DxO Nik Collection 6.3 is a landmark moment for the Nik plug-in suite

DxO Nik Collection 6.3
(Image credit: DxO)

It's a double celebration for DxO as it releases updated versions of the Nik Sharpener and HDR Efex plug-ins, the last two to be modernised from the days when the Nik Collection was owned by Google.

DxO acquired the Nik Collection from Google in 2017, just when it looked as if one of the best photo editing software suites might be lost for ever, and has spent the last six years re-authoring "millions" of lines of code, much of it undocumented, to make it fully compatible with modern hardware and systems, including Windows, MacOS and Apple Silicon, which is now used for many of the best MacBooks for photo editing, for example. The update also adds support for the best 4K monitors and beyond as high-DPI monitors become the norm.

Nik Sharpener is a two-part tool which offers a 'presharpener' for general detail enhancement and an 'output sharpener' to optimise sharpening for specific print sizes and output devices. This is actually an important technical process that's often overlooked but is key to the best print quality.

Nik Sharpener now has the latest interface design shared by the other Nik Collection plug-ins, with a "clearer, cleaner" look and the option of using DxO's local adjustments via sliders attached to control points in the traditional manner or via sliders in the sidebar.

The same update has been applied to Nik HDR Efex, another older Nik plug-in that was due some attention. HDR Efex can merge separate bracketed exposures into high dynamic range images, and it can also apply its HDR effects to single images too.

Both plug-ins get DxO's latest Control Line local adjustment tool, which works rather like a gradient mask but with an eyedropper to select the tones to be affected by the adjustment.

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Rod Lawton

Rod is an independent photography journalist and editor, and a long-standing Digital Camera World contributor, having previously worked as DCW's Group Reviews editor. Before that he has been technique editor on N-Photo, Head of Testing for the photography division and Camera Channel editor on TechRadar, as well as contributing to many other publications. He has been writing about photography technique, photo editing and digital cameras since they first appeared, and before that began his career writing about film photography. He has used and reviewed practically every interchangeable lens camera launched in the past 20 years, from entry-level DSLRs to medium format cameras, together with lenses, tripods, gimbals, light meters, camera bags and more. Rod has his own camera gear blog at fotovolo.com but also writes about photo-editing applications and techniques at lifeafterphotoshop.com