My understanding is that the Nik Collection does not behave as a true plugin with PL (it does with other workflow applications such as the Adobe offerings), but requires an actual export to a TIFF intermediate file. A true plugin works with the internal image processing pipeline of a workflow application, not requiring an external file to be written by the primary application (eg, PL) and then that file to be read by the plugin, and NOT reimported as the original raw (eg, NEF) file into the primary but rather as the external file format (eg, TIFF). If the above is correct (or has DxO now allowed DxO’s own Nik applications to work as true plugins to PL5?), what is the advantage of the Nik collection over the full PL5E including Viewpoint and Filmpack that are integrated into the full PL5E? (As pointed out in other discussions on this forum, PL5E is licensed as an incomplete workflow application until both VP and FP are “activated” within it, each for a separate additional license fee.)
Yes, using PhotoLab, sending an image to the Nik Collection creates an intermediate TIFF file, which the Nik application writes its edits to. This TIFF file can continue to be edited in PhotoLab without altering it, because PhotoLab, unlike Nik, is a non-destructive editor. It uses sidecar files to store adjustments and some metadata. (Other data is kept in a database.)
Your other question about Nik vs. PL + FP + VP has been addressed before in other topics. Most recently, here:
Thank you for the reply; I found those but I had hoped (silly me) that DxO finally would give PL the same functionality with Nik plugins that DxO provides for a competitor “suite” from Adobe. No such luck. Thus, those actions in PL that require an undemosaiced true raw file (eg, a NEF) must be done first before using a Nik plugin that creates a TIFF and that PL will NOT treat as a true raw. This causes one, after using say DeepPRIME on a raw, exporting via a real on-disk TIFF to Nik, and looking at the results, to go back to the raw in PL, readjust, re-export, etc., that can be several time consuming iterations. In a true plugin using the internal image workflow pipeline, one may have iterations, but not repeatedly export to a TIFF, etc.