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12-06-2022, 06:29 PM   #1
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Capture One -- Changes to the perpetual license policy

Capture One (the company) has announced changes to how licensing will work in the future (starting effectively September 2023).

The subscription model will continue unchanged, except that feature additions will occur during the year, not only at the end of each year.

Perpetual licences --
  1. will no longer receive new features for a year, only bug fixes.

  2. will not receive bug fixes for a year but only until a next major version is released.

  3. will no longer entitle licence holders to purchase a next major version via a discounted "upgrade" price. An unspecified "loyalty scheme" will replace the current upgrade pricing.
In my view, the respective communication by Capture One has been pretty terrible for the following reasons:

Confusing phrases like "...there will not be a Capture One 24" led some to believe that there won't be perpetual licences at all anymore. All they are changing is that the version numbering won't be aligned with the year of release anymore. So there will be a new C1 version in 2024, it just won't be named "...24" but "Version 16.x").

Capture One attempts to sell the devaluing of perpetual licences as serving customer wishes. Capture One disingenuously wrote "Many of you have expressed a desire for us to make changes faster and to implement features more quickly, ...". Assuming this is true, Capture One could have just switched from annual functionality updates to continuous functionality updates. There was no need to cut off perpetual licence holders from new features entirely.

I find the above point tragic, because in principle it is nice that one will have the option to continue to receiving bug fixes without having to accept unwanted changes to features and/or the UI. Currently, if one wants to have some bugs fixed, one also needs to accept all functional changes. This would be fine if all functional changes were improvements but unfortunately, many times in the past changes meant worse usability with no option to hold on to previous behaviour.

Capture One's communication is furthermore incomplete since a new "loyalty scheme" to replace the upgrade pricing has been announced but without any details. Naturally, this leads many to assume that it won't be attractive. Only Capture One knows whether such pessimism is justified or not.

Finally Capture One's timing could have been better since those who decided to get a perpetual license for Capture One 23 may have made a different decision, had they known about the planned changes.

The community response to the announced changes has been very negative.

Personally, I don't mind the news much since Capture One 21 was the last version I bought. Capture One never fixed the brush usability issue they introduced two years ago and has since then repeatedly made very questionable UI choices from introducing waste of space in the UI to locking users into modes. Regarding the latter, instead of learning from the catastrophic response to Capture One's attempted change to exporting (making it modal), Capture One now introduced culling with the same modal mind set. They could have used the opportunity to improve long-term organisation of photos into sets of similar shots, but instead restricted such sets to temporary ones during culling.

All this, in combination with lacklustre feature additions (out of my range of interests and/or available for free with better functionality elsewhere), led me to a) stop recommending C1 to others, and b) be prepared to never buy another C1 license again.

I'll still continue to use C1 21 which, don't get me wrong, has many points in its favour. However, the just announced changes to the perpetual licence policy, push me away further from Capture One. I can understand that in order to survive a company has sometimes to decrease the value proposition for customers and/or push them into a subscription model, but what turns me off is that this is disingenuously done under the pretext of meeting customer wishes. Shame on you, marketing department. Shame on you.


Last edited by Class A; 12-06-2022 at 06:34 PM.
12-07-2022, 08:44 AM   #2
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Is it any worse than Adobe Stock allowing AI imagery?
12-07-2022, 09:54 AM   #3
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I fail to see the big catastrophe.

EDIT: Recently bought v23 and I've been happy with it.
12-07-2022, 10:42 AM - 1 Like   #4
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I also got this message ... and don't know what it will mean to me.

Pentax users in some ways are not well supported (lens profiles, tethering, special color profiles etc.) compared to the big brands. But I simply like Capture One Pro's concept and the results I get.

I didn't upgrade to C1Pro 23 because I don't see any new functionality that I'd need to have. But 22 brought the HDR module, that produces very natural looking results, and the Pano module. Both I often use.

So I'll simply wait and see what will happen in the future. I think they want people to change to subscription model without saying that that's their main intent.

12-07-2022, 11:43 AM - 1 Like   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by acoufap Quote
I also got this message ... and don't know what it will mean to me.

Pentax users in some ways are not well supported (lens profiles, tethering, special color profiles etc.) compared to the big brands. But I simply like Capture One Pro's concept and the results I get.

I didn't upgrade to C1Pro 23 because I don't see any new functionality that I'd need to have. But 22 brought the HDR module, that produces very natural looking results, and the Pano module. Both I often use.

So I'll simply wait and see what will happen in the future. I think they want people to change to subscription model without saying that that's their main intent.
Totally agree and the main reason I went to Capture One is that I hate Adobe and others model of rental software. That’s looking like the only option end goal they are heading. Reminds me of the dystopian future predicted by Klaus Schwab, founder of the World Economic Forum, who promises “You’ll own nothing and be happy” I always saw that as an order rather than a choice.
12-07-2022, 01:42 PM - 1 Like   #6
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Seems like most software companies are heading towards subscription based software. They're basically on course to get everyone to purchase a subscription. I would be very annoyed. That's the reason why I dumped Lightroom many years back.
12-07-2022, 06:19 PM - 1 Like   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by iheiramo Quote
I fail to see the big catastrophe.
It is a PR catastrophe for sure.

There is a significant backlash against the announced changes with many announcing to switch (back) to LR.

Most of the negative reaction is an overreaction, in my view, since not much will actually change.
They just made perpetual licenses less attractive by
  • significantly shortening the period in which a version receives bug fixes. This is a problem since bugs in C1 are not exactly a non-issue.

  • removing upgrade discounts. The future "loyalty scheme" is unlikely to be attractive because differences between future "versions" will be so small that many will not upgrade every time, meaning they won't be getting much out of a loyalty scheme. Customers are already not upgrading annually which is probably the reason why Capture One wants to push everybody into a subscription. Upgrading every year has been more expensive than paying a subscription so if perpetual license holders were upgrading annually, Capture One would be ill-advised to push them into subscriptions that resulted in less income for Capture One.
I'm concerned that making perpetual licences less attractive is just one move in a planned series of moves to get rid of perpetual licences all together.

12-08-2022, 02:35 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
I'm concerned that making perpetual licences less attractive is just one move in a planned series of moves to get rid of perpetual licences all together.
That is very likely, but they are still selling perpetual licences, thought steady income of subscribtion is better for the business.
12-09-2022, 07:02 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by iheiramo Quote
That is very likely, but they are still selling perpetual licences, thought steady income of subscribtion is better for the business.
Some people refer to Capture One (the company) as "greedy".

I wonder whether it's not "greed" or maximising the interests of the investment company that bought the Capture One team, but sheer necessity. They have to pay a team of 150+ employees. I took that number from a job advert and it translates to an astronomical salary figure.

I fail to understand how such a giant team does not manage more improvements in a year. Some bugs have not been fixed for years and feature additions are underwhelming, at least for a number of photographers. Capture One employees often respond to questions about unfixed bugs or feature requests that have not been realised that they are a "small team" and must "prioritise" development efforts. I really don't get that, if 150+ people are working at Capture One. Granted, only a small portion of them will be developers but still, I don't understand why so little has been achieved recently.
01-12-2023, 02:23 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
only a small portion of them will be developers but still, I don't understand why so little has been achieved recently.
Their main focus seems to be the iPad app, live sharing and generally serving the needs of professionals. Also remember they need to support both Windows and Mac, and as a developer of shared code for both platforms, I can tell you this is not trivial and there's a lot of code forking. Generally is tough to release new features on multiple platforms at the same time.
Personally I don't care about iPad tethering, live sharing, nor do I need large imports management, but despite several shortcomings I still find C1 the most compelling tool out there. I upgrade every year the perpetual license, and may even switch to a subscription, but what worries me the most is they will never support, say, K-1 III, and that will force me to move back to ON1 or try something else. Learning curve will be steep but oh well, learning and adjusting is part of staying alert and alive.
01-13-2023, 03:24 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by mirocal Quote
...I can tell you this is not trivial and there's a lot of code forking.
I wonder whether they accomplish any code sharing at all.
There were a number of bugs which should either have appeared on both platforms or neither, since they were independent of any hardware details.
I think it is quite likely that they maintain two separate code bases, which of course would be less than ideal.

QuoteOriginally posted by mirocal Quote
Generally is tough to release new features on multiple platforms at the same time.
I'm not saying it is easy but there is tool support for variant management that good software engineers would use.
Judging from my experience with Adobe "engineers", most of them are self-taught and do not exhaust the technological support that is available.
I don't have any reason to think differently of Capture One employees. Their quality control is certainly less than professional. As an example, I remember a bug reappearing in a later release that had been fixed before. Now and then, there are some issues which are easily discoverable, e.g., during a short beta testing trial, which are still not addressed in the official release.

QuoteOriginally posted by mirocal Quote
Personally I don't care about iPad tethering, live sharing, nor do I need large imports management, but despite several shortcomings I still find C1 the most compelling tool out there.
I fully agree. I don't care about these features either (but understand that they are important to others) but overall C1 would still be my top choice among RAW converters. There is a LOT to like about C1 which is why I've been recommending it in the past. I furthermore would not care about a product unless I thought that there is something worth protecting/developing. The trajectory worries me, though.

QuoteOriginally posted by mirocal Quote
I upgrade every year the perpetual license,
In the past I found each upgrade compelling enough to buy it (with upgrade discounts that got progressively worse over time). The latest two releases, however, I found to provide no benefit for me. On the contrary, they have become less attractive in parts.

QuoteOriginally posted by mirocal Quote
...may even switch to a subscription
I'll never do that out of principle.
I'd rather switch to Darktable and get used to a less slick interface but enjoy more functionality.

QuoteOriginally posted by mirocal Quote
...what worries me the most is they will never support, say, K-1 III
Why do you care about their K-1 III "support"?

Since C1 supports DNG files and the K-1 III should produce them, I don't see any reason why no official support should be a negative. There wouldn't be a C1-provided K-1 III camera profile but the Pentax profiles C1 offered were never something to write home about. Their marketing claim to handcraft every camera profile in a laborious process may be true for some Canikony flagships but most certainly does not apply to Pentax cameras. Some of the Pentax profiles were seriously botched initially and it took Capture One a very long time to fix them. Note that you can use any camera profile for any camera and although technically that should not yield the best results, from an aesthetic point of view, I prefer some of the other camera profiles over the ones that are officially supplied with C1 for Pentax cameras. Finally, although it is not as convenient as it could be, you can create your own camera profile and then use it in C1.
01-13-2023, 04:37 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
Why do you care about their K-1 III "support"?

Since C1 supports DNG files and the K-1 III should produce them, I don't see any reason why no official support should be a negative. There wouldn't be a C1-provided K-1 III camera profile but the Pentax profiles C1 offered were never something to write home about. Their marketing claim to handcraft every camera profile in a laborious process may be true for some Canikony flagships but most certainly does not apply to Pentax cameras. Some of the Pentax profiles were seriously botched initially and it took Capture One a very long time to fix them. Note that you can use any camera profile for any camera and although technically that should not yield the best results, from an aesthetic point of view, I prefer some of the other camera profiles over the ones that are officially supplied with C1 for Pentax cameras. Finally, although it is not as convenient as it could be, you can create your own camera profile and then use it in C1.
Before K1-II support I used DNG files on C1. Main problem was that high ISO colours were off, so basically anything above ISO800 was out of the question. K1-II PEF files support removed this problem and I like to believe even ISO100 shots look better. So, yeah I'd like to have K1-III support on C1 before I buy the camera.

Features in latest version ment nothing to me, but I skipped the previous, so wanted to get it to get the HDR and Panorama stitching. Especially the latter is nice to have, as I like to use it regularly. Compared to old discontinued MS ICE it's at least as good as it was.

I'm pretty happy with current version. I have typically skipped every other version, but as they are chancing the licence system, I might end up keeping this longer. I only really miss pixelshift support (and that K1-III support, but we need the camera first).
01-13-2023, 08:19 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by iheiramo Quote
Main problem was that high ISO colours were off, so basically anything above ISO800 was out of the question.
I believe you would have been able to address that by choosing a different camera profile (originally made for a different camera, or one that someone created for the K-1 II).

QuoteOriginally posted by iheiramo Quote
...(and that K1-III support, but we need the camera first)
Indeed.

I hope we'll get a K-1 III in the not too distant future. Not everyone wants to shoot film again, Pentax.
01-13-2023, 09:36 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
I believe you would have been able to address that by choosing a different camera profile (originally made for a different camera, or one that someone created for the K-1 II).
Could be, if I had realized that possibility.
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