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Michaelaw
08-10-2009, 11:04 AM
I have a trial version of this software that I'm reluctant to load, I do all my post work in PS, always have, and probably always will. Is there any advantage to using Capture NX2 over PS? Has anyone used this software who could explain the differences, advantages etc? Or maybe it has worthwhile features not found in PS but specific to a Nikon? I appreciate any input on this :)

Barefoot
08-10-2009, 09:42 PM
If you find yourself shooting raw, then there is no reason not to use NX2. Most professionals ( Scott Kelby, Vincent Versace, ect. ) using Nikon equipment agree that ACR falls short of matching the developing powers that NX2 offers in regards to the .nef file.

Iíve been using it myself for over a year now and believe it to be one of, if not the best piece of imaging software on the market. It fits the Nikon camera like a glove. If it had a proper cloning tool, I wouldnít use anything else. Some say that you canít create layers or layer mask with the program, but they simply havenít learned to because it can be done. If you knew what other NX2 users already know about the software, you wouldnít hesitate to install and purchase the key code. The ďU-Point TechnologyĒ (control points) is amazing.

Just my :twocents:

Michaelaw
08-10-2009, 10:00 PM
Thanks for the input BF, I'll give it a try:)

Barefoot
08-10-2009, 10:20 PM
I still use PSE7 and CS3 for things like dodging and burning sometimes if the results of the control points donít suite me or to apply the Orton effect even though that can be done in NX2 also. I just like the Orton better in PSE7 or CS3.

Be warned! It is a resource hog. Before the purchase of a quad-core system I used it sparingly, but with the extra processing power I now have Iím able to run NX2 and several other programs at the same time with no trouble at all.

Lots of tutorials on youtube.com for things that can be done with NX2.

Michaelaw
08-10-2009, 10:26 PM
Thanks, running a quad so It will be fine. I don't mind rescource hoge as long as they don't load in start up as TSR files, I'd rather wait the few secs it takes to load than have it always running in the BG :)

F8&Bthere
08-11-2009, 11:42 AM
From my bit of experience and quite a bit of reading everything Barefoot writes is dead on. You'll see for yourself, but I am always trying to streamline my workflow and have become a huge fan of Lightroom as a all-in-one pkg deal that catalogs, keywords, culls, nondestructive edits, prints, exports, etc. I have NX2, never got comfortable with the interface, but I did do some tests where I took NEF images through both LR/ACR and through NX2 and compared them. I couldn't see anything inferior about the LR versions, but that's just to my, perhaps unrefined, eye. I have the Nik control point plug-in for Photoshop, but that is an awesome feature of NX2. I kept NX2 installed in case I ever ran into a RAW file that I really wanted to toil over with the best care and attention, or that I wasn't quite satisfied with the ACR result, but that hasn't happened yet. So for me, it's probably great, but it's an extra step for me that I personally haven't found necessary in my workflow.

So Michaelaw, did I miss your momentous migration from Oly to Nik? I'll have to look for the thread with the announcement.

tirediron
08-11-2009, 11:52 AM
NX2 is much improved over NX, however as mentioned, is still a resource hog, and the interface designers should be shot, however NOTHING does a better job of editing .NEF files.

Barefoot
08-11-2009, 02:10 PM
You'll see for yourself, but I am always trying to streamline my workflow and have become a huge fan of Lightroom...I have NX2, never got comfortable with the interface...

It’s been my experience that any new piece of software has a learning curve that in some cases seems daunting at first until it becomes second nature. For instance, I don’t know if I could ever become accustomed to Gimp even though Gimp users insist it’s as easy as falling off a log once you know what it takes to get the job done.

In regards to workflow, that may be the single most deciding factor in my choice of NX2 over other programs that do a great job of editing but fail to have an interface that guides the user through logical editing steps. Lightroom comes the closest to doing this, but my version is 1.4.4 and does not support the .nef files of the D90. I also appreciate that many of the features in the Custom Shooting Menu of the D60 and up can be turned on or off as needed in NX2 if you find that you’ve made a mistake in the field by not selecting the proper settings for the images you’ve captured in a day of shooting.

I begin in the Edit List on the left of the screen and follow it from top to bottom. The first adjustment is to WB if any is needed there. Shooting outdoors in Auto WB is usually sufficient and no corrections are required, but indoors is another story. I’ve found that I prefer NX2 WB corrections over those in Lightroom. Corrections made to one image can easily be applied (copy-paste or save-apply) to any other images shot under similar conditions.

The next step in the Edit List is a feature not found in anyone else’s software and that is Picture Controls. Nikon shooters using later models are aware that Nikon employs what they refer to as in camera Picture Control where the photographer can dial in a setting from a list of default Picture Controls that determines the eventual output of the pre-determined file be it either .jpeg, .tiff, or .nef. If you’ve spent the day shooting in the Vivid PC and find that there was one or two images that you wish you had shot in the Landscape PC, it can be changed to the Landscape PC with the click of a button in NX2 and that is very handy, indeed. An even more unique feature not found in any of the Adobe products is the ability to transfer the overall look of an edited image as a PC to the camera so that you are able to shoot in a custom Picture Control built by you to your liking. That’s powerful.

Continuing to use the features in the Edit List in the order that they are laid out, I seldom use the noise reduction feature and move to the Active-D Lighting panel and check to see if any improvements are to be gained there. It’s the equivalent of shadow and highlight protection in Lightroom and ACR only tailored to Nikon’s .nef file.

Adjustments for tonal corrections, exposure compensation, contrast, additional shadow and highlight protection and saturation are offered to the user next in what is referred to as the Quick Fix panel in the Edit List and for some images, they’re are all that is needed.

For those of us that loathe to clean the sensor and hate to remove dust spots one at a time by hand there is the Image Dust-Off feature that removes the “freckles” from an image with the greatest of ease. There are a few hoops to jump through, but basically,click and they’re gone.

Finally in the last step I apply sharpening as recommended by Jason O’Dell for the D90 in his Capture NX2 User Guide and correction for lens distortion in a single step as a saved pre-set that is applied with the click of a button.

I crop, therefore I am done.

Two things suck about NX2. The first one is that it has no real cloning tool. It’s second and biggest fault is that it’s not free for those that have already spent over 2k for a top of the line Nikon body. It does have a simple retouch tool that will remove dust spots from images shot with those bodies that don’t support Image Dust-off, but it ain’t worth a dime for removing a carelessly discarded pop bottle that ruins an otherwise perfectly composed landscape or nature shot. For that I use the Adobe products and if I had to choose only one program, then I won’t hesitate to say that I would prefer CSWhatever over NX2 because it will do almost everything NX2 does with a cloning tool to boot.

Michaelaw
08-11-2009, 08:22 PM
Thanks for the article barefoot :) Seems it costs 200 bucks and yes it probably should come with the camera. I think Ill give it a pass for now and look at getting a copy of camera control pro instead. I've been using PS for the past fifteen years or so and I can't think of a problem I can't fix using that product.

F8&Bthere
08-11-2009, 11:09 PM
...Itís second and biggest fault is that itís not free for those that have already spent over 2k for a top of the line Nikon body... and if I had to choose only one program, then I wonít hesitate to say that I would prefer CSWhatever over NX2 because it will do almost everything NX2 does with a cloning tool to boot.

Yes, although NX2 is a heck of a lot more program than say Silkypix included with Pentax, or the one that is included with Canon (which I can't judge as I've never seen so much as a screenshot), Nikon not including it, at least with their higher end models, has been a gripe of mine and that alone almost made me want to boycott the product. Twice over the past few years I have spent about $1700 on a 2nd or 3rd from top of the line Nikon body and twice I got their rinky dink View program.

But really, when I mentioned my workflow I meant just cutting out unnecessary steps and programs wherever possible. This means for me that if Lightroom can be the only program I need to open for the majority of my shooting, culling and cataloging needs, a good amount of editing and adjustments, as well as helping with many of the things I may want to do with the images from there (ie print, upload to website, slideshows etc), and do it all reasonably well, then I'm happy. Even those moments when I pretty much forced to bring an image from LR into PTlens to straighten out distortion, or into GIMP/PS for cloning or more refined sharpening, etc, I'm already starting to get mildly annoyed- my computer's slow as molasses and each program takes ages just to load and I often end up crashing the bloody thing.

I do agree though that when I read knocks against CNX's interface that it is probably more about it being unfamiliar and the person knocking it not giving it enough time, as it is about it being unintuitive. Everything improves once you get used to it.

casil403
08-11-2009, 11:14 PM
Wow...lol!
I wonder how you guys would score on the "Are you a geek " test? :evil2: ;) :D