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Subscriptions, Licenses and Cost of Ownership



  • Kevin Francis

    Not very happy with all this. Going back to Adobe's 9.99 deal. Errr sorry but needs must!

  • mhsch8

    If C1 management reads the comments here, they will realise that they will be out of business quite soon. Well done!



    Maybe, Adobe will send them a "Thank you" letter.....?

  • Petr Bokvaj

    mhsch8 - No. they dont care. So its easy, later ill go with LR. Its not that big problem to step back. Hastala vista C1

  • Janne Korkkula

    With this, C1 has finally flown out of reach for amateurs.

    I've used C1 since version 3 and upgraded to almost all versions since, kept two perpetual licenses rotating for a while, but I think v22 will be the last one for me for a long time. Things started going very wrong with annual versions. License costs exploded, decent upgrade discounts changed to blind pre-release upgrade offers, just awful.

    Doing this now with v23 is especially bad, as I don't see it offering anything to justify an upgrade from v22 even at a truly massive discount (and there's no such offer, not even close).

    Increasing the customer base would've probably been more profitable than cutting it like this. I wonder just how many others the SanDisk campaign and friendly pricing back in 2008-2010 brought in... I used to advertise C1 whenever there was any talk of raw photo processing, but can't justify its cost anymore.

    Software subscriptions I truly hate.

    Also, that USD pricing ... The reality is much worse in Europe, with heavy taxes for consumers.

  • picturesofewe

    "Adobe will appreciate this. 9,99 per month for Lightroom AND Photoshop? See you there!"

    That's about the price of buying C1 every 2 years. I buy it every 3 or 4 years, and come out ahead.

  • Douglas Lucock

    Enthusiast / amateur here (~60,000 catalog images and moved to C1 when Apple Aperture announced its demise. I use C1 22 teamed with Pixelmator Pro as a Lr/Photoshop alternative. I have been upgrading C1 every 12-15 months) and I just can't afford or justify C1 anymore. I skipped C1 23 as I am now retired and was going to a 2 year perpetual license upgrade cycle....well not likely now. BTW - C1 also points out that their pricing is "Indicative" which effectively means it is not a "firm" price and is subject to change. Watch out for inflation, local currency conversion/foreign exchange rates, local country taxes etc etc.

    IMHO they could have solved this whole kufuffle by just offering 12 month Subscription at Price say "X" (and you get bug fixes, camera updates and progressive release of new features) OR Perpetual License at say Price "X + say 10%" (and you get bug fixes and camera updates for say 24 or 36 months but no new features from the date of the Perpetual License). Also state in your T&Cs that "X" price will be pegged against inflation in home country of majority of C1 employees (e.g. if inflation is 2% in the home country then "X" will increase by 2% from 1st Jan that year) and only foreign currency exchange will change the price elsewhere in the world.

    For loyalty, make "X" above 10% cheaper everytime a user buys a new perpetual license or subscribes for a year up to a maximum of say 50% discount. So if a user upgraded their perpetual every year or subscribed every year for 5 years, then "X" would effectively be half (aka 50%). Because its a new pricing model and by way of apology for the angst, backdate this loyalty program to start from say the date of release of C1 20's pre-purchase availability for all new perpetual purchases, subscription rollovers etc.   

    The problem of course still remains that "X" based on your current pricing is bloody expensive compared to your competition regardless of the perception of whether your product is superior. 

    Unfortunately, I will need to start evaluating alternatives (hopefully C1 22 will work for a while yet on Apple MAC and I can take my time and watch how this new C1 business model plays out) BUT I am looking forward to seeing tutorials (or conversion/import programs) from vendors offering Perpetual Licenses wanting to seize on this opportunity on how to move from C1 to the various alternatives products whilst retaining as many as possible of my raw photo non destructive modifications, things such as catalogue structures/albums and parent/child keywords, tagging etc etc. Especially if they can achieve some of this without having to labourously save and convert/export to alternative formats such as TIFF or PSD etc.

  • Michael Parker

    A couple more thoughts I’ve had.
    As many say the features update from 22 to 23 weren’t exactly riveting.
    Are there more features to come before September which current perpetual licence holders will still get?
    If not where is the incentive to consider moving to subscription? We may pay a year’s subscription and get nothing in return apart from the ability to then buy a perpetual licence at a discount so basically paying twice for the update we would normally have paid for just once
    Or maybe you keeping the new features back until after September so only subscribers get them, to coerce people to move to subscription?
    What guarantee is there if people subscribe there will be any (worthwhile) feature updates anyway ?
    As others have said Adobe’s offering is far more attractive by including photoshop as well as Lightroom and cloud storage.

  • mhsch8

    @Steve Miller: Pro market: C1 is too small just for serving the pro market. In the medium / long run they are out of business it they don't change their attitude

  • Tommy Weir

    There must be staff within Capture One who are concerned at this.

    The chart and blog post, guys... seriously.  The customer base has no desire to be tied up in such knots.   I won't often quote Reagan but it's appropriate "If you're explaining, you're losing."

    If you'd like to combine some elements of Perpetual+Subscription into your offer, look at Agenda and their approach.  A license with an annual 'premium features and updates" subscription.  Yes, they have a free entry point but it could be a paid point.  The users love them and the team, happy to support the ongoing development.   Above all, you can jump off and continue at the features level you jumped off with.   You can jump back in when you wish. 



  • Sönke Droß

    I can imagine that the staff at C1 is not amused about the decisions of their Managing directors.
    The are making a good product that i still like but their capitain are driving the ship towards the iceberg.
    I hope they change their course soon before it is too late…

  • Henk de Haan

    I found on LinkedIn that  Hans J Skovgaard ('CTO.& Vice President of R&D') has left the company.

    Capture One also has a 'Vice President, Customer Growth' (Delphine Guesnon). I think she is doing a great JOB!

  • Chema Marco

    See you in ADOBE (Photoshop, Lightroom, Bridge, Camera Raw, Premiere Rush, fresh, PS Express, Aero, Character Animator, UXP Developpertools and more, for just 12€/month.

  • Fitz Michael

    Hello everyone, how can I move all my capture one Styles to the DXO photo lab 6?

  • FJ

    Looks like the hornet’s nest has been stirred up! 

    I have been using and supporting Capture One as a full time user since Adobe told us we can no longer own our own darkroom. Capture One has been there providing all of us an excellent if not occasionally frustrating professional quality image editing tool, that we have the option to own, ever since. My take on reviewing the new pricing options is that it is fair, reasonable, and actually pretty creative in that Capture One has managed to come up with with similar rates across the range of alternatives.

    I see a lot of complaints about the Capture One subscription being $15 vs $10 for Lightroom and Photoshop. Those complaints are missing the most important difference. That extra $5/month (or $300 over five years) allows you to own a perpetual copy of Capture One, aka - own your own darkroom, covering the cost of owning and upgrading to the latest physical copy of Capture One every five years, with discounted options beforehand. So you get the benefits of the latest bells and whistles, while also protecting your right to own your own software/darkroom. A Capture One subscription under the new pricing model includes the purchase of a perpetual license spread out over five years, while allowing you to run the most current version of the software at all times.

    If you currently own a perpetual license, Capture One has provided an attractive alternative/incentive to consider changing to a subscription and at the same time protect the photographer’s right to own their own  darkroom. The one wrinkle would be that if you decided to cancel your subscription before the five years, you will probably want to be sure your physical copy/installer/perpetual license is current with the latest version you have been using/subscribed to. That is equitably addressed as follows:

    “Please note that our Loyalty Program allows you to purchase a perpetual license at a discount if you stop a subscription. You’ll get 20% off for each year you have been a subscriber (yes, that means after 5 years you can get it for free). That way you will always have a version of Capture One Pro that you own and supports your catalog.”

    Another variable that is not mentioned is the inevitable sales that occur, that I would expect will continue in some form from time to time. So there are likely to be opportunities for discounted pricing going forward.

    Finally I assume everyone is familiar with inflation. In particular making sure Capture One can keep up with paying the best engineers and support staff a fair and competitive salary and ideally pushing the envelope on innovation that will provide capabilities that the competition does not offer - not to mention matching the latest developments the competition comes up with.

    One possible glitch that has been raised and I am not clear on, is that going forward the perpetual license may possibly not include upgrades during the first year of ownership as is the case now. I would welcome Capture One clarifying this, as that is not ok and does not make sense, particularly concerning bug fixes. Paying for a new copy of the software should include upgrades for the first year and or the calendar year of each major version. If Capture One includes upgrades during the first year of each version for perpetual license holders then I think they have come up with a considerate and fair range of options, that preserves the key benefit and difference between Capture One and Adobe and that is the right to own your own software/darkroom.

    Adobe could learn something from Capture One, not the other way around as far as I am concerned.

  • Michael Parker


    You’ve just stated the reason why people are annoyed at this change! If you buy a perpetual licence, you no longer get updates until you buy a new perpetual licence, again no updates until you buy the next perpetual licence. 

    If after one year of subscribing, where you will get updates,  you decide to stop you’ll have paid an upgrade price but will also need to pay again to buy a perpetual licence. How is that   an attractive incentive to subscribe ?

    If they were to include updates for perpetual licence holders as you suggest then nothing really has changed dependent on how they price upgrades, apart from the loyalty scheme for subscribers.

    The only advantage to this new scheme  is for subscribers to get a discounted or free version of Capture One as well as updates.

  • David Bachman

    Sorry guys, I want to be all in on C1 and love the software.  Im not opposed to paying for updates or even subscriptions.   I have to agree with others in this thread. This new model is just bad.

  • Petr Bokvaj


    There are few things that are problem for me in this statement. First one is, that they try to tell you, that this offer is great bargain. It is not. They lie about upgrade price. Second problem is, that from now on, you will have possibility to buy a NEW license every year or so. Not an upgrade, but new version for 300USD. In europe, this will be 300EUR + VAT.

    Another problem are the tables, that are hard to understand. Its too complicated, and simply trying to hide the simple truth - they will milk us more and pushing us more and more to subscription.

    So, in my opition, if they came with "sorry guys, after some decision making we simply have to raise prices by 15% because of inflation or covid situation allover the world" everyone would understand it better than this marketing mess.

    Another problem is, that from version 20 (included), for me personally, there are not so many new things, that would justify the payment for upgrading. And yes, there are things i would love to see fe -  ai denoise, ai content aware fill, search and catalogue by faces, optimization for hardware - up to version 22 it was the most painfull and slooooow user experience (in version 23 its better.), export to some simple HTML galleries, export to more web platforms...

  • Mike Murray

    I am disappointed by the shocking quality of the marketing communication. It is for me extremely poorly presented and does nothing to inspire excitement and a desire to buy-in to Capture One's future strategy. A very poorly conceived and presented campaign. I am confused as to the benefits for me, as a long-time Capture One user.

    I have always enjoyed Capture one and have been of the belief that it was the superior raw processor application. I was not an Adobe user except for when I first started with Photoshop Express. I migrated straight for Photoshop Express to Capture One well before Adobe changed their pricing model and upset so many of their users.

    Today, there are just so many applications out their for the photographer to choose from. As a serious Enthusiast Amateur I am not necessarily wedded to a particular application to the same degree a professional studio may be. Thus, if I want or need to make a change it is not necessarily too much of a change. Doing a quick check and comparison with Adobe's Creative Cloud plan - Photography, the Photography Plan looks to be enticing.

    The very basic chart outlining the payment/ price options just dumps a set of numbers into the planned way forward and in my opinion destroys any marketing campaign, doing more to tarnish the brand and destroy the product than promote it and upsell it. Nothing highlights Capture One’s strengths, features and benefits. The very poorly presented marketing communique does not provide any ideas on the major development piepline or roadmap. A marketing communique should be promoting the brand, motivating me to buy into the revised pricing plan and encourage me to continue with Capture One. Sorry, but Capture One's communique has done the opposite!

    Two side notes to this. [1] Who are Capture one's core value customers? Is it the large high-end product photography studios, the large wedding photographers? When I first subscribed to Capture One I always felt that I as an enthusiat amateur was a valued core customer. I am now realising that may no longer be the case. [2] Capture One's Support Desk (wherever it is located in the world) must rank near the bottom in terms of responsiveness. The few times I have needed it (usually with the complex annual upgrade) they have taken an age to respond or to provide a knowledgeable and understandable solution first time. One can get a quicker more informative solution from one of the forums. If Capture One can improve just two things, it is there annual upgrade process and their Support Desk!

    I sincerely hope that the CEO of Capture One, Rafael Orta will come out and address all the latest concerns and more, when he is interviewed by Paul Reiffer on Paul's YouTube channel scheduled for 2nd February. (Unfiltered : Live with Rafael Orta, CEO of Capture One - An industry conversation with Paul Reiffer). Paul will be hosting a live Q&A session and interview with the CEO of Capture One, Rafael Orta - as they discuss the changing industry, changing company, changing customers and his own photographic journey as he finds himself surrounded by creatives who inspire. Questions can be submitted in advance to: - and he'll be accepting further questions live during this one-hour, unfiltered, interactive stream.

    Lastly, I thank David Grover and Paul Reiffer for the excellent tutorials and knowledge they share. If it weren't for the two of them I think Capture One would be all the poorer. They have contributed more than the Marketing Team in the last year.

  • Bartosz Telesinski

    I understand nothing from this... it's the 2nd time you're doing it - 1st was on previous license changes ...

    On the begining of 2022 I'v got info, that my Sony version of C1 is discontinued and I'm getting Pro upgrade. I'm already paying Capture One (for Sony) - Annual Subscription for 3 years so according to the table shouldn't there be 60% discount for my 4th year I'll be charged on April? 

    You have so many different, confusing payment options that I cannot believe that someone still - as a new user - decides to pick C1. If i would see such rules I would never opt in. When I started there was no-subscription version for Sony cameras, it escalated quickly into WTF model ...

  • Alban Leroux

    As an amateur which use the software at a maximum of 1 hour per week a barely prefer to pay 1 € / hour to use it.

    Under a certain amount of usage, we are discouraged to use it because of the price / hour become so much expensive.

  • Heinrich Stenner


    i agree to the comments before. I used C1 for many years. I make fotos because it is my hobby, especially underwater.
    I bought C1 some years ago because I don't want an abo or subscription. Now, the price is too expensive for a hobby.
    That was it, my last version is 22, now I will change to Adobe or Infinity with Dark Table.
    My opinion is that companies are getting too greedy. If you are a professional photographer it will be ok, but not for a hobby photographer. Bye, Bye Capture One and Phase One....

  • Adam Squires

    So, to help us evaluate these options, we need information. But what information are they not providing us? The development roadmap! If you don't want to tell us what new features you will be prioritising developing (we don't expect dates), then how can we genuinely appraise whether or not a subscription would be worth it? Or, for those that want a new perpetual license, whether the jumping back on date will be optimal?

  • Adam Squires

    I'd kick myself (but mostly be annoyed at C1) if I went for a new perpetual license because I liked new feature X, but then new feature Y (one that I'd really been hoping for) was released a few months later. A big benefit of the previous model was that perpetual license holders got 12 months of feature updates (two or three after initial release).

    Topaz for example give you 12 months of bug fixes and new features from your date of purchase.

  • Alessio Furlan

    I am quite sure that the prices shown in the column "Perpetual License with Loyalty
    Program (New)/Get New Version Every 2 Years "are not correct.

    - First year: $ 299
    - Second year: do not buy the update
    - Third year: I purchase the discounted update of 20%, so there are 299 $ - $ 59.8 (20%) = $ 239.20.

    At this point, the sum of the first license (299 $) + the price of the update ($ 239.2) gives me $ 538.2 and not $ 523 as indicated in the table ..

    The error also repeats itself in the following calculations.

    I think they have made so many tables and calculations that they don't know what prices are not doing.

  • Stuart Watson

    I agree and made the point earlier in the discussion the actual increase shown in year 3 of $224 ($523-$299) is actually a 25% reduction off the $299 price rather than the 20% that they mention elsewhere in their article. It shows very sloppy thinking and the whole article reflects very badly on the management of C1 - poorly thought through and badly communicated. The bean counters seem to be in charge and cannot even count the beans.

  • Alessio Furlan

    I developed a table that reports all the amounts, including VAT, and based on the currency exchange adopted by Capture One on prices, considering the discounts provided by the Loyality Program. 

    Ho elaborato una tabella che riporta tutti gli importi, IVA inclusa, e basata sul cambio valuta adottato da Capture One sui prezzi, considerando gli sconti previsti dal loyality program. Ci potrebbero essere piccole variazioni date dai calcoli (+/- 5 €)


  • Alessio Furlan

    Here the savings you have with an Adobe Photo Subscription. I would say that the difference is abnormal:

    Here the savings you have with an Adobe Photo Subscription. I would say that the difference is abnormal:

  • paolo de giuli

    Thanks Alessio, very appreciated! Having say that I still remember my last update from 22 to 23. It was an early offer with, a guess, a 30% discount. Anyway I spent 140 Euro. I think is a big difference compare to the loyalty offer :-)

  • Alessio Furlan

    Moderation is subtle in this forum. They do not publish a post with the table where you can see the savings of an AD O BE subscription compared to C1.

    Here is how much you save with A DO BE and compared to C1 (Italy):

    1st Year: 280 €
    2nd Year: 389€
    3rd Year: 499 €
    4th Year: 608€
    5th Year: 718€
    6th Year: 827 €

  • Michael Fleck

    I am deeply sorry for the developers of C1, who invest their lifetime for making a great product. A really great product. Thank you!

    It is always the greedy bookies that make bad decisions in favor for maximizing profit, good numbers in some books. Milking the cow as long as possible.

    But the higher your stack of coins will be, the greater the chance that it will collapse.

    In my opinion this new campaign is just a bad decision, just having money in mind. Maximizing profit and put a great product on risk.

    Loyalty goes in both directions. You want loyal customers? Be loyal to them.

    You need your customers more then we need you. Competition is out there, just waiting for new customers.

    Never turn away a customer, bc it’s very hard to bring him back.

    Never bite the hands that feed you.


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