What does Nik have that Photolab 6 doesn’t

It seems to me that much of what is offered by the NIK collection is already in Photolab 6. Am I wrong?

If you take into account the FilmPack and ViewPoint add-ins, there really isn’t any need for Nik. What is more, the PhotoLab workflow doesn’t require converting RAW files before editing.


Well, yes and no. It is true that a lot of NIK collection advantages and technology has been imported into PhotoLab6 and few that have not, I would argue are outdated.

Plug ins and technology of Nik Define - for noise removal and Nik Sharpener for sharpening.

Noise removal of DXO DeepPrime and DeepPrimeXD are far superior although limited to RAW files only. But if you need noise removal for JPEG/TIFF, its best to go with Topaz products.

Nik Sharpener for sharpening is largely outdated as well, with once again Lens Sharpness module in DXO PhotoLab being superior and Topza also offers better sharpening options.

For me personally Nik Viveza is probably the most compelling reason to use Nik Software so I can use control points in Photoshop as plug in. Sadly its not a standalone installation anymore. One has to download and install whole of collection.

Nik Silver Efex - Darkroom-inspired controls for the ultimate in black-and-white photo editing… its great, but with DXO FilmPack and RAW editing its no longer a stand out.

Nik Perspective is pretty much the same as DXO ViewPoint, so there is that.

Nik HDR Efex is not bad for HDR work, but there are many great third party options on the market that go beyond that particular plug in.

Nik Color Efex - Countless striking filters for color, tone, contrast, and more
Nik Analog Efex - Dive into history and discover endless analog effects to give your photos a vintage feel

These last two are probably the most unique with their effects, but only if you are looking for something very particular that they offer. Otherwise there are probably equally good or better alternatives. Personally I would recommed Boris FX Optics.

I am not saying NIK software collection is bad or what it snot useful, but I think its not critical for many or necessary for many, and those that regularly use it in their workflow probably will continue to use it because they like specific effects and workflow that it affords them.

Sadly NIK software originally was truly innovative and great, than the company was taken over by Google I think and nothing new was developed, and now after some time DXO is trying to build upon original foundation, but they are playing catch up at the moment and mostly refining and consolidating the old code and user interface and adding some incremental improvments.


do you need pureRAW?
then the answer is the same, it’s not for everyone.
nik collection include what you’ll get in filmpack and viewpoint, while with PL you’ll have to buy those as add-on.
they are set of plugin mostly for those not using PL, same goes for pureRAW.

Thanks Joanna. Do you know if the photolab can merge images into hdr?

PL is first and foremost a raw-file editor and cannot merge pics (also no panoramic shots).


I would argue that Photolab replaces Viveza with local adjustments
and Perspective efex if you have Viewpoint
and Analog efex(sort of) if you have film pack)

But Nik still provides
Silver Efex - best mono converter around
Color efex - nothing comparable in PL
HDR Efex - nothing in PL for HDR and the new version coming in summer should improve things even more
DFine - much better than PL for working on Tiff or jpeg files(but Topaz is better still!)
Sharpener Pro - better for output sharpening with its media sensitivity

And of couse that latest NIK has diffusion for control points(but that will come to PL I’m sure)
But to be honest I still prefer the Nik adjustments in Viveza (structure works better than clearview or local contrast. And the warmth slider seeems more natural than just tweaking white balance.

And of course Nik works for all those other raw convertor users - LR, captureOne, Photoshop, Affinity, etc… PL will work for most of them too but still misses all those other features. But as a product set DxO gets to a much wider market with a PureRaw and Nik bundle.


Please explain what it does better, apart from possibly having more presets?

Likewise, what does it do better, apart from possibly more presets?

Personally, Topaz Photo AI knocks spots off the competition for non-RAW files.

SilverEfex has the zone system built in which is hugely useful for producing a full range of tones. It’s grain quality is at least as good as film pack and more easily applied. It’s fine grained control of tone and structure is far better than PL (just more sliders!). It’s control of the colour chanels/filters is way better too. Then you have all the toning and vignetting and edge and border effects as well (none of which exist in PL). The presets are fairly irrelevant, I rarely use them.
ColorEfex has 55 filters (each with an average of 4(?) presets). I rarely use the presets but apart from basic controls like curves, contrast etc and the monochrome(which silver Efex does better) there are still around 20-30 filters that are extremely difficult to replicate in PL(if its even possible, you probably need photoshop or similar). and even some of the basic tools I find easier in Nik CFX - for example the white neutraliser is far easier to get clean whites than messing about with PLs colour tools.
I agree on Topaz (but $$$) but if you only have PL then Nik gives you a very competent noise tool that works better than the basic one in PL for jpeg/tiff.

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don’t start again!

Seem obvious from many, many post that (PL and other software users) use Nik. it’s not about preset, it’s about ease of use. if PL was so perfect then why Nik and pureRAW from DxO? because people have different needs, different workflow, different goal and vision in their photos.

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Please understand what “it’s” means before posting.

Apologies, autocorrect gremlins at work. As a professional author and editor I’m well aware that those should not have an apostrophe, but the machine insists on putting them in, even if I don’t want them, and sometimes I don’t catch 'em.

Good question by OP and good explanation by @MSmithy.
I tried out NIK this week and this exact question came to my mind. My annoyance was that NIK tools did not work on raw files. They needed converted TIFF files.

I came here to post my question and found this useful thread. Thanks to you both.

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