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Thread: NX2 vs Lightroom

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    Member kaiser's Avatar
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    NX2 vs Lightroom

    I am trying to decide on a workflow before I get my new computer and start afresh. Comparing View + Capture Nx2 vs lightoom as a workflow- would I be correct in saying that that LR has the better catalogue and user interface, while Nx2 has a slightly better quality raw converter ( for modern nikon dslrs )?
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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Hmmm. YES!

    Lightroom is a DAM (Digital Asset Managament) package, it is designed for cataloguing etc, with the added ability to do RAW conversions, prints, web gallery creation, slideshow presentation etc.

    NX2 is a RAW convertor, and a damn good one, designed specifically to work with Nikon's NEF files.

    So, you are really comparing two different monsters, where one (LR) has some cross-over to the other. If you have your files organised and have a good storage and cataloguing system, then I would go NX2, however, if you need a good an all in one management and RAW conversion solution, then LR could be your best choice.
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    I was wondering - for arguments sake if I were to have both and have a workflow something like:
    Import from SD/CF > View NX - add descriptions, metadata, flags etc > NX2 for RAW conversion > Save as TiFFs and export to Lightroom?

    Would a process like this result in too much duplicating of files? I know TIFFs take up a large amount of space.

    I have played with LR on a friends computer and love the user interface. On the other hand I have started to become accustomed to using NX2. I'm not a pro photographer who needs to sort through hundreds of images a day and I don't mind taking my time going through images one by one when I have to.
    I don't have a storage/catalogue system set up as I will be starting fresh on a Mac. All of my old pictures from the PC I will just put in an archive folder and from now on when I upload pics from camera I will begin to tag and keyword them to start a proper catalogue going.

    I though choosing between Mac models was a brain strain - now I have to decide on a workflow/software set up :/

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    Removed - Double post
    Last edited by kaiser; 22-02-2009 at 11:22pm. Reason: REMOVED

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    Moderately Underexposed I @ M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kaiser View Post
    I'm not a pro photographer who needs to sort through hundreds of images a day and I don't mind taking my time going through images one by one when I have to.
    I haven't actually used Lightroom and have only seen it being used once but it looks like a very solid piece of software.
    To me, the quote from your post above sums it up, if you are prepared to spend a little extra time sorting files then the 'flow of Nikon Transfer > Nikon View > Capture NX is a pretty easy and accurate way of transferring and storing shots in individually named folders before editing. The best part to me is that 'Transfer and 'View are freebies allowing you to save up for better lenses, bodies etc.

    I am sure the tagging and sorting options offered by View are nowhere as sophisticated as those in Lightroom but it will always be sweeter to upgrade to a more costly option later if you decide you need it rather than to find that you have paid good money at the start for something you didn't really need in the long term.

    In the end it will be your needs that determine the value of the programs on offer, a friend of mine is going down the same path at the moment, he has decided that Capture NX suits his editing needs and he already owns Lightroom, is very used to using it and reckons it does a perfect job for him.
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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kaiser View Post
    I was wondering - for arguments sake if I were to have both and have a workflow something like:
    Import from SD/CF > View NX - add descriptions, metadata, flags etc > NX2 for RAW conversion > Save as TiFFs and export to Lightroom?
    That looks way to cumbersome!

    LR can be set so that when you put the Card into the reader, LR opens to its import screen, you then select or create your import directory, change/add to the filename, add copyright data, and keywords. All on one screen. Then you have done a lot of work in one step. Then you edit your RAW file in LR.

    The alternate would be:

    Import, tag etc in View NX and then use NX2 for your RAW processing. I haven't used these for ages, so cant give detailed steps as per the LR paragraph above.

    Are you also using Photoshop or similar? If you use LR as above, you will probably find you will want an editing package as well. Though Lightroom has been improved greatly with version 2 and above, there is still a lot it cannot do that you can do in an editing package like photoshop. NX2 on the other hand, allows a lot more editability (new word?) than Lightroom, but can be a bit slow to process your edits etc.

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    What I do:

    import from a card reader into a folder I've made.

    Open ViewNX and quickly scan through the images using the image viewer screen, which gives you a row of thumbnail and a decently sized viewer screen. it's relatively quick and easy to sort through the good bad and ugly, and I use that method to number them with it's tagging system.
    Lower left is a series of numbers from 0-9 and I use 9 as the highest ranking which means it's either kept for working on with CNX or simply converted to jpg via ViewNX.

    You can add other metadata into the file which via the metadata tab and you have a vast set of detail options there to play with in the XMP/IPTC section to keep you amused.

    You can also (somehow??) batch edit that metadata info into other files too(dunno how, as I don't use it)

    Then with View NX I try to set up a correct whitebalance setting and maybe tweak a few other settings via it's limited editing menu set a bit of contrast or lower contrast sharpening colour..etc. Any edit you can make in camera is also editable in ViewNX(but that's about it!)

    you then have an option to "Convert Files" or to send to a program of your choice for further editing. You add a program to the sent to menu via the Options/Preferences menu.

    One thing I have noticed is that CapptureNX seems to render images a little nicer than ViewNX does.. maybe for speed or whatever reason, but I see in CNX that they seem to look a little nicer(quality).

    Haven't used LR but if it's basic editing you want you may like it. The bigger the file though the slower it works, as it renders a TIFF file which takes up a lot of your virtual memory space... so get a ton of RAM!!

    but you need to be editing NEF files as once you start using jpgs or TIFFs it seems to lose a lot of it's advantages over other programs.... it's a Nikon RAW file editing program and that's about it... it simply handles those file types better than other programs(as you'd expect as it comes from the company that made your camera! )
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    Ill throw another spanner into the works .. ... if youre starting fresh on a mac , have you considered Aperture ?? I recently switched to mac and am loving it .. pretty similar to LR , it has DAM and RAW conversion..
    Hi Im Darren

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    Yeah I have been as much as I can comparing Aperture with LR and they both are great and have their pros and cons. I think I"ll stick with the Nik software for now and see how I go with that

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    Hi,
    I did a comparison of ViewNX, Aperture and LR RAW processing before I chose Aperture to process my NEFs - I'd more or less decided that Aperture was going to be my DAM after trying LR and it, but wasn't sure about the quality of the processing.

    I discovered that whilst Aperture didn't recognise the NEF secret sauce instructions that the camera embeds in NEFs and that ViewNX / C2NX recognise, the processing was better. By better I mean more latitude in recovering underexposure and blown highlights as well as much lower noise in high ISO shots (this really surprised me).

    C2NX might be better than ViewNX though - not sure how they compare. Anyhow, I no longer use ViewNX for anything and don't miss it one bit. I was considering C2NX for editing, but after finding PSE6 on sale for $50 (woohoo), that became a non-issue!

    If you have an Adobe-shaped brain, you might find LR works better for you. Enjoy the experimentation...

    Regards,
    Calx (away from the mac and away from home)
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    I believe ViewNX and NX2 use the same RAW conversion/rendering engine - View NX simply has less parameters to play with.
    Really surprised about your conclusion comparing Aperture with NX2 RAW conversion though - NX2 seems to have overwhelming support as the best quality RAW converter for NEF images. It also has respectable noise handling in RAW conversion, although there are other supposedly better third party options out there (Neat Image, Noise Ninja etc.)

    In regards to Light Room, I believe Adobe have released a plug-in / settings that bring its RAW rendering very close to NX2 quality. Any LR users have any experience with this?

    I'm still going to stick with the View NX > NX2 combo. The user interface and cataloging isn't as pretty and intuitive - but at the end of the day I still reckon its going to let me get the best quality out of my NEF files.

    Coming back from Europe in June with thousands of NEFs to process - its going to be a lonnnng process.
    On that note - can any NX2 users reccomend any useful NX2 tutorials/books/eBooks. I have been reading up on the tutes on the US Nikon site but thats it so far. Definitely still on my training wheels for this program!.

    p.s - Found this review on NX2 - Praising on some some levels, scathing on many others. Like all reviews, take it with a grain of salt. Everyone has different needs and opinions.
    http://diglloyd.com/diglloyd/free/Ni...NX2/index.html
    Last edited by kaiser; 26-02-2009 at 11:15am.

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    Member Calxoddity's Avatar
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    Count me as suprised also. I wasn't expecting the result when I did the comparison.

    Straight off the camera, ViewNX does a better job with default colour rendition - more "pop" in the photo that faithfully reflects my settings for higher saturation. In Aperture I need to move a couple of sliders to replicate the effect. Ti was something that I was quite willing to live with though, as Aperture's other features and DAM capability were just not available in ViewNX.

    The processing of low noise photos was an unexpected but welcome suprise. I was prompted to do that particular comparison because of an article I read somewhere that bagged or praised Aperture's low noise performance. Rather than take what was said at face value, I decided to test it with a couple of high ISO photos I took of a Darwin sunset.

    The photos were ISO 1200, dusk shots and included buildings silhouetted in the shot. Ran the same RAW through Aperture and View NX and looked at the results side-by-side on the 24" screen. Chroma noise was much better on Aperture - there was nastly green and magenta blotching on ViewNX in the building's shadows. I thought Aperture might have fudged the result by smoothing everything out, so I checked the line and edge sharpeness. No problems there - it was again cleaner than ViewNX. Note that both these results had no noise reduction applied, nor any other adjustment - they were straight onto screen.

    Regards,
    Calx

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Calxoddity View Post
    ..... as Aperture's other features and DAM capability were just not available in ViewNX.....

    Regards,
    Calx
    I'm curious as to what DAM content is not available in View or Capture, that's available in Aperture or LR..... or any other DAM/cataloguing software.

    The metadata tab in View(and Capture) is quite detailed, with a wealth of supplementary info available for embedding into an image, via the XMP/IPTC tab.
    Capture and View seem to operate in a similar fashion with the addition of this metadata.
    Quite easy to batch edit a series of images detailed info too.

    I've found that the latest version of View is great with the manner in which you can add geo-tagged info into an NEF(if that's important to you)!
    (Can't see that option in CaptureNX2 though)
    One of the reasons I got a Dxxx series camera body is that one day I thought it may be handy to add geo-tagged info into an NEF via a GPS.
    Having a cumbersome GPS attached to a mobile little device such as a DSLR is annoying and drains battery power sooner rather than later. It's expensive, if you want slimline/less obtrusive devices too, so imagine if you could do that in the comfort of yoru own home, after you've taken the image.. and on any Nikon digital camera ever amde, not just the higher end models(we're talking about NEF's here remember!)

    It's much easier to do that on a jpg without the need for a dedicated GPS on the receiver, but now ViewNX makes it as easy as remembering where you were, and using GoogleMaps to pinpoint the location on their maps.. you simply point the image to that location and you're done!
    Not a vital metadata requirement, by any means.. but if the need ever arises where GPS information is required in an image.. or series of images it's there.

    It's easier done with jpg images too, as there are many software based alternatives where you can add a GPS tracklog to a series of images, and from that tracklog you can batch edit GPS info into the jpg image... but it's much more risky doing that with NEF images!!.. as I found out recently.
    I tried to add geo data into an NEF using ExifTool(via the GUI, ExifToolGUI), and the image became slightly corrupted.
    A well respected pro recommended against editing EXIF data in NEF images as there is no guarantee of full compatibility.

    I'm assuming that Nikon software is compatible enough not to cause me any issues with NEF's
    While you can't edit the exif data within NEF's using Nikons software(and I have no need to do that either) jpg is more standardised file format so there is less risk.
    And it's handy having that ability to add geo-tagged info into your negative.

    Considering all this though, I have to say I don't use DAM in any of the 40K plus images I currently have stored on my PC ...
    I simply use a logical(to me) filing system to find my images.

    One day I'd love to start the process of embedding detail info into my images, especially geo-tagged data.. but I currently have too many images to worry about, oh... and more photos I need to capture

    If I did find a reason to add value to the metadata information, I can't yet see any limitations in either View or Capture.

    I'm curious as to what kind of DAM data anyone adds to their images.. simply to see if I'm missing out on something(that could be important).

    Last edited by arthurking83; 26-02-2009 at 3:32pm.

  14. #14
    Member Calxoddity's Avatar
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    The whole DAM thing (oooh... look! a pun!) for me was a case of change now or get stuck with a photo filing system that was becoming increasingly unwieldy. ViewNX was okay at what it did, but I like Aperture much better - more flexibility.

    I don't have 40k photos - more like 4k. I can imagine there'd need to be a compelling reason to switch with that many to worry about.

    The trial versions of Aperture and Lightroom are readily available if you want to explore their capabilities - much more useful than me trying to justify additional features that may be irrelevant to you (especially as I'm working on my work PC interstate and have no access to the apps in question!!)

    Regards,
    Calx
    Last edited by Calxoddity; 26-02-2009 at 10:06pm.

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