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Capture One Express is coming to an end

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295 comments

  • John Friend
    Top Commenter

    First off, none of this has to do with Express because I don't think it has these kinds of server-side generative AI features.  So, this is more about future products.

    But, if I were Capture One, this is how I would get more customers to move to subscription - by offering valuable features that rely on hosted services that only work for subscription customers - exactly like Skylum/Luminar have done it.  If the fact that it relies on hosted services makes logical sense (not just an artificially constructed barrier), then customers don't feel like they're being ripped off, just facing a new reality of hosted features that need a subscription model to make business sense. 

    Now Skylum/Luminar (if I remember right) actually allow you to buy credits to use for generative AI, even if you're not a subscription customer and even subscribed customers have a metered amount of this service they can use.

    On the other hand, Nvidia, Intel and AMD all want you to have substantial AI compute capabilities in your local computer which, if possible, actually scales better than putting all the compute power in the cloud (even for laptops).  So, we'll see how this plays out in the long run.

    As for the new versions of stuff that uses server-side features, backward compatibility always has to be designed into this anyway where both 17.4 and 18.1 clients can be in use at any given time because not every customer upgrades at the exact same moment, even in a subscription world.  So, this is just a design parameter of introducing new features or changes to features that are hosted. 
    Some level of backward compatibility is part of the design process.  You can see this already with Capture One Live where Capture One has a statement about a defined number of versions back that are supported.

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  • John Zandbergen

    My post yesterday, about a press release announcing Fujifim/Phase One partnership is pending approval, but not approved? What can I do to publish it?

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  • Walter Rowe
    Moderator
    Top Commenter

    As a moderator I can see it but I cannot "approve" it.

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  • Brian Jordan
    Moderator

    Originally posted by John Zandbergen:

    Here's a little history, Phase One A/S press release when Fujifilm and Phase One came to an agreement. 

    https://www.mynewsdesk.com/phase-one/pressreleases/phase-one-announces-software-collaboration-with-fujifilm-2714024

    Phase One announces software collaboration with Fujifilm

    COPENHAGEN, Sep. 25, 2018 – Phase One A/S, the world’s leading manufacturer of full frame medium format digital photography systems and imaging solutions today announced a strategic software agreement with Fujifilm.

    Under terms of this agreement, Phase One and Fujifilm are collaborating to broaden and deepen Capture One software support of more Fujifilm cameras. With the release of Capture One 11.3 (see today’s announcement) Capture One has significantly expanded its Fujifilm camera support, with full Fujifilm RAW file and basic tethered support for select cameras. Future development will integrate Fujifilm Film Simulations with Capture One and provide enhanced tethered support for select professional Fujifilm cameras.

    ......

    Capture One Express Fujifilm is free for all Fujifilm camera owners

    ......

    John Zandbergen I also can see it but can't approve it for some reason.  I believe some links are auto-modded (but don't quote me on that). Anyhow, I've re-posted for visibility.

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  • Denis Huk
    Admin

    hey OddS.

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

    not sure if i got that right, but the wording here seems to imply that you lose access to Fujifilm RAW Converter if you cancel the All in One trial, which is incorrect. just wanted to clarify.

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  • FirstName LastName

    @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?????????????????

    No reasonable person expects technical support on a free piece of software they downloaded 6 years ago. If it stops working due to OS incompatibility, etc, they will either try to find a newer version of the software, or search for a workaround.

    Also speaking from personal experience, software doesn't usually just stop working one day for no reason. Maybe it's different on Mac, but on Windows it usually only happens when trying to run programs that were designed for a Windows version that is a couple of generations older, for example when trying to run Vista programs on Windows 10. In the case of Capture One Express, the lack of compatibility with new cameras would likely become a problem much sooner than the software stopping working for whatever reason.

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  • OddS.

    > Denis Huk:  ...cancel the All in One trial.

    I have no idea what "the All in One trial" is and I do not see it mentioned in Thom Hogan's text.

    May I suggest, "to clarify things", that you ask Thom Hogan to correct his mistake, if there indeed is one. Perhaps also carefully read the information from the Capture One company to make sure Thom Hogan really did have a clear text to begin with.

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  • Walter Rowe
    Moderator
    Top Commenter

    https://support.captureone.com/hc/en-us/articles/14964802469533-Fujifilm-RAW-Converter

    This Fujifilm RAW Converter article clearly states it is "complimentary" with no support and provides the reduced list of features it provides. Thom Hogan is aware that his article misrepresents the offerings. It is his responsibility to correct it.

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  • Malte Paas

    the discussion has reached a dead end i guess. C1 has made their decisions. users will make their own decisions. no amount of argumentation will change that. i bought myself an adobe subscription for christmas and could not be happier.

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  • Antonio F. Shalders

    Malte Paas

    Yes indeed. I'll keep my C1 "perpetual" freezed and use it as a TIFF editor and from now use DxO as a raw converter and qDSLRdashboard for tethering.

    I really don't like the way Capture One is taking. 

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  • FirstName LastName

    Sorry for Your loss, Capture one. (: 

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  • Name User

    I´m not a professional photographer, but I definitely fall in the prosumer category. One of the factors that made me invest in Fuji a couple of years ago was the FREE Capture One Express. Just do the math and see what your camera costs you including buying or subscribing to photo software. I stopped my subscription on Adobe photo plan, bought Pixelmator Pro and have been happy with Capture One Express and Pixelmator Pro ever since. As a non-professional photographer it’s limits to what I’m willing to spend on equipment and software. For me, Capture One Pro probably is the best tool for my Fuji camera, but I’m switching back to Adobe photo plan. Lightroom AND Photoshop for quite a bit less in subscription cost compared to Capture One Pro does the choice for me. In my area, Capture One Pro costs about 85% more in monthly subscription fee than the Adobe photo plan. I´m also probably not going to buy a new Fuji camera, but rather revert back to Nikon that I used before. Not having the benefit of free (good) software included with a camera does influence my choice (I’m excluding the software that Fuji and Nikon provides). There are probably quite a few different opinions out there, but me and my prosumer friends agree that Capture One now does not have a good option for the prosumer category. Of course, it depends what you are willing to spend. For me, I’m very disappointed that Capture One kills Express, but my decision to switch back to Adobe is a purely logical one.

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  • John Friend
    Top Commenter

    Name User  - There is apparently a way to still get an Express-like version of Capture One for Fuji that will survive past January.  You have to jump through a few hoops (starting with an all-in-one trial and then downgrading that to the "Fuji Raw Converter") which is really just Express for Fuji (with a different name) that will supposedly function beyond January.  You can read about what links to start with for the download and how another Fuji user did it yesterday here and the Capture One page for all this is https://www.captureone.com/en/leaflet-fujifilm.

    .

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  • Anbaric

    The feature list is not the same for Express and the Fujifilm Raw Converter. Compare the old list for Express with the current list. One notable omission is that the new edition seems to lack any version of the Color Editor. A more fundamental problem is that we have no guarantee C1 won't pull the same stunt with this that they did with Express. I would suggest that abandoned Fuji C1 Express users also take a look at Fuji's Silkypix-based Raw File Converter if they need a free solution. Abandoned Nikon Express users should be aware of Nikon's NX Studio, arguably the best free raw converter provided by a camera company. I don't think either product requires online activation, so these packages (presumably) cannot be deactivated without your permission. Sony have their own free converter, Imaging Edge, but I haven't used it. Canon's free offering is Digital Photo Professional (DPP), but of course Express did not support Canon and there has been no Canon-compatible 'lite' version of C1 for a long time.

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  • Anbaric

    I see in another thread that a user who had purchased Styles for use with C1 Express has now learnt that they will no longer be able to use them. Would admin Jack-W or Denis Huk like to comment on whether C1 will be offering a full refund to anyone who has paid money for products that C1 is now depriving them of? If not, I suspect this will quite rightly leave C1 open to legal action.

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  • THOMAS AMBROSE

    I agree with so many of the comments.

    I totally understand ending support for Express.  I would expect that to be no more downloads, no updates, no support requests, no new cameras, etc.  Completely disabling existing licenses, is ridiculous! 

    I'm a hobbiest shooter and can't justify a monthly subscription for as little as I use it.  I'm also not going to buy a perpetual license of Capture One because who knows when they'll disable it.

    If they had left my Express version working, I could see myself looking to subscribe or buy in the future.  For example, I upgrade my camera, need software that supports it, and have had a good experience with Capture One.  That won't happen now.

    Looking for other options....

     

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  • Brian Jordan
    Moderator

    I'm also not going to buy a perpetual license of Capture One because who knows when they'll disable it.

    I see this argument floating around and I just can't make the logical jump required for this line of thinking.

    Express has always been free.  They're disabling it. .....well, actually they aren't.  They're killing the authentication server.  They're foregoing an ongoing cost required to support a free product.  That makes sense to me.  I also give them the benefit of doubt to think they looked at writing code to disable Express' need to phone home and decided the development cost wasn't worth the effort.  Again, that makes sense to me.

    My perpetual license is a completely different animal.  Scores of users have paid for perpetual licenses.  There is a legal contract there.  I gave value for value.  If Capture One wants to change the terms of that contract, they have to offer something of value.  Can they decide one day to kill the perpetual entirely?  Sure.  Adobe did.  But LR 6 still works provided I pull out old gear.  They also offered me a "free" subscription for some number of months.  I didn't like it and I used 6 for ages until I just had to upgrade.

    This whole "they disabled this so I'll never do that because they might kill that, too" just sounds defeatist.  If I'd have stopped dating because the first girl broke up with me, it would have been a long, lonely life and the logic feels pretty similar.

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  • Brian Walton

    I'd be shocked if the activation server for Express isn't the same one they use for Pro.  Thus most of us appreciate the no longer supported move, but what is the point of disabling the activation server and keeping the ~700 meg download of the last version available for users?  Many people got Express with the purchase of a Camera they still use.  

    I'm pretty sure I could download Capture One Pro 16 as an owner of Pro.

    Glad I have Pro, but an a photography instructor this move really does hurt my long tradition of telling all Sony (and more recently Nikon and Fuji) users to give CO a try (via Express) before giving Adobe a dime and grow with that system as you see your needs quickly increasing.  

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  • Walter Rowe
    Moderator
    Top Commenter

    Brian Walton

    Capture One offers the 30-day full feature trial so your students can still give it a try. They also offer students a discount. As an educator you an probably make a special arrangement with Capture One for your students. It benefits Capture One to get people into their product as early as possible much like Apple incentivized schools and universities to use Apple computers so that people entering the workforce would demand Apple products in the enterprise. They succeeded!

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  • Brian Walton

    30 days isn't anywhere long enough to get someone who hasn't used Editing software before deep enough to make a $300 investment in the platform.  Most simply would not see the value at that stage.  If C1 had the old camera brand specific seat for $99, maybe.

    The students I work with might have a couple hours a week to do photography.  So that equals what - 4 hours tops during the trial to be "editing" vs taking shots.

    And before the subscription route is mentioned, LR + PS as much as I don't like it makes a lot most sense due to both the cost and feature set - which is even given away in many educational environments - not just a "discount"

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  • Brian Jordan
    Moderator

    Brian Walton

    As a photography instructor I really can't understand why you wouldn't stress the value of a photo editor - whether that be Capture One or any other quality editor.  We invest in cameras and lenses and time to learn and shoot but then it all just ends........at a free editor?  

    That editor is where the rubber meets the road.  Sure your students have finite resources but it's they who have to decide how best to spend their money.  But the conversation surrounding investing in an editor feels as valid as the conversation surrounding investing in good glass vs bargain bin.  

    As an intro to photo editing, I'd suggest the mobile Capture One editor (provided they're on Apple).  It's underpowered for a pro user (imo) but pretty straight forward for a beginner and an excellent introduction to the full software.  Similarly, I would never advise a subscription to LR/PS because of the gotcha surrounding cancelling the software - without fully disclosing that they can't simply cancel at any time.  Again, maybe the mobile version through an app store but certainly not a direct sub through Adobe.  Also that "feature set", especially in PS, will take more than the "4 hours" to even make a dent in.  So it's LR vs Capture One and, imo, any money spent on PS is just wasted on beginners.

    There are other softwares, too.  But good editing software is the followthrough to a golf swing.  No matter how good you are up to the club hitting the ball, it all falls apart without that followthrough.  And, personally, I think that's a valid conversation for an instructor/advisor/mentor to have.

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  • Brian Jordan
    Moderator

    Brian Walton. Also, Capture One offers a 65% off education discount.  https://www.captureone.com/en/education/capture-one-for-students

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  • Brian Jordan
    Moderator

    Brian Walton One last thing: Capture One will continue to offer a free Fuji editor.  Details were included in the sunsetting email.  https://support.captureone.com/hc/en-us/articles/14964802469533-Fujifilm-RAW-Converter

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  • John Friend
    Top Commenter

    Brian Walton

    I don't think Capture One really cares to participate in the less expensive end of the market any more.  From what I've heard, their CEO has said their customer target is working pros (who mostly aren't as price sensitive) and it appears they want to differentiate from Lightroom with features that appeal to working pros (not trying to out-feature them for consumers).  So, I do think it's time for any budget minded folks to look elsewhere.

    Some choices to consider are:

    • Affinity Photo 2 (which includes a RAW editor and a pixel editor, but no cataloging system).  You can edit RAW or JPEG.  The regular price is $69.99, but can be regularly had on sale for $49.99.  This is an amazing amount of editing tools for the $.
    • Photoshop Elements.  This is kind of like a baby Lightroom/Photoshop for $99.  You can edit RAW or JPEG.  It's what I started my image editing with and is definitely designed for beginners and makes it fairly easy to get started without having to learn complicated things.
    • DarkTable.  Open source, free.  This is a super capable RAW editor and cataloging system.  If as part of your instruction, you also taught them the basics of how to use some core features in DarkTable, it could work quite well.  It's got such a big list of features/tools that it can be a bit daunting for a beginner, but only if there's no guidance on a simple workflow for basic editing.  With such guidance, none of the tools themselves are hard to use.

    My suggestion would be either Affinity Photo 2 or DarkTable.  It seems there would be some significant benefit to the open source / free model for classroom work as the students could download DarkTable and use it themselves even after they were done with the class.

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  • John Friend
    Top Commenter

    I see this argument floating around and I just can't make the logical jump required for this line of thinking.

    It's pretty simple.  Let me explain it.  There were no good reasons (see further explanation below) other than trying to FORCE people off Express and onto Pro for them to shut down everyone's existing license.  It is what it is - a grab for more revenue.  All these existing perpetual licenses, particularly the ones that are still active, but haven't upgraded in the last couple of years are EXACTLY the same thing.  They are getting incrementally free use of the product (not being charged each year) and not generating any revenue and occasionally causing support costs.  It is not a big stretch of the imagination at all to wonder if/when Capture One will contemplate discontinuing the perpetual license to try to FORCE those customers over to subscription.  If they could do it to the Express customers for no real practical reason other than a money grab, then the next stop in the line would be the perpetual license holders. 

    It is a natural progression supported by prior behavior and thus it's only natural to wonder when they will consider doing that too.  The obstacle and blowback would be larger, but so far that hasn't seemed to have really bothered the current owners of the company.  They've happily burned a lot of good will three times in the last two years:

    1. First with the  discontinuing of the brand-specific, affordable versions
    2. Then the cut-back on perpetual license bug fix upgrades to only a few months worth of upgrades and bug fixes and the cancelling of upgrades for perpetual license holders (you have to buy a whole new license)
    3. Now the killing of existing Express installations (termination of their licenses). 

    These all cause significant customer angst, wreck goodwill with a portion of the customer community and it's fairly clear that they really don't care and don't value that goodwill at all because all three transitions were handled very poorly.

    Express has always been free.  They're disabling it. .....well, actually they aren't.  They're killing the authentication server.  They're foregoing an ongoing cost required to support a free product.  That makes sense to me.  I also give them the benefit of doubt to think they looked at writing code to disable Express' need to phone home and decided the development cost wasn't worth the effort.  Again, that makes sense to me.

    Here you appear to just be grasping at straws to try to defend the company.  First, the license server is very likely the exact same license server that Pro uses.  Second, it's a trivial cost to verify a Express licenses every once in a while.  Third, Express isn't even actually disappearing.  The FujiFilm RAW Converter is nothing more than a renamed version of Express for Fuji.  Capture One is still producing it so they still have to build, test, distribute and activate it.  So, all they're saving is a few http requests to verify older Express activations. That cost is trivial. They did NOT need to cut off existing Express licenses.  That's just not saving them boo.  If they valued customer goodwill at all, they would not be doing what they are doing.,

    They could have saved the larger portion of Express costs by just announcing that they were stopping any more support for Express without turning off existing licenses and would not be producing any further versions of it.  It would have just died on its own as it's RAW converter got old.  Instead, this is just a $$ grab to try to force some to upgrade to Pro right now.  They are shutting off your ability to edit or view or export your EXISTING edits.  This is a horrific thing to do to any customer, even a free customer.  Even Adobe didn't do that when they moved to subscription.

    As for wanting to avoid the costs of spinning a new version of Express that didn't have the license check any more, that's completely debunked.  They already spun a new version of Express that has been renamed the FujiFilm RAW Converter.  The new build already happened - they specifically chose not to use that delivery vehicle to allow non-FujiFilm customers to stay on Express.

    My perpetual license is a completely different animal.  Scores of users have paid for perpetual licenses.  There is a legal contract there.  I gave value for value.  If Capture One wants to change the terms of that contract, they have to offer something of value.  Can they decide one day to kill the perpetual entirely?  Sure.  Adobe did.  But LR 6 still works provided I pull out old gear.  They also offered me a "free" subscription for some number of months.  I didn't like it and I used 6 for ages until I just had to upgrade.

    I've outlined above why I wouldn't put it past Capture One to be thinking about terminating perpetual licenses too.  From their past behavior over the past couple years, nothing seems too customer-unfriendly for them to consider any more.  Their reputation in this space has been entirely called into question and they have no credibility any more.  They will consider anything to boost revenue, no matter how customer unfriendly it will be perceived.  We have multiple examples in the last couple years.  I have no idea if they would stoop as low as this by terminating older perpetual licenses, but I bet someone has considered it for it's potential revenue creation.

    This whole "they disabled this so I'll never do that because they might kill that, too" just sounds defeatist.  If I'd have stopped dating because the first girl broke up with me, it would have been a long, lonely life and the logic feels pretty similar.

    It's not defeatist.  We're just watching their past behavior and can clearly see that they are doing things that are very customer-unfriendly and we never would have thought they would do.  So, it calls into question what future decisions will continue along this trajectory.  They've done NOTHING in the last two years to earn our trust in this regard and EVERYTHING in the last two years to make us suspicious.  These suspicions are the logical consequences of their prior actions.

    I, myself, am now spending a bit more time evaluating DarkTable and I may try to run some shoots through it to force myself to learn it and start to understand its strengths and differences.  Since I'm not a working pro and not on C1 subscription, it appears I'm not really the type of customer Capture One wants anyway.

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  • Brian Walton

    Brian Jordan

    I recently gave a presentation around the idea that you don't need expensive gear to create great images.  The deck was full of published and small gallery presentations featuring my work with images with glass that cost $100 or less per lens, and digital camera bodies that range from $150 - a max of $550.  And outside of such a presentation, the gear I use is never a point of discussion when looking at the work.

    I do highly value good tools and Capture One is my favorite RAW processor (even though it only has a tiny fraction of lens profiles of gear I actually use).   That said, C1 is priced at the absolute top of the market, even discounted.  There are plenty of tools that anyone with some skill can get great results with for a lot less money.   

    C1 is great as a program but but it certainly isn't worlds better for someone using a modest setup.  I make it very clear in my instruction and presentation the pros and cons of different software options from Free software (DarkTable, Raw Therapee, Phocus -for mac users, Gimp).   Reasonable priced options (On1, Affinity Photo, PaintShop Pro), a bit more pricey programs (Luminar, DxO, ACDsee), to those that take some investment (Adobe, Capture One).  As I said before, C1 express was an "easy" sell.  Asking a student to go top of price in the market when such nice other options are out there isn't an easy sell, especially when the upgrade cost is as much or more than buying into another program outright with no previous ownership.  

    And for the majority of photographers C1 isn't a complete editing package, it is a rare occasion where the straight output from C1 is the image I deliver as a final deliverable for consumption, even it did get most of the way there.  Thus the buy in cost is compounded as it isn't a total solution.  

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  • Brian Walton

    John Friend

    Yes, I'm familiar with and have included them in presentations for years.  (though I haven't kept up with the latest Elements version)

    I personally use the entire Affinity suite as my Adobe alternative for the pixel, vector, and design layout needs.

    DarkTable (and RAW therapee) would be well served to have a simplified interface and some performance improvements .  The capabilities are impressive but it feels more like a burden to use.  I do "push it" to show what is available for free.

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  • Antonio F. Shalders

    Brian Walton

    I totally agree with you. And I would even push further: Why the hell, if I was an educational institution, PAY to use a software and form an opinion basis in the form of potential customers for a private business that charges me ? What ?

    Wise software makers SPONSOR educational institutions.

    And again C1 is far from a complete solution. It's a nice program but just this.

    My picks:  Affinity + RawTherapee or Darktable or DxO ( or RawPower for Mac)

     

     

     

     

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  • Brian Jordan
    Moderator

    Brian Walton I've got to be honest and say I get all kinds of mixed messages from your posts.  You talk about beginners that have no time then dive into all these options that take more and more and more time.  Darktable for a beginner with "4 hours" a week?  Not hardly.  That's just being honest.  Capture One may or may not be the option here but this all started because you replied to my post addressing someone else.  Tell me, how do you know so much about what it costs and how much work would be involved in letting Express live on?  The fact is, you don't.  None of us do.  That's been my point all along.

    And as to cheap gear?  I started shooting in 1981 and have lenses that are so old they're yellowed from radiation.  Worse, I bought some of them new!  So I get you.  I love images made with some of my old glass.  But, again, you talked about beginners with no time.  Every beginner I've ever taught (and there've been a few) wanted to make photos that look like "this".  All creamy bokeh and perfect lighting.  In fairness, that deserves a conversation about skill acquisition and expectations.  Can you make great photos with older and cheaper gear?  Sure!  But, in fairness and honesty, it takes more skill to make great photos with lesser gear than with better gear.  And let's get real here.  With an education discount, Capture One is $63 per year for the Pro package.  That's about as cheap as it gets.  Adobe's cheapest education package is $20/month.  Their Photography package is $10.  And they hook you into all 12 payments where every payment restarts the counter.  Canceling costs you 3-5 months additional payments depending on the mood of the rep you talk with.   Still 2x the monthly cost of Capture One.  I'm all for holding a company accountable but this is just tilting at windmills here.

    Antonio F. Shalders Remember, Brian talks about students who have "4 hours" a week to devote to this.  You're seriously going to suggest people with that little time try to learn to use that hodgepodge of software?  Seriously?  And since when have you found a software package in this industry that gives their applications away to students?  Adobe has Institution pricing where the students pay nothing but the school certainly does.  I don't know if Capture One offers the same but to say there's some magical package out there that's "free" is just wrong.

    John Friend I don't even read your missives anymore.  As I've said before, I don't care for the level of certainty you paint over all your posts so we'll have to agree to disagree.  But you keep @ing me on these posts.  If you are, in fact, talking to me, you can save your keystrokes.  If you're talking to others in the thread, save the @.  Just trying to same you some time there, buddy.

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  • John Zandbergen

    For those who think about using the Fuji Raw Converter: I've tried it, it works nice but there are a few items missing that may be essential in your workflow, that I did not find mentioned in the feature list:

    • No JPG editing, only raw (my luck: I only shoot raw)
    • No histogram (why would you remove this?)
    • No levels
    • Many functions not clickable by button, but still (for how long?) available in the menu. Like the before/after button and clipping display

    For me, histogram and levels are essential. For my current batch of photo's I will continue in C1, but I've already tried out RawTherapee and that is going to be my future editor.

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