What advantage does NX offer?

Started Mar 19, 2010 | Discussions thread
jahern Contributing Member • Posts: 953
Re: What advantage does NX offer?

I use a Lightroom/CS4 set up for importing, sorting, metadata, RAW processing and cataloging. I like the workflow in Lightroom, and find going back between Photoshop and Lightroom for more intensive re-touching very slick.

The only fault I had with Lightroom was the colors when I switched from Canon to Nikon. The Canon RAW files were fine in Lightroom, and the release of the camera profiles solved the minor problem I saw with reds. But for Nikon no profiles really worked, skins in portraits had a horrible yellow cast to them, and landscapes had some plastic greens and blues to them.

I got NX2 free with the D700 so I gave it a go, also tried out the Nik ColorEfex filters as a trial.

I found I was able to get a nice punchy image with NX2 very easy, and the Nik filters were brilliant, liked the filters for skin when doing wedding images.

It was very different to Lightroom/Photoshop, you got great images just by using the camera picture styles such as portrait or landscape along with using active D-Lighting, to get the same punchy image in Lightroom seem to require a lot of slider movements. I like the control points very much along with the 'Layers' style way of adding selective adjustments. I was finding I was able to get my images to be about 90% in NX2, requiring about 10% more work in Photoshop, while using ACR I was getting to about 70%, but had to do more work in Photoshop such as skin retouching, cloning and lens correction.

So you would think after reading the above that I jumped ship to NX2...no I'm still using Lightroom, the main reason was speed, making adjustments in NX2 was painfully slow, you move a slider and click on a filter and NX2 would think about it for a second or two and then should you the result. Adjustments in Lightroom are more real time so you can more accurately judge the effect of a slider as you move it. So it takes less steps to finish off an image, but each step take a lot longer than it would in ACR.

I solved the color problem in ACR by using X-Rite's new Passport checker with a color checker. Also with CS5 and Lightroom 3 coming out I hoping for a performance boost there too.

That was my one concern with NX2, when Apple brought out Snow Leopard, I don't recall any problems using Adobe products, but it seemed to take Nikon ages to get NX2 working on Snow Leopard. Adobe seem to have more frequent updates, and there is more resources for learning, plug-ins etc.

The last problem is the integration of NX2 in a workflow, I can work between Lightroom and Photoshop quickly and easily, I can put a DNG file in as a smart object in a PSD and then work on it using layers and plug ins and create a master file, I can always jump back into the DNG if I want to make a few adjustments and this does not cause a problem unless I've used the spot healing or healing brush on a layer above. This means I often only have one file for an image, and can re-tweak it again and again. With NX2 I would have to generate a TIFF file from the NEF so I can use it with other programs for putting together wedding albums, ftp to web etc. So that means two files, and I don't like the original RAW conversion, I have to regenerate the TIFF file, scrubbing any adjustments theres.

Not giving up on NX2, if Nikon could work on the speed issue then I could see a lot of use using Nikon's portrait, active D-Lighting and Nik filters to rip through NEFs quicker than I can with ACR, but as it is currently, it is on the back burner for now.


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