Capture One – Comparing Perpetual License vs. Subscription

More software is going to a subscription model, which offers the benefits of a smaller up front cost and distributing the cost over multiple lower payments. The downsides are that there is a constant cost, and in most cases the cost of the subscription will overtake the cost of perpetual license and upgrades.

So, which is a better deal for Capture One users? Let’s look at the costs. These are current as of December 2018, are taken from, and  are subject to change at any time.

Updated for version 12 pricing:

Perpetual license: $300 (Buy from Amazon or Adorama, affiliate links)

Upgrades: $150, released approximately once a year.

Subscription: $20 paid monthly, or $180 paid yearly.

So in 2 years, a license + 1 upgrade would cost $450, a monthly subscription would cost $480, and a subscription paid yearly would cost around $360,  so at a year and eleven months paid monthly, and about two years and five months the yearly cost crosses over, and the subscription becomes more expensive (it is actually around the three year mark overall, since the next upgrade costs another $150/$135). This may change a bit depending on when in the release cycle you buy the licenses, but it is safe to say that in less than two and a half years the cost of the subscription exceeds the cost of the perpetual license and upgrades.

You can also choose to skip upgrades if it does not look like the upgrade is worthwhile. I haven’t run into that yet, the last several upgrades have added enough to justify upgrading. Phase One now allows for upgrades from any version, but it

If you are able to get a promo code for a 10% discount, usable only on perpetual licenses, the cost changes to $405 for the same license + 1 upgrade in two years, so the crossover point is at two years and three months. After that, the cost is at least 25% less every year ($135 for a discounted upgrade, $180-$240 for the subscription)

There is a chance that Phase One will go to a subscription only model in the future, and if that happens before you pay off the initial cost, you could end up paying a little more. Once you hit the crossover, there would be no difference.

If you already own a license eligible for upgrade, the perpetual license upgrade is the clear way to go, costing $150 (or $135)/year vs $180 to $240/year for the subscription.


With the recent increases in upgrade prices the subscription is closer to the perpetual price, but The monthly subscription price is still much too high, and you will end up paying well over the upgrade price for as long as you use Capture One. The yearly price is a little better, but requires forking over almost two thirds of the perpetual cost, and then 120-125% of the upgrade cost every year.

Take a look at the newest Capture One V12 features.

Check out my free Capture One styles.

Buy Capture One Pro 11 from Amazon or Adorama (affiliate links).

6 Replies to “Capture One – Comparing Perpetual License vs. Subscription”

  1. Thanks for this – pretty useful! One question: Single User Perpetual comes with ‘3 seats’, subscription single-user with only one seat? Is that the case, from what you’ve found?

  2. Thanks for taking the time to lay this out. I shoot real estate in volume and the competitors are much to slow for the amount I shoot. I’m switching ASAP!

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