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Perpetual License Changes and the Loyalty Program - How it Affects You



  • Jason Patel

    So I am still on C1 22, didn’t goto 23 as didn’t see any benefit. Felt like that from 21 actually but did upgrade as I felt loyalty to C1. Now that I know that any feature upgrades won’t be included , I have lost that feeling of loyalty and won’t upgrade. Will only ever do so if you had an amazing feature, let’s face it C1 you don’t have anything in your back pocket. This alongside really really high pricing makes your software uncompetitive. Feel sad that it’s come to this standoff between you and paying customers.

  • Michael Parker

    Jason Patel

    Your comments are exactly why I am suspicious of the subscription model.
    I could subscribe for a year to get updates but get nothing of value or even no updates at all if they have nothing to give.
    At the end of the year I could fall back to my old perpetual licence for 23 or subscribe again for another year in anticipation of updates.
    At least with other softwares we know what’s in a new version and whether upgrading is worthwhile or not.

    Subscription is possibly an OK model for new users, rather than paying out in full for a perpetual licence up front with the promise of a discounted licence in the future, but for those of us that have been perpetual licence holders for several years this new model offers nothing.

  • Michael Parker

    I bought my perpetual licence for 23 at the prelease discount. I have updates until September.
    I can buy a new perpetual licence within 12 months for a 40% discount.
    That’s a pretty much  pointless discount then, unless there is some amazing update between the end of September and my purchase date of 12 October!

  • Richard Jackson

    Jason coments puts it really clearly
    It's a kick in the teeth for loyalty as it means unless you upgrade all the time you start from scratch which is very dangerous for phase one as you can see what else is out there! It's just sad

  • Jeffrey Kogler

    Michael Parker  Yes that was the basis of my question above, "Capture One v23 was released to me by Capture One on November 8 2022 (after I had pre ordered it).  So if a new version is released between September 30 2023 and November 8 2023 I can upgrade to it for $US179?"

    Potentially if there is a major release just after the 12 month window, v23 pre-release purchasers could miss the discount.  Of course C1 wouldn't do that would they!

  • FirstName LastName

    Regarding the upgrade to C1    23: If there is not a significant change to the editing side of the software in the next 12 months or so, it is not worth it for me because I don't normally have large batches of files from a single shoot to process. Without a roadmap there is no way of knowing if paying for 23 will leave me exactly where I am now. I can't be the only one in this situation.


  • Adam Squires

    Roadmap, roadmap, roadmap, please.......

  • Michael Fleck

    Dear ladies and gentlemen of Capture One,

    it is time to comment, regarding your new pricing. As a photographer, I consider myself a craftsman, an artist. A photo software is a tool for me, just like my camera, as a hammer is for a carpenter or brush & canvas for a painter. 

    I don't know any craftsman who rents a hammer. I don't know any painter, any sculptor who rents his tools for a fee. As a craftsman, if I think I need a new hammer, I go to a tool store and buy a new one. It's that simple. 

    But if my tool store now raises prices like that because of a new business model, or tells me I can now only rent the hammer instead of buying it because some greedy bookie has come up with what seems to be a great way to maximize profits, then I look around for another store. You upset your loyal users and call it loyalty program? Ridiculous!

    So using tools counter payment is not an option for me. I buy them. If at some point I decide to buy a new camera, respectively a brush or a new canvas, then I do it out of my own free will and not because otherwise I can no longer use the canvas. For me, this is not a business model but blackmail. 

    For this reason - and because the image quality for Fujifilm cameras is better - I switched from Adobe Lightroom to Capture One in 2014 and have not looked back. So I have been a user of Capture One since 2014 and have purchased Every Upgrade. THAT is loyalty for me. 

    But you will destroy that loyalty with your newly devised pricing model. 

    I will look around from now on to see what software supports my needs. Something I have not done since 2014. Because I was satisfied with Capture One. I have always been loyal. Have recommended your software to everyone. But I may have to rethink that from now on. 

    I want to be able to rely on the manufacturer's business model so I can use my thoughts on my Photography. 

    I'm pissed. 

  • Morgan Smaller

    Michael Fleck's comment sums up EXACTLY how I feel as well. Thanks Michael.

    I'm gonna miss Capture One - I refuse to rent software. Especially software that is rather buggy and very slow to update, like Capture One is. And double-especially when 'loyalty' is supposed to be a motivating factor behind these changes.  Let's be honest, 'loyalty' in this context is thinly veiled lip service for fleecing your best customers.

  • Class A

    I believe many are rubbed the wrong way due to how Capture One interprets "loyalty" .

    True loyalty comes in many forms, such as regularly buying perpetual licenses, recommending the software to others, not jumping ship because of one (possibly temporary) suboptimal decision by the company, etc.

    In contrast, Capture One deems someone to be "loyal", if they never skip a version, regardless of whether a version does not offer something of value to someone's workflow, or even breaks or just worsens someone's workflow, someone sees potential in a new feature but rather waits until it has been implemented properly, etc.

    In other words, a perpetual licence owner is deemed to be "loyal", if they really should have a subscription instead (to reduce the cost and benefit from all bug fixes immediately).

    I believe this is what turns off many, that only "subscriber" behaviour is rewarded and other forms of loyalty are not recognised.

    I, for one, would never want to pay for features that do nothing for me, are not implemented properly yet, or even interfere with my workflow. That's why I'll never rent or lease software. The new "leasing" approach by Capture One is better than pure renting but it still implies five years of uncritically accepting every new version (to reap the full benefit). I'll never subscribe to that (excuse the pun).

  • BeO
    Top Commenter

    On 14 February, 2023 we’ll be introducing the Capture One Loyalty Program, with lots of great additions planned over the coming year. Think of it as a small way for us to say thank you for being part of our community and using our products.

    No new features and no bug fixes anymore after the next (minor?) version has been released?

    That's a very strange way to say Thank You to me perpetual license buyer.

  • Nik Ritter

    Dear ladies and gentlemen of Capture One,

    as a 'loyal customer' since CO7 as of 2013, paying for every yearly offered perpetual license, I fully understand the concerns expressed in the community.

    The summary of Michel Fleck ( fits best to my thinking.

    For me, I'm fine with paying a yearly sum for perpetual license (including all bug fixes within the year!), if the amount is about the same as the subscription price for the year. An increase of 67% as indicated in one of Your tables starts me thinking of searching a different solution for my photo work.

    If I understand Your "loyalty offer" right, You are not offering this type of Price model for perpetual licenses from now on.

    If I want to get all bug fixes, Your offer asks me to buy a new perpetual license for every new released version.

    But: Your "loyalty offer" does not state, how often new CO1 versions are planned to be released during one year. Therefore I'm unable to estimate the costs for my requirements.

    Kind regards
    Nik Ritter

  • Jeffrey Goldenberg

    For days now, I’ve read countless comments from long time satisfied users all questioning how the new perpetual license will affect their particular circumstances. Nobody appreciates the open-ended and unpredictable nature of the “loyalty” offer. But … what troubles me most is that Capture One has not commented on this long, and admittedly disgruntled, thread. That does not bespeak a company that values its customers.

  • epost

    Is the Capture One License system reliable ?

    Understandably, there's a cost of doing business which affects pricing, but so do future sales projections.

    On the other hand, a customer's cost-of-ownership has numerous factors seemingly not covered in Capture One's advices(s) on this matter, but still critical for an informed decision.   Obviously, the photo editing software industry has several classes of customer, each with ranging needs.   However, photo software differs fundamentally to television viewing (by subscription) and care needs be taken.

    It's notable that any particular photo editing software is merely ONE of the software tools in the photographer's kit.  This is so for me these but, even though I am merely an "enthusiast " now, I'm still prepared for a reasonable update schedule of, say, alternate releases

    My reason for changing from away Adobe Lightroom was to avoid the subscription model, believing it to be a highly questionable model.     Yes, Capture One excelled in certain areas, but so too did Adobe.  And no-one wants to make unnecessary changes to workflows & systems.

    Key to every business is its motivation to profit - however, that's only one part of the equation.  There's also Customer expectations & perceptions of the Company's underlying financial viability going forward. 

    Initially purchasing Capture One in mid 2020, I have since purchased two upgrades, with a total cost of $683-AUD (in discount periods), expecting this to last a further 2-3 years.

    In the same two-year period, there have been two significant license changes impacting on cost-of-ownership :  
    1.)  deleted Nikon-specific options,  2). this present License change.

    Relevant questions for Owned Licenses now are :

    ⦁    What future license changes should be anticipated & at what cost ?
    ⦁    What post Feb-2023 Features are currently planned, but not included in C1-23 ? 
    ⦁    Mitigation against the operating system breaking C1 ?   Another out-of-cycle purchase ?
    ⦁    Can customers really count on periods of stability ?

    As a customer of less than three years, I see a nice product, but at continually higher costs and a fundamentally uncertain Licensing policy.  In business, trust is everything. 

  • Radoslaw Adamczyk

    Adobe has Photo Plan(Lr and Ps) for 9,83 €/month. C1 has C1 Pro for 18€/month. The calculation is simple. It was the last time when I bought or updated the C1 Pro. Goodbye C1.

  • Jan Godrie

    It seems like this loyalty program is becoming one big mess to comprehend.
    I understand that Software as a Service (SaaS) is the model most companies take these days for a more steady revenue stream but to be honest, I believe Capture One is taking the wrong approach and perhaps they can learn a thing or two from Avid as they have done a similar thing a few years ago with their perpetual license model but in a different way.

    I own a perpetual Pro Tools Studio license, which costs €595, and that license comes with a 1 year update and support plan plus a free plug-in pack. So during that year I will get all the new features and bug fixes, no matter which version they go to.

    Anywhere within that year I have a choice, I can renew my update and support plan for another year which costs €209, that's 35% of the perpetual license which is fair in my book.

    If I don't renew, I can still use the current version at that very point, for as long as my hardware and OS will support it, but I will not receive any updates or support.

    If I want to receive updates and support plus that plug-in pack after that year has lapsed, I will need to buy a reinstatement plan instead of a renewal plan which costs €299, which is about 50% of the perpetual license and you can at least skip 2 years and probably even more since the reinstatement plan is also valid for Pro Tools 12 which was released back in 2015.

    Now, if Capture One was to come up with a similar way of doing their perpetual license going into the future, I think that would be a better move than to cut off updates to new features each X.X version release. Doing this, the Avid way, on a per year basis with a renewal plan and past a year with some sort of reinstatement plan would make way more sense and they would be able to sell this license model much better IMHO.

    I do hope that they turn this around and somehow take the route Avid did, it would be a good solution to the problem.

  • Class A

    @Jan Godrie

    I am convinced that your proposal will never be realised by Capture One since it would require them to maintain two branches: One branch with bug fixes and new features and another with just the bug fixes.

    They are already struggling with two platforms and are repeatedly making "small team" claims in response to customer enquiries about feature suggestions. Bug management by Capture One is not exemplary as it is, so I do not see how your proposal could be adopted, as it would complicate matters for them.

  • Morgan Smaller

    @Class A

    Two separate code branches are not necessary. I write software for a living and we release features all the time that are not initially available to the public. It should be trivial to enable or disable features on the fly - the code can simply "phone home" to see which features are enabled or not. It's standard practice. In fact there are entire off-the-shelf frameworks that exist specifically to manage this type of thing.

  • Jan Godrie

    Class A

    I don't see why they would need to have to maintain two branches. They just need to drop the idea that new features will not be included with a perpetual license when they release a X.X version. When they set the "update plan" which includes new features and bug fixes for one year, one branch would suffice and would be actually fairly simple.

    There is only a difference in pricing for the "update plan" for a perpetual license based on the fact if you will renew said "update plan" within the year or if you let the "update plan" lapse and need to get a reinstatement.

    Avid has only one branch, they put the new features and bug fixes into every build for everyone with a active "update plan" just as the same as people who have a subscription. Capture One can do the exact same thing, it's just gives them two options for either renewing or reinstating the "update Plan"

    The options being: 

    • Renewal plan for perpetual licensees with an active "Update Plan", meaning within that one year. Amount X.
    • Reinstatement plan for perpetual licensees with a lapsed "Update Plan", meaning past that one year. Higher than amount X.

    I think that would work much better and would be easier to sell to the customer.

  • Jan Godrie

    Morgan Smaller


    That would also be an option for sure.

    Avid does the same with Pro Tools, which comes in 4 different flavors.

    What features are enabled is solely based on the license you've bought but the installer is the same for everybody.

  • Class A

    @Morgan Smaller

    I know a thing or two about software engineering myself and while it is true that some features can implemented in such a modular fashion that they can easily be switched out and in, this is not the case for all features. Some can have repercussions on the UI that are not easily managed dynamically. Note that Capture One does not even manage to support variable size fonts even though it is very clear that "one size fits all" does not work given the big range of monitor sizes and pixel densities.

    If you think that Capture One applies software engineering techniques like version control, perhaps you should think again. The code for two platforms shares a lot of similarities and while one could handle platform adaptation using design patterns like "Bridge", the most straightforward approach would be to maintain two variants with a commonly shared core, using GitHub for instance. However, it is almost certain that Capture One simply maintains two separate code bases, given how bugs and their fixes that should not be platform dependent are not synchronised across platforms. 

  • Class A

    @Jan Godrie

    You wrote "They just need to drop the idea that new features will not be included with a perpetual license when they release a X.X version."

    The same features for subscribers and perpetual licence holders is what they had and what they want to move away from.

    If anything transpired from the incomplete and confusing communication by Capture One, it is that they want to push people into subscriptions. That's why they are making subscriptions more attractive and perpetual licences less attractive.

    Hence I don't see how they'll go back to a deal where perpetual license holders receive the same service in terms of bug fixes and feature releases.

  • Henk de Haan

    Capture One already has a system in place for different feature sets in the same distribution: Capture One Express (for FujiFilm/Sony).

  • Jan Godrie

    Class A

    I understand that this is the route they are willing to take but considering the amount of backlash it got they will be losing a bunch of customers in doing so. Hence, doing it the Avid way with various update plans for a perpetual license may salvage some of those customers. Lowering the cost of a subscription might also entice more people, especially enthousiasts and hobbyists.

    As for me. I will convert to a subscription and this, just as any yearly upgrade i bought, will be calculated into the CODB.

  • Morgan Smaller

    @Class A - fair enough. In this context though, unless they decided to do some sort of fundamental rewrite it should be a piece of cake. Surely they have an internal SCM system in-house, so github probably isn't needed. But hoo-boy if they did...I could totally help them out :)

  • Hari Maier

    There is a lot of discussion here about possible new licence models. For me, however, what C1 does here with its loyal customers is quite simple. They are trying with all their might  to force me into an abbo version of c1 that I don't want. They don't seem to care what costs I incurred because I trusted in her perpetual license. How can you ever trust a company that is obviously focused on maximizing profits? And if you can no longer have confidence in a product, how can you continue to invest money and time in such a product? And this is independent of the licensing model you may use now or in the future.

    Never again trust a company that abuses your trust. You can never rely on them not to abuse it again and again

  • Jan Godrie

    Hari Maier

    I can understand where you're coming from. Perhaps Capture One should have just announced that the perpetual license model was going to be discontinued entirely and that subscription would be the only available license model going into 2024. Would that have made any difference in having the feeling your trust was abused or not?

  • Michael Fleck

    I just took a very long time to write another comment. 


    It was about trust in a company, changes to workflow relating to my software tools and the feeling of being blackmailed by C1. 

    The text was there for some minutes and now it is gone. Wow. Just wow. 


    I am out. 

  • Hari Maier

    Jan Godrie

    No, that wouldn't have changed anything. I switched from Adobe to C1 years ago because I didn't agree with Adobe's abo policy. Despite the relatively high price, I switched to C1, trusting in their perpetual license, which was heavily advertised at the time. So I can't do anything with an abo of C1, no matter when and how they want to dictate it to their customers. Moving from Adobe to C1 has not only required money, but also a lot of time and effort. I can and must therefore consider the way C1 treats its customers to be not in the least acceptable. Especially since the way C1 imagines the new perpetual license can only be described as impudence. Personally, I can no longer trust a company that treats its customers in this way

  • mountainview



    The new "loyalty" pricing model is a bitter pill to swallow for many of “us” (users). I assume the R&D department is a resource hungry business unit, hence the high subscription price C1 has to ask for. Of course, if there is a market big enough for a premium priced product, no problem. The question is, is it such a premium product that it can neglect competition?


    I would argue not. I am no specialist in software development and pricing. It is obvious however that the elephant in the room, Adobe is very successful (and profitable) with its photography offerings. Which by the way includes Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop, a cloud service and iPad OS versions in their subscription (which is roughly half the price of a “standard” C1 subscription) and a high degree of integration of apps and services. Most serious photographers “have” to use Adobe products. A niche segment of them will add CaptureOne for various reasons. Probably only few (comparatively) will exclusively use C1. Professionals earn money with their work, it is just a matter of accounting if subscribing to C1 makes sense to them. For many (existing C1 users)  it is the tool of choice. C1 obviously bets that these will still see the value and will stay loyal with C1. This assumption might be valid (they are already invested, aren’t they? Have created workflows etc). 


    However it is a bit worrying to witness the speed of Adobes innovation cycles, especially by adding AI driven features. The speed of C1 innovation (I guess there is a roadmap, it is however not publicly available) is a bit “sluggish” compared to that. One could argue, that this is an unfair comparison, because Adobe is such a large company, an industry behemoth. But that is what competition is all about isn’t it. Affinity by comparison is a small company, a challenger, but their speed of progress is stunning. Are they charging a premium for their product? No, exactly the opposite. 


    Trust is earned and as much people may “hate” Adobe, they would admit that this company is a serious force. Adobe faced a lot of criticism when they switched to the subscription model. Today, they are more successful than ever. They became a benchmark, if we like it or not. And this benchmark includes of course features, image quality, versatility, reliability, eco system and … pricing. 


    I guess, C1 is betting a premium prized subscription strategy would fit. But is it? I fear that C1 is pricing itself out of the market. More precisely the biggest and fastest growing market segment, enthusiast photographers. A market that companies like Adobe and Affinity have captured so well. With different strategies, but both with lower prices (be it subscription or ownership). There are less and less reasons to stay or switch to C1 for them. Why? Pricing is for sure the most obvious, but there are other reasons as well. Trust and loyalty are built upon a reliable relationship. What has C1 done to build upon this in the last few years? They were reliably increasing prices, the were reliably “slow” in innovating the product, they were reliably adding new services which they charge for extra (cloud) and they were introducing new products (iPad app) which they also charge for extra. So, there were little surprises here, except no unanimously positive ones. The above post and linked tables are well meant, but if the community has serious questions about the progress of the product and the value it will deliver in time, it becomes really difficult to convince them to stay on the train and even more difficult to lure them to join. Is this to say that professionals are immune to such considerations and C1 will be well off with this market. Absolutely not. Beware of the churn, that forced other professional software suppliers (QuarkXpress anyone?) out of the market. QuarkXpress probably was the better product until the environment changed and they made some wrong decisions …


    I humbly ask C1 to reconsider their approach. Do not make just promises, but commit to delivering a transparent development plan so we are not forced to buy the pig in the poke. Face the feedback of the community and make things right.


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