However the RAW processing of Photo isn't the best on the market. I use Capture One Pro for that.
I briefly tried that out and might look into it again (though Affinity is currently also working on a Lightroom/Capture One competitor of their own so hopefully they work on the RAW processing as well). Is it worth getting one of the packages and what is their release rate like? Better to go subscription or buy outright?
Do you have a link to the info on the upcoming Affinity/RAW product? I was hoping for/assuming they might be working on that when they asked for Sample RAW images, but then when they released the Photo Beta with an overhauled RAW engine, I thought, well maybe that is what it was for.
Capture One is a Once of Year major update/release. They do have minor versions but usually are not releasing anything substantial until the next year.
They just released 12. Even if you did a trial on 11, I believe (could be mistaken) that they will let you test drive 12 for 30 days also.
As for is it better to go subscription or full version. This one is tricky since they are both pretty expensive (IMO), unless you only have a Sony camera. They added Layers in 11 and honestly that was the big update that made it an even bigger product, they also raised the rate at that time. I have 11 and don't feel like 12 has game changing things that I would need to upgrade to. However, usually they only give upgrade pricing for 2 versions. So I think the typical upgrade path for a lot of people is buy one version then skip before another upgrade.
I don't like subscriptions so paying $180 a year for one is a bit tough to imagine. I'm someone that could easily live with version 11 for a number of years. The only question of needing an upgrade to me would be buying a Camera in the future that isn't compatible with an old version. I bought a couple cameras last year and don't expect to upgrade for a few more years. If they let you upgrade say 4-5 versions down the road when you have a perpetual license it would be pretty easy for me personally to answer. But with the upgrade path being limited, there are more factors involved that you might have to think through depending on your situation.
I have not bought any of the "style" packages but I have search for and downloaded a few. I can't see myself paying that much for them, though with the right source and the right style they can be useful as a starting point, especially since you can tweak from there non-destructively. I believe version 12 lets you add the styles as a layer so you can adjust the opacity of them.
Wish it wasn't so expensive, but also haven't found anything better.