I have always been a fan of the Nik filters suite. I bought it in the beginning when it was pretty darn expensive. Then I watched as Google gave it away for free, but didn’t support updates. And finally, I cheered when DxO took over and added ongoing support.
Now I am even more excited, as DxO has released Nik Collection 5 with a number of improvements.
While most of us know Nik as a plugin for Photoshop and Lightroom, Nik Collection 5 is able to work as a standalone program. It can also be used as a plug-in for the DxO PhotoLab 5. As a bonus, when you get the Nik plugin collection you also get DxO PhotoLab 5 Essentials at no additional charge.
- The collection has been upgraded to work with current computer operating systems
- Interfaces in several plugins have been modernized and improved
- DxO ClearView technology has been added within individual plugins for handling haze, fog and smoke in the image
- U Point Technology has been added to individual plugins and simplified
- Includes DxO PhotoLab 5 Essentials at no additional charge
- The collection is not fully upgraded for Mac M1 machines as standalone software (although it’s in the pipeline to be completed soon)
- U Point masking is not quite where I would like it, although it has been improved
In addition to supporting new versions of software and operating systems a number of the individual plugins have had a pretty serious makeover.
Tops on my list was making the U-Point technology much easier to use. I always had a hard time bending the selections to my will. So much so that I didn’t use the U Point tech at all. Instead, I put the layer with Nik changes into my Photoshop file and used the masking there.
I may still use the Photoshop masking but the easier to use U Point selections will make that necessary less often.
Same filter set, better interface
My favorite plugins are still Color Efex Pro and Silver Efex Pro. Both have had improvements in the new version that make me like them even more than before. Color Efex Pro 5 and Analog Efex received the same interface makeover as with a recent upgrade to Silver Efex Pro 3. If Nik Collection 5 only had these three plugins I would buy it. But, there’s plenty more for you to explore and use as well.
Included in Nik Collection 5
- Color Efex Pro 5 with over 55 filters for creatively enhancing your image color, tone, contrast and more.
- Nik Silver Efex Pro 3 is one of the most versatile black and white conversion tools out there. From starting point presets through many options for dialing in tone, contrast and localized structure. Ansel would have been proud!
- Analog Color Efex for adding Classic Camera and film stocks.
- Dfine 2 for Noise reduction.
- HDR Efex 2 for blending High Dynamic Range images.
- Sharpener Pro 3 for before work on your images and after for output in printing.
- Perspective Efex. Just as it sounds for cleaning up the leaning camera images.
- Viveza 3 for adjusting color and tone
Pricing and availability
Here’s the really good news as far as I’m concerned. When I saw the improvements, I pictured the price being much higher. Turns out DxO is keeping the new user price at $149. Those who are upgrading from Nik Collection 4, it’s only $79.
I’ve always said when asked if you should invest in software plug-ins, “Do you have time and expertise to do the changes by hand? Or, should you invest money to save time?” The answer here is a no-brainer for me. This collection gets two thumbs-up from me … cause I don’t have any more thumbs.
If you aren’t familiar with the Nik Collection 5 lineup of filters and want to be sure it’s for you before buying the set you can download and put them though your paces for 30 days before making the commitment.
Creatives and techies will like this collection
This collection is a must have if you are like me. I want to be creative but I also want many of my images to be technically correct. The plugins help you do all of that faster and with more accuracy than trying to figure it out by yourself. Who doesn’t like WYSIWYG type technology?
Yours in Creative Photography, Bob