Hi all, with the NIK Collection on sale at the moment, I’ve taken a closer look at it these past few days. I haven’t used it before but always heard good things (even before DXO purchased it).
I grabbed the NIK demo and have spent a bit of time with it. I currently have PL5 with ViewPoint 3 and FilmPack 6 Elite. Looking at what NIK offers, it seems there’s a lot of overlap with PL5 + VP3 + FP6. Granted there’s some artistic effects from Color Efex; Silver Efex is well reviewed for B&W but is it that much better than what FP6 offers? Plus with anything sent to NIK, it has to be converted to a TIFF file first - no raw support.
Does anyone else use NIK along side the full Photo Lab package? I just want to get some insight to be sure I’m not missing anything. Any feedback would be appreciated! Thanks in advance
I sometimes use Nik as well as PL5 + VP3 + FP6 Elite editions. In some ways, I think Analog and Silver Efex are better than FilmPack, but the way FilmPack integrates into PL is more useful. FP6 is weak when it comes to frames, light leaks, and some other effects, but has a good variety of film emulations and controls. I think the overall rendering of Silver Efex can be better than FP’s for B&W conversions, but not significantly.
HDR Efex isn’t my go-to software for what it does. Nevertheless, it can give good results sometimes.
Dfine 2 isn’t a substitute for PRIME NR, but it can handle some unusual types of noise that other software can’t. I’m not sure when I last used it, though. Most of the time, I use Topaz Sharpen AI or DeNoise AI if I need something more than PhotoLab.
I haven’t used the Nik sharpening tools. And as far as I know, Perspective Efex is a clone of ViewPoint 3.
The latest versions of the Nik Collection (4 and 5) bring some important bug fixes and performance improvements. More improvements are needed, but I like to play with different renderings so I’m more willing to use the Nik Collection now in addition to PL + VP + FP. I will admit, though, that I’m not upgrading from Nik 4 to Nik 5. I want to see more improved before I upgrade.
Many of us, including myself, use all those programs. I don’t believe that there is much in the Nik Collection that can’t be accomplished using PhotoLab with FilmPack with enough skill, time and effort.
I only use Nik only occasionally, and I find its advantage is all the pre-cooked creative ideas which can be modified as desired and even mixed with other creative tools fairly easily and quickly.
For those of us who are looking for a very specific result and know how to accomplish it within the PhotoLab suite, the Nik Collection may be somewhat redundant and unnecessary. However, although I don’t use it all that often, it occasionally sparks a creative approach that hadn’t previously occurred to me. That makes the Nik Collection valuable to me.
I agree - tho, Color Pro is very good at adding a bit of “pop & punch” to images that need it too.
If I had to choose either the Nik Collection or the Elite Bundle, I’d go for the bundle.
As your requirements might differ from mine, I propose you try the software before you buy.
I have the same set of DxO products as you, along with the Nik 5 collection.
My main use of the Nik 5 suite is for B&W conversion with Silver Efex. I’m sure others are correct in saying that you can achieve the same results with PL & FP. However, I find it much easier and quicker to achieve the results I want with Silver Efex using the built- in presets as a starting point.
I find the Nik collection a “nice to have” rather than essential, and the vast majority of my photo processing is done on RAW files with the PL, VP & FP suite. So ultimately, I think it’s a case of whether or not you think the additional investment is worth it for something you may only use occasionally.
Thanks all for the replies! I went ahead with the purchase.
I spent some time with the NIK Collection a bit more and really took a liking to Color Efex in particular - lots of cool potential here. Plus most of the plugins work on Affinity Photo which expands function there too.