NX2 or Adobe Photoshop??

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by bjorn_burton, Jan 7, 2010.

  1. Im new to the SLR photography and just bought a D90 with 18-105mm and 70-300mm vr lenses.... My question is im what program would i need or would be sufficiant enough for me? I mainly want to edit photos but nothing to crazy make them look more professional through a program. What programs do you guys recommend should i get Nikons program or should i get Adobe Photoshop CS4 now do i need of C24 because its extremely expensive or would something like the essentials be good enough for just photography? Thanx for the help in advance!
     
  2. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Moderator

    How about Adobe LightRoom? Keep in mind that LightRoom 3 beta is already available. If you buy 2 now, you'll may need to upgrade and pay again soon.
    PhotoShop, LightRoom, and NX2 are all avaialble for a 30-day trial. You might as well download the trial and determine for yourself. Personally I am not crazy about Nikon's software, and PhotoShop is overly complicated for casual users. That is why I think LightRoom is a good option. You can start with the LightRoom 3 beta and use that for free as long as the beta lasts.
    But only you can decide what you prefer.
     
  3. bmm

    bmm

    The intermediate Adobe program called 'Lightroom' is very popular and as far as I have seen provides great functionality both in workflow/archiving and most common editing functions. Its one you will probably be told a lot to consider in response to your question and from what I've seen I agree that it may suit your needs well.
    Personally I use the Nikon/Nik Software tools including NX2 and really like them.
    One strong suggestion is that both Lightroom and NX2 offer 30-day trial downloads. Why don't you spend a few days playing around in each, getting a feel for them, and make your decision at that point?
     
  4. If you do not need to do a lot of larger frame printings on a good to expensive large format printer, there's no need for PS/CS4.
    The current NX2 is what I use day in day out for web presentations. There are occasional instances where I need fine-grain dodging/burning using layers but even these can now be done easily using U-point. D-lighting in NX2 is incredibly useful if you are into stretching the dynamic range.
    The only issue I have with using Nikon Capture NX2 and ViewNX is that they are still not be very stable. Mine crashes and freezes occasionally on Windows7 and Vista. If I edit multiple images in one sitting, it looks like there's some memory leak somewhere and the program will run out of memory until I close it and restart it.
    Oh, I forgot one feature which NX does not have: the ability to stitch multiple images. PS/CS4 has come a long way to do it automatically after you select the files. It can be improved further but as it is, it is already quite useful.
     
  5. I just downloaded CS4 but it has many more programs to it stuff i wouldnt need similar to someone only needing word in Microsoft Office.... Im going to look into the Lightroom program you guys were speaking of. I did have NX2 trial but for some reason it shut off in a day wouldnt open again now everytime i reinstall it ..asks for a code to activate it!
     
  6. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Moderator

    If you are going to try LightRoom, look for on-line video tutorials by Julieanne Kost. They are free on Adobe's web site. She does a fine job and it is a good way to learn: http://www.jkost.com/lightroom.html
     
  7. Bjorn, it sounds like you got all of CS4 when you need just the Photoshop component. It is available separately, but it is still more than you probably want at this point. Lightroom should be the best single answer - even though I have not used the current version - for my purposes Capture NX2 is the best choice, with Photoshop for finishing. It is a matter of personal preferences and what you are trying to do.
     
  8. LR has no ability to stitch images either.
     
  9. NX2 for overall quality converting NEF files. Photoshop for all image manipulation work. Lightroom if you don't have the cash for Photoshop.
     
  10. NX2, nothing else. Lightroom is nice for a high picture quantity workflow, but if it's about editing only, I would never spend the money (and for a complete workflow, you need Lightroom AND Photoshop, and for that money I would rather get a good lens).
    In my tests, Nikon software still gets you better results in RAW conversion. I would go Adobe only if modifying pictures (not optimizing) would be a major issue in my workflow.
    The proposal of our friends here is perfect: get trial versions. The problem with all of these programs is that even with a 30 day trial, you will have to learn the programs in order to get the best results. A program that is easy to handle on first sight may not get you the best results in the long run. Or the one that seems a bit strange and clumsy on first contact may result in a much leaner and faster workflow once you have come to know it.
    Holger
     
  11. Start with NX. If later you feel like you want more options, move to CS. I actually use both but 95% of the time use CS4.
     
  12. NX2 is my favourite for RAW conversion and image adjustments... nothing else.
    For image manipulation and layers work, I like to use Photoshop or Photoshop Elements. For many users I bet cheaper Ps Elements versions are -way more- than enough, at a much lower cost (I`ve got mine for free with a flat bed scanner). If you need the most sophisticated Ps high version features, you can buy it later.
    I think that unless you spend many hours with trial versions, it`s difficult to know which one works for you. I remember all of them seemed too much sophisticated to me at first (now I`m missing some features on them!).
     
  13. with you being new to SLR you may find the time it takes for post processing is more than you have to give. I do. I have an iMac and use primarily iPhoto for any quick overall touch ups and NX2 for any picture i want to really get into. I find i only use NX2 several times a month when i have a weekend with several hours free. Since i don't use it that much i also have limited knowledge about the program and it takes me longer. Once i retire, all this might change as time will become more abundant. :)
     
  14. Anyone who shoots Nikon's *.nef files will immedietly see the benefit of using Capture NX; you will too.
    NX does not do it all (That's what PS is for) but for RAW conversion, I've yet to see a valid arguement of anything better at this time. The results once you process RAW with NX is obvious..even to a novice.
     
  15. Or another option would be Photshop Elemnts 8, will do all your editing and a lot more for a very reasonable price. NX2 is great, I use it for 99% of my images and it does everything I want it to, only using Photshop for more ambitious editing. Everyone seems to rave about Lightroom, but me personally, absolutely hate it, ive tried to get to grips with it but every time it gets used I get fed up with it and uninstall it.
    Another one you might want to look at is Gimp, does a lot of photoshoppy stuff, and the best thing about it is that it is FREE...
     
  16. The biggest advantage of NX Capture is not only that it converts the raw files better, but it's the only program that recognizes your camera settings and show the picture accordingly AND it will save your NEF's with modification. I don't know any other program that does that.
    Now you can also add Color Efex 3.0 to NX and use pola, dream, soft focus and a lot of other filters. I have PS CS4, but I do almost all editting in NX Capture. I also have the D90 and I'm still amazed how much detail NXC is able to retrieve from dark and light parts.
     
  17. I've been using Photoshop since version 3 to the latest which is CS4 but will highly recommend Lightroom which I now use to just edit and retouch my pictures. It's interface is really remarkable. If you have a mac Aperture is also really nice but Lightroom is still priced better. Most will probably say Photoshop but I think it has moved way beyond it's photo editing days and has become something completely different and geared more toward designers. I say this as someone who currently works as a web designer (but I have been a photographer and graphic designer in previous jobs before Lightroom was out and now can see why Adobe offers it) and 90% of my time in Photoshop is laying out design and interface for websites. I don't really use it much anymore for just photos.
     
  18. my issue w/ NX2 is that I hate that I can only write out 70MB TIFF files from it for further processing/import by LR/PS. No, 8bit TIFF or JPG isn't an option. Also, there isn't a way to write out a modified .NEF so that it becomes the 'default'.
     
  19. I like to use Capture One Pro 5.0, not to be confused with NX capture. I think it gives better results than camera raw (the CS4 converter) or the nikon programs. Again, available on a trial basis. I like it for details, then i open up the resulting image in CS4, it has a nice workflow arrangement too. The only thing i dont like about it is the sharpening, but i wouldn't sharpen in the raw conversion stage anyway. It depends on what you mean by 'editing' photos. All of the programs will do your basic exposure, colour correction, cropping etc if you want serious editing then photoshop is king, but you really have to use it to justify the price tag. If you want to use your in-camera settings then the nikon software is best, personally i just want either the image with no automatic adjustments in camera and as much information as possible - so i get to make all the choices, or i want a quick jpeg straight out of the camera with no post processing at all. try them all, if you are really into this part of photography then the time wont be wasted.
     
  20. I thought I'd add this observation too. It's funny because I can almost always tell when someone who only has a photography background has been using photoshop. They tend to want to play around with all the other tools that are meant for other things and they end up with photos that look pretty bizzare, strange and unrealistic to the designer's eye. That's where we coin the phrase "Looks photoshopped."

    They are usually distorted montages or collages like this one:
    http://www.photo.net/photo/10444658
    or this one here:
    http://www.photo.net/photo/10432403
    I've seen a lot of them highly rated here on photo.net, colors are blown out, saturated, or sharpened so high that it may look good on screen but when it comes to pre-press or printing techniques it would look horrible, but yet a lot of photographers praise their work. I think once you overmanipulate something it is no longer a photograph. You didn't capture that. It becomes design and it shouldn't be on a site like this one which promotes photography. I believe that good photography is being able to capture an image so well that when you take it into a program like photoshop you only have to do minor tweaks like you would in a darkroom. That's another reason I recommend Lightroom, because it sticks to the tools that benefit photographers.
     
  21. For someone who is just beginning to learn about editing and processing digital files, I think Capture NX2 is likely to provide the easiest path to successful results. The control point interface makes it very easy to get nice, natural looking images with a minimum of effort. NX2 won't do everything that CS4 will do, but it is much less expensive and has much less of a learning curve. If you use NX2 for a while and then find that you need to do more, you can always buy CS4 when you really need it and know what it will do. NX2 has a 60 day free trial, so it makes sense to start with that. Lightroom is also easier to learn than CS4, but it is less powerful in editing than NX2--Lightroom is strongest in its file management capabilities...the ability to organize many thousands of images.
     
  22. I've been an NX user since my Fuji S2 days, years ago. Over the ensuing years and various release editions, it continues to offer the most frustrating interface I have ever used in a photo editing program.
    While the control point technology is occasionally useful, the ends just don't justify the awkward means. If it would output a DNG I would use NX2 more (to import into LR), and then just as a default converter, which it does well. If all you want is a TIF that looks like your in-camera JPG, then it will work fine for that purpose.
    But for me, it continues to be just another $200 I'll never see again, and that's about it. It's desktop icon is in my "unused icon" folder... t
     
  23. This discussion piqued my interest in NX, which i used when i got my first nikon but havent used in the years since. Ive just had a look and run some tests. The control point system is quite novel and i may use it for some quick edits, like a faster but innacurate form of layer masks. More importantly, running raw conversions against camera raw and capture one, it actually does very well. I aimed to disable all sharpening, noise reduction and look at the pure raw conversion. NX managed to apply a couple of mild adjustments despite my best efforts including a little auto clipping, but the pure sharpness was slightly better than capture one, and much better than camera raw. Shame it automatically saves to a 16bit tiff, which is usually fine but something i will have to keep in mind. The layout of NX is not particulally user friendly, they could take some lessons from their competitors, but the conversion was very good. Now if i can just find a raw converter with the accuracy and control points of NX, the exposure, colour and distortion controls of Capture one, and the B&W control that camera raw allows.
     
  24. Richard -- I have been using NX for the past couple of months (Nikon actually provides a *60* day trial) and I've been really pleased with the B/W conversion tools. Also, are you sure it autosaves to TIFF? I generally save to NEF and then export to JPEG or TIFF as appropriate. Maybe I misunderstood...
    You're right about the interface, although once you get the hang of it, I've found that it works very well. For most of the things I do (basic adjustments, b/w conversions, NEF conversions), it works much more smoothly on my computer than PSE or ACR. NX2 also just feels more "photographic" to me -- making adjustments feels a lot like making a print, dodging, burning, etc in the darkroom.
    Anyway, mark me down as a fan of NX2 -- I'll be buying it as soon as my 60 days are up.
     
  25. I'm a beginner of few years so... I've tried Photoshop CS something and I didn't have success. My best combination is Photoshop Element 7 and lately Lightroom 3 Beta. Fits me well. About NX2, I installed the trial and, suprisingly, I can't open me .NEF file from my D300.
    I'll stay with Lightroom and PSE.
     
  26. Depends on your style.
    I find that LR is enough for me. I think NX is the better one but it is not as tidy as LR - you can import pix, edit and print and export and keyword and organise anyway you please.
    For the very few pix I might use PS or and NX. But it is a mess how you collate them back into your main database. The two cannot read each other so you might end up with TIF, there might be a workaround who knows .....
    PS there is also PS Elements if you don't use PS much.
    What I try to do to limit the messiness is create extra folders like PS folder and a HDR folder and a Pano folder and lump my files there. So those are my messy folders. I don't do much of those, so 98% of mine are elsewhere in LR itself (edit wise).
     
  27. You might also want to give Bibble ( http://www.bibblelabs.com/ ) a look. I've used NX2 and Photoshop as well over the years, but have settled over the last year+ on Bibble as being right for me as my main tool. I find that it has the mix of capabilities and features that work for me, I like the output that I get, and it does a good job of matching my preferences on workflow in post processing.
    While I am a long time user of iMatch (www.photools.com) for the asset management end of things, the just released version of Bibble also includes asset management.
    As do the others discussed, Bibble is available for trial download.
    Mark
     
  28. Peter - the 16bit tiff is if you use the 'open with' option and open it in photoshop, not a huge problem, and the presence of blending layers is also interesting.. in the end even using none of the tools other than exposure and colour correction, the level of detail it creates makes it worth using. Although just playing around with it for an hour this evening it has already crashed, and i dont think ive had a crash out of photoshop ever!! ah nikon :)
     
  29. hbs

    hbs

    If you want to try NX2, be aware that it needs a fast processor. I tried it a few months ago, liked it a lot, but it ran waaaaay too slow with my Pentium 4. With my new Core 2 Quad, it's much nicer. I might even buy it this time as soon as the 60 day trial runs out.
     
  30. NX2 is a good but still a limited program compared to PS. If you are running CS4 like I am, PS will read .NEF files just fine so it goes from a two step to one step process.
     
  31. My preference is PS CS4. I like the process of digitally developing images on the computer because I am then forced to think about how my shots integrate with that process. I am sure that NX2 is a great program, but I like having the option to coordinate my PS efforts with an entire Adobe production suite. How often will I "need" this kind of workflow? Maybe not that often, but it's nice to know that the software is ready to keep up with my learning curve.
     
  32. NX2 is a good but still a limited program compared to PS.​
    Capture NX is not intended nor ever was intended to replace PS; it can't.
    While the U-Point technology is novel and interesting in some ways, it is NOT what sets NX
    apart and (above) PS or Lightroom. (nef files only)
    The RAW conversion when using Nikon's proprietary RAW file (nef) is not only converted with the camera settings intact, the process itself is
    superior when dealing with (it's) own files. The algorithm and codecs are written specifically for nef's.
    NX "see's" the Nikon camera settings as they are..as they can be and as if they never existed.
    The option is entirely left to the photographer.
    This is something I find extremely valueable and something PS can not accomplish.
    There may be some people who have a "one size fits all" PP program, I am not one of them; I use and need both.
    I shoot Nikon Digital, I need NX for initial processing; and sometimes thats all I need.
    Sometimes I need to export as a TIFF to PS for further editing such as text, channel masking etc...
    Yes, I agree that NX's interface is a little clunky, but ya get used to it with repetition..it often operates in reverse of PS with some functions, so I;m sure that biases many users against.
    I can say personally I do not like PS's interface whatsoever when working on RAW files...Too ham fisted for me.
     
  33. I make the vast majority of my edits in NX2 and only open Photoshop now on rare occasions.
     
  34. How about starting for $0/€0? Get the hang of things, and then decide. Maybe this free option does all you ever need anyway - not everybody has a need for many options (let alone full Photoshop); to spend quite a bit on software that doesway more than you actually want/need is a waste; the price difference is easily that of a 35 f/1.8 :)
    ViewNX to get the same quality comversions RAW to TIFF as Capture NX2 can deliver, and Paint.NET if you need further editing. Both free.
    Photoshop Elements, already suggested, is also a very good and economic option.
    But I like and use Capture NX2 a lot myself. It does nearly all I usually need. Too bad the trial of Capture NX2 stopped working.I had a similar thing with it, but luckily after 21 days, when I was already convinced enough.
     
  35. Others suggest Lightroom here, and while I haven't used that program, I am using ACDSee pro 3, which I have understood is about the same, but for less money. ACDSee pro 3 keep youd images in order in a database where you can add all sorts of data, and you can also touch up your photos indestructively (the original is stored in a folder in the same folder). I find it very convenient and it has revolutionized my workflow. You can download a 30-day trial.
     
  36. I used Photoshop years ago when I was shooting film and scanning it. When I ran out of money for film I stopped shooting. A little over a year ago I got a DSLR (D90), tried NX2 and have not used Photoshop since. While I appreciate the power available in Photoshop, I prefer the quick and simple adjustments I can make in NX2. I agree that NX2 is not a model of stability. I often restart after working for a couple of hours as things slow down and can freeze.
     
  37. NX2: clunky, not very stable, not good when you take more than one photo per shoot. But, hey, you can get your Nikon color mode to be the same as the camera's! Just like you shot JPG, but with more steps!
    I've spent quality time with all these programs. Here's my take. Photoshop and programs like Photoshop, that can do a lot of editing on one photo at a time and have really basic batch processing, are not good on their own. What are you going to use to sort the photos? Windows? Good luck with those NEF files.
    NX2 is a (slight) upgrade over that, because it has its own file browser that can at least preview NEFs. But it becomes very clunky very quickly when you want to sort files. It's also not as good as Lightroom because there are too many steps - find the file, open the file, edit the file, save the file.
    The photo organizer in Photoshop Elements 8 is an upgrade over that. You can preview, sort (by date, event, people in the photo, etc) and rate photos and move between the organizer and Adobe Camera Raw and the Elements editor.
    Lightroom is better still. It manages your file imports, allows you to sort photos in various ways, do things like pull up a display of all photos tagged as flowers that you've rated 4 stars or better, and puts the Adobe Camera Raw functions and some other editing tools in the file browser. You don't need to open the image files - you browse to them, see the preview, make tweaks, and they're saved to LR's database. You can select files in Library view then switch to Slideshow, Web Export or Print view to batch output. You can also use Lightroom and Photoshop or Photoshop Elements together by doing your sorting and tweaking in Lightroom then hitting "Edit In Photoshop".
    If you have the money for it, Lightroom is a no brainer. If you want to save, you can go with Elements - the browser is sort of a "Lightroom Light" and the editor is "Photoshop Light", and Adobe Camera Raw is included. Don't bother with NX2.
     
  38. I've been happy with Lightroom although I also purchased CS4 last year and beginning to learn it. Also kind of gave up on the Nikon software a while back. That's not meant to bash, it's just true. But your actual mileage may vary and what type of OS can be a factor as well. These days, my household runs on Macs but regardless of what you choose, avail yourself of the opportunity to use a trial version of software to see what works best for you.
     
  39. "NX2: clunky, not very stable, not good when you take more than one photo per shoot. "
    I guess you never figured out the batch mode. I often process 150+ photos at a time without problems. Yes, the browser isn't great, but it's pretty easy to integrate IDImager into an NX2 workflow.
     
  40. Batch modes are great when you need to do the same thing to a number of photos. Which I seldom do. If you want to see, and do work on, a number of photos, it's fast in Lightroom and slow in NX2. If you want to pull up 12 of your favorite B&W portraits, it's fast in Lightroom and in NX2... well, you can't.
    If you absolutely need the color to look just like a camera JPG, you can do it a bit better in NX2.
     
  41. I use Adobe Photoshop CS4 Adobe Camera RAW for processing NEF files. I also have Nikon Capture NX2, but don't use it because the user interface and speed on my computer are not acceptable. I am not sure I would use it if speed were faster because batch processing a large number of images where they all have different settings is impossible with NX2, but very easy with ACR (Adobe Camera RAW).
    I typically open an entire folder of NEF files at one time (several hundred) and make adjustments to each image with ACR and then click the "Done" Button which saves the settings for use in processing the files. I then run an "Action" in Photoshop that applies the RAW settings I saved to each image and any other thing I want applied during the processing (PTLens correction, etc) and saves the compled image in a folder I select. I can't do this with NX2.
    I also have the ability to develop custom DNG camera profiles for use with ACR for processing the NEF files, you can't do this with NX2. The default camera profile I use was developed using X-Rite Passport and Adobe's free DNG profile editor. I have never been satisified with the RED I get using Nikon profiles and this solved the problem.
     
  42. "Batch modes are great when you need to do the same thing to a number of photos. Which I seldom do. "
    I use batch to add my standard editing steps, then I go in and tweak adjustments and make individual edits to each photo. Just because it's added in batch doesn't mean that I leave everything the same, nor do I produce resuts that are the same as in-camera jpgs.
     
  43. Robert, maybe you did not understand. I make adjustments on each individual image using ACR and then process the images using an "Action" in Photoshop CS4.
     
  44. Another good thing about Photoshop and its relatives (Lightroom and Elements) is that, because they are industry standards, there are vast resources available for them in the form of books, articles in magazines and on the Internet, and third-party plug-in software.
    If you search "Capture NX" under books at Amazon, you get 97 hits, and if you search "Photoshop," you get 17,691. Of course there aren't really that many different books about either program. In both cases the hits include duplicates and things that are out of print or only tangentially related. But the 200-to-1 ratio is impressive.
     
  45. Ok i tried most i really love PSCS4 but in no way will i ever shell that kind of money out for software thats just insane! So i tried the trial version of Lightroom and hoped it had a similar layout as of PS but it wasnt i didnt enjoy the layout really bugged me. So i shelled out 120$ on NX 2 from B&H and im really loving this program i mean it doesnt have everything i need but it has majority of what i need. Its easy to use and very straight forward which i love what i will miss is being able to put text in the pictures, making a border for the pictures , and working with layers. BTW thanx for all the advice very helpful.
     

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