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Capture One Express is coming to an end

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295 comments

  • Thomas Schneider

    Jack-W

    There is absolutely no way we will be disabling peoples license keys for Capture One Pro, under any circumstances. 

    You only ever mention Capture On Pro.

    What about the licenses of older versions like Capture One Nikon?

    Can you also make a clear statement for these versions or do I have to worry about the perpetual license of these versions?

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  • OddS.

    Thom Hogan wrote about Capture One in last week's "The Software Saga Continues": https://bythom.com/newsviews/the-software-saga-continues.html  

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  • OddS.

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  • Malte Paas

    thom hogan said it like it is. he removed C1 from the recommended list.
    he also echoed my main concern.... the value for the subscription is not there.

    C1 subscription is more expensive then adobes photo subscription ... and that has with photoshop AND lightroom the superior potential.

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  • Barry Justice

    Thom's comment,  "However, I've slowly weened away from covering Capture One Pro, and now will no longer have the ability to cover it (other than their press releases, which often are just more exasperating news for customers).",  just says it all 

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  • John Friend
    Top Commenter

    I've never seen a company do so many blatantly customer-hostile things and shutting down already working licenses (for not real benefit to anyone) just takes the cake.  Clearly the decision makers at the company have no idea at all about customer sentiment or how much their future depends upon customer goodwill because they just don't seem to care at all.  Actions speak louder than words and their actions are shouting right now.

    Right next to shutting down licenses is yanking away bug fixes from perpetual licenses.  Because your product is FULL of bugs, many of which take a really long time to get fixed, it's ridiculous that a perpetual license customer only gets bug fixes for 1-3 months.

    I suspect that if customers wanted to sue about either the Express license being shut down or about withholding bug fixes on a new perpetual license, the customers would probably win because the license agreement does give Capture One the ability to shut down existing non-subscription licenses for any reason other than the customer violating some terms of the agreement.  And, the withholding of bug fixes is probably covered under consumer protection laws.

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  • Brian Jordan
    Moderator

    I've been thinking about Capture One's decision to shut down the Express** software rather than let it zombie on without support or upgrade.  (**Minus the Fuji version, of course.).

    Why would they ever do such a thing?  I think possibly the answer for that is right in the last update cycle.  Something happened so that there was a significant problem with the Express versions.  I don't know the in-and-outs of it but I do remember that some fix had to be pushed because the tools panel disappeared.  That right there is the answer, I believe.  

    Those are all free versions.  Free as in non-revenue generating.  Good will doesn't pay rent or salaries.  But, pushing that fix did cost developer and QA time.  So, Capture One has a choice:  Let it zombie on and flat out fail at some point sooner or later or kill it.  If they go with the former, it dies with no notice to users.  Something happens with an OS upgrade or some shared code and users wake up to find the application DOA with no notice.  Or they can give users notice and take it on the chin but allow users a graceful spin-down period with a set deadline.

    Given the uproar over taking the latter route, can you all imagine the absolute S#*+ storm if Capture One leaves express up but refuses to push any more fixes after some date?  There WILL come a time when it just fails.  And users who ignored the warnings will be left with no warning.  No off-ramp.  No time to react.

    Say what you will but this was, in my opinion, the best of bad alternatives.

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  • John Friend
    Top Commenter

    Brian Jordan

    I've been thinking about Capture One's decision to shut down the Express** software rather than let it zombie on without support or upgrade.  (**Minus the Fuji version, of course.).

    Why would they ever do such a thing?  I think possibly the answer for that is right in the last update cycle.  Something happened so that there was a significant problem with the Express versions.  I don't know the in-and-outs of it but I do remember that some fix had to be pushed because the tools panel disappeared.  That right there is the answer, I believe.

    If so, that's a stupid reason.  They could avoid that issue by just not making any more Express versions.  Just remove the download from the website and let the existing users run their Express code for as long as it still works for them.  For marketing reasons, you can announce that it's being discontinued and will no longer be supported and you can still offer upgrade deals to encourage some Express users to move.  That's exactly what they did with the "for Nikon" version.  They announced it would be discontinued and offered an upgrade (which I bought).  But, nobody has anything to gain by shutting off existing licenses from functioning any more.  That's just downright mean and evil to your customers and sends all sorts of bad messages about how they treat customers and what might happen in the future to other perpetual licenses.

    Given the uproar over taking the latter route, can you all imagine the absolute S#*+ storm if Capture One leaves express up but refuses to push any more fixes after some date?  There WILL come a time when it just fails.  And users who ignored the warnings will be left with no warning.  No off-ramp.  No time to react.

    That's why you don't leave it up.  You announce that it's being discontinued and you no longer offer a download and you no longer offer support and they no longer have to produce new versions of it.  Mission accomplished, no uproar.

    Say what you will but this was, in my opinion, the best of bad alternatives.

    I disagree strongly.  I think they picked the worst of all alternatives.  Why not just discontinue it and remove the download and stop offering support?  Everybody would have understood just fine.  A free product is being discontinued.  No surprise.  That happens from time to time.  You can still use it for as long it still works for you, but you are being put on notice that over time, you should find a different product to use, but there's no immediate Jan 30th cliff facing you.

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  • Brian Jordan
    Moderator

    So why even pull the plug on Express anyway?  Well, again, goodwill doesn't pay bills.  I'm going to believe Capture One is capable of calculating a basic conversion ratio and doing some basic math.  If Express users convert in significant numbers to justify the cost, Express is worth the investment.  If it doesn't, it's gotta go.  We may not like it but that's just the way it is.  That's just the way business works.  There's not a single other company out there (to my knowledge) that offers a free product.  Sure, maybe some mobile app but we all understand the cost of using those.  

    And thinking more about these free products, not all are going away.  I believe the notice mentioned that a Fuji version will be available at some point early(?) next year and Capture One is providing Fuji users with a 90-day license of Pro to bridge the gap.

    Also, remember that Capture One couldn't support the latest Sony cameras until very recently simply because they couldn't get their hands on cameras to do the R&D.  This leads me to believe that there are no partnerships in place between any of the camera companies and Capture One except Fuji.  I think there's some agreement with Fuji hence some of the recent advertising including Fuji, the on-going Fuji version, etc.  Financial support?  Joint marketing?  Something.  There's a reason it lives on while the others go away.  It's got to make financial sense somehow because we can all understand that a product has to support itself of it has to get culled.  VC, mom and pop, whomever, at the end of the day, it's about making a profit.  We may not like it but we all respect it every time we cash our paychecks.  I sure don't work for free.

     

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  • Brian Jordan
    Moderator

    John Friend

    Maybe re-read what I wrote.  I addressed each of these already.  Bob who downloaded the software 6 months or 6 years ago is going to be ticked come next whenever when he kicks off COExpress and it doesn't work.  BUT MY PHOTOS!!!!!!!!!! he'll scream.  Why didn't they warn me?????????????????

    Come on, man.  At least read what I wrote before you blaze off a response.

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  • Barry Justice

    Brian Jordan  I don't believe a word of it,  that's a crock.  I have Photoshop CS 6 that I bought,  I believe in 2013,  and it still runs on my latest laptop running Windows 10 AND my latest Lumenzia panels still load and work on it.

    Quite frankly I think C-1 has a developer problem,  too many new developers that don't know the ins and outs of the program given all the bugs that raise their ugly head with each new release.

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  • John Friend
    Top Commenter

    So why even pull the plug on Express anyway?

    Someone did a back of the envelope calculation that the company would make more money if they cancelled it.  Reduce development and QA costs.  Reduce support costs.  Maybe convert some users to the full version.  But, doing it the way they did, is a massive hit to customer relations.  It's like holding a gun to your head.  They chose the stick instead of the carrot which is evident from numerous recent customer-impacting decisions.  They clearly don't care how many users they piss off as long as it seems like they might make a bit more money in the short term. 

    What they don't seem to understand is that they are the distant underdog in the market place.  They NEED to build customer goodwill which translates into customer loyalty.  If we do our own financial return on product choice then the Lightroom Photography Plan wins hands down.  It costs less and does a ton more (heck it includes a world class pixel editor with the subscription and STILL costs less) and the company behind it doesn't regularly yank privileges from its users (at least not since the transition to subscription).

    Fuji is probably being treated differently ONLY because of some business arrangement (e.g. contract) they have with Fuji.  But, if the Fuji version continues, they they don't even really get much of the development and QA savings because they would still have to produce and QA Express.

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  • Brian Jordan
    Moderator

    Someone with zero inside information.  Sure, we can swag numbers all day long and make anything worth the investment. But then the bills start coming in and the checks being cashed either cover them or they don't.  You're trying to tell me that a VC firm and their management doesn't understand how to calculate whether a product is profitable but we - who have ZERO actual information - know more about it than they do?

    As to them shouldering the cost of Express due to Fuji so they may as well support all cameras?  Maybe that would hold water if the Fuji sensor wasn't so different but it is.  So now you want them to support an orange because the orange's manufacture has some deal with them but also support all the bananas, too, because a bunch of users who get the product for free really, really want them to?  Come on, man.  You know enough about cameras to know that Fuji and everyone else are fundamentally different at the sensor level - which impacts the very core of a RAW editor.

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  • John Friend
    Top Commenter

    Brian Jordan

    I addressed each of these already.  Bob who downloaded the software 6 months or 6 years ago is going to be ticked come next whenever when he kicks off COExpress and it doesn't work.  BUT MY PHOTOS!!!!!!!!!! he'll scream.  Why didn't they warn me?????????????????

    You didn't address them at all.  I did read exactly what you said.

    First off, their current actions have absolutely no more warning than what I was suggesting.  I was suggesting they notify every Express user that the product is being discontinued.  They can continue to use it for as long as it works on their OS/hardware, but for longer term usage, they should consider moving to Capture One Pro.  There's no surprises.  All Express users have been warned and have an upgrade path if they choose.  Further, there's no immediate Jan 30th cliff facing them.

    The company is offering them a longer term path if they upgrade to Capture One Pro.  If they choose not to do that, they know they are on the clock that someday it will stop running on their OS/hardware (probably stopping sooner for Mac than Windows based on history).

    And, most of all, you didn't explain why just discontinuing the product and notifying all Express customers (with an upgrade offer), but still allowing existing licenses to function isn't a better solution for everyone.

    To me, this should have been handled EXACTLY like things were done when Capture One Pro for Nikon was discontinued.

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  • Brian Jordan
    Moderator

    Barry Justice

    You have to think about the difference between a RAW editor and a pixel editor.  Photoshop works with only very standard file types.  DNG hasn't changed in years (up until Adobe's most recent change).  TIFF.  JPEG.  Those are all legacy file types.  Nothing has to happen to make sure that PS continues to open those files.  Tell me - because I really don't know - does PS 6 open the new DNG files?

    You ask PS to open a RAW file format from the latest Sony camera and it'll barf on itself.  It has to have a constantly updated ACR to make that happen.

    If Capture One opened a standardized file format, your argument would hold water.  It doesn't, so your analogy is incorrect.

    Beyond that, just look at the most recent service patch.  Capture One had to do something to fix the tools panel in COExpress. Something changed.  Maybe some shared code somewhere?  I don't know.  But I do know that them making that fix cost them time.  Time I, as a paying customer, would rather Capture One invest in continuing to improve the Capture One Pro software.

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  • John Friend
    Top Commenter

    Brian Jordan

    So now you want them to support an orange because the orange's manufacture has some deal with them but also support all the bananas, too, because a bunch of users who get the product for free really, really want them to?  Come on, man.  You know enough about cameras to know that Fuji and everyone else are fundamentally different at the sensor level - which impacts the very core of a RAW editor.

    No, I never said that.  I said it was fine to stop producing, offering for download or supporting Express entirely.  Just don't stop existing licenses from running it.

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  • Barry Justice

    Brian Jordan  Yes it opens new DNG.  Created a DNG from a Fuji raw from my X-H2 (Fuji's newest camera) and clicked  open in CS 6 and it opened in Camera Raw 9.1.1 the latest Raw engine supported by CS6. 

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  • Brian Jordan
    Moderator

    John Friend You and I are going to have to agree to disagree on this one.  I, for one, applaud the decision.  I pay for my software every year.  I want Capture One to focus every dollar and every developer cycle on making the software I pay for as good as it can be.  If the free versions aren't at least covering their own costs (and I have to believe that basic accounting says that is the case), I'm happy to see the dollars invested by paying customers become more focused on supporting the application used by those paying customers.

    If you can't give weight to the absolute fact that customers using zombie software will be absolutely LIVID when they day comes that software dies "with no warning", I don't see us being able to agree on much surrounding this topic.

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  • John Friend
    Top Commenter

    You guys arguing about CS6 is pointless.  At some point, the existing Capture One Express will stop working well on a modern OS/hardware even for existing cameras and much sooner for new cameras.  When exactly that will be depends upon a bunch of things.  On Mac, apps break fairly quickly due to architecture/hardware changes.  On Windows, not so quickly.  But, this is a pointless side argument.

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  • Brian Jordan
    Moderator

    Barry Justice That's not what I'm talking about.  PS doesn't open that file.  You either use a very new version of ACR or you use a very new version of Adobe's DNG converter.  PS6 won't open a .raf file without one of those stepping into the process.

    Specifically the file I asked about is the new DNG format Adobe created recently with the new noise reduction in LR.  That DNG is different than the DNG we've all come to know and love.  Same can.  Different Coke.  Will PS6 open a DNG created by LR's new AI noise reduction?  The same new DNG that Capture One cannot currently open.

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  • Brian Jordan
    Moderator

    John Friend You and me arguing over whether the free COExpress applications were profitable for the company is pointless, yet here we are.

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  • Barry Justice

    John Friend Not pointless.  It shows that software will still keep working perfectly well for a long time after the company stops supporting it.  If C-1 let the Express version die a natural death it could work for a fairly long time and if the customer had been treated right they would be more inclined to update to the full version when it does finally stop working.  The way C-1 are going about it now means that those Express customers are just going to move on with a bad taste in their mouth.

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  • John Friend
    Top Commenter

    Brian Jordan

    Who's not reading here?  I've said in multiple posts that I'm perfectly fine with shutting down all development for Express, shutting down all support for Express and announcing that it's being discontinued, communicating this to those customers and offering them an upgrade to the Pro version!  That allows ALL development resources to be focused on the Pro version.

    The ONE thing I think they did wrong was shutting off existing licenses.  That's just mean and a horrible way to treat customers and burns customer relationships when none of that angst was needed or beneficial to anyone.

    You seem to think that shutting licenses down in January is somehow better than letting them whither until they die on their own.  I don't get that.  Capture One MUST communicate to all existing Express customers NOW and probably multiple times.  There are no surprises.  If the customer chooses to continue using Express until it dies, that's their own choice.  They will have been duly warned, probably multiple times if the communication is done well. 

    Why do you think anything happens "with no warning" as you say.  If they aren't getting a warning now, then it will stop of Jan 30th "with no warning" so neither is any better in that regard.  But, the entire point of what I'm suggesting is that you clearly communicate to all Express customers:

    1. That the Express product is being discontinued as of Jan 30th
    2. Express will no longer be supported or offered for download
    3. Your existing version of Express may continue to work for awhile (depending upon your OS and hardware)
    4. For continued use you should upgrade to Pro on a special offer.
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  • Brian Jordan
    Moderator

    Barry Justice COExpress died last week before Capture One patched it.  That's the problem.  It may live a long time.  It may live a year.  It may live 60 days.  No one knows.  Now everyone knows.  Everyone has warning to transition their files.  Any other option leaves every user who continues to cross their fingers and hope with a disaster waiting to spring on them. And it will.  Likely, imo, sooner rather than later and they will all be so terribly angry and just will NOT UNDERSTAND why mean old Capture One won't help out just this one time.  Cause my tools panels are gone and I really, really need them.  That's just how users are.  Been there.  Got that shirt in my close.

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  • Brian Jordan
    Moderator

    John Friend. And I've explained to you why I think your'e wrong.  Either you aren't reading what I'm saying or you don't believe me.  But I spent more than 20 years in IT including some time as COO of a tax processing software company.  Sadly, I know how (some) users think.

    Do you not understand that COExpress was dead last week??? But Capture One invested whatever time into reviving it.  When would you have them stop that?

    If it died on 2/2/24 because of so OS update would you be happy?

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  • John Friend
    Top Commenter

    Brian Jordan

    You and me arguing over whether the free COExpress applications were profitable for the company is pointless, yet here we are.

    What are you reading?  I have no idea if CO Express was profitable or not and have not made any suggestions one way or the other in that regard.  It was a giveway introductory product that served a purpose of making lots of new camera purchasers or trial users aware of Capture One.  That was a particular marketing strategy.  I have no idea if it was a good strategy or not.  I've not suggested anywhere in this thread that they should keep developing Express.  I'm fine with it being shut down.  Just communicate clearly that you're discontinuing it and don't stop existing licenses from running.

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  • Barry Justice

    Brian Jordan   The DNG I created was from Lightroom 13.0.2  I just tried another one -Enhanced-NR file that I ran through the new NR in my trial of Lightroom and it opened that as well in ACR 9.1.1 with,  incidentally,  all the adjustments I'd made in Lightroom.  Doesn't look like I can add a screenshot on here though.

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  • Brian Jordan
    Moderator

    John Friend. Now if we're talking about how much warning they gave, I'm on board.  Were it me, I'd have communicated all this very differently and it would have started many months ago.  I do not disagree with the decision they made.  I do absolutely disagree with the amount of communication and the timeline.

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  • Brian Jordan
    Moderator

    Barry Justice. I don't use ACR.  When was 9.1.1 updated?  All that said, still, RAW editors and pixel editors are fundamentally different.  Pixel editors work on standardized file formats and offer a very deep toolset.  RAW editors work on ever evolving sensor data and their art - their claim to fame - is how they render that data and the tools they provide to manipulate it.  They are fundamentally not the same.

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  • M

    Brian Jordan "So now you want them to support an orange because the orange's manufacture has some deal with them but also support all the bananas, too, because a bunch of users who get the product for free really, really want them to?"

    No one here wants any support for Express. I don't know why that is stuck in your head across multiple comments. You also presume that Express customers will be pissed when their software suddenly dies yet this thread is full of actual, real, living Express users who say the complete opposite. Would some people get mad? Sure. That's on them though. If C1 takes the correct steps of notifying users that there will be nor more updates, no new downloads and no support offered than ultimately at that point it's the users fault for missing that communication. In this case, there has been literally 1 email and this forum post. Nothing else posted anywhere on any of the companies socials. Why? Because it's a dumbass way to do business and the people who made the choice know it would be a far worse PR nightmare to publicly put it out there. 

    "You're trying to tell me that a VC firm and their management doesn't understand how to calculate whether a product is profitable"

    I am sure the VC knows how to calculate short terms metrics for short term profitability. That's what a VC is all about. They want their money back ASAP and once they are paid, everything else doesn't matter much anymore aside from extra profits on top of their return. What VC's DO NOT understand is long term growth. You see this in silicon valley all the time. Tech companies get huge investments, they 'move fast and break shit' and then the company goes under because they were chasing fast profits and quick growth instead of building a strong customer base. 

    Now, going back to cancelling licenses, I'd really like to know why exactly you think leaving the existing software running is a bad choice? You have given wrong answers previously based on what you assume users are going to think but putting that reason aside, why is it a bad choice to let people keep using Express who already have it? If the company does 0 maintenance and 0 support, it won't cost them shit so financially, it has no affect either. What is a legitimate reason for doing so? 

    You also haven't commented on the legality of it. I think we both know VC's are always looking for ways to push the boundaries of law and occasionally break them when it suites them. Fines are a cost of doing business for VC's. If hey make a billion and get fines 5 million who gives a shit? Have you read over the license agreement for Express users and do you think after doing so that this move by C1 is legal? 

    You say you don't work for free, were you getting paid fine before this change happened? Would C1 as a company die within a week if it didn't? Are you a talentless man who has no hope at finding a new job if the company goes under? 

    Profits are not everything in this world. Sometimes supporting other humans, even at a cost to you (company in this case) is the better thing to do. Morals exist and more companies need them. 

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