Nik Collection 5 Released – Here’s What’s New

by Jun 28, 2022Photography Blog

Robin Whalley Landscape Photographer

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Nik Collection 5 Released – Here’s What’s New

On June 15th, 2022, DxO released the Nik Collection 5. In this article we look at what’s new in the Nik Collection 5, comparing it to the previous version 4 release. If you would like to download a trial of the Nik Collection 5 you can find this on the DxO Nik website.

Nik Collection 5 released

What’s New in the Nik Collection 5

The Nik Collection has been around for a long time. Originally developed by Nik Software, it was later sold to Google who developed it for a short time before retiring the product. It was then purchased from Google by DxO which has continued to develop and support the collection. Today there 8 plugins in the Nik Collection 5. These can be used as plugins to compatible host editors like Lightroom, PhotoLab, Photoshop and Affinity Photo. But you can also use the Nik Collection tools as stand-alone editors in their own right.

The Nik Collection 5 plug-ins are:

  • Dfine 2 – Noise reduction
  • Viveza 3 – Editing colour and tonality
  • Perspective Efex – Perspective corrections and special effects
  • HDR Efex Pro 2 – Creating and editing HDR images
  • Color Efex Pro 5 – A large collection of special effects filters with many uses
  • Analog Efex Pro 3 – Classic film camera special effects
  • Silver Efex Pro 3 – Black and white photography conversions and editing
  • Sharpener Pro 3 – Photo sharpening

When compared to version 4, the main changes in the Nik Collection 5 are to Color Efex and Analog Efex, both of which progress to a new version. Additionally, there are new lens and camera profiles added to Perspective Efex.

The other “new feature” when you purchase the Nik Collection 5 is that it comes with the excellent DxO PhotoLab RAW editor. This is though the Essential edition (not the Elite edition) so do please check which edition is best for you. If you find that you need the features of the Elite edition, paying for an upgrade may still work out as good value.

Nik Color Efex Pro 5

Let’s take a more detailed look at the changes to Nik Color Efex Pro which takes it from version 4 to 5. Perhaps the biggest of these is the migration to a new user interface bringing it into line with Viveza 3 and Silver Efex Pro 3.

Nik Color Efex Pro 5 in the Nik Collection 5

Whilst a new interface might not seem like a big change, it brings with it many small changes that make the software more usable. For example, with the previous version of Color Efex Pro you had to add an empty filter before you could add an additional filter to edit the image. If you forgot to do this, when you tried to add the new filter, it would replace the existing filter. This is gone in the new version of Color Efex Pro and instead, you now see a ‘+’ icon appear when you move your mouse over the available filters list. Click the icon and the filter is added to the image.

Adding a new filter in Nik Color Efex Pro 5

You will also find that the interface for each of the 55 filters has been updated to provide a cleaner editing experience as you can see here with the Pro Contrast filter.

Pro Contrast filter in Nik Color Efex Pro 5

New Filters

In addition to the 55 filters from the previous version of Color Efex Pro, the Nik Collection 5 adds two new DxO filters. These only appear on the right side of the interface filters and aren’t available in the Filter library.

New filters in Nik Color Efex Pro 5

What’s different about these filters is that they are applied to every image but with settings that mean they aren’t having any effect on the image. You will also find that unlike with the other Color Efex filters, you can’t remove these or add them multiple times. They are:

  • ClearView provides a form of contrast adjustment. This can be extremely useful when editing landscape photography. You will also find this filter in Nik Silver Efex Pro and DxO PhotoLab.
  • Grain which adds film grain to the image. Here you can select from a large number of film grain simulations. In addition, you can control the intensity or strength of the film grain effect as well as the size of the grain.

Whilst using the Grain filter I did notice that all the simulations were for colour negative and slide films; I didn’t see any for black and white film. I also noticed that switching between the different simulations would change the image colours. I therefore suspect this filter provides more of a film simulation than a simple grain simulation.

New Control Points

The other change introduced with the updated interface is to the Control Points. As with both Viveza 3 and Nik Silver Efex Pro 3, it’s now possible to refine the Control Point selection based on Luminance and Chrominance.

Refining the Control Point selection in Nik Collection 5

Each filter in Color Efex Pro 5 (except for the two new DxO filters mentioned previously) comes with its own set of Control Points you can add. As with the previous version these can be either negative or positive to control where the effect of the filter is seen. After adding one of these two Control Points you can refine the accuracy of the selection by moving the Luminance and Chrominance sliders left and right.

Initially I wasn’t sure that I would like the new interface changes as I was a big fan of the previous Color Efex Pro 4. Having now used the new version 5 a few times, I’m finding that I like it a lot.

Nik Analog Efex Pro 3

Now let’s look at the changes to Nik Analog Efex Pro in the Nik Collection 5 release.

As with Color Efex Pro, the main news is that interface has been updated to bring it into line with Viveza and Silver Efex Pro.

Nik Analog Efex Pro 3 from the Nik Collection 5

This is an improvement that I’ve been waiting a long time for. I always felt the previous versions of Analog Efex were poorly designed which is probably why I stopped using them. However, whilst there is now a new interface, not everything is as I would like it. For example, whilst you can add and remove filters from an image, you always need to leave one. You can never remove the final filter only disable it.

Another niggle I found was when trying to browse the “Cameras” list on the left of the interface. There’s only enough space to display a couple of thumbnails. This makes scrolling through the list of all 96 different “Cameras” difficult. Whilst there are different categories to reduce the length of the list, you need to expand this section to select many of them. That then reduces the room to display thumbnails even further.

Despite this, the effects you can create and add with Nik Analog Efex remain extremely impressive and it leaves me wondering why I haven’t done more with this tool.

Nik Collection 5 Pricing

In terms of cost, at the time of writing you can purchase a full Nik Collection 5 license for £135. This is for a perpetual license which you can continue to use, and you would only need to pay again if you upgraded in the future. If you are not already a Nik Collection user, this feels like a good deal.

As an existing DxO Nik Collection user I was able to purchase an upgrade for £69 by logging into my account on the DxO website. Whether you feel this is good value will depend on your existing version and the other software you own.

If I take my own example, paying £69 to upgrade to the Nik Collection 5 probably isn’t good value. I hardly ever used Analog Efex, and I was quite happy using the previous version of Color Efex Pro. I also already have the DxO PhotoLab 5 Elite license so an additional license for the Essential version doesn’t give me anything. The reason that I’ve purchased the upgrade is to allow me to continue to produce videos and tutorials using this version.

Existing Nik Collection users probably do need to consider what the Nik Collection 5 gives them that their current version doesn’t.

Nik Collection 5 Summary

Whilst we have focused on the major changes to the Nik Collection 5, we shouldn’t lose sight of something very important. The Nik Collection is a fantastic set of tools that brings almost limitless potential when editing your images. You can use it to correct problems, produce realistic adjustments or add special effects. If you haven’t used the Nik Collection before it really can make editing photography easier and more fun.

If you would like to try the Nik Collection 5 you can download a trial version from the DxO Nik Collection website.

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More Nik Tutorials

You’ll find more high quality, free tutorials on my Nik Collection Tutorials page.

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