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Capture One Licenses Compared: Finding the Right License for You

Comparing Capture One Licenses

Abode Lightroom was once the gold standard for photographers looking to streamline their workflow and have a process for cataloging, managing, and editing their pictures – all in one place. Phase One changed the market with its new license approach for Capture One. We will take a look at what is up and down concerning licenses for Capture One. It is the 13th generation of Capture One software, but with its recent changes of license options, it is appealing to a wider range of photographers, instead of only being for high-end photography. I have earlier reviewed Capture One in one of my articles.

Is Capture One really expensive anymore?

Capture One, with its variety of license options, provides flexibility. You can choose how much of the software you need, and make a decision. A Capture One license, hence, doesn’t come across as really expensive these days, unless you have a special need. It is almost a custom-package, and it can be as low as $9.99 per month for you with all the features of the software available at your disposal.

Capture One is a capable high-end RAW processor priced at the same range as Lightroom/Photoshop

Capture One Perpetual License vs. Subscription

Many of the major software applications have turned to subscription models, doing away with the one-time license fee entirely. Adobe, for example, removed one-time licenses with Adobe’s Creative Cloud. The same is the case with Microsoft for most of its applications.

Capture One Licenses, on the other hand, come in both perpetual license form and subscription model. The best of both worlds is available in Capture One, letting you choose the license that fits your budget and workflow.

The major difference between the two models is that a perpetual License is limited to a single version of the application. You need to pay separately if you wish to upgrade to a newer version later. In the subscription model, however, you get all the upgrades as soon as they are available. An important point to note for perpetual licenses is that you get updates to the version you bought for free. However, upgrade to a newer version comes with an upgrade fee.

Benefits of Perpetual License for Capture One

For a one-time cost, you own the license. This covers the insurance of having a genuine license in times that you aren’t doing as well. Often, especially for freelancers but also for large corporations, it can be tough managing day to day expenses. In such a scenario, they can always have the comfort of having a version that doesn’t require monthly or yearly upkeep.

About the upgrades, how often do we really need the latest version, especially when our workflow is steady? Windows XP and Windows 7 outlasted continued long after their support ended. Adobe CS6 is still used by the users who bought the license and don’t need the newer features.

Upgrades only add newer features, but the base software stays the same, and often you don’t feel the need to upgrade. And in case you do, you have an option of a discounted upgrade license, because you are a Phase One customer.

A one-time license for Capture One 20 Pro is priced at $299, while a single camera model version of Capture One Pro costs $129. Currently, you can get single camera model versions for either Nikon, Sony, or Fuji. So if you only use Nikon cameras, there is no reason to buy the full version. The same goes for Sony and Fuji.

Benefits of Subscription Model

For a monthly cost, you can use the full version (or a camera model-specific version, and save a bit of money), without any worry of future upgrades.

All the upgrades are automatically delivered, based on your settings, without any extra cost. The costs can be as low as $9.99 a month for single-camera model software and $20 a month for Capture One Pro that you can use with all camera models. As a result, it suits the needs of freelancers and small photography and retouching teams.

The best thing about subscription licenses is that you choose the mode – be it yearly or monthly, and you can stop the subscription whenever you don’t feel the need to use the software. It usually translates to the fact that you will be paying for the software as long as you are using it. It also allows you the flexibility to jump between different software. For example, you might have issues with Capture One at one point, and you decide to move towards Adobe LightRoom or other such software.

Capture One License For One Camera Model or All?

Whether you buy a Capture One Pro license or one of the Capture One for Fuji-film license, Capture One for Sony license, or Capture One for Nikon license should be based on your own setup and your team requirements. For a freelancer who shoots his or her own pictures, you can choose one camera model, and it will seamlessly fit into your workflow. The software is the same, after all. Every feature is exactly the same. Only support for camera models is different.

If you are a retoucher, however, you will need a Capture One Pro License, because you will have to deal with different formats of images. Capture One doesn’t have a license for Canon users, so Canon users have no option but to choose the Capture One Pro. However, it makes sense for Phase One to also make Canon a specific license in the future. (the Nikon version has just recently been added, in 2020).

Buy Capture One Subscription: Monthly vs Yearly?

Paying monthly vs paying yearly is usually a question of convenience rather than anything else. There’s an additional option to consider here, though. Let’s look at the three available options in proper details:

Capture One annual subscription cost is 25% cheaper than the cheapest monthly payment option (although Annual plan). In this option, you cannot cancel your subscription in between one year, and the monthly price offered is on the condition of a one year tenure.

There’s another model – monthly model that’s billed monthly. This is costlier than the other monthly payment option by about 20%, although it allows you to cancel any time and your billing will stop.

Update frequency

Whatever subscription plan you take – the updates are available at the same time, as soon as available, in all subscription plans. The updates are electronically delivered.

Benefits of Each Payment Method

If you can, it is best to choose an Annual-Prepaid subscription. Apart from not having to worry about paying again, you are also saving plenty of money while keeping the rest of the year hassle-free. (Subscription Model: Annual, billed annually)

If you cannot afford a one-time large amount, but you plan to use the software for the long term, then a monthly model with an annual plan is the best option. (Subscription Model: Annual, billed monthly)

If you are a freelancer, or in a contractual position or job where you are reimbursed for your license monthly, it makes more sense going for a monthly model with any time cancel option. (Subscription Model: Monthly, billed monthly with any time cancel option).

What does Capture One Cost?

Costs for Perpetual License

Check out the lastest pricing for Capture One here.

Capture One Pro 20 Perpetual License
One-time payment: $299.

Capture One Pro 20 Perpetual License + 145 Styles
One-time payment: $448.

Capture One Pro for Fujifilm/Sony/Nikon (any one) Perpetual License
One-time payment: $129.

Capture One Pro for Fujifilm/Sony/Nikon (any one) Perpetual License + 110 Styles
One-time payment: $218.  

Capture One Pro Annual Subscription with Annual Payment
Annual payment: $180

Capture One Pro Annual Subscription + 145 Styles
Annual payment: $180 + One-time payment: $149 (Ultimate Styles Collection)

Capture One for Fujifilm/Sony/Nikon Annual Subscription
Annual payment: $99

Capture One Fujifilm/Sony/Nikon Annual Subscription + 110 Styles
Annual payment: $99 + One-time payment: $89 (Professional Styles Kit)

Capture One Pro Annual Subscription with Monthly Payment
Monthly payment: $20

Capture One Pro Annual Subscription with Monthly Payment+ 145 Styles
Monthly payment: $20 + One-time payment: $149 (Ultimate Styles Collection)

Capture One for Fujifilm/Sony/Nikon Annual Subscription with Monthly Payment
Annual payment: $9.99

Capture One Fujifilm/Sony/Nikon Annual Subscription with Monthly Payment + 110 Styles
Annual payment: $9.99 + One-time payment: $89 (Professional Styles Kit)

Capture One Pro Monthly Subscription
Monthly payment: $24

Capture One Pro Monthly Subscription+ 145 Styles
Monthly payment: $24 + One-time payment: $149 (Ultimate Styles Collection)

Capture One for Fujifilm/Sony/Nikon Monthly Subscription
Annual payment: $16

Capture One Fujifilm/Sony/Nikon Monthly Subscription + 110 Styles
Annual payment: $16 + One-time payment: $89 (Professional Styles Kit)

Comparing it to other software platforms?

Capture One’s direct comparison and competition comes in the form of Adobe Lightroom. (Do read: Adobe LightRoom 2020 vs Capture One.) It comes from the fact that both are powerful software that offer cataloging as well as raw image processing, along with other features such as export and develop presets. While Adobe is the industry leader in photo editing software, Capture One’s greatest advantage is that it has been developed by a camera manufacturer itself. The software, thus, is for the photographers and by the photographers.

It shows its presence in some of the major differences between the software like presence of layers in Capture One, better masking options like luma masks, and more controls on colors. Effectively, it incorporates some of the features of Photoshop within the software. Hence, it is costlier than Lightroom cost-wise, Lightroom starts at $9.99 a month with either 1TB cloud storage, or with a Photography Plan, that includes Photoshop and Lightroom Mobile too, and 20GB cloud storage.

Capture One is available for both Windows and Mac OS, and a trial version can be obtained from the same. Capture One is fast becoming an all industry tool, garnering positive reviews over its workflow and features. The fact that it isn’t trying to beat anyone in price furthers its focus on developing the product further. PhaseOne is one of the companies that specialize in high-end photography equipment and delivers software to match it.

Learn more about Capture One:
Check out our popular Capture One Tutorials

Author

  • Hey I'm Peter. I'm the owner and editor of Photography-RAW. I make sure that you get the best articles about photography. Personally, I prefer to shoot landscape, nature and macro photography. I hope you enjoy the site 🙂

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