Comparison table between PL (elite) and NIX 2?

There’s a lot of functional overlap between PL and NIX - e.g. noise reduction, prime, DFINE, sharpening, sharpener pro…

Is there any kind of comparison chart that will help me understand whether I want to buy NIX 2? All the pages about what it does for me are nicely done - but many of those functions were already in DXO Pro years ago - what’s the qualitative difference? e.g. How about a 3-way slider, Before, DXO PL, DXO PL+NIX 2?

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Yes, there are a lot of overlaps between Nik & PL … as both were developed quite separately.

I find it much more convenient to use PL as much as possible, as that avoids needs to export the image across to different Nik tools … such that I really only ever use Color Efex Pro (and, to a lesser degree, Silver Efex Pro) - as other functions (for sharpening, NR) are well supported from within PL.

Regards, John M


They have both a different development path.
DxO took/bought NIK collections from Google and started to rewrite the last version with as goal to keep it alive in the new OS versions.
At the same time DxO optic pro developed to PhotoLab.
Viewpoint and Filmpack are plugins and standalones like NIK is.
So there are some visual overlaping functionalities but at the same point they work somewhat different.
Biggest difference is NIK works with tiff 16bit and PL with viewpoint and Filmpack is nondestructive and works with Raw.
Most things NIK can is also possible or nearly possible with PL aldoh nik has great presets and silvereffex monochromes/B&W conversions are great. And i am sure the NIK collection can stand alone on it’s feed as plugin with the UI known to many old users and new.
So filmpack plus DxO elite and NIK are have commen ground but also seperate strongholds.

I use the nik version which is free provided by DxO when NIK v2 wasn’t developed.
Edit: I suggest to look at some tutorials made by profesional users of NIK to see it’s potential.
And do the same on the dxo pl website for PL.
That way you can get a sense of the both types of toolset.


That older version is still listed in the products - new name is “Nik Collection 2018”. I have no idea if it’s supposed to be a “free” version - I think I read where it is $69, or at least was, at some point. My problem, while I was able to use the “Trial” download, I haven’t yet found a place to buy it, so I get the activation key.

Unless I’m even more confused than usual, Nik Collection 2 comes with PhotoLab 2, and since I’m just starting to learn how to use PhotoLab 3 Elite, the last thing I need is two similar versions. I get confused enough anyway.

You wrote:
“I use the nik version which is free provided by DxO when NIK v2 wasn’t developed.”

That’s what I’m trying to do, at least for now.

The free version can be downloaded from here

I am still using that version for now, mainly as a plugin for Affinity Photo, but all the components work fine as standalone apps too.

Type your email address and you are way.

Thanks for the prompt reply! …not sure if I explained this correctly. I did download what you suggested, but that page now says:

" Nik Collection by DxO is now available on the following page, free 30-day trial version with all the features unlocked and customer support."

It’s a trial, and will stop. I need the activation key, but I can’t find any way to get it.

As you noted, all the components seem to work fine for me, running Catalina on my MacBook.

Hello Mike,

have you had a look into your account already on the DXO website?
I would also get in touch with support.

Thanks, done both. No reply yet. I’ll check the account again, but everything seems to be working fine - except there is no way to “buy”, and if I don’t “buy” there probably is no way to get the activation key. I think the price used to be $69.

I don’t want Nik Collection 2, because it comes with PhotoLab 2. I already have PhotoLab 3 Elite, and am struggling to learn it (my third day now). The last thing I want to do, is learn two new almost-the-same programs.

FWIW, Nik 2 works exactly the same with PhotoLab 3 as it does with PhotoLab 2. Even though it comes with PL2 Essentials, neither is dependent on the other.

Will it continue to work if I uninstall only the PhotoLab 2? Assuming that is possible?

Any idea of what will break in my Nik 2018, when the trial period expires? Will nothing work, or will it just continue working as before?

Although Nik 2 is bundled with PhotoLab 2, they are separately installed and licensed products and may be uninstalled separately also. The Nik applications are treated as “plugins” - called from another program like PhotoLab or Adobe Lightroom. You can also drag a JPEG or TIFF image file to the Nik executables in your file browser, without using PhotoLab or anything else to run them.

As far as I know, if you don’t have a working activation code/license key (trial or purchased), the applications won’t let you use any of their functions. You will have to activate them first. (I don’t see the exact behavior documented anywhere, but you can try it and see.)

More info here:

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If it worked the way you wrote, I would have gone ahead with my installation. Unfortunately, when I tried to install Nik Collection 2, the installer said it was going to install both - so I stopped, and did nothing.

From the link you sent me:
“• By default, Nik Collection 2 by DxO installer will first install the 7 Nik plugins
• Then it will install DxO Photolab 2.3 in background
• Once installation is completed you will have installed both the 7 Nik plugins and DxO PhotoLab

Specifically, I do NOT want to install DxO Photolab 2.3, as I already bought PhotoLab 3 Elite.

All this is getting rather frustrating. Unless they fix things, I’ll probably let the trial version of Nik Collection 2018 expire, and then delete it.

I see no point in installing software I don’t want on my computer - in this case, the PhotoLab 2 software.

Thanks anyway.

I agree with you - the installer is ridiculous. I’m amazed there’s no way to stop PL2 from being installed. However, since PL2 and PL3 are separate, you can install PL2 with Nik 2 and then uninstall PL2. Nik 2 will work with PL3.

Let me bring this under the attention of @sgospodarenko.
Maybe she can bring light in your quest.

They offer essential photolab v2.3 so it’s raw capable, you can use pl to generate a tiff, and this import to nikcollections v2.
Rather strange that you can’t uncheck install of plv2.3 essensial.