There is some debate over the right choice in photo editing software. For years, Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop as part of Adobe Creative Cloud have been the standard go-to for this sort of thing. These products have been around for years, and outside of their new pricing model, which is a monthly subscription, there has never been a need to switch. After using Capture One for the last 30 days as part of a trial — I’ll give my thoughts.
Everyone hates the subscription model for software we use daily. At $9.99/mo, that seems to be right in the area of being annoyingly expensive, and small enough to get lost in the “Subscriptions” category of your monthly budget. When Microsoft’s office products moved to the subscription model, I found alternatives. Apple’s tools are useable, and Google’s free web-based tools are even better. The nice thing about word processing, spreadsheets, and slideshows are that there are viable options to switch.
The price for Capture One varies, but there are some options where you can purchase a license to the software without subscription. This can get as low as $129 for specific camera platforms, such as Fuji. Adobe doesn’t have this option, so you’re looking at $120/yr but you have access to a constantly updating product. This can be both good and bad, since you’ll get the latest features faster, but there have been some quality issues which may not work for people that depend on a stable version.
When it comes down to features, Adobe wins in every category. The combination of Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop do everything that Capture One does, but better. Everything from sorting photos, to editing, the user interface, mobile support…. Adobe does it the same or better. Capture One allows for layers in editing, which seems to be its largest feature over Lightroom, but this feature is standard for Photoshop. It seems that the division between the two products for Adobe are gradually converging a bit. For these reasons, I can’t switch over to Capture One without losing functionality. In short, we’re still going to continue to be held hostage by Adobe and their subscription model.