Here’s a random thought on this Wednesday as I opened up my email and saw a full version upgrade for Capture One. Their last update was one year ago (Capture One 12). Now they’re at Capture One 20. Most likely following the industry by numbering the software based on the year.

As I looked at the list of new features, I thought to myself “How are people not hating on this like they do when Adobe comes out with an update?”.

If Adobe had waited a full year to add 8 “things” to Lightroom and charged you $159 dollars for the upgrade, the photography community would freakin’ be on fire!

I can only imagine the venom that the old Peta-Stoppers websites would be spewing. Imagine the click bait headlines now “Adobe does nothing for photographers!” or “Has Adobe abandoned photographers?” or even better “Is Lightroom Dead?”.

Now, first and foremost… I’m not trying to make any Capture One user feel bad about their software. I’m actually trying to make those that are on the Adobe $9.99 plan feel better about what they have. It’s those tabloid-like websites I mentioned above that constantly bombard you (and the venom-spewing commenters in them) that try to make anyone that likes Lightroom feel like crap all the time by only posting two words to any Lightroom article… “Capture One”. Those tabloid-like communities are the worst of the worst in photography, and I hope you never listen to them.

I Really Like Capture One

Honestly, I really like Capture One. I’m even working on a course on it for early 2020. I think it’s one of the best and smoothest raw processors on the market next to Lightroom. They have several tools that I wish Lightroom had. Like the way they implement local corrections as layers. They aren’t Photoshop layers by the way, but still very cool with features I wish LR’s local adjustments had. I love the way you can customize their interface as well. Their color tools are really cool too. And anyone that uses it has great software, and should be happy with their purchase.

Heck, I’d consider using it if they had two (well, 2 and a half) things…

  • Photoshop. Not having Photoshop is a deal breaker for me. And C1 isn’t good enough for me to drop LR, and use C1 with PS (which would cost me even more money). And no, Affinity Photo isn’t even close so don’t go there.
  • A good mobile platform/strategy (nobody can even TOUCH Lightroom when it comes to this right now).
  • 2.5 – Their interface is just too small and “techie” for me. My eyesight sucks and I have to lower the resolution of my monitor every time I open C1.

Anyway, it’s great software and, like I said, be happy if you choose to use it. But don’t try to make me feel like crap by saying Adobe doesn’t update LR Classic anymore and that $9.99 is too much money to spend each month.

Let’s Do the Math

Let’s do the math for a second. Capture One costs $299 (almost 3 years worth of the Adobe Photography Plan). And every year they release an upgrade which costs another $159 ($40 a year more than you’d spend with Adobe if you paid $9.99 a month). So, for two years of C1 you’re in for $460, where as with Adobe you’d be in for $240. That’s almost double.

Many people say they hate subscriptions, but what do you call it if the software is updated every year and you have to pay to upgrade it. Yeah… you’re on a yearly subscription whether you like it or not. I know… then you get the whole “I don’t have to upgrade” line “because I own my version”.

You do need to upgrade, whether you like it or not. Why? Because there’s going to be that one feature that you really want and you’re going to be mad that you don’t have it. OS changes will eventually phase out your no-longer-supported version. And EVERY new version of everything has improved performance right? Nobody is ever satisfied with the performance of their software – we all want faster. Not to mention if you get a new camera, you’re out of luck because your old version won’t support it. Trust me… I know the stats… the vast majority of people pay each year to upgrade to every new version.

How About Features?

Now let’s compare features. Capture One’s list of new features has 14 items on it. Adobe’s has 30. I won’t get in to how useful those features are because they vary in usefulness to every person out there. I’ll admit, some (on both sides) are small and incremental. However, somebody wanted them or they wouldn’t be there. But some people will find them useful and some won’t, so it’s not really worth debating. But here’s a graphic that shows LR’s new features for 2019 compared to Capture One’s.

But Wait… There’s More!

Those features above are just in Lightroom Classic. That doesn’t include anything in Photoshop – which comes with your $9.99 payment (but used to cost $700). And it doesn’t include any of the Lightroom Mobile, and Lightroom Web changes which include portfolios and a bunch of other things I use all the time.

As I said in the beginning. If you’re a Capture One user, I don’t want to make you feel bad about your software. My hope for people is to decide on a pricing model and a software package that works for them – and don’t look back. Spend your time getting good at it, and not second guessing the decision you made because some click-bait Peta-Stopper article tries to stir the pot.

I Miss The Old Days

I hate to say this, because it just sounds like the old guy complaining about the new age. But I miss the old days. The days when we all mostly used the same software and we could all talk about one thing… editing and improving our photos. Now the conversations so often revolve around what software to use, more than what to do with that software and how to do it.

People are switching software left and right. I see it and hear it every day from my readers. Trying one thing… and then going back and trying another… then buying yet another one (because it’s on sale for 24 hours!) and their email marketing ad told you it’s the best software out there.

I guess, as they say, competition is good. But sometimes it just doesn’t feel that way. Sometimes it feels like the photography community, at large, has spent more money on software in the last 6 years than needed, and is (still today) more confused than ever about their workflow.

As I said earlier. This wasn’t to make anyone feel bad about what they use. Quite the opposite. It was only to point out how silly the hatred is for a company that led the charge in making photo editing software cheaper than it’s ever been in history. Try Goggling some old prices. You’ll see that everything used to cost $400 and above.

If you don’t want to use Adobe, no sweat. You should use whatever fits your price point and needs as a photographer. But don’t try make Adobe users feel bad when you don’t have a leg to stand on. If you’re a Capture One user, you have great software – no doubt about it. But it’s not cheaper and they don’t update it more (and add more features) than the program you switched from.


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