DXO NIK Collection 6
I have recently purchased DXO NIK Collection 6, here I'll give an outline of why I wanted this software and what my history of using the product is, along with some of the pros and cons as I now see them.
Back in 2012 my then photography tutor recommended I look at Silver Efex as it was considered one of the best tools for processing digital images for black and white. At that time NIK sold the tools separately or, for the price of a couple of the tools, you could buy the set as a bundle which is what I did. I got on well with the tools and made extensive use of both Silver Efex and later Color Efex. Around 2014 I swapped computers and was unable to activate the NIK licenses on the new machine, I found Google had taken over the software and via their support team I was able to get an installable version. Subsequently I could reinstall that version as I changed computers a couple of times but when I started using Capture One Pro I intended to manage without it.
DXO took over the NIK Collection in 2017, I've been on their mailing list and recently was interested to see this announcement:
"We had to rebuild it from the ground up and rewrite every line of code! Today, with the launch of the version 6.3, we are very happy to announce that this rebuild is complete - with powerful new tools, refined interfaces, and cutting-edge workflow integration. "
This prompted me to take a fresh look at the NIK Collection. Here listed are the tools in the collection:
- Nik 6 Analog Efex
- Nik 6 Color Efex
- Nik 6 Dfine
- Nik 6 HDR Efex
- Nik 6 Perspective
- Nik 6 Sharpener
- Nik 6 Silver Efex
- Nik 6 Viveza
|Control point in Silver Efex
This is some of what has improved since my old version:
- There is non-destructive editing.
This is a major improvement, though there are some limitations and the implementation does mean you end up with very large tiff files (e.g. a 56MB raw becomes a 297MB tiff after editing).
- The code runs as 64 bit and is supported for Windows 11
(see link below for DXO's full list of compatibilities).
- The tools can now use GPU acceleration (except Viveza).
- In addition to Control Points (U Points), there are now Control Lines (and you can mix the two control types).
- There's a new tool, NIK Perspective, for geometry corrections.
It also offers a tilt-shift miniature effect.
- Color Efex now has ClearView, a haze reduction filter.
- NIK Collection works as a Plugin for Affinity Photo (and installs as a plugin automatically).
- NIK Collection works with Capture One Pro via the Edit with and Open with options (though there are a few steps to manually set this up). You can also run any of the NIK tools as a standalone.
- There are some new presets, including the 25th Anniversary (Nik Multimedia was founded in 1995) and En Vogue sets. Silver Efex ships with 64 presets (and you can create your own presets).
|Affinity Photo 2 with NIK plugins
|Capture One Pro with NIK plugins via Edit with
However there are a few qualifying factors to consider:
- Cost, in the UK it's normally £135 (2023, but look out for discounts) for a perpetual license.
- There have been a lot of small updates from DXO. Keeping up with the new versions means paying an upgrade fee. But if you don't keep up with the upgrades (within a couple of major release) then DXO may only offer you a full license purchase.
- If you have other DXO software then NIK may not add much, there are overlaps in functionality, for example PhotoLab now has Control Points and ViewPoint covers what NIK Perspective does.
- Older NIK presets (pre DXO) may not work with the new tools (I haven't tried this, they can probably be edited as a workaround).
- The interface could be better, some of the icons are very small and the sliders could be wider.
- It still feels like the suite could be more coherent.
I've always liked what I could do with Silver Efex so having a better, updated version is worth it for me and I'm sure I'll also use the other tools. However I suspect I'm unlikely to upgrade often unless there are some significant new features added. The NIK Collection should complement and extend what I can do with Capture One Pro, pending any future decision to switch my raw convertor (DXO PhotoLab is one of the possible options at some point).
User Guides: https://userguides.dxo.com/nikcollection/en/