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Capture One Express dead?



  • FirstName LastName

    I have also used capture one express to my Fujifilm X100F, and I have found it very useful when protographing raw even though I often photograph jpg. I will never pay for the pro version, I am an amateur and cannot pay that price. So, sorry Capture One, you will not get me as a customer and I think you will lose many other users too.

  • Detlef Kurth

    very bad politics from this company!!! But this is usual these days!

  • SFA
    Top Commenter

    I would guess that usage analysis may suggest that there is little or no real demand for a feature restricted free product and that providing one is no longer a cost effective enticement to upgrade to a paid for product.

    If that is the case any support costs the free version incurred will be saved and/or made available to supporting paying customers in some way. 

    If it was cost effective there would be no reason to curtail the availability and good reason to keep it going. It seems that is not the case.

  • Christian Damhus

    Offering a "light" version would also mean to put some or a lot of effort in this version. E.g. You would have to rewrite some parts of the source code of the Pro-Version, debug it, compile it, upload it, update the website and the server and the activation form... and probably many things more. It seems that Capture One is not willing to do this anymore. I assume it did not work out for them in the past. They gave away CO Express for free with Sony/Fuji and probably expected that this version would convince enough users to upgrade to pro within a certain time period. Obviously it did not.

    Older versions, that do not need an activation, are still downloadable. Maybe this is an option for some hobby photographers. Otherwise: Get a perpetual licence.

  • SFA
    Top Commenter

    I think the move of the Express concept to Manufacturer specific versions may have been supported, in some way unknown, by the arrangement with the manufacturer. Once those arrangments end there is little left to gain and no obvious benefit to trying to continue them.

    The only remaining need to provide "free" software would be Phase and that could surely be supported without the need for an Express version to control.

  • Christian Damhus

    They did not have to proactively reach out and shut off all existing licenses 60 days from announcement.


    I agree. This action is certainly against all loyal users of CO Express. And I can't remember that I have ever heard of such a mistreat of costumers by an enterprise before. But I tried my old Capture One Express 6 and it still works. Maybe it is due to the fact that my CO Ver6 runs under a perpetual license. Using such an older version could be a way for some users, but this outdated version (2013!) does not support the RAW of modern cameras and also not support Adobe DNG. So you would have to convert your RAWs into TIFF and import that file then. Don't think thats a useful way, but anyway.

  • Christian Damhus

    Agree, @...! That would have been the logical way. But for some reason, CO decided to slap loyal users in their face. Who knows what is going to happen next. But if they tried to do the same thing to the Users of the Pro perpetual license, they will pay a high price. Once a customer feels betrayed, he will certainly not (never) come back.

  • SFA
    Top Commenter

    With free versions of anything there are no customers, only users.

    And no Revenue, only costs.

    I suspect the cost of creating the release and then running a licensing server component to manage the non-revenue generating product was deemed to be unviable without support from camera manufacturers.  Which is pretty much why the Express product became manufacturer related in the first place.

    I would not be surprised if there were other factors related to hacked licenses and the potential overheads of having thousands of registered, no revenue, perpetual licenses, registered simply because they were free to try out but never or hardly ever used.

    C1 is by no means the first Software company to deprecate an existing version of a product once and for all and move on. Heck, in effect Apple and Microsoft, to point out 2 huge businesses that users can hardly avoid, do it all the time. It seems to work for them.

  • SFA
    Top Commenter


    I can't really comment on Apple, except to say that they have long had a policy of OS changes that, eventually, require users to update hardware and all the software they currently use - some of which may no longer be available for the new version of the OS.

    Yes it may be flagged a long time in advance (but maybe sometimes, for some non-Apple software, not?) but is still forces the issue. And can be more completely disruptive for all users not just a sub-set.

    Microsoft also discovered that habit although their cycles seem to be a little longer so far.

    However, if one is a user of MS Office products, one can find parts of the suite of software offering appearing and disappearing within a year or two. In theory this is irrespective of the fact that Office is a corporate product rented to clients based on a user count and is,  perhaps, a loss leader for charging for on-line storage and services packages. 

    Moreover, now that they RENT (subscriptions) to clients they have full control over how the service is delivered, how integrated it is and what they charge for it. The way the packages can be obtained is change frequently and last year the billing here in the UK changed from an annually reviewable fixed monthly charge per user subject to which products were chosen, to a less flexible pick and mix charging system billed in USD. So the monthly charge now varies with the USD/Pound Sterling exchange rate. My understanding is that the Euro area is managed in the same way.

    This, one way or another, affects millions of users.

    By comparison the withdrawal of Express  - possibly timed to coincide with some server updates I would guess and so maybe a late decision - is unlikely to have a widespread impact for active users. But that's just a guess from me. The balance might be as wild as a million registered licenses on a perpetual basis to be constantly managed and just a few hundred users sing the software more than once a year ... I don't know but I'm fairly sure that C1 do and took things like that into consideration before making a decision. Who wouldn't?

    "Apple and Microsoft provide years worth of advanced notice, not 60 days and I would say their situation is pretty different than this one as they don't suddenly render years worth of data (photo adjustments) inaccessible."

    The data is not inaccessible. One can obtain fully functioning software to access it and edit it. If one's usage is continuous then buy a perpetual license or a long term subscription, access the data and enjoy the additional features that were not available in the Express version.

    If one just needs something to process some previously unexported images to take them to another system without having to re-edit, then take a subscription for a month or two and do the work.

    Right now there are examples of these types of changes occurring all the way through life with little or nothing one can do about them except adapt. Such is the way of the modern world and seemingly ever accelerating changes in the way our societies operate. I doubt C1 could do much differently, other than maybe delay a little longer but with the same ultimate outcome, if they wanted to.

    Express was dropped before, back when it was a "perpetual" license without license checking on line, but returned for the Manufacturer specific versions. So this is not a unique situation.

  • BeO
    Top Commenter

    Hi SFA, regarding Microsoft.

    I still can run the free ICE (Image Composite Editor) on Windows 10, although it is no longer supported since almost a decade and latest  supported OS is Windows 8.1.One needs to download it from other sites (Download is not offered by MS anymore) but it just runs. It was not deliberately shut down on my computer.

    Ok, granted, an apple to orange comparison, since it is a niche tool from Microsoft, but stil noteworthy imo.


    If you give a present to a girl you like and you have some expectations as to what you could potentially receive in return, but because the girl does not play into your expecations  you then destroy what you gave to her, you probably could be named an .... (choose to your liking). 

    Apples to oranges? I don't think so, because it has something to do with how people treat people.

  • SFA
    Top Commenter

    Hi BeO

    There are always some exceptions  - including older versions of Express, potentially.

    So long as the installation files are fully self supporting during an installation and do not rely on (many) OS routines or compoents of other software products, they may well run. Obvious if they are reliant on License validity checking or enforced internet-based usage checks, that might be more of a problem.

    I have a Canon Printer that is not supported by Windows 10 or later and for which Canon have decided not to include for support in teir driver packages. No surprise as they seem to have stopped making ink cartridges for it as well. Presumably there are too few around for them to be able to make any profits out of manufacturing the cartridges, though as far as I know the inks and some very similar cartridges are still used in the products they sell today. 

    Of course the printer was not the profit source, the ink sales were.

    And C1 Express is most likely a similar story.  

    While it offered an extended free trial that worked for people in the early days of the digital photography revolution its position was probably expiring about 10 years ago. 

    With the manufacturer deals that turned up around that time of booming sales for cameras introducing people to RAW editing, it probably made sense to have a Manufacturer supported extension of the concept constrained to single RAW file types.

    Now, following the industry pattern of in-line license validation since access to the internet has moved onto the ubiquitous mode it seems to have in our lives, the consideration of costs and efforts to create and run the licensing model into the future probably means that usage number and upgrade conversions are far too low to justify the cost in the long term.

    My guess is that some internal technical restructuring involving the systems that run the on-line licensing facilities prompted a reconsideration of what to do about Express and maybe a rather late decision had to be made. Perhaps later than many would have preferred. 

    But if more time had been made available to active Express users - however many there may or may not be - would the Community response have been any different?

    The software I used before C1 was from a small company that went out of business in 2009 (iirc) after introducing a Linux version and a really rather good simple editor for computers that provided the sort of styles based editing and UI that has become all encompassing on smartphones. 

    After a year or so the IP owner released it as Open Source and since then it has had a small following of enthusiasts. 

    One or two of the original development teams joined in early on but soon moved to other interests. For some years now the developer as been a chap in Japan although a young family seems to be limiting his time.

    It's still available. I assume it still uses dcraw updates for supporting new cameras as it always did. Functionality seems to be much as it was and it is still quite usable like that as an editor. 

    No DAM. No Session concept. 

    But it does have a lot of editing features that, to some extent, cross over into PS like functions and the core concept of calculating adjustment values starting right back at the RAW file conversion, just like C1, applies.

    And it's available for free. 

    It's just not a commercially viable proposition and these days that matters. Maybe it does not matter too much to most hobbyists, though for many it will whether or not that is a realistic expectation.

    If C1 observe that enough Express users are complaining and are unhappy with whatever incentives have been offered to move to the Pro license and be able to take advantage of the features that Express does not have, no doubt the management will review and try to come up with additional incentives. So long as the effort involved seems to be worth it.

    I guess one might get an impression of how many people are upset based on analysis of posts in the announcement topic in the forum and on social media.

    How big is the storm so far? How many Express users are objecting and what are their reasons?



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