With the Nik Collection 5, DxO finishes its task of updating and redesigning the creative plug-ins at the heart of this suite. Silver Efex Pro and Viveza got an interface update and new features in the previous update, and now it’s the turn of two of the most powerful tools in this collection.
The Nik Collection actually consists of eight different plug-ins for Photoshop and Lightroom – though these can also be used as standalone applications and external editors for a wide variety of other ‘host’ programs, like Capture One or DxO’s own PhotoLab application.
Indeed, with Nik Collection 5, DxO is bundling its PhotoLab 5 Essential edition free, to make this an even more appealing proposition for new users.
PhotoLab 5 Essential is a non-destructive photo editor that offers DxO’s excellent raw processing, lens corrections and local adjustment technologies, and can also send images to the Nik Collection plug-ins directly. It does not have the DeepPRIME noise reduction or the ClearView contrast enhancement of the PhotoLab 5 Elite edition, but we understand an upgrade path will be available for those who want it.
The Nik Collection 5 plug-ins
DxO separates these into two groups: its ‘creative’ tools, which consist of Color Efex Pro, Analog Efex Pro, Silver Efex Pro and Viveza, and its ‘technical’ tools, which include Nik Dfine (noise reduction), Nik Sharpener, Nik Perspective Efex and Nik HDR Efex.
The Nik Collection has been around for many years and has evolved steadily first in the hands of its creator, Nik Software, then Google (which added Analog Efex Pro) and now DxO (which added Perspective Efex).(opens in new tab)
Color Efex Pro and Analog Efex Pro
Both plug-ins get a substantial update in Nik Collection 5. They benefit from an interface update to replace their previously somewhat dated and technical appearance and bring them in line with Silver Efex Pro and Viveza.
The U Point adjustment tools are substantially upgraded too. It’s now possible to rename control points for easier identification and save them as part of presets for future use. On top of that, control points in these plug-ins now have Luminance and Chrominance sliders to fine-tune their masking effect.
Color Efex Pro goes one better, now incorporating the ClearView technology from PhotoLab. This is very effective at restoring contrast in hazy landscapes, but also adding ‘punch’ to flat looking images generally.
In one further change, Perspective Efex adds more than 4,300 camera and lens combinations to its database of correction profiles.
Nik Collection 5 price and availability
Nik Collection 5 is on sale now at a price of $149/£135 (about AU$214) for new users and $79/£69 (about AU$114) for those upgrading from a previous version.