Verdict: 4.8 stars Nik Collection 6 is the latest version of one of the photographic world’s best-known and best-loved plug-in suites. The updates in this version are modest but useful, and that’s not really a criticism because it’s hard to see how the Nik Collection could be made much better.
DxO Nik Collection
Now up to Nik Collection 6, the Nik Collection consists of eight different plug-ins, including four of the best creative tools for photographers you can buy today. Silver Efex is still unrivalled for its black and white photography effects, Color Efex has a dazzling array of photographic effects, Analog Efex is superb at evoking classic analog film and darkroom effects and HDR Efex makes HDR merging and editing easy enough for anyone to get great results straight out of the box. The latest plug in, Perspective, corrects perspective distortion and more.
DxO is running a Black Friday sales where you can save up to 50% on DxO software. The sale is live now and will end on Cyber Monday, November 27. Here’s a list of the savings for new and existing customers compared to the regular price.
Verdict: 5 stars Silver Efex Pro 3 is still the best black and white plug-in there is. It creates rich, dense black and white images that echo classic analog films and darkroom techniques in the digital age.
These Control Lines can already be found in DxO PhotoLab 6, but they are new to the Nik Collection 6. Control Lines are a special kind of selective masking tool. They work like a linear gradient tool, but with an eyedropper which can be moved around to select the tones or areas you want the mask to be applied to.
There are no new plug-ins in the Nik Collection 6 this time around, but significant feature additions to some and improved local adjustment tools across the board.
Black Friday may be over, but DxO now has a Holiday Magic offer running until December 31. If you buy two or more DxO products during this period it triggers a 30% discount at the checkout. This applies to any permutations of DxO products, including DxO PhotoLab 6 Elite, Nik Collection 5, PureRAW 2, FilmPack 6 or ViewPoint 4.
The star of the show is DxO Nik Collection 5, which is on sale at half its regular price – but there are savings to be had across the full range of DxO software too. But you’ll have to be quick. The DxO Black Friday sale started at 10am CET (9am GMT, 4am ET) on Monday November 21 and will end at 11:59pm local time on Monday November 28.
What’s in a name? Preset effects typically have names to give you an idea of the kind of subjects they might work with, but in reality you should just choose a preset that gives you the ‘look’ you want. For this dramatic seascape I turned to the Hollywood Glamour preset in Silver Efex Pro, one of the key plug-ins in the DxO Nik Collection.
Verdict: 5 stars . Color Efex Pro 5 has been modernized and streamlined as part of the Nik Collection 5 update, and when I thought it could hardly be any better – well it’s even better. Color Efex Pro 5 is a big collection of photographic and digital filters which can be used individually or in combination for an almost limitless range of effects. Color Efex Pro 5 replaces the old and somewhat dated interface, adds more controllable control points and DxO’s ClearView contrast enhancement. It was brilliant before, and it’s even more brilliant now.
Verdict: 5 stars Analog Efex Pro 3 is a new and revamped version of the analog effects plug-in in the DxO Nik Collection. It goes way beyond most analog photography tools, offering not just film styles, grain effects and borders, but creative vignetting, bokeh, lens blur, lens distortion, double-exposures, motion blur and more to simulate a huge variety of ‘old camera’ looks. There are other good vintage/analog tools out there, but none that go as far as Analog Efex Pro, and version 3, introduced with Nik Collection 5, is streamlined, updated and even better.