred subscription user doesn’t see an expected value and begin to cancels their recurring payments? C1 does not have the cutting-edge niche in the market and there are many alternatives to choose.  Having a perpetual license was very attractive for many users but to make them choose, the outcome may surprise many.  When this change happens and it will, I will not be surprised if they merge with another company within a year or two and C1 will be part of history.   

    I personally do not like subscription-based software. I will move on to an alternative that is feature rich and with great customer service. 


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