Capture NX-D

Updates to my Guide To Nikon Capture NX-D

I have made a few updates to my Guide To Nikon Capture NX-D, which remains as the most viewed post of this little blog. I really didn’t think much about it when I wrote it, except that I felt that someone should write something about this much-maligned and underrated gem. This time, I made some amendments about recommendations for colour noise reduction and revised some grammar throughout the article to make some points clearer. -WY

Google Nik Collection Now Totally 100% Free

Nik
In case you did not get the news yet, the Google Nik Collection is now absolutely free for download and use, no strings attached.

Yes the “totally 100%” in the title is unnecessary and grammatically repetitive – but I’m using that just to emphasize how real this is.

I’m still in the process of moving and bringing up my new PC online, so it will be quite a while before I start posting regularly.

Get the download here.

Nikon’s Capture NX suffered greatly feature-wise when Google bought over Nik Software and Nikon was no longer able to license the Nik plugins. Hence we have the current horribly feature-reduced Capture NX-D today. The only reason why anyone still uses Capture NX now is when the RAW converters from Adobe and Phase One can’t interpret a Nikon NEF optimally. Or if getting the best image quality from a NEF is most important to you and you have time for a somewhat more troublesome workflow. Now that Google is allowing free downloads of the Nik Collection, the whole situation just feels ironic and surreal. Note that Google is only giving the software away for free, not giving away the licensing rights or technology know-hows. So no, Nikon still can’t put Nik technology back into Capture NX. So now you can appreciate how ironic this is, and how bitter Nikon might feel about this whole situation. šŸ˜›

Granted, the Nik Collection has not undergone a lot of updates in recent years, and it will not be surprising if further development has ceased. However it is still very good software that deserves a look by everyone. So hit the link and give the software a try.

Guide And Tips For Working With Nikon Capture NX-D

Updated 2 August 2017 for recommendation about colour noise reduction. Clarified recommendations for colour profiles. Revised grammar.

Updated 22 June 2017 for information about astro noise reduction.

Updated 2 December 2016 for revised recommendations.

Updated 25 November 2016 to include reader observations and suggestions. Also included amended recommendations for noise reduction.

Updated on 5 October 2016 to include more details about the Picture Controls and adjust some grammar.

Capture NX-D is a great RAW converter for Nikon NEFs, no matter how you feel about its in-sufficiency for everything else. For those initial steps of detail extraction, colour interpretation, global exposure adjustment, and noise reduction – it is a great tool. I have spent nearly two years experimenting with the various RAW conversion tools – ACR, Capture One Pro, Photo Ninja, DXO OP, etc. Against all these paid options, NX-D performs surprisingly well. It is especially good at colour reproduction, where none of the competition could quite get the kind of accurate true-to-life colours as NX-D could. Of course, I should emphasize that realistic colours does not automatically mean it looks good to everyone! It really boils down to a matter of preference. Personally I find it easier to perform my edits on a well-exposed image with a neutral colour palette. I use NX-D to produce a globally exposure-adjusted, colour-corrected, noise-corrected, high quality 16-bit TIFF to feed into other post-processing applications that are better for detailed adjustments, such as Lightroom. Use the right tool for the job.

However as I have mentioned earlier, NX-D is not user-friendly and insufficient in many aspects. So here are some tips that could help get that RAW conversion part done. Continue reading

Review: Migration To Windows 10 For Photography

While watching some online photography videos, I noticed that several photographers are still running Windows 7 even though the Windows 8 travesty has been officially buried by Windows 10, which has been available as a free upgrade for a while. Perhaps they are wary of the compatibility and stability of their post-processing software in the new operating system, so caution is chosen as the best course of action.

It could be sheer recklessness. It could be healthy confidence after hearing all the success stories from other users. It could be just stupid curiosity. At any rate, with an unexpected dose of bravery and nonchalance, I upgraded my PC from Windows 7 to Windows 10.
Continue reading

Comparison Of RAW Converters For Nikon

(This article has been updated in November 2016 with some new observations and experiences for DxO Optics Pro 11 released in 2016)

A RAW file contain so much more image data than a JPEG file. Most serious enthusiasts and professional photographers shoot in RAW to extract the most out of a photographic imageĀ during post-processing. RAW conversion is the very first step in the work-flow with raw files, so it should be obvious how important this initial process is. Get a flawed result from thisĀ initial step at the start and the implications will affect all subsequent post-processing efforts. Continue reading