Author Topic: Nikon Capture NX2 replacement workflow. Any ideas?  (Read 11071 times)

Offline judophotos

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Nikon Capture NX2 replacement workflow. Any ideas?
« on: March 12, 2014, 09:42:41 AM »
Having just read Hayo Baan's post about DNG files in the support thread and been following the same testing myself over the past few weeks I'd like to ask how others are considering replacing CNX2 in their Nikon RAW work flow.

CNX2 for my raw work flow is essential because it is fast enabling me to get my images to my agent after an event much faster than using any other system (perhaps that's me). CNX2 uses control points which will, in future,  only be available in Nik software. To use that software I have to run either Photoshop or Lightroom.

I don't use Photoshop much and my version is CS3 which, I understand, is not compatible with Nik software which starts with CS4.

Also I am reluctant to move to Lightroom as I don't want to catalogue files on my laptop at the venue. I have and use PM5 and it is perfect for ingesting and captioning etc. But I do need a programme that will enable me to utilise the Nik U-point technology especially  the Viveza 2 programme. Does anybody know if it is possible to turn off the cataloguing in Lightroom?

After the event I transfer my images to my PC where everything is finished with pictures sent to magazines and added to my website. Only after that do I transfer the images to my network Drobo and catalogue them using iDimager's Photo Supreme that is working near perfectly with 360,000 images and a lot more to come.

I must add that I do not like using sidecar files and prefer everything to be in the image file as is the case with NEFFs.  Any suggestions?

Offline syncrasy

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Re: Nikon Capture NX2 replacement workflow. Any ideas?
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2014, 03:33:22 PM »
You might want to check out the discussions over at Nikonians.org. Many ideas. None ideal. Seems many of the pros are switching (or already switched) to LR. I don't want to use LR because I already have invested years of time into my catalog (Expression Media/Media Pro) and I have Photoshop. I have not yet explored the idea of purchasing the NIK plug-ins.

My current thinking is that I'm going to use NX2 for as long as I can but I should probably export TIFF versions of my edited NEFs for safekeeping to be ready if/when NX2 stops working. If I get a new Nikon camera after September 2014 (when new camera raw support for NX2 ends), I'll probably use NX-D for general raw processing, then port a TIFF over to Photoshop if I need to do pixel edits, but I'll have to completely change my workflow because NX-D uses proprietary sidecars.
-- Mark

Offline Soizic

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Re: Nikon Capture NX2 replacement workflow. Any ideas?
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2014, 11:15:22 PM »
Hello
I agree with Judophoto.
I like very much NX2 ; I have LR for cataloging and printing, I don't like development.

I am trying Capture One. Excellent for lights, Dlighting, colors and main colors (dominante ?). Local selections faith only brush and  linear gradient, perhaps more in future.
I can forget catalogue and work only with sessions, very convenient.

I do not like using sidecar files, i think without NX there will be no other solution.

Alas !
Soizic (France)
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Offline Hayo Baan

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Re: Nikon Capture NX2 replacement workflow. Any ideas?
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2014, 04:27:07 AM »
Hi guys,

Knowing that NX2 is going to be end-of-life in a couple of months and also knowing that NX-D isn't really a successor (it doesn't offer the same functionality as NX2) and will never be, I had to reconsider my imaging workflow. I have been investigating a new workflow, one without NX2/NX-D, for some time now and I think I have found one that works (for me).

For my (new) workflow I wanted a) great (raw) editing results, functionality and speed, b) edits to be visible in PM, c) support for the years to come.
Regarding a), this also meant (for me) that there should be good support for batch processing and that I should be able to do as much as possible in raw (with NX2 I can do 99% of my edits in-raw, pano's and HDR are an exception, of course).

There are numerous possibilities for editing raw, but most die on requirement c) for me; many players are just too small to consider stable towards the future. Of the bigger ones, I knew (well) how to work with Lightroom (and Adobe Camera Raw) en Capture One, so these were obvious choices. The latter, I didn't like really much when I used it (though it probably has improved in the last couple of years), besides, I'm not perfectly sure about their stability towards the future (they should be big enough to continue to exist and develop their software for years to come though). So that basically left me with Adobe software.

Requirement a) is mostly covered with ACR/Lightroom, though definitely not as well as with NX2. The functionality that I (so far) miss most are:
  • the “layers” and blending modes that NX2 offers,
  • control points to quickly make good selections, and (probably the most important),
  • the  retouch brush; the spot removal tool of ACR/Lightroom is simply lightyears behind that of NX2 (in many cases that works even better than PS's context aware magic)
This simply means I have to work more in PS (luckily the interface with PS is well integrated and has the added bonus of being able to load your raw files as smart object). Therefore this is not too bad (still hoping Adobe will include something like layers and a better retouch brush though).

b) Well, here's a tough one; the (somewhat understandable) approach by Adobe is to never alter the original raw file, but to put everything in .xmp sidecar files. This has the huge disadvantage that PM is not able to see your edits, rendering it's functionality mostly useless >:(
Luckily there is a solution to this: DNG, here Adobe does embed all data, and even allows for an (updated and full size) built-in preview.

It does mean having to convert all raw files to DNG first, of course. This can be automated/batched though, so no real issue here. Oh, and if you don't want to loose your original raw file, there's even an option to embed this in the DNG. As I have a backup of all of my original (and untouched) raw files anyway, this is not a problem for me.
One caveat: Adobe does not support nef files that were converted from in-camera uncompressed to lossless compressed (using NX2), this is a huge problem for me as this is exactly what I have done with my D200 files… Good to know I have the original raws still too though so if I ever need to edit an “old” file when NX2 doesn't work any longer, I can dig up the original file and be on my way.

We've already discussed my requirement c), so now it basically comes down to “to lightroom or not to lightroom”.

While Lightroom looks great, it does have its problems. For one, I find it nearly impossible to make small and precise adjustments with the sliders, also the fact that the keyboard shortcuts for e.g., crop are not the same as in PS is quite maddening (but one can certainly overcome that after practice). Oh and why doesn't CMD/CTRL-+ work to zoom in, it has to be CMD/CTRL-= (meaning the + on the numerical keyboard doesn't work). The biggest issue I have with Lightroom, though is the fact it does not automatically update the preview embedded in the dng file; you have to do that manually (ok, speed reason), but then you have no means of selecting (only) those images that need their preview updated (extremely cumbersome).
For bulk adjustments, it's great though!

ACR on the other hand really has a crappy looking UI (why haven't they overhauled that one too when the overhauled everything else in PS CS6?), but it works great! I like the philosophy behind their UI-approach a bit more than that of LR (best would be a combination of the two) and they use the same keyboard shortcuts as you will be used to from e.g. PS (yeah!). Even CMD/CTRL-0 works to fit the image into the window! And it does update the embedded preview automatically!

To cut a long story short, for my future photography I will now fully adopt a DNG workflow using both LR and ACR together (LR for batch updates, ACR for smaller batches/individual file updates).

Hope this helps!
Hayo Baan - Photography
Web: www.hayobaan.nl

Offline Hayo Baan

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Re: Nikon Capture NX2 replacement workflow. Any ideas?
« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2014, 08:32:13 AM »
Perhaps of interest, writing above answer has inspired me to rework it into an entry for my blog, thank you for this :)
Hayo Baan - Photography
Web: www.hayobaan.nl

Offline judophotos

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Re: Nikon Capture NX2 replacement workflow. Any ideas?
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2014, 02:36:38 AM »
Thanks Guys.

There are some excellent ideas here that I will try out in an effort to replace CNX2 earlier rather than later. What worries me is continued compatibility with my earlier NEF images.

I'm playing with Lightroom at the moment along with the Nik plugins which I think are excellent. Surely Nikon could adapt NX D to accept the Nik plugins. If they did it would help as long as they allowed the option of embedding the file.

I will look at Hayo's route of converting the NEFs to DNG but I am concerned that that would be an additional step that takes time when your first priority is to send finished and captioned images to your agent that day.

What I will say is that Photo Mechanic will always be the first port of call in any future work flow.

David


Offline Kirk Baker

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Re: Nikon Capture NX2 replacement workflow. Any ideas?
« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2014, 07:19:25 AM »
David,

I'm playing with Lightroom at the moment along with the Nik plugins which I think are excellent. Surely Nikon could adapt NX D to accept the Nik plugins. If they did it would help as long as they allowed the option of embedding the file.

The Nik folks were the developers of Capture NX and Capture NX2.  They were acquired by Google.  While I don't know all of the details, this very likely severed their relationship with Nikon.  Nikon is not a software engineering company and it looks like Capture NX-D is based heavily on SilkyPix which is developed by Ichikawa Soft Laboratory in Japan.  https://www.isl.co.jp/SILKYPIX/english/

I don't know the terms of the development agreement between Nikon and Nik, but I'm sure that since Capture NX2 was such a successful product, they would rather have continued development on it rather than move to a different product and a different developer.

Has anyone tried giving Nikon feedback on Capture NX-D?  It may be that it is still somewhat malleable at this point and can be shaped into a better tool.

-Kirk

Offline judophotos

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Re: Nikon Capture NX2 replacement workflow. Any ideas?
« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2014, 07:54:34 AM »
Thanks Kirk. Very helpful.

I'm downloading it now and will try it when I get time. However, I guess it will not work with the Nik plugins that I have tried on NX D and they didn't work there.

I have given feedback on the Nikon site and already expressed my disappointment at the lack of control points. Nik plugins would help.

David


Offline judophotos

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Re: Nikon Capture NX2 replacement workflow. Any ideas?
« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2014, 05:58:38 AM »
As a follow on from my earlier postings on this subject, my future Nikon NEF work flow is likely to completely revolve around Photo Mechanic and all the brilliant Nik plugins.

Firstly, the plugins will not work with NEFs but will work with TIFs. So I will sort, select and caption with PM then convert the selected images to TIFs. Once converted I will use Nik Viveza 2 to adjust the image and use the control points if required.  As I get to understand the other Nik plugins they will also be used as needed. Cropping is likely to be actioned with Photoshop but everything will revolve around Photo Mechanic including uploading the images as jpegs as quickly as possible after an event.

I have tried Lightroom in the work flow but it is an extra step and a catalogue that is not needed on my laptop. I have tried NX D which will not work with Nik plugins and produces sidecars in a separate folder ensuring adjustments don't travel with the images to my PC and Drobo back at the office. I have also tried Slkypix and that does not impress me at all.

What surprises me is that nowhere on the PM forums have I found any mention of the Nik plugins being used in any PM workflow.

I would love the idea of Nik Plugins being incorporated into PM as add-ons. Any takers?


 
« Last Edit: March 18, 2014, 06:00:53 AM by judophotos »

Offline Kirk Baker

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Re: Nikon Capture NX2 replacement workflow. Any ideas?
« Reply #9 on: March 18, 2014, 06:33:37 AM »
I would love the idea of Nik Plugins being incorporated into PM as add-ons. Any takers?

Hosting Photoshop plugins inside PM is not ever likely to happen.

-Kirk

Offline ericbowles

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Re: Nikon Capture NX2 replacement workflow. Any ideas?
« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2014, 04:56:06 AM »
Hayo - thanks for the article.

I'm going through the same process - switching from Capture NX2 to Lightroom with Photoshop used on an exceptions basis for specific needs.

The new Nikon program - NX-D - is terrible.  It would represent an update to View NX2, but the use of proprietary XMP files makes even that a problem.  It's in no way a replacement for Capture and I've provided that feedback.

My big issue with LR is modifying my workflow.  I'd prefer to stick with Photo Mechanic for rating, color tags, and keywords.  I have thousands of files with this data in place. 

Ideally I would only import into LR my Selects based on color tags.  But the import function of LR does not seem to have the ability to select based on star rating or color tags, so I guess I need to import the entire folder.  Is there a way around this?

LR is a pretty good editor.  I'm finding it is as good or better than Capture, but it does have some limitations.  Still - if I can get the workflow smoothed out, I'll be satisfied with it.

One good thing - while LR does not recognize edits in Capture, the files still have that information and can be used in Capture.  Or I can start over and add fresh edits in LR.  But the file woudl have both sets of edits - Capture edits embedded in the NEF and LR edits in the LR catalog or the XMP sidecar.

Are there any other suggestions for migrating from Capture to LR while keeping as much information as possible?
Eric Bowles

Offline soren steffen

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Re: Nikon Capture NX2 replacement workflow. Any ideas?
« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2014, 08:22:04 AM »
Quote
Ideally I would only import into LR my Selects based on color tags.  But the import function of LR does not seem to have the ability to select based on star rating or color tags, so I guess I need to import the entire folder.  Is there a way around this?
/quote

Yes, there is. You set LR as an ext editor in the PM prefs.
When you have selected and tagged your files, you select fx the reds and then right-click and select LR in the " open selected files with" option. LR will then open the import dialog with only the selected files tagged .
HTH
Stef

Offline ericbowles

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Re: Nikon Capture NX2 replacement workflow. Any ideas?
« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2014, 08:33:30 AM »
Thanks Stef - its working now.

Now I have two methods - drag and drop also works for my workflow.
Eric Bowles