Nikon NX2 or Photoshop Elements for RAW

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by stan_schurman|1, Jan 21, 2010.

  1. Trying to get an opinion of which is more useful and user friendly, NX2 or PS Elements for processing raw. I currently have the 60 day demo of NX2 and I'm slowly learning how to use it, but I find that it takes forever to do anything. Even shutting it down is painfully slow. I've asked Nikon's tech help if this is just a problem with the 60 day demo version, but haven't heard back from them. Anyway, I understand that PS Elements is good. Has anyone had the opportunity to use both?
     
  2. The demo version is identical to the bought version. NX2 is great, but if your computer is not powerful enough, I would not recommend it.
    Why not trying the demo version of Lightroom?
     
  3. I use NX2 to batch convert NEFs to JPEG(90% is good ) and do the rest of the adjustments in PS CS4. Pics that are critical I do the conversion manual and most of the time the batch is just as good. Of the 10% not good are indeed not so good and go to the recycle bin.
     
  4. I use both, and by far I prefer NX2 for image processing; I use Elements just for layers work. Both together are a good cheap solution for highest quality, non-professional users, I think.
    I find NX2 on my iMac 3,06 reasonably fast, on a MB 2,4 a bit slower but perfectly usable, on a P4 PC unusable.
     
  5. I'm not sure what the problem is with my demo of NX2. I doubt if it's the computer. It's at nowhere near its capacity and everything else works quickly and efficiently. So far it sounds like NX2 has the nod, but I'd like to hear from others as well.
     
  6. Which computer do you use? On mine, all other applications run certainly fast. NX2 is probably the "heaviest" software I currently use.
     
  7. I have a Compaq Presario.
     
  8. NX2 is certainly not the speediest photo editor or RAW converter you can get, so I would not assume that it will get any faster when you get the licensed copy of it. I'm running NX2 on a 3.16 GHz dual core Win7 x64 with 8Gig of RAM, and NX2 is still slow, if I do lots of edits into one picture.
    Nx2 has its limitations, but I like it's RAW conversion and some of the features such as B&W conversion. When I had only NX2 and Elements, I used NX2 90% of the time. Now I have CS4, and NX2 gets used mostly for raw conversion anymore.
     
  9. Stan, how much RAM, what's the processor speed.
     
  10. I just downloaded the Lightzone 3.8 demo . Talk about quick and intuitive. Apparently it will process raw & jpeg. Any opinions on it?
     
  11. Foe Windows I think Lightroom is the most intuitive software. The only problem I find is that I could never get my out from the camera to look the way they were supposed to. Lightroom doesn't read the camera settings and even using the camera profiles from Adobe the results were never the same and I ended up spending too long time trying to get my files looking the way I wanted. I am sure this is my own personal problem coz I know other people are very happy with their results. For me NX" is the best application to work with my NEF files and on a Mac NX" works great, specially now that the new upgrade 2.2.4 is out.
    Good luck!
     
  12. Stan,
    This question of NX's execution speed has been raised often.
    Searching PN will yield some of these discussions.
    The general concensus (heartily endorsed by me as well) is that any computer not more than a few years old will run NX just fine. The key is knowing how to stream line your system. NX runs fine on any 3+ gig machine w/ no less than operating system minimum RAM +4.
    For procesing NEF files, I see nothing on the market currently that comes close to NIK's processing algorithm...If there is something better, I'm sure listening because the interface of NX is somewhat clumsy but easily mastered with repetition.
     
  13. "I'm not sure what the problem is with my demo of NX2. I doubt if it's the computer. It's at nowhere near its capacity and everything else works quickly and efficiently. So far it sounds like NX2 has the nod, but I'd like to hear from others as well."
    Stan there is a search function on top of this page (actually you are pointed to it before you can place your question) and it will give you a large number of similar threads. There you can read a lot about user interface and "efficiency" of NX2.
    The only difference between NX2 demo and the registered version is the fact that you need a serial number to register. You do not install any new software.
     
  14. Elements can't work in 16-bit and doesn't let me use ProPhotoRGB - already enough for me to rule it out. Tried a Capture NX/NX2 and the slow speed turned me off - need to re-evaluate on my new computer though (waiting for a 64-bit version). I process with ACR (CS4) or DxO Optics Pro for the harder cases.
     
  15. Stan -
    320 GB cannot be how much RAM you have, that's hard drive size.
    How much RAM memory do you have?
    Jim
     
  16. Could the camera (i.e., D90 or D80) NEF files be identified? Some older Nikon DSLR bodies can have NEF files worked on in Nikon Capture NX (not NX2) which may be faster on your computer. [Nikon shipped Nikon Capture NX with the D3, but for the D700 you need Nikon Capture NX2...both camera's produce FX NEF files in the size department.]
     
  17. Just my 2 cents, but I've used both and then switched to Adobe Lightroom 2. LR2 beats them both, hands down in my opinion. Try the 30 day free trial and see what you think.
    http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshoplightroom/?promoid=DJGSN_P_US_FP2_LR_MN&tt=P_US_FP2_LR_MN
     
  18. Jim, I only have 1.0 gb of RAM. Guess that's the problem.
     
  19. From what I've read in the past 1/2 hour, 1.0 gb of ram should be enough to run NX2 (maybe not at breakneck speed) although boosting it to 2.0 gb would help alot.
     
  20. I love NX2 for Nikon's NEF files. But if you're having these problems I bet your computer is too slow. You may want to consider upgrading your computer for RAW files.
     
  21. NX and NX2 run OK on my 3.2 GHz, single core, 1.5GB Windows XP machine, and run much better on my 2.5 GHz, dual core, 4.0 GB Windows 7 machine.
     
  22. 1 gig of memory sounds awful meager when you are talking about a Windows machine running a photo editor program. You can verify if it is to meager by pulling up Task Manager before starting up NX2 and click on the Performance tab. There you will see how much cpu you are using and how much you are using the Page File (ie. how much the system is paging in and out its memory, which really slows down the pc). Then, click on the minimize button. Then start up NX2 and start editing. After you edit a few images and you get your really slow response times, check out the Task Manager and see how much of the Page File that he is using. Also, you might want to check how much disk space you have allocated to the Page File and you may want to defrag your hard drive. Remember, Windows does not perform well with either fragmented hard drive or with low disk space.
    I found out from experience that NX2 does not perform well when you are editing a bunch of pictures at the same time. It seems to run the best editing a few or just one picture at a time.
    Regards
     
  23. Get more RAM. 1 GB is hardly enough for the OS and some popular productivity applications. I would get at least 4GB of memory, if the system supports it. RAM is cheap these days.
     
  24. I contacted the HP tech advisors. I can go to 4gb, but since my operating system is 32-bit it will only use 3.2 gb of that. They suggest I buy a 2gb and a 1gb card for a total of 3gb. They also gave me the card specs, so I'm all set whenever I decide to do that. Going from 1gb to 3gb should be more than enough to make NX2, and anything else I'm running, sing. Thanks for the input. Guess I'll stick with NX2.
     
  25. Nothing has surpassed NX2 for Nikon NEF conversions so far. I convert in NX2 and then open in Photoshop CS3 for all my image editing.
     
  26. Hi Stan, this is my first contribution to a forum.. yey.
    I'm an IT consultant so I'll give you some advice (for what its worth)... any serious graphic app is going to need reasonable computing power. In this respect, computing power is a combination of RAM size and speed, hard drive capacity and speed, processor power and GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) power. 1GB of RAM ain't going to be enough, you want to get as much as you're system can use. If you are running anything less than Win 7 or a 64 bit operating system, you will not benefit from any more than 3GB. This is because these O/S's can't utilise more than 3.5GB. Having said this, if you're GPU uses shared memory then go for the 4GB RAM.
    As for the choice between NX2 and Photoshop, I once agonised over this. I think it's really about personal preference, what you find you're most comfortable working with. In the end I wound up using NX2. It does everything I want, I found it easier than Photoshop or Lightroom (it's different to these, so if you're used to them, NX2 can be a challenge) and to me the end result looks great.
    What I did was play around with all of them for a while. There are some great free online resources. The trick is to follow a "work flow" on you're own subjects.
    As for NX2 performance, it's not that it's that much less stable or slower than the Adobe products, it's that there is much more support for the later. This makes it easier to resolve any issues you might have, and Adobe releases more bug fixes and patches. It took me a bit of effort to get NX2 running nice and fast.
    Once you've sorted out you're RAM, there are a couple of things you should do for NX2;
    1. Update you're drivers
    2. Load the latest MS Visual C+++ Redistributable
    Anyway, try them all out and go with what you're comfortable with.
    Cheers
     
  27. I use MX 2 and Photo Mechanic the latter as a contact sheet.
    I have found that NX is better if you have a large ram and a second drive. I have 2.7mb of ram available after everything is loaded. The second drive I use as a cache and it means that NX runs faster and better. Try using Ramrush, its free, and it will give you more memory to work with.
    I have used Elements but no longer. I find that NX is better for tidying up scanned transparencies and is easier to use compared to other products.
    Tried using Lightroom but it did not work very well for me and Photoshop is horribly expensive and uses lots of disk space.
     
  28. I also hear good things about Lightzone (Lightzone, not Lightroom). It's fast, intuitive and free. Anybody here use it?
     
  29. I know. I know. Lightzone isn't free. In fact, it's more expensive than NX2, but it is fast and easy to use.
     
  30. If you do lots of images, I would recommend one of the workflow programs (Aperture or Lightroom) and use Photoshop as an elegant plug-in to those programs.
    While I have heard tell that NX is the best, I would like to see a comparison of NEF file output between an NX user and an Aperture/Lightroom user and see if an impartial jury could tell the difference in which software processed the pictures. I suspect that comparison would reveal NO difference.
     
  31. Well, if I open the same NEF in Aperture 2 and in NX2, this is what I get (nothing applied, just as the images are opened):
    00VZYO-212731584.jpg
     
  32. Todd Owyoung has a nice article comparing NX2 and Lightroom 3.
    Check it out at: http://ishootshows.com/
     
  33. I just received a quote to go from 1.0gb to 4.0 gb. $149.00. Pretty cheap IMHO to triple my speed. I say triple because it's a 32 bit system.
     
  34. jeez that sounds really steep to me... i think you can lookup what module you PC takes online, and then order it or go to a big-box retailer in your area... except for notebooks/netbooks, RAM upgrades can usually be accomplished w/o even a screwdriver...
    after you've taken care of the memory thing, your next step/stop should be in the hard drive dept... dunno how much free space you have, but RAW images are large, and editing makes 'em even larger... look at what you have and what you're trying to do. maybe an external drive will let you keep your main HDD less cluttered.
    and when you have some elbow room, keep that puppy defragmented... it won't help system performance if your image file (and assorted temp files) is spread around your disk in 50 little pieces. defrag will coalesce the free space into nice, big chunks that can be read and written to in a hurry.
     
  35. Well, if I open the same NEF in Aperture 2 and in NX2, this is what I get (nothing applied, just as the images are opened):​
    Jose, you know that is not true. NX2 applies the in-camera settings. :) Nice try, though.
     
  36. Douglas, you can say that José is cheating, but you could also argue that Capture NX does offer an advantage there... Nothing applied, meaning: as user I had to do nothing except open the file. And then it is a completely valid comparison again.
    Stan, $149 for 3GB RAM is quite a lot. I paid €50 for 4GB a few months ago, and prices have been reasonably stable. Could you post the full product name, product number etc. of your machine? There may possibly be benefits to running 2x2GB rather than 1x2 and 1x1, despite the fact that a 32-bits OS will not use all of it. But at the least, we could help try to find a cheaper option. The other thing is, if the deal really is cheap at 150, then maybe your PC has reached an age where investing in it may be a very unwise idea (though the 320GB HDD makes me believe otherwise)... Either way, worth checking a bit further than HP's own sales.
    (and they quote for 3GB, but you already have got 1GB installed - so why not get 2GB extra if you want to go to 3 - seems odd?).
    As for the lightroom is way better than Photoshop Elements - uhm...mwah. The RAW conversion engine is identical between the 2, and the rest is workflow mostly, which is a personal preference. I'm happy if you like Lightroom, I tried the beta of version 1 and knew after 10 minutes it would not be my kind of thing. That said - always try the trial, it may just be a glove that fits you perfectly.
     
  37. I've since been quoted (from the same dealer) $125.00 for 2 x 2gb sticks installed. I'd just as soon take it in and have them do it while I wait. I could probably buy them online, for a little less, but I'd like to know what I'm getting. I've seen prices ranging from $40.00 to $80.00 for a 2gb board, so 2 installed for $125.00 isn't exactly highway robbery.
     
  38. Wouter, my PC is less than 2 years old. It currently has 2 x 512mb boards installed or 1.024 GB total. The problem, as I understand it, with mixing a higher GB board with a lower GB board (2gb + 1gb for example) is that the lower capacity board dictates the speed.
     
  39. You need min of 2gb Ram for current version of Lightroom. I have 2gb and it's driving me nuts as it is slow to re-generate images after any change. I'm processing galleries containing 3-400 images - sports games - at a session.
    I've used LR for couple of yrs now and happy with it. Just need to upgrade my computer.
     
  40. Total amount of memory is critical, but I would like to raise a point that may have been missed in the responses above...memory management. For example, after rebooting your computer and waiting for a couple of minutes check "task manager" and go to the performance tab. How much free memory do you have versus the total amount of memory on the mother board, ignore the virture memory or paging file size. The ratio of actual memory on the mother board and free memory will give you an indication of how many programs are auto loading after rebooting the computer. I have seen computers with 1gb of memory that after a reboot will load 500 megabytes of programs, this results in only 500 megabytes to load Capture NX and or Lightroom, obviously a real slow down will occur. So having a clean boot with the most available memory wil allow for greater speed for any one program. Hope this is helpful.
     
  41. I appreciate all the input. I am going to have my ram boosted next week. After that I'll see how NX2 operates. I expect that it will be much quicker and correspondingly less frustrating. I'm also picking up the new 70-300 VR zoom on Wednesday, so I'll go out and take a few dozen shots in raw and practice on them.
     
  42. Douglas, you`re right, my NEF files already have their viewing settings writen by my D700; also Aperture has their own ones (here are Apple default settings).
    In a stupid manner I was thinking that using NX2, any setting selected by the user could be considered "by default"; so easy as to have selected an standard picture control and open the file. On Aperture the user is forced to go with the "Apple Camera Default" -or- to create a custom profile modifying some limited parameters with sliders. I think NX2 is more practical, easy and "friendly". Anyway, it doesn`t matter at all, as we are talking about RAW display settings. Different routes that go to the same place, thought (BTW, most of the times what I find really difficult is to know where I`m going... :p)
     
  43. I put NX2 on my computer for grins because it came with my D700. It lasted about a week before I dumped it. I saw no difference between NX2 opening a .NEF file and CS4 opening a .NEF and CS4 was faster. It seems kind of silly and an unnecessary step to use NX2 to convert .NEF to .jpg and then modifiy in PS when CS4 can do both.
    I have never used elements but since it is a way stripped down version of full capability PS, I would not suspect it can work with RAW files directly.
    If you are going to shoot RAW, your choices are get NX2 or CS4.
     
  44. Jose, thanks for the comparison and perhaps the default NX2 which reads the internal information can yield such results. I suspect, however, with very little effort and application of global corrections, the Aperture interpretation would be essentially identical. I little bit of contrast, vibrancy a bit of saturation and minor exposure adjustment and you have the same thing. But NX2 is totally unable to handle the concept of workflow and database management of images, at least that was the way it was when I last looked at it. For me the later is very important and broad brush stroke easy to do changes is worth it.
     
  45. Jose, thanks for the comparison and perhaps the default NX2 which reads the internal information can yield such results. I suspect, however, with very little effort and application of global corrections, the Aperture interpretation would be essentially identical. I little bit of contrast, vibrancy a bit of saturation and minor exposure adjustment and you have the same thing. But NX2 is totally unable to handle the concept of workflow and database management of images, at least that was the way it was when I last looked at it. For me the later is very important and broad brush stroke easy to do changes is worth it.
     
  46. Stan,
    The problem, as I understand it, with mixing a higher GB board with a lower GB board (2gb + 1gb for example) is that the lower capacity board dictates the speed.​
    No, speed and size are 2 different things, but I think you're doing the right thing in getting 2x2 GB in, and $125 for that does sound fairly reasonable (for sure better than 150 for 3GB).
    Scott,
    elements but since it is a way stripped down version of full capability PS, I would not suspect it can work with RAW files directly.​
    Sorry, but you're assuming wrong there. Elements is not "way" stripped down. It misses a few features, some of which can be fixed. The main ones missing are curves and masks, for both of which there is a solution to get these functions in Elements. The other main missing bit is working with 16-bits files and CMYK output. For most consumers, no big sacrifices. In return, Elements is a bit more friendly to novice users.
    Also, Adobe Converter RAW is simplified in Elements, but it does work and is as compatible as the one from CS4 (since it is the exact same plugin). For most normal users, PS CS4 is overkill, given that Elements does 85% at 20% of the cost, really.
     
  47. ""As for NX2 performance, it's not that it's that much less stable or slower than the Adobe products."
    Nice joke I like that one. Well for stability you might even be right in today's version - still it does sound so funny :)
     
  48. Wouter, the tech was talking about using a DDR2 800 with a DDR2 667. The 800 would be brought down to the 667 speed. So, go with 2 x DDR2 800 or 2 x DDR2 667. We're going with 2 x 2gb DDR2 667. From everything I've read, the difference in performance between the two is negligable.
     
  49. the compaq presario is pretty old. if you are upgrading your pc with larger RAM and HD, why not ask around for a share of a corporate windows XP pro 64-bit so you can maximize the performance of your pc. make sure that the RAM and HD increase can be handled by the motherboard.
    for $550-$600 you can get a pc with windows 7 64-bit, 6-8GB of RAM and 500GB-1TB of HD.
    if you plan on doing this for a long time, it might be worth considering the initial investment for all your years of photography needs.
     
  50. I don't understand why people have speed problems with NXC2. I have MS Visual C++ 2005 and 2008 + the updates under Windows 7, with a RAID0 disk, 2.4 Dual Core and 2Gb.
    What also speeds up is to empty the editing cache and then turn it OFF.
    Now and then emptying the thumbnails cache can help too. Mine is flying much faster then any other raw converter.
     
  51. Hi Ramon, my unit is less than 2 years old. It works just fine except it needs a boost in RAM to make NX2 work a little faster. Going from 1.0 to 4.0gb for $125.00 seems to me to be a decent investment. I'd sooner spend an additional $600.00 on a lens at this point in time.
    Bertram, your suggestion are worth noting.
     
  52. Thanks Stan. I'm a little dyslectic after a car accident (rear ended, whiplash) and at first I read: are worth NOTHING. LOL. Good thing I read it again...
     
  53. sorry, stan, i thought it was old because of the specs. i guess the motherboard can take the huge upgrade. good luck and have fun.
     
  54. I just had the 2 x 2gb sticks put in my computer. I immediately opened NX2. What a difference. It was so fast, the shockwave blew my chair back 60 ft. Would you believe 10 ft? How about, I leaned back in my chair? You can tell I've seen too many reruns of Get Smart. But the difference in speed is amazing. That, together with having bought my Nikkor 70-300mm VR lense this morning, makes this not a bad day.
     

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