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.
Film simulation, and why it's popular
Digital imaging has transformed photography, making it quicker, cheaper and more accessible to everyone. But something has been lost, too, and that’s the imperfect, random and fragile nature of film. We can admire digital images for their accuracy and permanence, but film creates an emotional engagement of a different kind.
Film imposes its own character on a scene, prints fade and stain over time, cheap cameras have light leaks and soft lenses that add their own layer of personality to an image. Some might consider these to be irritating and unnecessary imperfections, but for a lot of people they spark memories and associations that add another layer of complexity to an image.
So software that replicates film ‘looks’ is increasingly popular and it’s also possible to create film or analog looks manually once you recognise the characteristics that make them stand out.
How to customise Analog Efex Pro presets
Analog Efex Pro, part of the DxO Nik Collection, has some great vintage film effect presets, but you don’t have to use them exactly as they are provided. It’s very easy to customise and adapt these presets to give exactly the kind of look you want.
How to get started with Analog Efex Pro
Analog Efex Pro is one of the plug-ins in the Nik Collection. It works as a plug in with Lightroom Classic and Photoshop but it can also work as a standalone program or as an external editor with all sorts of other programs like Capture One, Exposure X and more. It’s designed to recreate the […]
How to get started with Silver Efex Pro
Silver Efex Pro is one of the best-known plug ins in the Nik Collection and widely regarded as the premier tools for fans of black and white photography. There are lots of really good ways to create black and white images in all sorts of software, but even now Silver Efex Pro has a magic […]
Picture styles and film simulation with digital cameras
Digital cameras typically offer a range of ‘picture styles’ to suit different subjects or different tastes in color rendition. Canon calls these Picture Styles, Nikon calls them Picture Controls and other camera makers have their own names.
How to get great black and white in DxO PhotoLab… but you’ll need FilmPack 5
DxO PhotoLab can create superb black and white imagery, both in terms of image quality and in creative control, but you need to get the DxO FilmPack 5 Elite add-on to do it. This does make things more expensive, and it does feel a bit like you’re paying for some things that other programs offer […]
Capture One 12 Fujifilm Film Simulations: how they work
Is Capture One now the best RAW converter of all for Fujifilm owners? Phase One has added support for the Fujifilm GFX, launched a new, free Capture One Express Fujifilm app, and Capture One 12 now adds Fujifilm Film Simulation modes.
6 tips for getting an authentic analog film effect
Modern cameras can reproduce the world with utter, clinical accuracy. The trouble is, it turns out that’s not what we wanted after all. A lot of the time, what we actually want is the faded, distressed, imperfect look of analog photography. So here are six top tips for getting that analog film effect ‘look’ with […]
Which film simulation plug-in is best?
I love film. It’s what I grew up with, and it’s what I made most of my photographic discoveries – and mistakes – with. I love its richness, depth, unpredictability and character. So I’m especially interested in any film simulation software which promises to replicate the look and feel of traditional silver-based films. But I’m […]
Do more with Color Efex Pro’s Old Photo effect
Normally, if you want to create any kind of black and white effect with the DxO Nik Collection, you’d go straight to Silver Efex Pro. However, Color Efex Pro has some black and white effects of its own. The effects are different to Silver Efex Pro’s, so although the tools aren’t quite as sophisticated, you […]