Nik Collection 5 Arrives with Major Enhancements to Color and Analog Efex Plug-ins

Nik Collection 5 Arrives with Major Enhancements to Color and Analog Efex Plug-ins

It's hard to believe but the Nik Collection is 25 years old, going back to a commercial product that was very popular long ago. It was snagged by Google, then, as often happens, Google sold it to DXO, who has made a great many enhancements with each release. 

What's in Nik Collection 5?

The Nik Collection 5 is a solid update. The software can run standalone as individual tools, but is usually used as a Photoshop or Lightroom plug-in. Running that way, the collection presents itself as a single window where you can select any of the eight included tools. 

Taken together, the collection offers 300 presets, each of which can be adjusted to taste, and your new creations can be saved. The tools also offer U-Point technology, seen in some other DXO software, that gives you the ability to make smart selections of parts of an image. 

The collection includes the presets regular users are accustomed to, including black and white presets (Silver Efex Pro), HDR effects, color toning, and Color EFX Pro, along with Analog Efex. Also reappearing are Nik Sharpener and Nik DFine for noise reduction.

This new version features a tool to reduce haze, and there are 29 accurately reproduced color film grains. The user interfaces of Nik Color Efex and Nik Analog Efex have been rebuilt from the ground up, bringing them into line with the recent updated Nik Silver Efex and Nik Viveza. Nik Color Efex is a powerful means of enhancing and manipulating color, while Nik Analog Efex can recreate vintage photographic effects. Thanks to the newly refined and functional user experience in both of these plug-ins, presets are now more accessible, with improved options for saving and editing favorite settings.

Nik Perspective Efex is also improved. It includes more than 20 new cameras and 60 lenses added to its database of supported equipment. The plug-in can now automatically correct the geometric distortions of more than 70,000 camera and lens combinations.

Using Nik Collection 5

At first glance, the Nik Collection seems unchanged, but when you launch the tools, you see improvements to the GUI. The haze reduction and U-Point feature are now global, and I consider the U-Point masking feature something I use all the time. It's intuitive and is a quick and accurate masking tool. 

The Nik Perspective tool is without equal in my view. Give it an image with some buildings or other perspective issues, and the tool can overcome lens distortion with a click. It can also straighten a horizon and with less effort than it takes in Photoshop.

The Clear View technology, inherited from DXO Photolab, is very useful to have available from within the Nik Collection, and to my eye, it does a nicer job than haze reduction tools in other software packages, including Photoshop and Adobe Camera Raw.

Think of the Nik Collection as hundreds of modifiable presets that can give you interesting ideas to build on with landscapes, cityscapes, or portraits. It can often get your creative juices flowing and improve your images.

Summing Up

There's little to dislike here. If you're familiar with the Nik Collection, you'll find much to like in the update. If you're not, you'll likely embrace the clever U-Point masking feature and the presets, which I consider a good and quick starting point for image editing. 

While the package does not run natively on new Mac silicon, but DXO says it is well-behaved on the new processor. The company is not committing to a date for a Mac silicon update, but says it is coming. I feel DXO is a bit late with M1 native code. Photographers with Macs are flocking to M1 hardware, and M1 desktops and laptops have been out more than a year. Adobe is M1 native in both Lightroom and Photoshop.

Now included in the package is DXO Photolab Essentials. It's a complete raw editor and feature-rich photo-editing software that contains DxO’s powerful Optics Modules and U Point technology for precise local adjustments. It's a basic version of the DXO editor, and users may want to update the Elite Edition for more features, but it is a good value for DXO to include this in the package. 

Nik Collection 5 (Windows and MMacOS) is now available for download on the DXO website for $149. Photographers who already own Nik Collection 4 can upgrade their software for $79.

A fully functional, one-month trial version of Nik Collection 5 is available on the DxO website.

I use the Nik Collection in a large percentage of my editing sessions, and I know a lot of satisfied users, so it's worth a close look if you aren't already familiar with it. Recommended. 

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13 Comments
Ed C's picture

Does built from the ground up mean that they FINALLY support 4k monitors? I know I could download the trial version but I really don't want to spend any time on that considering how long they have waited to do that.

Daniel L Miller's picture

I love the NIK Collection and was happy when DXO brought it back to life, BUT… you can really sense that DXO views it as a cash cow where they make minimal improvements, call it a major upgrade and then suck another $70-$80 from us every year.

Fred Teifeld's picture

Annual updates are a way of life, so to speak. Why shouldn't a developer be paid for major updates?

Ed C's picture

Because most of the "updates" have really mostly just been presets, not actual functionality.

Rich Kovach's picture

Completely agree. Their support said "there has been a great deal of time and effort from our developers to bring a software that was abandoned and not maintained for many years up-to-date". Guess they didn't have any problem selling "abandoned" software knowingly for years. Even now, only 2 apps have been updated, so I guess the other 6 are still "abandoned and not maintained" yet being sold until they want to charge for the next "major" release.

Rich Kovach's picture

They updated 2 of 8 apps, with a net total of 5 features, and they want to call this a major release and charge a full upgrade price of $80 if you purchased Nik 4 any more then about month ago. Yeah, no thank you. This is a money grab for something that should have been a point release or given to those that purchased 4 in the last year. I won’t be buying any more Nik updates.

Len Metcalf's picture

It doesn’t at all behave well on my M1 laptop. It turns the images into squares as if it can’t load the whole image. When they upgrade to a native software I might upgrade then. But until then I will hardly use it.

Daniel Medley's picture

The only Nik tool I use in the entire suite is Silver Efex Pro 3. That alone is worth the price of admission.

Jens Weiser's picture

Mac users have to pay once more as the native silicon support will be implemented. Great :D
The performance of version 4 on an Intel Mac was not great. With more than 10 adjustments you can wait 10+ seconds after adjusting one more slider to take effect visually on the photo. With Rosetta 2 it cannot be better. Be warned before you pay a lot of money for version 5. Try it out before.

Kent LaPorte's picture

I stopped using Nik several years ago when Photoshop and other tools became more enhanced and I became more familar with better techniques for editing.

I love that this article uses pictures from Catalina Highway in the Catalina Mountains/Mt Lemmon near Tucson.

James Weidenfeller's picture

have used NIK Collection for many years. All of my compatriots have been telling me that I must "upgrade". Because I had an "old version" DxO would not recognize it, 2 1/2 weeks ago I had to pay full price for it. Low and behold this week they are out with an "Upgrade" to fix bugs in the version 4 and the added groups they omitted in 4. AND THEY CHARGE $79 DOLLARS. Any other software company I have used give a free upgrade if the product was purchased in the past 30 days. ESPECIALLY WITH THE UP GRADE IS CORRECTING ISSUES. They DO NOT have a phone number listed on any of their webpages. Sleezy outfit from the time DxO bought it. Please make these things known on your reviews.

Fran Gallogly's picture

I upgraded to version 5 and it keeps crashing Photoshop2022 and I think it may not be compatible with the MacBook with the M1 chip. Also, when I did get it going before the crash, I could not find the button that allows me to stack filters. Where has it gone? I generally use several of the Nik filters on an image but all I see are Save Preset.

Adventure Photo's picture

“Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” I’m done being ripped off every year.