Anyone Recommend Capture NX?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by michael_krouskop, Jun 26, 2010.

  1. I am looking to get the most out of NEF files and have heard that Capture NX is the answer. I used to use the first Capture NX and it was terrible software. It ws slow and not very user friendly. I have tried to install the trial version of Capture NX2 on my my computer, but something is not allowing it. I installed the trial version a couple of years ago and never took the time to use it (my bad). So now I guess that is blocking any attempts to install a trial version. I ran theuninstall program, but still no luck.
    I currently use Lightroom to process my NEF files and am afraid I am not getting the best images I can get because of that.
    So any thoughts, praise or criticism of the new Capture NX?
  2. LR 3 does a very good job with NEF. NX2 is no better, IMO, but I keep it on my machine because there are rare cases where it will do significantly better than LR. The converse is also true sometimes.
  3. Well, yes - I definitely recommend NX2. Use it every day on NEFs. I have other tools at my disposal, but NX2 actually approaches some tasks in some interesting ways. You might consider using View NX as a (free!) "front end" for it, to quickly browser and score large number of files. From within View NX you're a mouseclick or a CTRL-O away from opening those NEFs up in Capture NX2 for editing.

    NX2 does require a fairly robust computer. Works just fine for me on a vanilla PC with 4GB of RAM and some breathing room on the disk space.
  4. gdw


    Michael, unless you are willing to make a mindset change you will never like NX. It simply does not work like any other imaging software you have ever used. That is why die hard Adobe fans don't like it. They are much too locked into layers and there are no layers in NX. But if you ever make that change you will wonder why you didn't do it sooner. And if you ever really learn to use NX you will never go back. Yes there are some things that you will still need Elements or Paint Shop Pro to do like cloning or adding textures. NX seems to assume that you are a photographer that really gets it right in the camera. You say it is not user friendly, that is because you are looking for a pseudo Adobe product and NX is not that. It is not simply a matter of doing a better job on opening NEF files, when you learn to use it you will find that it is much simpler to control almost all of your post processing. Anyone that simply uses NX to open NEF and convert to TIF for post in another program are simply wasting their money. If that's you plan stick with what you got.
  5. I agree with Gary and Matt. I have used NX and NX2 for about 5 years. I originally had PS Elements, but gave it up a couple of years back and now totally rely on NX2. I am still learning, as NX2 has far more capability than evident at first blush. NX2 does require a robust computer, as Matt says. You absolutely need 4GB of RAM. As for being user friendly, I find it much more user friendly than photoshop elements, as an example.
  6. It freezes on my otherwise very robust (8GB) Quad processor Dell XPS 630i. It is expensive. If I had to do it again, I do not know...

    It has a very good spot healing tool - better than photoshops - and it has this nice funky color correction tool that is had to explain vut is great. My problem is that the software is not efficient, and who knows how dedicated Nikon will be upgrading it in the future.

    I also have DxO optics pro, which is excellent.

    I should note that said freezing only happens with 500MB scans from my Nikon 9000. NX2 works well with my smaller sized files.
  7. I use NX2 all the time for my NEF images. NX2 has control points technology built into it. LR does not have it. If you want Control Points, you have to buy Nik Viveza 2 for $200 as a plug in for LR. Both NX2 and LR employ non destructive editing, so you can click on or off the edits you have done. One feature I really like in NX2 that I do not think is found in LR is the Double Threshold component of the Histogram. Your pc should have 4 GB RAM; also you need to set the cache settings properly and make sure that there is room available on the hard drive for the software to work. A very good book that explains cache settings and other features of how to use the proram is "NX2---After the Shoot." For about $160 you get a lot of value with NX2. And NIK writes it for Nikon. IMO NX2 is more user friendly than LR. Joe Smith
  8. I haven't compared NX2 to CS5, but I compared it to CS3, and NX2 does a far better job at converting an NEF file into something on the screen.
    A lot of people don't realize that Nikon does not release the NEF specifications to any other company. So Adobe, and others, have to reverse-engineer the conversion of NEF files. So they can't get it all right, like NX2 can.

    I use NX2 to open an NEF file, do some minor tweaking, and then open it in Photoshop for more imaging work. To me, for Nikon NEF files at least, nothing can beat NX2 for overall quality from your NEF files.
  9. Well, Capture is still slow and user unfriendly, but it does high quality conversions. Whether or not it's worth it over Adobe, especially LR3/CS5, depends a bit on the circumstances. Still, I would rush out to get it if you have the latest version of LR.
  10. I have used Nikon's software (well - badged by Nikon at least) since Nikon Capture 4, and NX2 is obviously the most up to date version.
    As mentioned above - there is a fundamental difference in approach to PP in NX2 compared to Adobe. I use Photoshop extensively as well - and each has it's place.
    NX2 uses what I call a non-destructive 'stack' approach to modifications to the image. There are 3 core areas where alterations can be made to the camera settings in PP (things like levels, exposure, White Point, Colour settings) - and also to apply any corrections for lens distortion, chromatic aberrations etc.
    You then add modifiers to this 'stack' for other corrections / alterations for colour, light etc.
    Each of these can be independently turned off, or made opaque (with the transparency modified in %).
    Of course the other key element - is that all these modifiers are non-destructive - you can revert back to the original image state at any time - either by switching the modifiers off -or deleting them.
    This of course sounds like Photoshops layers - but it is fundamentally different - each level in the stack contains a modifier that effects the whole image, not an image itself. If you are used to Photoshop - it is similar to the 'adjustment layer' concept - but more extensive.
    It can take a bit of getting used to - but once you've got over that initial hurdle - it's a really powerful piece of software.
    It is not without it's idiosyncrasies - cropping multiple times can cause some wierd distortions from time to time, and there's a memory issue - it doesn't seem to clear the system fully when closing files, so it accumulates system resources as you go requiring a software restart every now and then.
  11. It simply does not work like any other imaging software you have ever used.​
    This is the best characterization I ever read in those hundreds of threads pro/contra NX1/NX2 versus "others":)
    I can fully agree on this and I have used many types of imaging software from the very beginning of digital imaging.
    There is only one way to find out if you like the "very special" way of this piece of software and if it is worth the struggle or not - you will have to try it out. It certainly will be a mind expanding experience and you will even more appreciate well written and stable software as well as a well designed user interface from "all the other" software producers :)
    (I hope you do not mind my sense of humor.)
    Nevertheless I do what was mentioned above - I use NX2 for rare cases where NX2 gives slightly better results. Right now after the latest release from Adobe this may well be only the moire removal in critical cases, but I have yet to try if this is still a remaining case for NX2.
    Older versions of Adobe camera RAW were slightly less efficient in noise removal at high ISO images during conversion.
  12. Walter is right and builds on a right point (even with the humour thrown in).... CNX2 has some quirks for sure and it's not the fastest piece of software around. But user interface logic seems to be like camera choices: some logic fits for one, some for the other...
    Wanting to get the best from my NEFs, I did a very subjective evaluations and tried Bibble (version 4), CaptureOne (4), Lightroom (version 1), DxO Optics (version 5, crashed only 20 times in one hour), some freeware and open source solutions, and the CNX2 60-day trial. The 60 days stated "0 days left" after 27 days but by then for me the deal was already sealed.
    I like the way CaptureNX2 works, with the edits remaining editable, control points, how selections can be made etc. Especially the control points makes me wonder why Photoshop is so adored, while not having these....For me, it works and as a "logical user interface" it works better and more intuitive than Photoshop Elements or Lightroom - but, it is my preference and if other disagree, they are probably right for them.
    Word is that Lightroom 3 performs much better on high ISO shot NEFs, which in my view was a big problem with the Adobe converters (ACR/LR). If they fixed that properly, the quality edge of Capture NX may be gone.
    (note: I much like CaptureOne too, works really well, and Bibble 5 I tried it recently... Both very effective, fast tools, with quality conversions)
  13. I appreciate the responses. I may give it a try. I worry about speed when editing. Most of my shoots (weddings) have roughly 2500 images. What I want to do is to run my NEF files through a program, convert them to DNG and then use Lightroom to sort and retouch the images. I am guessing that will be a pretty slow process. I don't know any other professional photographers who use the program, so I was just getting some feedback. I do realize that any other company has to to guess how to process NEF files, since Nikon does not give out their specifications. So knowing this made me wonder if I was losing some of the quality.
  14. Michael, just to be sure what you try to achieve... If you edit the RAW file in CaptureNX2 (which will save the edits inside the NEF file, unlike any other program), and then convert to DNG, you loose the work done in Capture NX2. You will only keep the capture NX2 efforts when going to JPEG or TIFF (the latter is better if you want to do more fixing).
    For speed of working through numerous files, I use ViewNX as extra to Capture NX (faster and in my view easier to sort images, and can do extremely easy touch-ups as well).
    When it comes to editing/retouching, Lightroom and CaptureNX2 are too close to each other, so trying to fit both into a workflow sounds like it will always end up costing a lot of extra time.
    Slightly related side-note, I've never seen the extra virtues of DNG, to me, that conversion step brings nothing and costs time. But some people seem to have more faith in DNG for the long run as a file-format; regardless, see what you want to achieve there and whether that step really makes sense.
  15. Tiff is my standard file format for editing and archiving. I never "got" the point of DNG, I think of it as a way for Adobe to make money and get market share. Tiff is free, totally cross-platform cross-application and is way more the established industry standard than DNG ever will be. I've never once considered using DNG for anything and most likely never will.
  16. After using Aperture, I could never go back to Nikon software. Maybe in a pinch I could go to Lightroom or Capture One. I just can't see how anybody who takes more than one photo at a time can have the patience to use software that requires opening and closing files and can only work on one file at a time. This is 2010, guys.
  17. Wouter--how ever did you get five full minutes of running time with DXO?
  18. It's all I use, along with View NX and Transfer. No problems, but I am not a volume shooter.
  19. Andrew: NX2 lets you easily batch process, and you can apply changes to selections of images filtered on all sorts of criteria. If you are doing edits that aren't unique to each image, then just batch 'em, or copy/paste changes across groups of files. If you are making changes that are unique to each image, then it doesn't matter whose software you're using - you're doing it one at a time.
  20. Well I figured out how to install a trial version on Mac and it stalls every time I attempt to open an image. Maybe that's a sign I should not use this program. I have 4GB of RAM and really fast dual processors, but it just can't open an image. It just says updating image, but never actually allows me to see it, it's just a white space.
  21. Les, I didn't count, and I forgot to add the 2 times the installer of the trial crashed on me. I know some people love this program and give it high praise, for me it was nothing but trouble on an otherwise perfectly fine and stable system.
    Much like what Michael now experiences with Capture NX2... Computers, you have to love the rather unpredictable nature of all that software (not complaining though, those problems pay my bills and gets me plenty gear to play with...) .
  22. Matt, being able to batch process versus eliminating the entire concept of opening and closing files are two very different things. I tried going the Capture NX2 route before switching to Aperture and Aperture (like Lightroom, which I demo'ed but didn't like the interface as much) is waaaaaaaaay beyond NX2. Yeah, NX2 has a Nikon-approved raw processor but it's no better than the other processing options and it's clunky and slow.
    Now that Aperture uses Grand Central to have the GPU on new-ish Macs speed up processing, it's not even a fair comparison any more.
  23. Perhaps I wasn't clear, Andrew. You don't need to open and close files in NX2, or use batch processing, to do things like pick out a handful of images from a folder full and apply white balanace correction, or a curves adjustment, etc. The files never need to get into the editor, and you don't have to run batches to accomplish that sort of thing. Select thumbnails, apply the changes, move on.

    But perhaps I'm missing the point. What sort of editing are you referring to doing on an individual image, if you're not actually looking at a particular image in an edit window? If you're talking about editing more than one image at a time, what sorts of changes are you making?
  24. In Lightroom and Aperture you never need to open an image file to get an edit window for that image, or even to fullscreen the image, make edits and move on to the next one. You do this on large previews, not thumbnails. The open, save and close steps are eliminated and the library browser, thumbnails, edit functions and full image view are one screen. You move between images with the arrow keys or by clicking thumbnails and most browsing functions are one or two clicks.
    You can drill through full screen views of a couple dozen photos in a minute, and if you want to sharpen some but not others you can get that done in your minute too. It's far, far more advanced than the NX2 interface, because it's all integrated with a better backend based on leaving the original files unchanged and putting all changes in a separate database and rendering them on the fly. In Aperture, with Grand Central and OpenCL in the backend, that rendering is shared between the CPU and GPU and happens nearly in realtime on a decent system.
    This is a generation or two more advanced than NX2.
    Try Lightroom or Aperture, you'll see how they're better. The question was "Anyone recommend Capture NX?" and my answer is no. You want power, go to Photoshop. You want speed and convenience, go to Lightroom or Aperture.
  25. I too use ViewNX and Capture NX2 as well as Photoshop Elements. I wouldn't be without either. I find they are the perfect complement for the photographer who is not very interested in graphic arts but needs tools a photographer would use to improve a photo or fancy one up via filters, textures, etc. Never needed 90% of what CS4 or CS5 offered, especially at that price! To me NX2 is unbelievable what it can do. Can't wait for the next version. The entire NIK line of products is top quality.
  26. Michael, I have NX2 installed on my iMac and it runs fine. I would have to assume that something went wrong with your install, as can happen to any install. I would not count NX2 out, just because you have a bad install. I would try re-install and see if it will work for you. If it doesn't, then, uninstall and then re-install.
  27. I am a Capture NX fan and use it for 90% of the post-processing that I do
  28. Seems like a positive consensus for NX..and I will add my vote.
    To the many who feel NX is slow, this is simply not true.
    One needs to allocate system resources to NX via "tweaking" the system; not NX.
    NX still has a architecture problem as already mentioned as it refuses to (release) memory, forcing the user to re-boot the software after a few hours of hard use. 15 seconds and you're good to go.
    Something no one has mentioned, or perhaps I simply missed it, is META-DATA ingestion & application.
    NX is still woefully weak in this area; specifically;
    1) S-L-O-W-W-W in batch writing user defined meta-data.
    2) Problem gets worse with many images.
    I worry about speed when editing. Most of my shoots (weddings) have roughly 2500 images.​
    NX will probably crash if you (apply) (IPTC) meta-data to 2,500 images.
    I'd suggest another program for Meta-Data ingestion unless captioning & meta-data input are not important in your workflow. I can't do without it. I use PhotoMechanic, although there are a few others.
    Other than that, I am in 100% agreement with a previous poster, I use NX for more than 90% of
    image adjustments. Although I have CS4, I rarely use it anymore as IMO it is like using a sledge hammer to kill a fly.
  29. Wait, went back and read OP's second post. The OP already uses Lightroom. That kills the discussion right there - there is no compelling reason to use NX2 if you're already in Lightroom, and NX2 can't export a DNG file as the OP was asking about, only a TIFF or JPG.
  30. As they say, 'horses for courses'.
    I use NX2 all the time on my NEFs and recognise that it's strictly a photo 'manipulator' and does that very well, but doesn't have some of the general abilities found in other software such as PSP (e.g. adding text etc).
    I just tried out the trial version of CS5 and found it TERRIBLE ! However I know that's only because it has a completely different workflow to NX2, and I can't be bothered with the relearning curve..
    Check again to make sure you use the right version of NX2 for your PC - I run Windows 7 64 bit.. and that certainly wasn't available 2 years ago so maybe you do have version problems.
  31. I use the Nikon Suite (VNX, TFX and CNX2) every since it was released.
    Capture NX is the best RAW converter for any NEF file. Although it has its quirks, sometimes slow or looping, the results are remarkable.
    Basic and some advanced editing can be performed with it and since the functions are straight forward, it is a pleasant experience to use it.
    For more advanced or very advanced editing and manipulations I resort to CS4 (CS5).
  32. I've used NX2 daily for about 18 months on an XPpro 32 bit PC in combination with ViewNX. I also use PS for final pp (ie functions that aren't available in NX2 such as cloning). The quality of the results from NX2 are excellent. The interface is simply abominable - there are so many stupidly counter-intuitive attributes that I won't even attempt to list them. The interface is like nothing else - in a Bad Way - although it has some excellent features. The program is also horribly buggy, disgracefully buggy - in a class of its own. Some of the bugs are hilarious; try checking to see if there's an update for the application from within the program. There never is. However if you check the website at the same time, there sometimes is. How hard is it to get this right?
    I got my copy "free" with a D700. I tolerate the awfulness of the program's design because I haven't found anything better for processing NEFs. But the authors of the program should be ashamed of releasing something this bad. I always hope that the occasional update will improve the bugs at least, but it never does.

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