Can I get the Nik Collection Download Free of Charge?
Recently I’ve been receiving lots of emails asking can I still get the Nik Collection download free. There so much confusion and misinformation about the Nik Collection that I want to set the record straight. The simple answer to this is yes you can still get a free download of the Nik Collection download. Later in this article, I’m going to explain how to do it legally, but there are some caveats and a bit of a back story you need to understand.
A Brief History of the Nik Collection
The Nik Collection was originally developed by Nik Software. This was a private software company which has its roots in Germany and the US. Interestingly, Nikon also had a stake in Nik which is why many innovative features of the Nik Collection (like Control Points) also appear in the Nikon Capture NX software. There’s a short page covering this on Wikipedia.
For a long time, the Nik Collection was a market leader and a favourite among professional photographers. It was (and still is) easy to use and can help you apply excellent enhancements to your photography. The downside was that it was very expensive.
Then in 2012 Google purchased Nik Software and took control of the Nik Collection. Initially, they continued with enhancements and quickly released Nik Analog Efex. Shortly after they followed up with Nik Analog Efex 2 which added further features. As well as this Google slashed the price of the software, making it much more affordable for the photography enthusiast. Later they went a step further, making the software free and issuing refunds to many who had purchased it.
But by late 2016 Google appeared to cease all development and bug fixes. Then in 2017 they formally announced that there would be no further releases of the Nik Collection. Fortunately, there was a lifeline for the Nik Collection when DxO purchased the assets from Google.
The Nik Collection 2012 and 2018
Following the purchase of the Nik Collection from Google, DxO commenced development. Their priority was to fix any serious bugs in the Nik Collection software and ensure the software used the latest code libraries. By this time, some Nik Collection users were reporting stability issues when upgrading Photoshop, Lightroom and their computer operating systems.
In June 2018, DxO released their first new version of the Nik Collection branding it the Nik Collection 2018. At the same time, they branded the old Google version “Nik Collection 2012”. I suspect that’s because Google purchased the software in 2012, but it makes it seem a lot older than the final build Google produced.
There was though bad news for Nik fans who now needed to pay for the upgrade (as you might expect). But the upgrade was virtually identical to the previous Google version. At the time I published this video on YouTube giving my assessment of the upgrade.
Is the Free Nik Collection Still Available to Download?
Yes, you can still download the free version of the Nik Collection, or rather the Google version of the Nik Collection . Up until recently the following link to the DxO website allowed you to request the free Nik Collection 2012 download.
Here you could enter your email address and DxO will send you a link to free Nik Collection download. I’ve tried this myself and it worked. But following a redesign of the DxO website, this may have stopped working. I’ve left the link in place in case this is fixed.
Alternative Free Nik Collection Download (Google Version)
If the above link fails, there are some internet archive sites where you can still download the old Google version of the Nik Collection for free. Two that I’ve checked (September 2023) and which seem to work are:
I give no guarantee that these will work for you. Also be sure to virus scan any downloads before using them.
Important Problems with the Free Nik Collection (Google Version)
There are though some issues you need to be aware of.
The Google version of the Nik Collection always had a few bugs, and a few more crept in during Google’s ownership. I will spare you the lecture on software development and why I think this happened. What it does mean though is that some features such as the Brush option in the Selection Tool are unusable.
The old veresion of the software might not work with the latest Adobe products. And even if it works now, it’s probably going to stop soon.
You might also find that in your installation that trying to launch a Nik tool from the Selection Tool will crash Photoshop. If you find this, just access the Nik tools from the Photoshop Filters menu. If you’re using Lightroom, it seems a little better behaved. DxO fixed these problems, along with lots of others, in the Nik Collection 2018. I upgraded in June 2018 and the software, which I use daily, hasn’t crashed once on either my Mac or Windows PC. I’ve also received a few new versions of the software which address more bugs.
Get a Free Trial of the Latest Nik Collection from DxO
If you find you like the Nik Collection but the bugs are causing too many issues, I would encourage you to try the latest version of the software. Especially if you have only used the old Google version. The latest version of the Nik Collection is packed with new features and tools, and the new interface makes it a pleasure to use.
Download the latest free Nik Collection trial software.
Do be aware though, if you install the new trial version of the software it may remove the old version from your computer. If you want to return to the old Nik Collection 2012 after the trial, you will need to install it again.
If you decide against Nik and want to find an alternative, this article I published should help you.
Find out how to improve your photography using the Nik Collection.
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