Pl 4 v4.1.1 + Nik not playing nicely with Capture NX2

Now this may sound like it’s being written by a dinosaur, but my editor of choice is Nikon Capture NX2 (being able to use their ‘upoint’ local adjustment tools in conjunction with their other masking tools makes it much more flexible than PL4’s ‘local adjustment’ tool - and yes, I do know about the ‘minus loc.adj.’) However, discovered a couple of issues when opening RAW files in PL4, and exporting them to CNX2 as TIFFs.
(1) With D850 RAW files, the image opens in PL4 with some kind of preset already applied, although nothing is selected, and nothing indicated in the history panel, except the ‘optical corrections only’. Compared to the same file opened in Capture NX-D, the contrast and saturation are clearly increased. Currently on an open DXO ticket, but interested if anyone has had the same experience.
(2) More unusual, RW2 files (from a Panasonic LX100) opened and edited in PL4, export to, and process in CNX2 without problem. However, when the pass through PL4 includes a side-trip through Nik Color Efex Pro, something weird happens. When I subsequently try to sharpen the image in CNX2, the image goes to black as soon as I select unsharp mask (comes back when it is deselected). This only happens with images which passed through Nik, so I assume something strange is being done to the exif which upsets CNX2? I’m not a software/IT expert, so any suggestions in plain english please!

Welcome to the forum.

I’m having a little difficulty understanding your problem. For what purpose are you opening your RAW files in PL4? Is it to merely use this very powerful photo editor as a converter RAW=>TIFF, or are you doing something else within PL4 before exporting to CNX2?

The reason might be that NEFs from Nikon cameras released after the D800 or D7100 can no longer be processed with CNX 2.

Ah. I see. So PL4 is apparently just being used as an high-powered converter?

I strongly suspect it. I also thought for a long time whether I should handle it that way. Then using PL in conjunction with NikCollection won me over. :slight_smile:
Also, I would have to edit TIFs (instead of NEFs) in CNX2, which limits the full capabilities of CNX2.

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Yes, and you can do so much more in PL4+Nik! I think OP should explore the options available within this great editing suite.

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I also use Capture NX2 as the final editor for selected images. This is about 10% of the photos I pass on to my clients. The remaining 90% are ready for transmission from PhotoLab (no Nik).

There is a clear reason why Capture NX2 users choose to work with u-points right there. In the Capture NX2, the realization is much better and drastically more comfortable.

My currently workflow is basic processing in PhotoLab. I export the selected images as 16 bit TIFF. I can safely open this TIFF file in the Capture NX2.
Note that after the edits in the Capture NX2, you can save the result as a NEF file, thus saving all the edits made in the Capture NX2.

This workflow is currently working fine with Никон Z6II and the latest version of PhotoLab.

I hope I am useful :slight_smile:

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Wait, what…? You can use CNX2 to convert a 16 bit TIFF into a full-fledged Nikon NEF RAW file?

Capture NX2 is software developed by Nik specifically for Nikon.
With certain settings, it saves all edits in the software as metadata in the NEF file. This converts this NEF file as a sum of NEF and DOP files. The advantage is that you work with one file.
Of course, these edits are only visible in the Capture NX2, other software does not read them.
It is possible to create a NEF file based on a TIFF or even an JPG file. But this NEF file is different from the NEF file created by a Nikon camera.
The advantage is that you can go back at any time and correct or cancel certain corrections (for example, if after printing you find that it would be good to warm the photo a little more).


I would like to add that this NEF file that can be edited by Nikon Capture NX 2 as well as the free Nikon Capture NX-D.

Regards, Joseph

Is it possible NX-D is applying (or honoring) a profile such as Camera Flat which tends to be low contrast and rather dull by design?

Thanks for the info. I was aware that CNX2 could save Color Efex 2 edits into an original NEF file but was unaware of this ability with a given TIFF file. Very cool!

First thing I should say is that my weird problem with the Panasonic RW2 files (processed in PL4/Nik and exported to CNX2) seems to have mysteriously vanished overnight! I have haven’t changed anything, but when I went to generate the test images to forward to DXO support, everything was working properly! Deus ex machina…
On the issue of why I would want to work this way with my D850 files, yes, I have been using PL4 as a glorified RAW converter some of the time. As I get more used to PL4, I am using it more and more, but there are some respects in which CNX2 is much easier to use. There are some things you can do (as kokofresha mentions) with the u-points (and u-points combined with the linear, circular and brush masking tools) where it is much easier to create a precise mask. If there are any of the original Nik designers who worked on CNX2 still employed by DXO, perhaps they might like to revisit and see what they can learn from their original u-point implementation? That would make PL4 even more of a killer! But I am learning that each bit of software has its own strengths and weaknesses, and it’s fun finding out which software is best at which process!

Doesn’t happen with my D800 files either, just the D850. I normally have the ‘optical corrections only’ preset selected. I can go into the profiles and select something nearer to the normal ‘flat’ raw look, but I just wish it opened that way in the first place!

Entirely possible, but then why is PL4 not doing the same? Isn’t it the point of shooting raw that we want to make our own decisions about ‘looks’, rather than the editor indiscriminately applying its own recipe (without indicating that it is doing so? - nothing indicated in the ‘edit history’…) I know you can always override this profile, but why should I have to? And strangely, D800 raw files do look the same in PL4/CNX-D/CNX2, so it seems to be specifically D850 which is given the ‘treatment’.

You’re talking about RAW files, right?
You could check the Picture Control settings in the D850 to see if they are the same as in the D800.
You could also check the Color Management settings in NX-D resp. NX-2 (in Preferences).

Yes, everything in Picture Control settings is set to neutral on both D800 and D850.