After bringing the Nik Collection back from the dead, in 2018, DxO now announces a major upgrade to the famous plugin suite, which now includes DxO’s PhotoLab RAW photo editor.
Back in 2018 DxO brought the classic Nik Collection back to the market, after having acquired it from Google, who had acquired the software and distributed it freely, not knowing what to do with it. DxO knew better, and in 2018 the company released the software’s first stable version with customer support, making thousands of users of the original version happy, by keeping alive one of the most cherished special effects package.
Now DxO is back with an expansion to the plugin suite, introducing more than 40 new creative presets and high-resolution monitor support for Windows. In addition, the Nik Collection 2 now comes with DxO PhotoLab 2.3 ESSENTIAL Edition, DxO’s recently released advanced RAW photo editing software. It’s an interesting move and one that may interest those who are after an alternative to solutions as Photoshop or Lightroom, or even any of the other photo editing apps available on the market.
A RAW photo editor included
While the version included does not offer all the features you get from the ELITE edition of DxO PhotoLab 2.3, it does allow users to get the essential tools to edit their images, RAWs included, which can lead users to buy the top version of the app. It’s a wise marketing decision by DxO, I believe, as the price for the Nik Collection 2 with the DxO PhotoLab 2.3 ESSENTIAL Edition is $99.99 instead of $149, if acquired until June 30, 2019. Those who want to upgrade also have a special price for the same period: $59.99 instead of $79.
The Nik Collection 2, which has gained a significant following for its high-quality, creative filters, has added 42 new “En Vogue” presets to its original set of 156: 10 new recipes for Color Efex Pro, 10 new black and white presets to Silver Efex Pro, 12 new HDR presets to HDR Efex Pro, and 10 new tool combinations to Analog Efex Pro.
New filters to play with
The latest filters in the Nik Collection 2 will take your photos’ emotional impact to the next level, says DxO. For example, “Blue Monday,” which is available in Color Efex Pro, combines the fresh look of subtle Varitone coloring, the visual interest of cross processing, and the softness of slightly desaturated effect. “More Silver,” which is available in Silver Efex Pro, pairs the crispness of silver toning with a fine grain, resulting in black and white photographs that feature a level of balanced contrast typically achieved through darkroom techniques. Photographers who would like to add a bit of nostalgia to their images can turn to “Burned Edges,” in Analog Efex Pro to reproduce the burned-edge, vignetting, toning, and framing effects typical of old-fashioned analog cameras.
The “En Vogue” series was created in collaboration with Dan Hughes, a highly respected lecturer of photography at Rochester Institute of Technology and a former instructor with Nik Software. “I was honored to be a part of the expansion of the Nik Collection by DxO,” he said. “The plugin suite has helped promote the art of photography, and the addition of new effects has significantly increased its potential by offering all photographers new creative opportunities.”
Support for high-res monitors in Windows
This upgrade also brings something Windows users had asked for. Now, the Nik Collection 2 supports high-resolution monitors (HiDPI) with Windows. The graphic elements of the Color Efex Pro, Silver Efex Pro, HDR Efex Pro, and Analog Efex Pro plugin interface have been improved to ensure flawless readability when viewed through high resolution monitors—just like with the macOS version.
A recent survey by DxO revealed that nearly all Nik Collection users work in RAW, so the company decided it was wise to help them harness the full power of this file format, by adding DxO PhotoLab 2.3 ESSENTIAL Edition to the package. The software has been adapted to offer users direct access to the plugins from their workspace via a dedicated button and drop-down menu. After the image is edited in DxO PhotoLab 2, it can be quickly converted and sent to one of the Nik Collection plugins, where the photo can be further altered and enhanced with creative effects.
Try something different
Nik Collection is a plugin suite for Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom Classic, and Elements, but with this move DxO transforms it in a standalone solution with its own RAW photo editor, inviting users to try something different, and maybe change their workflow, as there is no subscription model users have to adhere too.
“By offering our advanced photo editing solution along with the Nik Collection 2, we are giving users access to DxO’s powerful and high-quality RAW treatment technology as well as its unparalleled optical corrections, which were developed over fifteen years of measurements and analyses conducted in its laboratory,” said Jean-Marc Alexia, VP Product Strategy and Marketing with DxO. “DxO also offers high quality de-noising capabilities, smart exposure optimization with DxO Smart Lighting, and U Point local adjustment technology, which is now available for use with RAW images.”
New cameras supported
On top of providing access to Nik plugins directly from the software’s workspace, DxO PhotoLab 2 continues to support new equipment. In addition to adding support for Leica M 10-D and M 10-P, Nikon D3500, Panasonic Lumix DC-S1, DC-S1R, LX100 II, Sony A6400, and DSC-RX100 VA, DxO PhotoLab 2.3 can now process files from Canon EOS RP and Olympus OM-D E-M1 X. It has also added more than 500 new optical modules to its library, bringing its total number of camera/lens combinations to 47,500.
The Nik Collection 2, offering expert photographers a palette of nearly 200 high-quality creative effects and filters as well as a number of retouching tools, is now available for download on the DxO website. Those interested in checking the differences between the DxO PhotoLab 2.3 ESSENTIAL and ELITE editions, which cost $129 and $199, respectively, should also check the website.