Capture One Pricing

Capture One Pricing continues to be a subject that keeps popping up in my In Box this week.

People want to know "why" the pricing and promotion seems to be so heavy handed with Capture One. Basically, equity capital. PhaseOne, the originator of Capture One software, turned into one of the most Western style companies in the camera business in terms of management. Phase One took on equity investors in 2004 (Silverfleet Capital), and were pushed hard to become more efficient and growth oriented. Silverfleet themselves point to Phase One as one of their more successful investments, and claim that the software side had at an annual growth rate of 38% when Silverfast sold their investment in 2019 to Axcel (and Phase One managers). While Silverfast pushed Capture One hard, Axcel is doing so harder, as they have to justify their purchase.

The real complaint I keep getting is the old "value for money" one. Simply put, many Capture One users are feeling like new features, performance, and camera/lens support lags what they expect for what they're paying. 

Just to be clear, here's the current situation:

  • Full Capture One Pro — US$19/month (annually) or US$299 for version 21 perpetual license
  • Full Capture One — US$19/month (annually) or US$179 for version 21 perpetual license
  • Capture One for BRAND — US$14/month (annually) or US$199 for version 21 perpetual license

The company also promotes a lot of +Styles packages that increase the confusion and prices, and the monthly subscriptions cost more (US$24 and US$19, respectively) if actually paid monthly. 

It's a lot to decipher. 

Personally, I don't have a lot to say about the prices. Yes, they're aggressive, but you can be the judge of whether they present real value return for you. And, of course, Capture One is very likely to keep running promotions as they did (excessively) in the 2021 holiday season, so there's that.

The real problem I see is the confusion that Capture One has sown. In December I had no idea what the actual price of upgrading my license really was. I received three different offers (that were as much 2x apart in savings!) and had already heard rumors about upcoming price changes. I had no idea how to value their product, and thus did not upgrade. 

What I find ironic is that Capture One is doing the micromanagement of pricing changes (mostly upward) that everyone was sure that Adobe was going to do with the Photography Plan. As it turned out, no. The Photography Plan has been stable, and we're now getting a reasonable stream of new features and performance along the way, as well. Jumping from Lightroom/Photoshop to Capture One just because of Fear of Creative Cloud (FOCC) turned out to be a false escape.

Businesses want your money, as they need it to survive. You vote with your money, determining their survival. It's really a simple proposition. The way I call it: Capture One has gone out of their way to make it not so simple, confusing to understand, and with pricing getting more attention than the features of their product. I see exactly why everyone is complaining. 

Meanwhile: Capture One 21 version 14.0.2 was just released, and it has the official support for the Nikon Z6 II and Z7 II cameras as well as the Panasonic S1M, S1RM, and S5 cameras, the GFX 100 pixel shift files, and some bug fixes. 

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