Can Capture NX2 do it all?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by will_daniel|1, Nov 19, 2009.

  1. (Moderator: If this is more appropriate for Digital Darkroom, I would be OK with a move, but I thought I'd get more responses from Nikon folks.)
    I am teaching myself Capture NX2. I bought the full version, with CD, user's manual, etc. I am learning how to do things I used to do in Photoshop with an eye toward possibly eliminating Photoshop. Have any of you NX2 users here successfully moved away from PS, or are there things you just can't do in NX2? If so, what are those things? (Please don't take this in the Lightroom, Aperture, etc. direction. Not gonna go there.) Thanks!
  2. Will: I get a lot done in NX2, but sometimes open images in other editors when I have to do more elaborate cloning operations, or when I need to overlay some text, deal with a border, and some other odds and ends.

    NX2 certainly does all of the heavy lifting for me, most of the time. But there are a few itches it can't scratch. It hasn't helped with my mixed metaphors, either, apparently.
  3. LOL
    Ah, yes -- cloning and text. I use cloning a lot, text less frequently. I'm so new to NX2 that I didn't even realize those are missing.
    Thanks, Matt.
  4. No way! Capture Nx2 is so slow and some adjustments so poorly designed that I only do a set of rough adjustments in it and then do the rest of the editing in Photoshop.
  5. I do everything on NX with the exception of cloning. NX only has a healing tool which is not very good.
    I find it much better than PS. What I'm trying to say is that I find PS too complicated.
    I think you will need another software to view your images, either NX View, LR or Aperture.
    I do all my RAW work on NX and then I convert all the images that I wanna keep to JPG's. These JPG's I view them on Aperture and I can add frames, text and do cloning before printing or using the files for web, mail, etc.
  6. Actually, I find NX's healing tool to do most things well - in the sense of getting rid of a bit of dust on clothing, a simple mark on a face, etc. When I talk about complex cloning, I'm talking about the get-rid-of-the-telephone-pole variety, or the swap-out-the-eyeballs sort of work.

    You DO need a well-oiled machine to run it successfully, though. 3GB+ RAM, and a non-cluttered disk drive or two.
  7. I like Capture NX2 a lot, but it certainly won't do everything. Things that NX2 can't do include: stitching multiple shots into a panorama; blending two or more different exposures of the same scene; adding a sky or other element from one image into another image; cloning objects (although the spot removal tool in NX2 is very good); adding text; stretching or distorting all or a portion of the image to change perspective or eliminate unwanted elements; and make borders and frames. NX2 also doesn't have nearly as many creative filters (something I use infrequently); doesn't have as many tools for masking and selections (although I find the masks generated by NX2 control points to be quite good); and doesn't have the same range of options for sharpening and noise reduction. Photoshop also has quite a few more tools for specialized graphics work but I've just listed things of interest to most photographers.
  8. I've been playing with that healing tool this morning (Auto Retouch Brush in NX2), and I'm not sure that I agree Photoshop's is better. The one in NX2 seems easier to use and the results are outstanding. But that is actually straying from the original post, which is about what can't be done in NX2 (not what is better in one vs. the other).
  9. If I wanted to use NX2 as the raw converter, and then Photoshop for most other manipulations, what's the best way to make the connection? 16bit TIFFs? Is it better to do exposure and color corrections in NX2, or can enough information be passed to PS through 16bit tiffs that PS has access to the same dynamic range as the raw converter.
    If you do color and exposure adjustments in PS, is it better to just use a raw converter that plugs into PS (ACR?)?
  10. My plan is to do as much as possible to NEF images in NX2, then save as TIF. I'll use Photoshop on the TIF for additional editing that I can't do in NX2 before going final with a JPEG. Anybody see a flaw in that plan? (Storage space is not an issue.) I know I can save the NEF in NX2 and it will remember all the edits for me, but that causes problems with other visual file browsers -- the edited NEF won't view properly outside of NX2. (Again, please don't stray into the Lightroom/Aperture/ACR/Picasa, etc. areas -- not going there.)
  11. I work out of both. I start in NX2 & then, move when needed to CS3. Of late I have gotten to feel an increase in concern about theft of photos. Not that mine at much to steal - but I do feel strongly that they're mine & not available for others to claim as theirs. So now I add my copyright to mine - that has to be done in CS3. Cloning is also something done in CS3 (not that I do much).
    So my feeling is that the best way for me is to do my main pp work in CS3 & then move along for specifics (as needed) in CS3. Both are needed.
    And just so that we're on the clear on the text issue with NX2 - - I told Niksoftware about that a long time ago. That it was needed. I guess they chose to not listen or they figure that we can do it digitally (I was pointing out copyright) & that they thought would be enough - - it's not cause it's not visible.
  12. I have a problem printing from NX2. It won't do a true borderless print for me, so I save tiff and go to PS for printing.
    Otherwise, I love it for basic cropping, levels and contrast, color balance, and some selective functions in limited areas of the image. I shoot RAW.
  13. I have a problem printing from NX2. It won't do a true borderless print for me, so I save tiff and go to PS for printing.
    Otherwise, I love it for basic cropping, levels and contrast, color balance, and some selective functions in limited areas of the image. I shoot RAW.
  14. Julian brings up a good point: NX2 talks to my dye-sub printer just fine. Does exactly what it's supposed to. But it lapses into major stupidity when talking to lower-end Epson printers... it simply can't reconcile its own page setup parameters with the printer driver's ideas, and you end up with truly baffling borderless printing behavior. So, that's obviously a driver/API issue, maybe even an operating system version issue.

    Other than that, I like it and use it every day. Most of my other file handling is done in Corel's X3 package. The PhotoPaint module within that suite is their take on the role that Photoshop plays for Adobe. I actually like it a lot (and it's cheap by comparison - and much under appreciated, I think).
  15. Still not sure why some ppl feel NX is slow. If it's configured properly and not running on a dinosaur, it runs just fine; although it does have a software architecture that holds memory; not a problem unless you're doing extensive processing over a few which case I just close it and re-launch.

    Can you totally escape Adobe PS?...I can't, at least not all the time.
    NX is superior when working with NEF's...The codecs read more accurately as they should, it's a Nikon program built by (NIK) for Nikon NEF's.
    What it can not do and where Adobe shines is layers. NX can't do layers.
    Can you get by w/o layers? I suppose you can.
    The long & short of this, I doubt you will be able to totally escape Adobe.
    I've seen nothing better than NX for processing NEF's...If you area Canon user, disregard.
  16. Kevin: while NX2 doesn't refer to things as layers, it does do things in steps. You can adjust, for example, the opacity of any step you've previously taken, without impacting subsequently performed tasks, each which have their own masks/selections. The vocabulary is a little different, but the concept is the same.
  17. I'll add that I've used Photoshop since 1995, so I'm pretty comfortable with it. The color correction tools are far better than in NX2; in NX2 white balance adjustment is both slow, coarse and badly designed (cannot for example see what is the recorded WB nor finetune it) and curves do not permit the keyboard shortcuts in PS nor does the curve adjustment feel as exact. In PS, I like to make number of adjustment layers, which can also be faded in and out when needed. BW conversion is much more flexible in PS, I never really liked the BW conversion in NX2. Probably a number of other things that I can't recall right now.
    On a positive note, I like the crop and straighten tools more in NX2 than in PS, but that's it.
    A lot of digital editing is not about what can be done, but how fast it can be done. If editing hundreds of images it's not desirable to waste time due to badly designed software.
  18. Oskar, I certainly wouldn't try to argue about what someone does or does not find convenient to use. However, Capture NX2 does have very powerful color correction tools. The lack of specification of the recorded WB is a deficiency, but the rest of WB seems to work as well as PS, at least for me. The LCH adjustment in NX2 is an extremely powerful color adjustment tool. NX2's decision to combine levels and curves into one adjustment screen is an improvement over Photoshop. The color picker and swatches functions that can be applied to control points in NX2 can greatly simplify the task of getting realistic looking adjustments to skin tones, foliage and other problem areas.
    As pointed out above, NX2 makes all adjustments in edit steps that are functionally the same as Photoshop levels (non-destructive with variable opacity). Indeed, NX2 has something that is lacking in PS, the ability to separately fade the luminance and chrominance effects of an adjustment. As for B&W conversion, I find that there are some shots that work well in NX2 and some in PS, but for some reason I find that I usually have a clear favorite for any given shot (i.e., one or the other gives me a better result).
  19. I do most of my editing in NX2 but I do use Lightroom to manage my files, sort them, make small refinements, and print them out. Also, I use Photoshop CS4 for many images to do some things e.g. sharpening when printing large etc. NX2 is slow sometimes but I think it's unavoidable when working with high ISO Nikon DSLR based images - it's got algorithmic superiority over Adobe's software, IMO. Buggy, though.
  20. Despite being tedious and annoying to use, NX2 is pretty powerful and I ccould use NX2 for 80-90%. For really heavy work photoshop is required though and there is no getting away from it.
    I use lightroom the most though since it is a true workflow tool, fast and 64bit. I just wish it could do skin tones like NX2 :(
  21. The vocabulary is a little different, but the concept is the same.​
    Perhaps you and I are normal ppl separated by a common language. ;)
    1) NX for instance will not allow 2 photos at 2 different exposures to be laid one on top of the other.
    without impacting subsequently performed tasks​
    Agreed; but these are better referred to as "Instructions" which are of course non-destructive. Adobe we know does not work this way unless we stay in the .psd format.
    2) NX can not "photomerge"...again a function of layers.
    That is what I meant when I said NX can not work in layers..and it really does not.
    3) NX is lacking many of the blendng modes (which are derived from layering) I sometimes require.
  22. The LCH adjustment in NX2 is an extremely powerful color adjustment tool.​
    Great point John.
    So much so that I rarely open the levels & curves adjustments as the LCH control is absolutely awesome for tonality changes w/o clippin' & rippin' my color channels.
  23. NX2 is greatly underappreciated for noise handling of NEF files. It's astonishingly better than everything else I've tried for my D300 files at ISO 1600.
    NX2 might truly be game changing if it was a RAW plug-in instead of a stand-alone program. If it would only work like that with Aperture, I'd probably be set for most everything I do with digital capture. (And for the fine-art printing, most of which begins with film captures, I'd be thrilled to dump Adobe, if there were viable alternatives to PS. Alas, it's too embedded to abandon.)
  24. I do almost 80-90% of my web-based images on NX2 these days. If I am printing, I still use PS/CS4 for finer controls using layering and better printing engines. I do not think NX2 can fully replace PS/CS4 in the current form.
  25. The responses above are well stated and very objective. I use NX2 for processing my NEF files for all of the reasons already stated, especially those dealing with LCH, plus one other--U Point technology or control points, that are not found in Photoshop, unless you purchase the plug in from NIK software. The one thing I use Photoshop for is to add my copyright to my images--what others have called text. I became a confirmed NX2 user when a fellowand accomplished nature photographer--a Canon Photoshop guy--was helping me make nature image selections from my original NEF images. He was blown away by the quality of the NEF images rendered by Capture NX right out of the camera and what little (time) was needed to get to the final NEF or TIFF compared to what he had to do with his RAW images in his CS3/CS4 workflow. Plus the adjusted NEF files are smaller than PSD files. To use NX2 efficiently you need to set the cache settings properly for your given RAM/hard drive conditions. Do not overlook this important step. Joe Smith
  26. I would save the time and just use CS4. It will now read .NEF files perfectly and is a hundred times more powerful than NX2.
  27. Like many others, I use Capture NX2 for most of my edits, though I still use Photoshop for those tasks which Capture NX2 can't handle. A couple of years back, I spent a rainy Sunday afternoon learning Capture NX, and have been using it as my primary editor since then. The U-Point technology lets me do most corrections more quickly than with PhotoShop. Again, for the really advanced stuff, or when I want to get very creative, PhotoShop still reigns, but for most simple tasks I prefer Capture NX2.
  28. Thanks, everyone, for your truly enlightening responses. I think this has been as helpful as the user's manual! I must be doing something right with memory/cache settings because I have not experienced slowness that some of you wrote of. That's one thing I don't tolerate, so I would do whatever it takes to speed it up, including buying new hardware if necessary.
    Thanks again...
  29. acm


    I would like to add two small points here.
    1. Just for adding"copyright" or text one need not go to a large and expensive program like CS3 or CS4. Free programs like Picasa ans allow to add texts and frames/borders.
    2. Save a Jpeg in NX2 and open in CS3. I find the image in CS3 "sparkle" - as if like CS3 adding sparkling grain, which I find very ugly. Any one had such experience?
  30. "I would save the time and just use CS4. It will now read .NEF files perfectly and is a hundred times more powerful than NX2."
    I actually use NX2 to save time. The U-Point technology is excellent for making selective edits. Much faster than working in Photoshop.
  31. I find NX2 excellent for 80-90% if what I do. Most things that I need PS3 for har already been mentioned, such as stitching, cloning, text, some printing etc.
    For HDR I use Photomatix.
    What has not been mentioned are all the great plug-ins that can be added to PS3/4 but not to NX2. I love my Silver Efex Pro. Why not available for NX2? They're both Nik?
  32. The vincent versace dvds are a great way to learn and find out what NX2 can do. Seeing them will greatly improve your workflow. You'll also need NIK color efex filters if you intend to use NX2 for the majority of your work. An older version of photoshop is also nice to have around for things that others have mentioned (cloning, borders etc). If you do HDR/panorama seriously, you're better off getting serious software for them (I use Artizen HDR and Panorama factory). I use the Nikon transfer/ViewNX/capture NX2 pipeline over lightroom, simply because of it's ease of use and accurate color rendition. But this is definitely not suited for high volume work. If you're doing weddings or events, get lightroom (and the NIK complete filters bundle). For fine art, stick to NX2.
  33. No it can't do it all. but for sure its great doing what it does. learn to use it and you will se amazing results it requires lots of RAM and processor muscle that is why some ppl get frustrated when working on computers that dont met those requirements.
    I use it most of the time in conjunction with photoshop.
  34. The prints on the Epson 4880, color calibrated monitor (Mac Cinema not iMac) system are different when printed from NX2 or CS4, at least for me. This is true printing from NEF's of TIFF's. Photoshop/Lightroom are closest to the screen's representation.
  35. DxO Optics Pro is the most amazing software for processing digital raw files, period.
    But I also like NX2 and Photoshop CS4.
  36. My money is on Photoshop.
    Once you get a bigger database under NX2 it is very slow and hard to work with.
    DxO is great in RAW, but only 25% of my work is post-processed from the RAW. For all the others, the jpeg output is good enough.
  37. Dennis, could you explain how you get a bigger database that gets slow and hard to work with? I have thousands of files to access with NX2 and have never encountered that problem.
  38. I found NX to be slow and not practical when dealing with 100-1000 of pictures from a session. I use Aperture as my digital management program and CS3 as my serious editing program. I would guess that one could name NX2 as an editor like CS3, but to me Aperture has already been the RAW interpreter and generates the next file when opening in CS3 so I am not sure if there would be an advantage at all with NX2 as a plug-in or external editor to Aperture.
    Having said that, I would be great if Nikon teamed up with Adobe and Apple to make the NX2 capabilities embedded in the two respective programs. This would be a very exciting development and push Nikon a bit higher on the curve as the best camera system out there.
    I suspect that there is a difference in performance speed between a PC and a MAC with NX2, but don't know that for sure.
  39. Be aware that Capture NX is not compatible with the new Apple OS, Snow Leopard (10.6).
  40. No thing and no-one can do it all.
  41. rjf


    I've only actually used Capture NX2, but have some limited experience with PS. I beleive NX2 has everything you need if phylisophically, as a photographer, you practice doing the job with your camera, not relying on post processing to create an image. Capture has everything you need to create fabulous digital images...however, if your artistic goal is to create digital art by blending and melding diverse imagery, delving into digital effects and playing with reality, PS is the way to go.
  42. NX 2 works fine with Snow Leopard. I use it without a problem.
  43. NX2 is to me the most intuitive PP piece of software I have ever worked with. Combined with NIK Efex filters, all 52, I only need PS for correcting some of my super wide images that can't be corrected with the lens correcting tool (not to my satisfaction anyway) in NX2. The only disadvantage I see is the printing part that PS do better.
  44. Andre wrote:
    "DxO Optics Pro is the most amazing software for processing digital raw files, period."
    I have only used the DxO 5 software for the evaluation period, although I have just downloaded v6 to try. I have been using NX2 for nearly a year though. Both applications have rather odd user interfaces I think. Even now I find NX2 cumbersome although the quality of the conversions is excellent.
    The biggest difference I've noticed between them - or at least the thing that defines the difference for me - is that DxO includes a mapped lens distortion feature (assuming your body and lenses are in the fairly extensive database; most of mine are). I can't imagine why Nikon haven't incorporated this - at least for Nikkor lenses. It would seem to be a huge marketing advantage. I particularly like the DxO volume anamorphosis correction for ultra wides. Great lens though it is the non-linear smearing effect of the 14 - 24 2.8 @ 14mm really annoys me. I seem to be entirely alone in this however!
    NX2 is pretty buggy. There are too many bugs to list but it seems to have some difficulty meeting Windows window handing parameters. Sometimes the whole application gets stuck in position (down) and only exiting and relaunching will fix it. Sometimes when you launch it from a file using "open with", even from ViewNX, the thing either takes ages to open (unpredictably) or else never finishes opening the file. And if I "check for updates" from the application's own menu it has always told me that no updates were available. Immediately checking the website revealed an update. How hard is it to get this sort of thing right? I speak as someone who made a living implementing and testing custom software for a good many years.
    If I could justify it I'd have both DxO and NX2. If NX2 incorporated the lens distortion data DxO would be redundant - for me.
  45. I use NX2 alongside Photo Mechanic the latter being a contact sheet and a simple way to input captions and keywords. Both work together very well.
    Many people have posted about layers and "creative" tools in PS which I don't need as I am a die hard film fan and don't use digital a great deal. However, NX2 is very good for scanned E6 120 format and the healing tool is just what is needed to tidy up small spots, hairs, and even the odd lamp post!
    Compared to PS I think that I am right in saying that it uses less memory and hard drive space also. I certainly found it so even though I have 2 hard drives and 3GB plus memory.
    Stick with it, it is easier than PS.
  46. I'm with Julian....NX2 won't print a true borderless print on my Epson 2400. I have to save and print in Picassa. Although I've upgraded to NX2 several months ago (to tie in with D700 purchase) from NX, I have not yet figured out how to put a thin border around the image....for this I use PS or Picassa. Cloning function in PS is easier for me.
  47. bmm


    I started relatively recently and as such am comfortable with NX2 which is what I learned on. I have also installed the Nikon Transfer - ViewNX - NX2 trio which works well for my needs.
    The only thing I wish it had was a plug-in for borders and watermarks/signatures. I know other programs can do this but an integrated solution would be nice. Otherwise I'm happy.
  48. DxO is great in RAW, but only 25% of my work is post-processed from the RAW.​
    I do use RAW a lot, but another thing to watch for with DxO is whether it supports the files from the camera one is using. Some versions do not, so, if you are planning to use DxO, check the specs to be sure you are covered.
    As someone said, no one software does it all.

Share This Page