Not too long ago, I kicked off a brand new sequence of articles evaluating the software program offered by digicam producers with one in all their hottest third-party alternate options, pitting Canon Digital Picture Skilled head-to-head in opposition to Adobe Digicam Uncooked. Now, I am again with the second within the sequence, during which we’ll check out how Adobe’s uncooked processing rivals that provided without cost with Nikon’s cameras.

Nikon ViewNX-i model 1.4.3’s person interface.

There is a bit extra to debate this time round, as Nikon presents a alternative of two totally different uncooked processing apps without cost — the considerably inconsistently-named ViewNX-i and Seize NX-D. As in the earlier article, I will be limiting dialogue principally to every utility’s person interface and picture high quality within the pursuits of protecting issues to a readable size, and will not be addressing options like picture administration, tethering or printing.

The bottom guidelines

On this article, I am evaluating Adobe Digicam Uncooked 12.Four alongside Adobe Bridge 10.1.1 versus Nikon ViewNX-i 1.4.Three and Seize NX-D 1.6.3, all of that are their present variations. My pc is a 2018-vintage Dell XPS 15 9570 laptop computer working Home windows 10 model 1909.

To stage the taking part in subject as a lot as doable, I’ve as soon as once more aimed to breed the look of already-processed pictures from our galleries, with none prior information as to the recipes behind them. I’ve chosen pictures from the Nikon Z6 to be used on this comparability, because it’s related in worth and backbone to the EOS R used within the first article, and has been round lengthy sufficient for Adobe to fine-tune its help.

Adobe Digicam Uncooked model 12.4’s person interface.

To keep away from getting too far into the weeds, sharpness and noise discount have been left at their defaults, whereas lens corrections have been enabled for all three apps the place doable.

Adobe Digicam Uncooked does not permit built-in corrections to be disabled in any respect. ViewNX-i does not assist you to change whether or not or not distortion correction is enabled, and simply abides by what’s set within the uncooked file. Solely Seize NX-D permits corrections to be enabled/disabled (though even it prevents disabling distortion correction for sure lenses).

Photos processed in ACR have been saved at JPEG high quality 11, simply as utilized in our galleries. For NX-i and NX-D, I saved at JPEG high quality 86, producing similarly-sized recordsdata.

The primary variations

After all, essentially the most instantly apparent variations between ACR and NX-i / NX-D are their digicam help and price ticket. You already paid for NX-i and NX-D while you purchased your Nikon digicam, so it is successfully free. Whereas it solely helps Uncooked recordsdata from the corporate’s personal cameras, you may count on full Uncooked help for each Nikon digicam to be obtainable just about instantly upon launch.

Against this, ACR comes with a recurring subscription charge. Whereas it helps an enormous vary of cameras from many producers – together with each single interchangeable-lens Nikon digicam made thus far – that help can generally take some time to reach after the discharge of latest fashions.

It is also generally extra restricted than that in first-party software program, particularly for Coolpix compacts. Whereas Adobe presents ‘digicam matching’ profiles for nearly each Nikon ILC, for instance, it isn’t obtainable for a good few compacts, together with the comparatively current Coolpix A1000.

As for the variations between ViewNX-i and Seize NX-D, we’ll describe these in additional element after we take a look at NX-D on the following web page. Suffice it to say that NX-i is the less complicated, extra approachable of the pair, nevertheless.

ACR is a bit of cleaner, however NX-i is approachable too

For the rest of this web page, we’ll focus solely on ViewNX-i. Though its interface is not fairly as fashionable as that of ACR, it is nonetheless fairly clear total, with comparatively few controls on provide. Some options like sharpening are mixed right into a single easy-to-use slider, whereas others like noise discount are managed totally routinely.

The number of controls obtainable to the person is usually a bit odd, although. For instance, I would wager that almost all NX-i customers will not have the primary clue what “axial colour aberration” means, nor will they discover any tooltip explaining it in the event that they hover over the management. But a number of extra frequent (and easily-understood) attributes like distortion and vignetting corrections can’t be managed by the end-user.

The number of controls obtainable in ViewNX-i is usually curious. For instance, there are controls for extra obscure features like aberration and diffraction, however none for extra easily-understood variables like distortion and vignetting.

The excellent news is that, with fewer controls on provide, Nikon offers you entry to every little thing up entrance. Enhancing performance is not hidden behind buttons or beneath menus. Neither is it strewn throughout a number of tabs of controls, as in some purposes.

As a substitute, you will discover all obtainable modifying instruments grouped collectively in a single, comparatively brief scrollable panel. And sliders transfer easily quite than in giant steps, so making fine-grained changes is straightforward.

Like ACR, fashionable options like help for 4K shows, touch-screens and pen management are fairly good, though if you happen to swap between 4K and Full HD shows — particularly whereas NX-i is working — you will typically must resize panels or even perhaps restart the appliance totally so it redetects the display decision earlier than you may get to work.

ACR continues to be the velocity champ, however ViewNX-i is not that far behind

ViewNX-i is not fairly as quick as ACR, particularly in terms of previewing adjustments as controls are adjusted. Nonetheless, it trails Adobe by solely round a 3rd when it comes to last rendering instances, which is a lot better than some rivals. All six pictures on this preview took ViewNX-i round 26 seconds to batch-process, in comparison with 19.5 seconds for ACR.

And whereas picture previews aren’t adjusted in close to real-time as in ACR, they by no means take greater than a second or much less to catch as much as your adjustments, and render in a single cross. The accuracy of that preview is not excellent when viewing full pictures, so for the best changes you will need to swap to a 1:1 view as an alternative, but it surely’s actually ok to get you shut.

Sadly, there is no indicator to indicate when the preview is updating, which is a bit irritating when making extra delicate changes.

ACR offers you way more management, particularly over shadows and highlights

As famous beforehand, ViewNX-i presents a smaller number of controls than does Seize NX-D, and the identical goes doubly when in comparison with Adobe Digicam Uncooked. A very stunning omission in an app geared toward less-experienced customers is the shortage of a one-click auto management to assist get every little thing within the ballpark. Very like ACR, ViewNX-i contains slider management over brightness, distinction, shadows and highlights.

NX-i additionally has D-Lighting HS and Shade Booster sliders, the latter changing the separate saturation/vibrance sliders provided by Adobe, and offering a alternative of individuals or nature modes for some management over pores and skin tones. Sharpening management is likewise restricted to a single slider with no fine-tuning doable. And Nikon’s app lacks ACR’s sliders for texture, readability, dehazing or black-points and white-points totally, in addition to its noise discount and curves controls.

The D-Lighting HS slider makes it very easy to get better shadow element, however I discovered its interactions with the shadow safety and distinction sliders specifically to be a bit tough to foretell and management. With D-Lighting HS set within the higher half of its vary, as little as a 2-3% change within the distinction slider may have a fairly main impact total and badly block up deeper shadows. This was notably true of the photographs contained in the plane hangar, in addition to the backlit mannequin shot.

The mounted noise discount is just too heavy-handed by far

With much less difficult scenes, although, I believed ViewNX-i did a fairly good job in most respects. It yielded pleasingly lifelike colour with comparatively little effort, and I discovered myself preferring its rendering of foliage and skies specifically over these of ACR.

The fly within the ointment is that its noise discount – which, keep in mind, cannot be disabled – is kind of heavy-handed. That is notably noticeable in portrait photographs, the place a lot fantastic element is misplaced in issues like hair or thread patterns in clothes, and pores and skin can find yourself trying unnaturally plasticky. This, greater than anything, will push extra skilled photographers to both Seize NX-D or a third-party various like ACR.

ViewNX-i’s default noise discount can result in barely plasticky-looking pores and skin.

In case your shot does not have a lot noise to start out off with, although, ViewNX-i can extract about virtually as a lot element as can ACR. (And may seem a bit of crisper at default settings, due to barely stronger unsharp masking).

Last ideas on ViewNX-i

Much less skilled photographers would possibly, maybe, discover ViewNX-i to be a bit much less intimidating than Seize NX-D or Adobe Digicam Uncooked, and it is actually able to offering first rate outcomes if you happen to can dwell with its noise discount efficiency. Efficiency is first rate too, particularly when it comes to last rendering, though Adobe nonetheless takes the win handily on this respect. However for a lot of, the restricted controls on provide and the heavy-handed noise discount will push them to Seize NX-D or a third-party various as an alternative — and rightly so.

Nikon ViewNX-i

Execs Cons
  • Out there free along with your digicam
  • Glorious help for Nikon’s cameras from launch day
  • Sensible colour with minimal effort
  • Spectacular shadow restoration from D-Lighting HS
  • First rate efficiency, albeit nonetheless inferior to ACR
  • Solely helps Nikon cameras
  • Lacks many controls provided by ACR and different rivals
  • Collection of controls does not make sense for less-experienced shooters
  • Nobody-click auto management
  • Cannot use distortion correction if it wasn’t enabled at seize time
  • Denoising robs fantastic element and cannot be disabled
  • Interactions between controls can show difficult

Adobe Digicam Uncooked

Execs Cons
  • Extra fashionable person interface
  • Helps an enormous vary of cameras from many manufacturers
  • Nice efficiency and correct real-time preview
  • Nice picture high quality total
  • Holds onto extra fantastic element than ViewNX-i
  • Does an excellent job with highlights/shadows
  • Recurring subscription charge with no perpetual license possibility
  • Digicam help can take some time to reach
  • Much less pleasing colour than Nikon’s software program by default
  • Leaves considerably extra noise in pictures by default

And with our Nikon ViewNX-i vs. Adobe Digicam Uncooked comparability full, it is time to see how Seize NX-D fares in opposition to its third-party rival. Proceed studying on the following web page!

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