A few more thoughts on Nikon Capture NX-D

This is what happens when using Capture NX-D for more than 30 seconds.
This is what happens when using Capture NX-D for more than 30 seconds.

I managed to get the beta of Nikon’s Capture NX-D working again briefly. For some reason, it did not like working with files that weren’t in my home directory (I keep my images on a separate external drive).

Between reader comments and playing around more with the software, I’ve discovered a few more tidbits, some of which I’ve added to my previous post.

To add to the list of missing features:

  • Effect opacity
  • Auto Retouch Brush
  • Lasso Tool

So you won’t be able to do ANY retouching in CNX-D

Proprietary Sidecar Files!

Ok, so one reason Capture NX-D is faster is because it writes metadata and image adjustments to sidecar files automatically. This is nice from the standpoint that you never need to worry about manually saving your files. However, I discovered two quirks about the new sidecar implementation that made me cringe.

First, sidecars are not stored in the same directory as your original images, but rather in a sub-directory called NKS_PARAM. That means if you move files with external applications, you’re going to have problems keeping the metadata associated with your images. Most other programs just put the sidecar file right alongside the image file, which makes locating them simple.

Second, Nikon is not using industry-standard XMP sidecars! No, they’ve gone ahead and created a proprietary sidecar file with a .nks extension. That means all the other programs you use to read metadata won’t read these sidecar files. So forget using other programs to browse or filter images based on keywords, ratings, or labels!

Not only are the Capture NX-D sidecar files stored in a separate directory, but they are a proprietary format!
Not only are the Capture NX-D sidecar files stored in a separate directory, but they are a proprietary format!

So take your pick for what you want the “D” in Capture NX-D to stand for. Downgrade. Debacle. Delirious. Dead on Arrival. I’m open to all suggestions!

13 thoughts on “A few more thoughts on Nikon Capture NX-D”

  1. Between this fiasco, their lousy policy of no longer selling repair parts to the few remaining repair shops and the way they are reported to treat pros it’s hard to understand how they plan to remain a major player in photography. I’m too old and too invested in my Nikon gear to even consider jumping ship but stuff like this will certainly make serious hobbyists think twice although I don’t believe the Joe McNallys or Matt Kloskowskis etc. of the world ever used CNX anyway.

  2. As a long term user of Nikon NX products (and I do think Nikon software renders better than any of the third party products I have tried) I am dismayed and disappointed that Nikon have let us down so badly. Tried the beta version and it is horrible. One reason for sticking with Nikon was because I thought they would maintain legacy software for their cameras better than third parties would. Looks like I was wrong, wrong, wrong. Makes Adobe $9.99 per month for PS/LR combo look good.

    Personally I love CNX-2 despite its slow speed I got used to control points and high pass sharpening – to lose those is a bitter pill to swallow. Passing tif’s to PS and using Nik plugins looks about the only way to continue that style of editing long term – with much less convenience and extra steps thrown. Bleah!!

    I don’t believe in miracles and understand Google has perhaps made life difficult for Nik to still be available for Nikon products but please Nikon find way to do this better. .

  3. Since Adobe started implementing Camera Calibration options that mimicked Nikon’s Picture Controls (Standard, Neutral, Vivid, Portrait, Landscape), there has been little to no difference in base conversions. In fact, when you factor in Adobe’s better sharpening algorithms and highlight/shadow recovery, I actually think LR does a better job of converting NEFs today than Capture NX2 ever did.

  4. I have used Capture NX2 for many years and I have always been happy with it but, after the NX-D announcement, I decided to start learning to use Lightroom. The more I use it, the more I like it. I agree that the NEF conversions from Lightroom are about the same as from NX2. I do find that I need to do more adjustments in Lightroom, but it works well. What I am more concerned about are the tens of thousands of NEF files that I have edited in Capture NX2. I am not going to edit them all in Lightroom and I will some day eventually lose all that work when I can no longer run NX2. I know I could convert them all to TIFFs and save them that way, but that would take a long time and would take 5 or 6 times the disk space. I interested in what Jason did with all his existing NX2 edited NEFs.

  5. I also bought LR5 and started to learn it. I am not getting the same (great) results of CNX2 yet. I particularely miss the integration of Nik Color Efex 3 in the workflow. Sure, with LR5 I have the entire Nik Google Collection and much more possibilities, but at the price of additional TIFF-files. The LCH-editor in CNX2 is a really great tool. I did not find its equivalent in LR5 yet. Any hints?

  6. I mostly use View NX2 for browsing and RAW conversion and Photoshop for image editing. My workflow is to make the RAW conversion in View and any editing is done in Photoshop. Since I do a lot of focus stacking and HDR, that workflow works for me.
    Now, how about a refund…

  7. Thomas-
    Try adjusting your camera profiles (in the Calibration panel) to “Camera xxx” which emulates Nikon Picture Controls.
    You can use the HSL editor to manipulate individual color ranges, similar to LCH.

  8. I do a lot of infrared photography with Nikon Cameras. While I love my Nikon equipment, most Nikon cameras cannot set a custom white balance when shooting IR imagaes. To get around this, I set the WB in post using the grey point marquee function in CNX2 o draw a line around the entire photo. NX-D has a pseudo-marquee function (click and drag), but the selected area is only ~20X20 px. This small area can result in improper WBs altered color IR photos and it is especially problematic when there is nothing in the photo that should be a neutral grey. I left feedback on the NikonUSA website but I am not optimistic they will improve this function. As Oliver Hardy would say, “Here’s another fine mess you’ve gotten me into!”

  9. Thank you Jason. Indeed, the HSL editor is similar to the LCH; just sliders instead of curves. However, the slider in CNX2 to determine the width of the colour range to be affected by a curve in the luminance or crominance editor is still unique.

  10. I am soo disappointed about Nikons behawer how they treat us pros, don´t care about those customers build there complete workflow on the system, hardware-application from one hand. so they broke up and I am looking for something new. but there is no replacement, use PS/LR for the RAW-converting with no d-lighting and colorcontrol, and than Google-Nik-Tools. Great!! So, if Nikon takes me away all advantages from that brand, I am going to look for new hardwaresolutions. after 48 years. Fritz Germany

  11. Its a bit disapointing i’ve started photography a little more than 2 years ago and took the CNX 2 road, First because even if people told me that lightroom was implementing camera calibration similar to picture control i’ve always tought that they were way off comparatively to my d7k camera standard picture control ( that I used most of the time). I really comes to have a great workflow with CNx2 and love doing creative sharpening and everything else with u-points and I am guilty of using in camera low d-lighting I guess ill have to turn that off from now on. I dont know if anybody was doing that but I really like to simply use a white point to fix my Wb problems . I dont know if lightroom has a similar tool? Anyways I know that LR has better shadows ad highlights recovery even sharpening and noise reduction . But all the hours spent reading or watching workshops like jason odells sharpening with cnx2, and mostly all the trial and error to have a great workflow gone. I should have just jump to lightroom right away ….oh well it will be a long learning experience again….

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