Please feel free to discuss the features of Nikon Capture NX2 and the good and the bad points as you have found them.
I use other editing software in conjunction with Capture NX2 ( noise reduction, sharpening etc)
I tried Capture NX2 and didn't like it.
I wish they would hurry up and bring out a 64 bit version of Capture NX2
Capture NX2 is my only editing software.
I use Nik Software filters in conjunction with Capture NX2
Well Keith, if you use it or have used it and would like to compare it to other software go right ahead.
This thread is designed to hear from NX users past and present, why they don't like it, why they do and if they switched to another program what do they like more about that program and what do they miss in Capture NX 2 after they switched.
Personally I used it when I first got it, liked it's raw conversion and the ability to use the nikon settings in camera to adjust ala jpeg.
In the end the slowness and to me lack of workflow hurt compared to lightroom for what I do
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I have never even used it. I use Capture One Pro and Photoshop CS5 exclusilvely.
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Having had a play with 2 other processing programs lately I am in the "stay with NX2 and pray for a 64 bit version soon" camp.
Today, interestingly enough, was a session with DxO Optics Pro because I received an email offering 30% off the price which brought it down to 199 Euros, drive away no more to pay.
I downloaded the trial program and set it up. I then selected an unprocessed NEF image and played around with it using the differing methods available to the point where I had achieved what I wanted to see on the screen. I then processed the same image in NX2 using the methods I am familiar with and to my eyes at least I had indentical images on the screen in front of me in the 2 unsaved images.
The good points of DxO that struck me straight away were ----
I was able to figure out how to use it ( basic fashion ) quickly and easily.
The end result image was satisfactory, colour, contrast and sharpness all looked fine.
The batch processing ability for large numbers of files appears ( I didn't try it ) to be superior to NX2.
It didn't crash or hang up ( very positive for any brand new installation on any pc )
The bad points of DxO that struck me straight away were ----
I could not figure out how to get the image on one screen and the editing palette on the other ( if there is a way, then I couldn't find it after going through the menus and help section )
The histogram is tiny.
Slow, did I mention slooowwwww, it took one minute and eleven seconds to save the processed image ( the program tells you the time ) so I put the stopwatch on NX2 when it came time to save the same image. The result, twenty two seconds for NX2 and one must remember here that DxO is meant to run on a 64 bit machine whilst NX2 is still a 32 bit app.
Expensive, at $266.00 with the current 30% discount I don't feel that it offers compelling value.
I have a love/hate relationship with CNX, I voted for I wished they'd hurry up .... but change my wish list for 64bit CNX 3 with a few more features, like a more powerful NR tool, a bit of proper cloning for when needed(as opposed to wanton needless and endless use of such tools )
I have to be honest and have never really seen any of this slowness that a lot of others talk about. It's not light speed, but it's no slower than LR3 on my PCs, never has been and in fact is generally faster in most applications of it.
I tend to use ViewNX more tho, and really try to limit how much use CNX gets.
CaptureNX does have a lot of serious limitations for professional photographers, of that there's no doubt(such as a limit of 20 images open at once) But for the best quality image results on Nikon raw files, I still think it can't be beat.
For ease of adding tweaks and touch ups to images nothing came close to CNX for a long while until Nik introduced the same U-Point technology as a plugin for Adobe software.
Biggest advantage of the software over all others: this U-Point driven Colour Control Points method of editing/tweaking images, and the better NEF(Nikon raw file) handling.
Workflow methods are simply opinion driven, and there is no set baseline for determining which software is better in terms of workflow. I also have LR3 now, and for the life of me can't seem to understand how to get the best of an image as I can when using CNX. CNX is my native language so to speak, I grew up with CNX at my finger tips from day one. I understand the workflow, and use what abilities it offers(rather than look for other abilities it was never designed to handle).
I still can't get my head around many of the aspects of using most other software(especially LR) as something so simple as saving a file as you work on it seems to require a PhD in micro electronics and advanced programming!
What the hell ever happened to Ctrl-S and the [Enter] button? What ever happened to a simple file open and work, why do I NEED a library? I want a simple and powerful image editing software. That's what CNX tries to be, not a swiss pocket army knife with a bonus limited trial offer of a home gym and bonus bread maker, complete with a free steak knife set(I'm vegetarian thanks very much!).
Nope! I want it to edit my images, I then use a more powerful DAM handling software, with open source database ability(so that when they stuff me around I can easily migrate this database to a new program(or one that I choose to build for myself). Same can't be said for most other(that I know of) cataloging software. Once you get stuck with it, you're stuck with it.
I always have bad things to say about CNX(such as some useful modern tools to play with, and even a simple image resizing routine).
While it only takes a second or two to save a file in CNX(as opposed to the few minutes in other software ), one thing that's really annoying in CNX is the ability to save a file with two specific criteria. pixel dimensions and file size, allowing the software to automatically use the best quality it can. Many free software can do this, and do it well.
Many times I have to keep re-saving an image with a slightly lower quality setting (eg to keep under the 250kb AP limit) with frustration setting in when not getting close to the limit.
I then shut the entire process down delete the last saved file and do it all again with some freebie software(usually FSViewer, sometimes BDSizer). Bad effort there from Nikon!
FWIW, I've also used Bibble(5 trial), on recommendation that it was faster, and it was.. but not by much on a single image basis.
Batching lots was noticeably faster in Bibble compared to CNX and LR beta(back then). Once again, making simple edits(I mean simple in CNX) seemed to take an eternity in Bibble as well.
My main concern for a lot of these thirdparty software is the implied(but not clearly stated) quality of the image you are viewing on screen as you process.
CaptureNX is and has always been clear and concise as to what you are editing(when editing an NEF file). Where ever you've set the cache file location, will be stored a multitude of files with crazy long filenames, and no extensions.
These are all tiff files of massive sizes depending on your camera, but a 25Meg NEF will create a 80-90Meg tiff file. That is, CNX renders a tiff file as you edit. This means simple maths, you need a fast PC to use CNX, fast hdd, separate cache, etc, speedy PC's make CNX fly. Even my old AMD XP3200 PC from 10 years ago still drove along nicely unless the hdds were in need of a clean out. I'd easily fill a 250G drive in under a year and performance would suffer.
Unless someone can enlighten me with more accurate info, I'm sure most other 'high quality' image editing software only use a jpg file rendered as you edit.(dunno about CS2/3/4/5, I used to have it, and will never load it onto my pc again).
I can't remember how it handled files, but I do remember that I used to use a Nikon bridging software to transfer a TIFF file to PS instead of an NEF file.
But as I use LR3(and had done with Bibble as well) I delved deeply into as many directories as I could, and have never found any temp file larger than about 8 or 9 Megs.. implying it's working on a jpg file(or something or other).
On a high quality screen, where you seem to think you are working on a TIFF file, the difference can be noticeable.
Of course if this is true, then there are obvious performance benefits in using these other jpg rendering software when compared to using CNX. That CNX even keeps up in any way is what I find weird and worthy of respect. it has to render a file and edit it when this file is up to 10x larger, meaning more data transfers from the hdd's more data through to the graphic card.. etc, etc.
This is easily noticed when converting an NEF to tiff format. Using LR3, this process takes what seems like an eternity.. maybe in reality 30 secs or so. BUT using CNX, and doing the same the TIFF file is saved in only a few seconds, maybe 5 or so. Irrespective of what file type you choose such as JPG or TIFF, CNX takes roughly the same amount of time to save it from an NEF file. LR3 takes considerably longer to create a tiff file when compared to saving a jpg file.
What this all means: if you want a nice slow cooked meal of exceptional quality, choose CNX. If you want a frozen Macca's style dinner, use <insert almost every other image editing software here>
(Of course this doesn't take into account if the PS/CS products use a tiff file in rendering ).
I have been using Phase One's software version 5 and when version 6 came out I decided i'd see if it was worth switching to a different raw converter or upgrading. One of the converters i tried (again) was NX2. I dont know if it is my incompetence or what, but it kept freezing up and crashing at various inconvenient times, like when I had just finished all the editing and went to save my work. I know its not my system as the other converters/photoshop work fine so I put it down to 32/64 bit incompatibility. Also I found the capabilities a bit on the basic side. A new version came out a few days after I had installed it to fix stability problems on windows7/64 bit machines so that gave me a clue that not everything was fine with the program. After it froze up on me during a time sensitive session i cracked a sad and uninstalled it only 10 days into the 60 day trial. Back to Phase One Capture 6 and all is well and then some.
Successful People Make Adjustments - Evander Holyfield
I use NX2 almost exclusively, together with Nik Color Efex and HDR Efex filters. I have not spent a lot of time with other processing software. I like the ease of use of NX2 and specially the Control Points, makes complex selections and masking very quick.
I have never had the problems others have mentioned, with crashing and locking up etc. I am running it on a Vostro laptop with i5 processor, 6Gb of Ram, Win 7 Pro 64 bit.
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Zollo, there was a version that did cause a few issues, the current is 2.2.7 and I have not had a single glitch with it.
Wayne, there are always plenty of "horror" stories on the net, just as there are ardent supporters of products who would never admit to their choice of gear being the wrong one lest they lose face in the popularity stakes. As I said above to Zollo, there was one particular version that did crash occasionally but with the current version I have not had a single issue.
Slowness is something I reject still, its is not slow compared to other products including lightroom. It is only a few weeks a go that I tried lightroom and the first thing I noticed about it was how slow it was to render images to the screen and then how it still was visibly slow rendering them when magnifying them. Saving them was faster in lightroom but overall the process was very much even between the two programs from opening, editing and saving an image.
i find it much more intuitive than LR3 and quicker to get the basics done
no argument that LR3 has better work flow and Photoshop is better at many other things, but i find myself going back to NX2 to do the basics before pulling them into LR or Photoshop.
| Nikon D90 | Nikkor VR 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED | Nikon SB700 | Nikon AF 50mm f1.8D |
| Nikkor AF-S DX 18-55mm f3.5-5.6G VR | Tokina AT-X 116 Pro DX 11-16mm f2.8 |
IF i have to do a fair bit to them to get them where i want them to be, i find the LR3 interface is more conducive to easily interfacing with the pics you have in a project, the ways you manipulate them and then the way you share them. be it on disc, website or printed media.
NX2 is better and quicker for things you don't need to do much too and / or just want to export as jpg.
Incisor, can you give me examples of an instance where lightroom has a better workflow.
Give a step by step rundown on your workflow where it is so clearly faster please.
I am not saying I doubt you but I am very interested to compare it with the way I do things.
I'm a big fan of CNX2. I selected "I use other editing software in conjunction..." however I find I can do pretty much all of my processing in CNX2, but do use PS Elements occasionally (usually just to add a border).
The most recent few upgrades have really improved stability of CNX2. It's probably a bit slow generally but doesn't bother me too much (but might bother others). However it is particularly slow sometimes when you want to show what's being masked, and also when re-opening a saved NEF that has had heavy previous processing. (I should stress that I have an older PC that is not highly spec'd).
For me one of the best aspects of CNX2 is its ease of masking, particularly with the U-Point thingos.
About a month ago I had some PC problems and did a system restore, after which CNX2 refuses to work. (It asks for a product key but won't accept my original key). While I'm getting that sorted I have been using LR3, and have been quite impressed at how well LR3 converts the NEF files - a big improvement since I last tried LR (v1.0). However I don't like having to go through the import process in LR3 - with CNX2 i can right-click on a NEF and open that one file, whereas LR3 seems to want to load the whole directory and then I still need to select the file I want to work on. (Although my experience with LR3 is limited so there may be ways to do this). I'm also finding it difficult to get images as sharp in LR3 as I could in CNX2, but I'm willing to concede this to lack of experience at this stage.
The system restore and NX2 product key issue is a non problem for those with genuine codes, a quick call to Nikon Australia will sort that out.
I trialled CNX2 some time back. I liked it, but it was too slow for me (even slower than PSE). Also, integration with PSE's catalog was not perfect ( admittedly this is Adobe's fault IMO) and CNX doesn't have DAM worth a damn.
Maybe I'll try again after I get a faster computer - which is a long way off unfortunately.
D600, AF-S 35mm f1.8G DX, AF-S 50mm f1.8G, AF-S 24-85mm f3.5-4.5G ED VR, AF-S 70-300mm F4.5-5.6G VR, Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC HSM Photos: geeoverbar.smugmug.com Software: CS6, Lightroom 4