Nikon Capture NX-D: The end of Capture NX as we know it

Nikon Capture NX-D: A return to 2004 RAW editing workflow.
Nikon Capture NX-D: A return to 2004 RAW editing workflow. I made this screen capture before the beta software stopped working on my Mac Pro.

Along with the Nikon D4s announcement, Nikon yesterday also announced a long-awaited upgrade to Capture NX2. Called Capture NX-D, this Nikon RAW converter is being offered for download while in beta form. Public beta testing is something Nikon has been reluctant do to in the past, and it’s something I applaud them for. I downloaded the beta of Capture NX-D to see what it would do. Unfortunately, it is clear to me that this new product is more notable for what it lacks than what it offers.

One of the biggest complaints about Capture NX2 was its speed, or should I say its lack thereof. Part of the reason Capture NX2 was slow was because it rendered NEF files fully at any zoom level, and because file changes were written directly into NEFs. Capture NX-D is certainly faster than Capture NX2, and it has adopted the use of sidecar files to store edits and metadata. Unfortunately, that’s about where the new “features” end.

Capture NX-D is built a lot like View NX2; a file browser with a built-in editor. From a file-management perspective, there is no catalog/database function. You can browse images in folders, apply color labels and star ratings, and filter images in the browser based on those ratings and certain EXIF data. You can also use the WB eyedropper directly from the browser’s grid view, as well as the editing tools. The use of sidecar files significantly speeds up batch processing, because files no longer need to be manually saved during the editing process.

Return to 2004

When it comes to the editing tools, you’ll find that Capture NX-D only offers the following corrections:

  • Exposure
  • White Balance
  • Picture Controls
  • Tone (brightness/contrast and shadow/highlight protection)
  • Levels & Curves
  • Noise Reduction
  • Unsharp Mask
  • Lens Corrections
  • LCH Editor
  • Straighten
  • Crop

Gone are all the “pro” tools that we had in Capture NX2, including high-pass filter, monochrome conversion, and Photo Filters, and the Auto Retouch Brush. Aside from the LCH editor, which is an excellent tool (and has been around since Nikon Capture 4), there is not one compelling “must have” adjustment tool in this list. And it gets worse. Because adjustments are saved as sidecar files, the embedded JPEG previews are not updated anymore. That means if you used Photo Mechanic as a front-end to Capture NX2, you’ll no longer see accurate previews of files edited in Capture NX-D. Any edits applied via the “Adjust” panel in Capture NX2 are not visible in Capture NX-D. Edits made in Capture NX-D are saved as Nikon-unique sidecars, so Capture NX2 (or any other program) won’t read them.

From bad to worse

Nikon has also removed all forms of local adjustments in Capture NX-D. Gone are brushes, gradients, and Control Points. Not only that, but Capture NX-D does not display edits made in Capture NX2, except for those in the “Develop” section. If you had Control Points in your images, Capture NX-D will not show their effects. That means all the work you did over the years in Capture NX2 is basically lost if you move to Capture NX-D, although Nikon has indicated it may try to support display of Control Point adjustments in the future. Nikon has also made it clear that Capture NX-D will not offer Control Points in the future… they are dead.

There are a few other things Capture NX-D won’t do. It won’t read files from other manufacturers (no surprise there). It also won’t let you save a JPEG or TIFF file in NEF format for non-destructive editing, which was a useful feature of Capture NX2. In fact, Nikon’s FAQ page reads more like a list of omissions rather than a list of features.

At the end of the day, Nikon’s Capture NX-D is clearly built as a browser with basic NEF/NRW file editing functions. It cannot be considered as anything other than a front-end to Photoshop or another pixel editor. In fact, this product should have just been called View NX3, because that’s really what it is. To suggest any similarities between Capture NX2 and Capture NX-D other than NEF editing would be laughable.

Conclusions

Am I being a little harsh here? Yes. Retro design might work for a camera like the Nikon Df, but when it comes to software we want professional features. Nikon Capture NX-D is quite simply not a professional product. It’s a browser that can edit Nikon NEF/NRW files in a rudimentary fashion. Moreover, Nikon has completely abandoned the loyal Capture NX2 users and not given them a clear way forward. The following entry on the Capture NX-D FAQ Page makes it pretty clear:

Q: For how long will support for Capture NX 2 continue?

A: We will continue to update Capture NX 2 as needed to add support for new cameras until the official version of this software is released.
At this time, the official version is scheduled for release in summer this year.

We will no longer update Capture NX 2 after the official version of this software is released.

In other words, if you were a Capture NX2 user, you’re hosed. No new camera support as of this summer. You can, of course, continue to use Capture NX2 on all your old NEF files, but that’s not much consolation. If you ever buy a new Nikon camera, Capture NX2 will not be supported.

If you’re still under the delusion that only Nikon software can properly process a NEF, then use Capture NX-D. If you want your Picture Controls automatically applied by your RAW converter, then use Capture NX-D. If you want a free NEF/NRW editor as a front-end to Photoshop, then use Capture NX-D. I’ll likely have a copy of it around once it goes final for doing things like viewing active focus points, but not much else. The only real value going forward is that it is free, and it will always be the first product to support RAW files from new Nikon cameras until the third-parties update their converters.

Right now, I feel like my decision to move over to Adobe Photoshop Lightroom in 2012 was the right move. I’d like to tell you more about Capture NX-D, but the beta just stopped working on my computer. SMH.

95 thoughts on “Nikon Capture NX-D: The end of Capture NX as we know it”

  1. Yeah, I think you are being a bit harsh. You are correct about the abilities/limitations of NX-D but I think you are off the mark as regards NX-2 users being hosed. The only new limitation to NX-2 users will be for future cameras.

    As far as I am aware, C-NX2, for all it’s shortcomings, is head and shoulders above any other camera maker’s software. I’ve bought and used PS Elements through v6, CS3 & CS5.1, and Aperture, and trialled Lightroom 2 & 3. But since 2006 I have always preferred to use Capture NX/NX2.

    I am about to explore NX-D to see for myself but will be disappointed if the advanced features/capabilities of NX2 are gone forever.

  2. I agree Jason. I loved NX2 even for editing tiffs converted from LR for my Sony RX100 and Fuji X100. Looks like I will have to covert my past work to tiffs and go 100% LR beginning this summer. Honestly will miss the CEP items in NX2 because they were a lot easier to use there than the Nik plugin in Photoshop. I assume Google pulled their U Point license otherwise everyone would have been better off using the current version supported for OS upgrades and new cameras.

  3. The advanced features of CNX2 are gone forever. CNX2 was a perfectly reasonable, if slightly outdated, product. CNX-D basically is View NX 3.0. It’s not a replacement to CNX2, yet that’s what it is.

    While indeed you can continue to use CNX2, once you get a new camera, that’s it. Moreover, Nikon will not be updating CNX2 to support new OS versions. So it may take awhile, but you’re hosed. 😉

  4. This was probably inevitable. Now that Google owns Nik Software, how could Nikon continue to get updates to the CNX2 Control Point technology. I switched to LightRoom in 2011, and I have no regrets. Lightroom 5 is very powerful, and with Lightroom I can use the same workflow for all of my cameras: Nikon, Canon, and Sony.

  5. Thanks Jason for your always well-considered thoughts.

    I’d like to add that also gone are the opacity sliders and thus the control over adjustments that they offered.

    Cheers,
    Mogens

  6. The D in NX-D means dead on arrival. I mourn the passing of an all-Nikon workflow, but I am moving on to Lightroom. Somehow I will manage, even though ACR has never faithfully reproduced Nikon color controls.

  7. Fred, I think you’ll find LR5 does a very good job when you set the Camera Calibration to use the Nikon profiles. Choose “Camera Standard” or “Camera Neutral” and the color is very, very close to what you’d get from CNX2.

  8. Jason,

    I use NX2 for my initial processing of my infrared images because it recognizes my custom white balance. Although there are work arounds with Adobe products(create a custom camera profile) NX2 is more convenient. Bad news, however because NX2’s latest version quits when I try to open an image from NX2 in PhotoshopCC! You have to save in NX2 before clicking on “open with PS CC

    Hopefully NXD will be able to read custom WB!

  9. And don’t forget that probably we will have to pay an upgrade fee to buy a product that lacks most of the functionality of the older version…

  10. Yep – I’m hosed. Planning new camera/computer this coming fall. I have Lightroom and use it for a few things but NX2 is my favorite and everything I need. Hey Jason maybe you could create a software program that mimics NX2 for Nikon users. Pleeeze!!!?

  11. I’m very happy with my decision to move to LR in 2012. There are a few things to learn about that will make the transition easier: Camera Calibration options and the Auto Mask feature in the brush tool.

  12. Nicely put. And “hosed” is the operative word: we’re merely customers.
    I’ve always been wary of Adobe and completely happy with Capture(NX(2)). Hope that Transfer will be kept somehow. I love its custom backup and renaming tools!

    But LR5 would be the way to go in a few months’ time.
    Convert LOTS of reworked NEFs to TIFFs, just to be safe when push comes to shove…

  13. Hi Jason,

    Hate to bother you but I’m taking your advice and dropping NX2 and starting my move to Aperture. Sure wish you were using Aperture because I’ve learned about NX2 and sharpening and many other points from your books and posts. Won’t go over why I chose Aperture over Lightroom but this question pertains to using Vivesa 2.

    In Capture NX2 I used the selective (+, -) control point extensively. For example, for an old barn I would apply the +Selective Control Point to the wood and apply the Tonal Contrast to achieve that old weathered wood look. I think I got this tip from one of your posts.

    How can I do this in Vivesa? Is it possible?

  14. Hi Terry-
    I moved over to LR because it can mimic all the Nikon Picture Controls, has better lens correction options, and powerful brush tools compared with Aperture (I’m a Mac guy, too).

    You can use plug-ins with Aperture, but you’ll be working on a separate TIFF file. Color Efex Pro 4 has Control Points built in. Viveza is only Color Control Points. So pretty much you can do everything, just with a slightly modified workflow.

  15. Jason
    Thanks for your help on this issue.
    How does go from a folder based directory in Nx2 to the catalogue in Lightroom?
    Specifically, on import what will Lightroom do with edited Nefs, versions etc.

    Thanks

  16. If you choose “Add” during import, LR simply indexes your folders and nothing is moved. All your directories are left untouched. Once images are indexed by LR, it’s best to use LR to move the folders around if needed. CNX2 edits are not read by LR, so your NEFs will be effectively unprocessed.

  17. I was really excited when I got an e-mail from a friend telling me about CNX-D. That lasted until about two minutes after I downloaded the beta and saw that it really was an upgrade to ViewNX. I’ve been holding off switching to Lightroom in hopes that Nikon would do the right thing and give us a real upgrade.
    Love the camera — the software — not so much.

    Jason,
    Point us to some e-books for learning Lightroom.

    Thanks — cd.

  18. I’m going to REALLY miss Color Control Points. I used the feature frequently for faces on flash indoor shots….adding a little exposure and white balance adjustments (when subjects were too close to other artificial lighting in the room.) It was fast, easy and fairly accurate. Now I’ll have to do more complex and time-consuming editing in Photoshop.

  19. Lightroom’s Brush with Auto Mask can be quite good once you get the hang of it. And of course, there’s always the Nik Plug-ins (Viveza) for CP’s.

  20. I have tried this on my fast iCore 7 and it is dead slow. Also very unintuitive and poorly designed. It feels like going back 10-15 years in software design.

    It truly is worth every cent of the asking price…..

  21. Brian-
    Use the “Add” feature to import images to the LR catalog without disturbing your directory structure. Versions and other edits stored in NEFs will need to be exported out as TIFFs if you want to see them in LR.

  22. Well, I just downloaded the Nikon upgrade to NX2 and (possibly because I didn’t turn off my security) it is basically useless – over 1 minute wait to load a picture.

    I was going to try a fix but on reading this news I’ll just abandon Nikon software, I think.

  23. After having downloaded und installed the Capture NX-D BETA a few days ago I bought Lightroom and the Google NIK Filters. It´s very sad what happened to CNX2 – I must say in clear words that I think it´s a shame! NX-D ist more like ViewNX than like CNX2. The only usecase für NX-D is (maybe or maybe not) the moire-filter, and maybe some things like D-Lightning (I haven´t used it in CNX2 since I work with it – and that´s almost four years).

    What would I use NX-D for?
    -> NEF to TIFF
    -> More processing: TIFF in LR with Google NIK

    Maybe I will use it that way – but overall I´m very pleased with LR.

    Regards, Wolfgang

  24. “Right now, I feel like my decision to move over to Adobe Photoshop Lightroom in 2012 was the right move. I’d like to tell you more about Capture NX-D, but the beta just stopped working on my computer. SMH.”

    Fine, but you are out of luck reading reading new Nikon Df files until Adobe gets around to updating Lightroom to 5.4. (They updated PS ACR to 8.4 almost a month ago). I would assume that this is also true for the D4S but can’t confirm.

  25. Steve-
    First of all, the Nikon Df is supported in ACR 8.3/LR 5.3, which came out in December 2013. Second of all, Capture NX2 is still supported until NX-D is released. Frankly, Adobe has been relatively quick to update ACR/LR ever since they resolved their little spat with Nikon in 2006 or so.

    But perhaps you missed the point of the article:

    1) Nikon is dropping support for Capture NX2 as early as this summer. That’s a company’s way of saying, “you’re on your own.”
    2) Capture NX-D is not only a downgrade from Capture NX2, but it is also incompatible with Capture NX2 and programs that can utilize XMP sidecar files (Bridge, Photo Mechanic, etc.).

    It’s never a bad idea to have a copy of your manufacturer’s RAW converter around for those times when you get the latest camera. But Capture NX-D is not a viable full-time workflow solution for serious professionals or even enthusiasts. It’s value is simply that it converts Nikon NEFs out of the box.

  26. Just had a quick look at this and it’s missing the main things that made CNX the choice over LR for some situations: namely colour control points and a superb, easy to use retouch/spot removal tool. You’re right in that it’s better named VNX3. Very poor, Nikon. I’m on LR4 so I’ll have to look at an LR5 upgrade and probably gradually make a move over – at the mo I use each depending on the shot and the results I want; LR preferred for B&W; love the LR Clarity slider and the LR noise reduction is superb; also use vignetting a lot. Prolly need to bone up on LR as well; only ever made it up as I went along and never really studied what it can do (also true of CNX though…). Will also look at Nik offerings as the control point features were brilliant. Ah well, nothing stays the same.

  27. I tried the beta -version and agree, that the Capture NX-D is far behind NX2. It is just a raw converter without really any possibilities to finish the image. Even slow working, the NX2 is superb compared with NX-D as well with PS and PSP. It is now up to Nikon how to regain the trust of their customers. What Nikon now offer is not in par with the quality of their cameras.

    Nikon must be in a commercially difficult position with Google and has not found its way out. They either reduce the software business to the minimum or they are merely playing time later to come out with something really worth being considered. The worst thing Nikon could do is to terminate the activation of NX 2 on new computers of old users.

  28. Jason,

    How do you do your White balance in Lightroom. Do we need to to use Gray card to do white balance for each time.
    Or Use Capture NX-D for RAW conversion create TIFF file and use lightroom for every thing.
    Please Advise.

  29. LR reads the As-shot WB just fine, Kirit. You can then tweak it with sliders or gray point eyedropper if you want to. I have zero issues with WB in Lightroom on my images.

  30. while some of Jason’s comments might seem a little Harsh i agree with him but to be fair

    Nikon likely has a Legal Problem they cannot get around

    Capture NX 1 &2 were developed under a partnership with NIK

    NIKs U-point technology is an integral component of CNX

    so much so removing it has Gutted Capture NX

    they had to remove all NIK contributions as they no longer have those rights it seems since they went their seperate ways and NIK interests were sold to Google

    i can’t say where the Fault lies
    i expect Nikon & NIK could not reach a deal on extending the contract

    too much for nikon not enough for NIK

    or Google got a hold of the rights and it was not an option for nikon or again too high a price tag

    If Legal parameters are involved CNX is Historylive with that and move on

    as Far as Capture NX Dysfunctional is concerned i am Completely Unimpressed with the Beta released version as is

    without the tools Jason has mentioned as being absent it is hardly worth it even if it is free

  31. I got shafted when I upgraded my PC from 32 bit to 64 bit and found that NX2 would not work (after many attempts). I refused to pay again for a 64 bit version. Having just acquired a (used) V2 I downloaded the Beta with enthusiasm seeing this as a way forward. I am very disappointed. All that lovely U Point technology has gone.
    As a freebee it is just about OK but I am appalled at the demise of NX2. Maybe I will buy the 64 bit version in a fire sale. It should support the V3 before it dies which is a foreseeable upgrade for me. But it looks like cold logic should dictate a move to another product and the agony of a new learning curve.
    Can anybody confirm whether it has/will have support for the V3?
    Can anybody point to a fire sale?!!!

  32. Chris-
    First of all, the 64-bit version of CNX2 was a free upgrade from Nikon. Second, while I can’t say for sure that NX2 will be updated to support the V3, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was. On the other hand, I’d strongly recommend moving to a different platform now, because when CNX2 goes “unsupported” it means you will be stuck should there be an unexpected bug or registry failure.

  33. Bit of a pity the CNX2 is going – I quite like having the edits saved as part of the NEF as it makes archiving simpler – Will probably keep using Nx2 as long as possible.

  34. So, I went to Preferences in the Tools menu. I was able to load the complete Nik suite in the “Open with..” panel. After making some global adjustments in CND, I did an Open with Color Efex and made some changes. Hitting Save, a tif was created in the “My Pictures” folder. Clicking back to NXD, a tiff with the Color Efex changes was on display. I did an Open With Silver Efex,, made changes, hit save, and the tif was updated and was on display in NXD.
    The process is slow, but it does have some functionality that I have not seen others mention on the blog. I think the tif needs to be the only one in the folder in order to get CND to auto-update., and CND needs to aim at the folder for the tif.
    Anyway, it does jog back and forth to the NIK Suite easier than CNX2 did.

  35. Looks like deep doo-doo has hit the fan. With the apparent coming demise of CNX2, there’s little left for Windows users aside from Lightroom. Adobe’s concept of workflow is one of the most incomprehensible and frustrating aspects of the product. Tasks that were simple under CNX2 are now far more complicated and seem to defy logic. I’m hoping that someone other than Adobe comes out with a useful photo editing application. I hate to think of the expense of migrating to Apple products or the down-scaled products available for Linux users as the only alternative to Lightroom.

  36. This is not good news. I still have version 2.4.3 and wonder if I shouldn’t go ahead and update to the latest before it’s too late. I’m happy with NX2 and don’t intend on going to the latest NX-D…especially in light of what I’ve read.

  37. Not advised. When a company says “no longer supported,” it means that if ANYTHING breaks, you’re out of luck. For example, if the registration database is no longer maintained, you might not be able to reinstall/activate the software.

    I will be blunt: GET OUT OF CAPTURE NX NOW. 😉

  38. I use to like Paint Shop Pro years ago before I got my first D200 and I think their current version…X6 I believe, supports Nikon’s RAW formatting. I’m wondering if down the road I may not be able to even open images in NX2. I have an entire HDD dedicated to nothing but digital photos and there’s hundreds and hundreds of photos on that drive. If NX2 won’t open them, RAW or jpeg, I’ll be up the creek for sure.

  39. I suppose the bottom line for me is can I still be able to use and edit photos six months down the road with NX2?. Us old timers hate change!

  40. It’s a roll of the dice. It’s not like the software will just stop working; I’m simply point out that once Nikon stops supporting it, all bets are off. And if it does somehow die, then all your edits are lost.

  41. Jason
    I shall be sad to see the demise of Capture NX2, as the control points in particular made it the easiest editing program that I have used. I shall be interested to read your book on Lightroom when it is published. Will you be adding an appendix, based on your seminar, for people like me who will have to convert to Lightroom from NX2 and who have all their current pictures in NEF format with their NX2 edits intact? Any idea of a publication date, or if you will be producing your seminar notes as a standalone item? Thanks.

  42. I am not in the same league with you guys but have been using NX for several years now and love it. Am so sad to see it dropped. My big question is will edits I have made in NX2 be recognized in Lightroom, or am I going to start over on all my photos. I plan to keep NX2 forever just in case, assuming my computer does not die. Think I will download a new copy and put it on a disk to save for that eventuality. Now if I really like Lightroom and it reads all my old edits, I will dump NX2. Thanks for the heads up Jason.

  43. Jason, as always, insightful review. I have been a staunch Capture NX2 user with all my Nikon DSLRs. I have bought your books, learnt a lot and enjoyed the resulting images. The demise of NX2 is very disappointing, but for Nikon far more serious. It has kept me loyal to Nikon; have D300s and D5100. But, I have been looking at the Fiji X System. Now I believe that there should be a smooth flow between the camera and the post processing software to obtain easily the images I want; Nikon provided that link. Now that they have broken it there is no reason not to jump to Fuji. Some may argue that I am allowing the software to dictate my camera choice, but for me and for ease of use as a busy amateur this influences my buying decision. Thanks for your update. So, after you have run the NX2 to LR session will provide a book? Jules.

  44. I converted to Lightroom 4 a few years ago for the vast majority of my post processing. The one exception is infrared. Similar to Howard Wood (see February 28, 2014 at 1:10 AM post) I use NX2 for my initial infrared processing. As long as my converted D70s works I assume NX2 will be my first IR step. That is unless I find a better way to do it in LR.

  45. I’m currently using CNX2 as my main editing program and will need to switch to Lightroom 5. I also have the LIghtroom plug in version of the Nik Software suite.I frequently open files in one of the Nik Software programs ( Silver Efex Pro, etc) from within CNX2 using a very useful little free “Open with” program refered to in your blog on using Nik Software with CNX2. WIll I be able to go on using this suite as a plug in to Lightroom 5 or will I need to purchase a new suite of NIK plug ins? Incidentally I’ve found that I can use the “Open with” program from the beta version of Capture NX-D with few hassles.

  46. Dumped NXD Beta last night as I will not use it. I have Lightroom on 30 day trial now. Went through the first if their tutorials on downloading photos and creating a catalogue. The tutorial was very good and made my first step easy and even liked the first photo I played with. Most liked will buy Lightroom. I kike the was the catalogue works and ability to have keywords and even use presets on download. Can rename photos by location or job etc. still not sure about the editing aspects. Am wondering how the photos will be saved.

    Will they still be NEFs and will the original still be there after editing and saving? Do I have to save them all as copies so the original will still be there. Guess I need to stop this and get on the tutorials. Think I will give Nikon an earful too of my displeasure.

    Will HDR Effects Pro work as a plugin. From I read above I think it will. Only thing I need to know is do I need to reinstall it so Lightroom recognizes it?

    Jason I really appreciate you helping with all this. As an avid amateur I need lots of help.

  47. Hi Jason,
    I can’t believe that Nikon is actually doing this. I have really enjoyed working with CNX2 since buying your eBook on how to work with it. I went digital in 2008 and wanted an image editing software that did everything I wanted. I didn’t want to have to go from one image editor to another. I’ve never been an Adobe person, Photoshop in particular. That software was probably one of the reasons why I didn’t go digital sooner than I did. It is way too complicated. I want to be a photographer that does very little editing, not a graphic editor that owns a camera. I made it a point not to spend more than eight minutes on an image, including captioning and keywording. I do the same thing to about 80% of all my images with varying amounts of the same edits. Two of the edits I use a lot are control points and the auto retouch. At the moment I’m good with my two year old computer and CNX2 but I’ve held out till Nikon comes out with their long awaited replacement of the D300, so I’ll have to do something then. I read that you were working on an eBook for Lightroom, keep me posted as I’ll be in line for sure. It’s difficult to believe that all the work done on thousands of images over the last six years that I won’t be able to see the edits in Lightroom and could have issues with CNX2 if there’s some registry issue. I’m very disappointed in Nikon if they don’t come out with a proper upgrade to CNX2. Thanks for your article. Dave Blackey Photography

  48. Thank you, Jason, for your help re using Nik plug-ins with Lightroom. I’ve installed LR5 and the Nik software I was using with NX2 works seamlessly as a plug-in. I also found that I could add “Edit List2” to the “Edit In” List if I wanted to. I tool look forward to your book on using LR5. I’ve found the one on CNX2 particularly helpful.

  49. Hi Jason.
    Your NX ebook was my first digital processing tutor.
    NX was my first editor.
    From Dxx, to Dxxx and now Dx,
    Always i like and still like NX and NX2.
    Well, Nikon does not care about loyalty.
    Nikon cares about dollars and cents and not sense.
    Somehow, intrinsically i have to use Nikon.
    No Nikon, got cry.
    NX-D i also have tried, and i agree wholly with your comments.
    Guess it is time to ditch NX2 and embrace LR with a whole heart.
    Mr Odell, you have any books on LR?
    A book that is easy enough for an old bloke like me?
    How old, you asked?
    I am of museum quality.
    Started years ago with silver plates (just kidding).
    Thank you.

  50. Hi Jason, Once again a spot on review. I’m a LR user myself (switched from NX2 quite a while back) but as a Nikon shooter I’m always very interested in NX2 updates when they emerge. I know this post is from February but just now realized the dilemma NX2 users are in. As you stated very accurately the feature list reads more like an “omission” list but in doing research the big one that I see most folks balking at is the U-Point technology. My question would be… Didn’t Google purchase that patent? I could be way off base here but I seem to remember Google snagging some patents from Nik Software (i.e. Nikon) and U-Point was in there (I think). Perhaps this has severely handicapped Nikon in NX-D? Maybe this is why, once again as you already stated, NX-D will be a basic raw editor similar to View? Purely speculation on my part and I’ve done no homework on this… just tossing it out for discussion. Love your books and teaching style! I have many…

  51. And did you convert your edited nefs from NX into LR or do you just use LR for newer photos and stick to NX for the old ones?

  52. I’ve just discovered NX2 is supposed to be replaced by NX-D. The first things I noticed were no more U-Points of high-pass filter. U-Points was the whole reason for using NX2 instead of anything else. While I don’t like this, I can understand the reason behind this move: U-Point is actually a patented technology of Nik Software, which is now in Google’s courtyard. On the flip-side, the whole range of plugins from Nik is now available for $149.
    As this post says, NX-D looks more like ViewNX. If Nikon will offer it for free, then it would be an ok product. But if they hope to charge $200 for it, they’re in for a surprise.

  53. Isn’t this a beta?

    Obviously the first version will have many more features, so I don’t understand why so many seem to be moaning about a new RAW processor from Nikon. Personally speaking I can’t wait till it’s out of Beta and released to see what I can do with it. I’m using C1 and it’s great but a Nikon RAW processor for my NEF’s sounds good. I trialed NX2 and found it clunky and slow and the interface was horrible.

  54. Steve- I suggest reading the Nikon FAQ page and prepare to be insulted. Beta or not, this is simply SilkyPix with a Nikon wrapper. I do not recommend that anyone who is serious about their images use this software, as it is a dead-end.

  55. Hi Jason, hope you are well. I have just purchased the Nikon D810 and am very happy with the new camera, however was very disappointed when I realized that it is not supported by Capture NX2. I have installed the Nikon NX-D program and agree with all your comments. For those who still want to use Capture NX2 if you have one of the new unsupported cameras you can use the Capture NX-D program for the corrections you mention above and then go to the Image-Open with-Capture NX2 bar and it will open the file in Capture NX2 but as a TIF, not a NEF file. It does save the changes you made in the Capture NX-D program. You can then use the U-point technology etc. and save as a TIF or JPEG file. Not ideal I agree and no going back to the NEF file if you want too tweak it in the future. I do use Lightroom but not as much as Capture NX2 but that will have to change in the future,
    Mike

  56. I downloaded the new software and was completely lost! All key functionality seemed to have gone! Thank you for your clear review. Like many I think I need to move to Lightroom

  57. Sunil-
    I do not have any support for Capture NX-D. I do not use it. I imagine batch processing can be done via the browser, but I haven’t tried it.

  58. I have used LR5 for about 6 months. And, it is not hard to make the switch from NX to LR. The LR5 info on You Tube is abundant and useful. Nevertheless, I still use View NX2 to screen all the incoming NEF RAW files for the keepers.

    To back up and future proof my images, I save the keepers in NEF RAW format [compressed (unedited) virgin files] to a external HD. And, from those files I import a separate copy of the keepers in DNG RAW format for LR5 processing, and store them on a separate HD database. I found, using DNG RAW has the same outcomes as using the NEF RAW (with sidecar file) in LR5. Thus, the DNG saves a lot of space, and I only deal with one file per image vs using 2 files with NEF RAW. Also, the original NEFs serve as insurance for not only a back up, but for future product changes. After using LR5 for the past 6 months, It’s unlikely I will ever change to another digital software designed for photographers.

  59. Having now looked at NX-D 1.01 (still free, still beta though not called so) I agree with Jason’s condemnation. It’s essentially useless. (Unlike the other posters, I never liked Nik’s u-points!)
    LR5 is my weapon of choice. DxO Optic Pro 7 elite is available as a free download (yes, really, current version is 9.5) and is useful for awkward cases (noise, distortion) because it’s auto system based on body-lens modules work better than LR5’s and take less effort. Maybe Nikon should stick to making cameras which they (mostly) do quite well. Support DNG as an option and forget writing lousy software.
    I’ll stick to LR5 for 90% of images, preprocessing about half the rest in DxO to DNG and back to LR. The rest might need PS with layers and other goodies. All end up in LR for printing.

  60. Delusion? I know it. You cannot properly develop NEF files in Lightroom. The Nikon profiles are useless. Using several programs in my workflow is the last thing I want but it’s necessary. I’m a pro (weddings) and I take the time and convert them to tiff, and then import to Lightroom. NX-D is full of bugs (eg filtering by EXIF doesn’t work properly when several boxes are ticked) and it is so slow but I simply don’t see a way around it. I’ve tried everything. Without Nikon software pictures look washed, faces brown… Lightroom is so much faster, besides I’ve spent some money on VSCO presets… Hopeless.

  61. You cannot properly develop NEF files in Lightroom.”

    Really? Because I do it every day and get perfectly good results. Actually, I get excellent results. I’m perfectly happy using Lightroom, but it took some getting used to to learn all the nuances.

  62. @Jules Horse Switching to Fuji X doesn’t solve your problem with raw processing. I switched from D3 to X-T1 because I wanted a smaller, lighter system. I couldn’t find a good raw converter for the files, bought Iridient but it has no nice UI, bought Capture One, good results but allso clumsy UI.
    So, then Nikon came with the small fullframe D750 allso with tiltable screen and I sold my X-T1 and bought the D750. Now to find I cannot proces my NEF’s in Capture NX2 because it’s not supported……..Capture NX-D is way to slow on my iMac with 8GB internal mem…bummer

  63. For the last four weeks I’ve been seriously considering buying the new D750 …… until today when I realised NX2 will no longer be supported and is to be replaced by NX-D.
    What are Nikon thinking about? My first look at the software tells me there are no control points; no double threshold; no auto retouch brush; no selection brush!!! If this is the case there will also be no camera sale to me: I’m frankly disgusted and so so disappointed. Goodbye Nikon…

  64. Pro for 40 years, agree with the commenter who said “you cannot edit NEF files in LR.” At least, my NEF photos look much better when initially opened in NX-D or, would you believe it, Photoshop CC 2014, than in LR5. I have no idea why this should be, but there you go. Photos have a certain snap when viewed in Photoshop that they don’t have in LR; perhaps because previews are generated differently. This is strange, since LR uses the same Camera Raw software to convert NEF files that PS uses. Weird. Based on what I’m seeing, I’m thinking the best workflow may be to do basic adjustments in NEF and fine-tune in PS. Lots of questions.

  65. George- it all depends on the camera raw settings you use. And since LR and Photoshop both use the same ACR module, I have no idea why you see differences between them. As for CNX vs ACR, using default settings, you’ll see differences. But if you set ACR to use a Nikon camera calibration profile, e.g. Camera Standard, then the images will be virtually indistinguishable.

  66. It’s been almost a year now with LR5. IMO LR5 has so much to offer photographers. Some people will spend thousands of bucks on expensive lenses and cameras, but they spend little money and time processing images. As an artist, processing images is where most time is spent. What I like about Adobe Lightroom 5 is, they constantly update the software with new camera profiles, lens profiles, and bug fixes. I’m already looking forward to LR6. I just hope it’s in Disc format and “Non-Cloud”.

  67. Hi to everyone

    Iam a professional Nikon user. Nearly 20 years. After digital cameras i am so happy to be in Nikon family. We are are workin 4 photographer 4 assitance and 2 color fixers in my company. We all proud to use Nikon couse of Lens quality and ending program Capture NX2. Becouse U-Point technology gives us lots of easy operations. Becuse we have to fix our photoes so deep and clear. And the programgives us a clear friendly menus. We always hate to use other programs. Becuse they are just same like Capture one, Phocus,Lighroom ect. ect. Capture NX gives a simple magic .. But from now on we couldnt see a clear future in Nikon image processing… The new NXD just like Nikon View… And it didt give any differences from other programs. Hope to see new NX… 🙁

    And wanna ask you where can we write our problems to nikon. i couldnt find any place to write an e-mail….
    Etkin Gurel
    http://www.pozitifstudio.com

  68. My only suggestion would be to contact Nikon customer support. I highly recommend using Lightroom 5 for NEFs. It works great and I have no issues with image quality at all. Moreover, my workflow is now highly streamlined.

  69. I agree with those stating the LR doesn’t render raw files correctly… this is an older post but even adobe admits this. Nikon raw files don’t look anything like they should in LR.. I have all the “nikon picture settings” but they really aren’t even close. One camera it’s kinda close another it’s not even close, it’s a mess.

    I do love LR for its organizing and tagging and presets but i hate how it messes up your images and turns the pixels into a mushy goo if you really look.

    Now Adobe claims they can’t get it accurate because Nikon (and canon, etc…) shut them out of how they process their raw’s which sounds reasonable except that other converters get it much much much closer.

    So far what i’ve seen is that Capture One is clear an away the best app for Nikon raw files but it’s organization and cataloging abilities are terrible but the images are much, much better and much “clearer” than LR. At this point I organize and tag in LR but for clients images I’ll edit in Capture one then PS.

    NX-D may “suck” but even it gets better conversion results than LR. Really even if you just load the images into NX-D and export out into 16 bit tiff files then import those into LR it’s much much better as Nikons software has done the actual raw conversion the way it’s supposed to be and not half a** like LR does. The initial NEF conversion is the important one so i’d suggest use software that gets it right. If you bypass Nikons software remember that features like Active-D Lighting won’t be rendered by LR, of course it will be used in JPGs but if you don’t use jpgs and just use lightroom then you might as well turn it off and save the extra battery power it takes up, it can also add some noise in those areas.

    While its true the app is based on SilkyPix it’s not the same, it has nikons image rendering engine to get the actual “nikon” colors and dynamics. This is much the same as comparing nikons use of sony’s sensors to sony using their own, meaning Nikon get’s more out of the sony sensor than sony does because of their processing algorithms.

    Yes its sad to see the old app go but please people quit bitching about it being Nikons fault, google pulled that rug out from under them as soon as the contract was up and they didn’t exactly have a choice. Would it be nice if the new app was better.. sure but it still pops out nicer, cleaner images than LR does. Even if they had a editing side panel like LR it’d be much better.

  70. I disagree here, Dave. I get the same color from my NEFs in LR as I did with CNX2, with the main difference being that LR isn’t as contrasty as CNX2. That’s because LR does a much better job of protecting highlight/shadow tones by default.

    However, at the end of the day, you need to use what you’re comfortable with. CNX-D is a way of using a Nikon processing engine. If you feel it is better at meeting your needs, then I say go for it. But keep in mind that you are putting everything into proprietary sidecar files when you do so, and you’re forced to then make local adjustments on a TIFF/PSD file in yet another application. That’s not a workflow I want to use anymore.

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