Camera Bits, the company behind Photo Mechanic, announced that it will shift its photo editing and organization software away from perpetual licenses and toward a subscription model.
Historically, Photo Mechanic has been sold as perpetual software, which means buyers would pay a one-time fee to use the license for as long as it can run on their computer or operating system. Perpetual software licenses have become less common in recent years, and most photo and video editing software options have either added a subscription option or switched over to one entirely. Adobe started the trend when it launched Creative Cloud and in the last several years Capture One and Photomator have also moved to a subscription model.
Photo Mechanic will be taking the latter route and going wholly subscription-based as Camera Bits says that it is too complex for it to manage two options.
“The complexities of maintaining two parallel paths forward would prevent Camera Bits from focusing on delivering these improvements as fast as possible. When Camera Bits transitions to subscriptions after this sale, Camera Bits will no longer offer a perpetual license,” the company writes in a blog post on its website.
To justify the change, Camera Bits cites a few benefits to a subscription model as well as the success of other photographic software options that have already made the switch.
“Camera Bits has big plans for how to add modern workflow capabilities to Photo Mechanic. The best way for us to bring new features to Photo Mechanic in a timely manner is through a subscription model,” the company says.
“We note the success of other products in the photographic software space in making this transition. We truly believe this will benefit our users.”
Camera Bits did not elaborate on the “modern workflow capabilities” it hopes to add to the platform. However, the company does note some specific downsides that have come with perpetual software.
“As operating systems, macOS and Windows, have accelerated their releases, this has meant that owners of older licenses have not been able to use Photo Mechanic on their newer computers. This model has also resulted in a relatively slow update cycle for Photo Mechanic and delayed things like ‘Apple-silicon native’ or mobile versions of Photo Mechanic.”
Due to the shift to a subscription model, perpetual licenses of Photo Mechanic 6 and Photo Mechanic Plus will no longer receive major software updates or new features and will only receive “maintenance updates” (such as security updates) until May 2024. The company did not provide a specific date for when it planned to debut it subscription plans or how much they will cost.
Perpetual licenses to Photo Mechanic will continue to work provided editors do not update their operating systems. Camera Bits does not guarantee that the current perpetual versions of Photo Mechanic will continue to work on new computers or new operating systems.