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RIP Media Pro (1995-2018)

phased out

in General Rants , Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Last week I received a very unwelcome email from Phase One, current owners of the venerable MediaPro DAM application, announcing their decision to discontinue the product.


This isn’t really a big surprise, but it reflects very badly on Phase One as a company. They took over MediaPro from Microsoft in May 2010. I suppose their idea was to bolt it on the Capture One in some way, so as to have a more complete competitor to Lightroom and Aperture. In the event, some Media Pro concepts and design concepts have made their way in Capture One, but they didn’t need to buy the product for that. I doubt that they recruited any developers along with the acquisition, as the original team was hired by Microsoft when they took it over in 2006, and since almost no further development was done, probably that team dispersed.

It is a massive compliment to the original developers that MediaPro could still be a valid tool, and indeed in many ways a benchmark, after about 15 years of almost total neglect. It had a few pointless corporate make-overs, and the catalogue size limit was raised, but apart from that, zilch, apart from the (usually late) integration of the Capture One rendering engine.  Indeed, on the Mac some menu items are unchanged since pre OS-X days. And yet it is still elegant and very effective.

The problem appears to be that, unsurprisingly, the codebase is now completely obsolete, and will soon stop working at least on new macOS releases.  But this is nothing new: if Phase One had done a little due diligence back in 2o10 they would already have known this. The best case scenario is that they failed to do so, and hence were incompetent. The alternative is that they knew damn well it was heading for a cliff, did nothing, and milked whatever remaining customer base there was for all they could until finally they could pretend no longer.  The last full release, the grandly named Media Pro Second Edition, brought precisely nothing to the table, apart from a standard Phase One inflated price tag.

Their proposal now is that users switch to Capture One, which as a DAM, has far less functionality, and is frankly a joke compared to MediaPro for cataloging.  They are not even offering a discounted, or (gasp) free CaptureOne license as an apology. They are basically saying “thanks for your money, now fuck off”, or some Danish variant thereof.

Well, frankly, that seems to be par for the course for PhaseOne. I will certainly not be a customer of theirs any longer.  Their hardware is obviously out of my league, and their CaptureOne software is actually nothing special, and is ridiculously overpriced. Sadly a lot of people fall for the garish, overblown default look that CaptureOne applies to Raw files, and then get sucked in to its clumsy gasworks of a user interface and terrible catalog performance. Yes, it can all be dialled down, but side by side I’ve never seen anything that Capture One can do that Lightroom cannot do equally well or better.

But in any case, their behaviour with MediaPro shows just how much contempt they have for their non-megabucks spending customers.

I will be migrating to PhotoSupreme from MediaPro.  In many ways it is not as elegant, but it has a lot more functionality, and as far as I can see, the best alternative on macOS.


The iView website, back in 2000. Interesting that it was already available in Danish…

Posted in General Rants on Wednesday, September 05, 2018 at 01:02 PM • PermalinkComments (7)


Kaspar Pflugshaupt September 05, 2018 - 2:33
Thanks for the heads-up! I didn't notice they're closing shop on Media Pro.
Maybe it's because I didn't switch to the SE version -- couldn't see any reason to. I've just kept using the prior version. As you write: It's old software, but still very good at its core functionalities.
Please do post your experiences in moving to Photo Supreme (or whatever product you end up with). You will be doing MediaPro users a service (all five of us 😉 )


David Mantripp September 05, 2018 - 7:31
Hi Kaspar,
I only switched to SE because I felt it was somehow contributing to PhaseOne continuing to develop MediaPro. Naive of me, I know. Well, sort of - I'm not really surprised, I've never really perceived PhaseOne as particularly trustworthy. It makes me laugh when I read people's declarations that they're going to switch to CaptureOne because they can't trust Adobe. Little do they know...
I have written a bit on PhotoSupreme already - see here:
Regards, David


Bernard September 21, 2018 - 3:58
Well, full of hope I have just been testing Photo Supreme (latest version)…
Is it just me, or is the software rather prone to bugs? The handling of versions seems flaky to say the least. When trying for instance to "group" a raw file with the jpeg file created from it by a raw processor (in the same folder), the 2 files may appear in the Psu browser as either one file with tabs (OK), or two files with tabs (not so good…), or variations thereof, and trying to fix this results in all manner of strange glitches.
Also, when opening a raw file from Psu with a raw processor, refreshing the folder so that the resulting jpeg file appears in the browser is not very intutive ("Verify folder"???) and rather slow.
Unless I'm doing something wrong, even Capture One seems safer as a DAM.


Bernard September 21, 2018 - 6:18
Well, sorry about this… Digging further it appears that seeing all files of a version set is "normal"… I thought they would be stacked. You have to peruse the forum to find this information.
Now how to stack them, a new goal for my evening 😊


David Mantripp September 21, 2018 - 7:32
I'm afraid PSU has a very steep learning curve, and the UI is both often unintuitive (although it has improved) and not so well designed. There are some very strange decisions about priorities - for example the contortions required to add a colour label are ridiculous, and as far as I know there is no shortcut. And yes, it seems to have quite a lot of bugs, but on the other hand I've never had any data loss or corruption. But the whole paradigm is very, very untypical. Still, it is (much) better, in my opinion, than the last version of CaptureOne I used (v9).
Apparently the epically long-awaited DAM add-on for PhotoMechanic should appear this year. It might be worth considering that before committing to PSU.


Bernard September 21, 2018 - 9:43
Thanks David. Yes, I had almost given up on Photo Mechanic. We'll see… Of course I could go to Lightroom, as you did, and forget all this angst 😊


Brian Carlson December 08, 2018 - 11:00
I agree, their UI is pretty horrible. It feels like a car that was pieced together using several different model parts. I get the feeling they didn't do a lot of thinking ahead when they made the software, instead of fixing things they just kept adding on.