Photographers are Upset as Photo Mechanic goes to Subscription Model

As if photographers haven’t had enough to complain about these days online, the latest is the news from the makers of Photo Mechanic, Camera Bits, that they’re scraping their perpetual license for a monthly subscription model. Needless to say the natives are restless. And as someone who use Photo Mechanic exclusively in my photography workflow, I’m a little upset as well.

While I’m disappointed that Photo Mechanic is moving to a subscription model, like everyone else, I think was got me more upset was how I found out. The news was buried in an email Camera Bits sent out. If you didn’t scroll all the way down and clicked a link how would you know they were making this change?

My other issue with Camera Bits moving to a monthly subscription model is what have they done with Photo Mechanic to justify moving to a monthly subscription? They have minor bug fixes here and there, but there hasn’t been a new feature release in ages. Unless I’m missing something somewhere.

And I’m being honest. Yes, Adobe has a monthly model, but Adobe has updates like every other week. When was the last time Photo Mechanic had a huge update with new features?

This software fills a very specific need for photographers. It ingests photos lightning quick and combined with Code Replacements, we can tag our photos and update the meta data faster than any other software out there. There is no AI facial recognition like other software. You can’t edit photos like Lightroom or Photoshop. It’s main focus is to help facilitate a faster workflow for ingesting and editing meta data.

As soon as this announcement found it’s way to the forefront, photographers were none too pleased. Many saw this as for what it is, a money grab by Camera Bits. There is no other way around it. They saw other companies offering monthly models and figured why not. Problem is Camera Bits hasn’t offered any real value or reason for the move which leads photographers to speculate it’s a way to make more money.

To make matters worse, Camera Bits and their President, Dennis Walker, has come off smug and arrogant with their defense of the decision. You can read his response and FAQs about the changes here on the Camera Bits website.

I can’t envision myself moving to a monthly subscription at this time. Maybe if we get a roadmap of upcoming feature enhancements and changes, that might alter my choice, but I can’t envision myself committing to a monthly fee for software that doesn’t get updated enough. I love the software, but for what it does, and does well, I honestly don’t know how they can improve on it.

Other photographers have shared the same sentiment as well. I’m not sure there is enough outcry to change the thinking of Camera Bits and it’s President, but if enough photographers walk away then there might be some tough choices to be made.

I wouldn’t mind trying out some alternatives if Camera Bits keeps their line of thinking. Aftershoot is one that has my attention. The AI facial recognition looks fascinating especially when used with sports. That could be a game changer for me. And while it does have a monthly subscription the features offered make it worth while.

As Camera Bits goes into the new year and continues to evaluate the situation and see what the landscape looks like, I will be keeping my eye out for alternatives. I’m a loyal customer and have been for years, but if I feel my money is better spent elsewhere, I won’t hesitate to make the change. And judging from the other photographers online, they have no problem leaving Camera Bits behind either. Then who will they charge for their monthly software?

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