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Thread: Nik software vs Lightroom 5

  1. #1

    Nik software vs Lightroom 5

    Apologies if this has been covered in another thread since LR5 came in.

    I am a long term user of LR, and consider myself an advanced user. I also occasionally use PSE, but never the full PS/CS. However, I am aware that a lot of people use Nik tools for noise, sharpening and monochrome conversions, all of which are of interest to me. I have downloaded the Nik suite for the 15 day trial, and spent a few hours on it, mainly with Dfine and SFex.

    My questions are:

    1. What can the Nik tools do that LR5 cannot do? Do they just make life easier through analysis tools and carefully drafted presets? Or do some of the controls just not exist in LR5? For example, LR5 offers minimal control over local noise adjustments, just a single slider, whereas it looks as if noise is fully controllable locally using Nik's control points.

    2. In my 15 days trial, what particular facilities should I explore in Nik that would convince me it is vital to my work?

    Aside from hard-earned cash, one reason I would wish to avoid Nik and other add-ins is that it breaks the LR workflow based on raw files and fully reversible editing. I guess a true expert would follow a linear workflow which would allow him to do his TIFF conversion at the end in Nik/PS and not look back. Sadly, I'm not like that, I'm a tinkerer, going back again and again to try new post processing tricks.

    All advice welcome!

  2. #2
    dabhand's Avatar
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    Re: Nik software vs Lightroom 5

    Paul,

    I'd say you pretty much answered your own question in 1 - they offer additional controls; for 2 Without knowing what you look to achieve with images and what you consider vital, I could only suggest you give each toolset a good run through so you can see which if any are to your liking - there are presets in all of them but there is also the opportunity to vary parameters; wrt the question of raw files and fully reversible editing - I just create a snapshot before going outside of Lightroom to any other 'development' software so I can always revert.

    steve

  3. #3

    Re: Nik software vs Lightroom 5

    Thanks, Steve.
    Perhaps I should be a bit more specific. Given that I have a limited time to play and decide, I'd appreciate pointers to the particular tools and facilities that are not available in LR5. And I know I will have to explore control points and how they differ from LR's local adjustments, but are there any other features that have made you say"that's magic, I must buy this". And, finally, I am most interested in noise and monochrome conversions, but I'd appreciate advice on what tools the other modules offer that aren't in LR.
    Cheers

  4. #4

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    Re: Nik software vs Lightroom 5

    Perhaps it's time to step-up to Photoshop. Personally, I'd find only having LR extremely limiting -- and I'm not a fan of Nik software either, to be honest.

  5. #5

    Re: Nik software vs Lightroom 5

    Hey Paul,
    I like the advantage and the ability to make changes just to certain areas when using the control points. That goes for sharpening and noise control in Nik, you can choose just what you want whether it is sharpening or noise control and how much. There is so much more you can do with the Nik Complete package + LR5. The presets are just that and can be changed to your liking to parts are all of the image using global or control points. Granted I don't use Nik on every image but when I want to use it on one it's so very nice to have that extra ability and control over the image outcome. I would suggest that you watch some of the Nik tutorials to get a much better understanding of the use's of each section of the package. You just might like it a lot. Hope this helps you out.

    http://www.stuckincustoms.com/nik-software-review/

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gikVjBnpTRQs.com.com

    http://www.google.com/nikcollection/
    Last edited by Carl in Louisiana; 13th February 2014 at 11:21 AM.

  6. #6
    davidedric's Avatar
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    Re: Nik software vs Lightroom 5

    In addition to the above, you also get a very capable HDR tool, which of course Lightroom doesn't have (in fact, with its design and philosophy can't have).

    P. S. Even if you don't do bracketed HDR shooting, it can still do an interesting job on a single image making all dynamic range visible.
    Last edited by davidedric; 13th February 2014 at 12:14 PM. Reason: Added a thought

  7. #7
    Sponge's Avatar
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    Re: Nik software vs Lightroom 5

    For me the only must have of the Nik collection is SEP since I just can't get comparable black and white conversions on my own. I'm sure it's possible but it's just so easy to get a good starting point with the SEP presets and then tweak it to my liking.

    Maybe I'm alone on this but I've always wanted the Nik software to allow you to change the control points to rectangular or squarish shapes, this would make it more useful on landscape scenes when you want to make separate edits above and below the horizon, for example, but some of the pixel values are shared.

  8. #8
    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: Nik software vs Lightroom 5

    I've used LR4 for about two months or more, currently using a 30-day trial of LR5, have used PSE for about a year or more. How do users rate the noise reduction filters in their program of choice. I've used the noise filter in LR4 on only a few occasions and if it is a really underexposed image, LR or even PSE can't really do the job for me. I use Noiseware plug-in for PSE and it does a very good job.

  9. #9
    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Nik software vs Lightroom 5

    All NIK has done (and I do use it in some of my work) is automate some functionality that is already available in LR an PS. If you have the knowledge and are willing to take the time and effort, you can duplicate what any plugin does. Automation buys you speed, and in the case where skill in the tool is missing, can give you a step up.

    I personally agree with Colin; Lightroom is a fairly basic tool and you should be looking at PS to improve beyond where you are today.

  10. #10

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    Re: Nik software vs Lightroom 5

    I don't use any NIK products yet, but I do use a product that has the same control point masking technology that the NIK products have. I wouldn't want to post-process images without that technology and LR doesn't have it.

    I disagree with Manfred that anything that NIK can do can be done in Lightroom. That's because it's not possible to create the same masks in Lightroom that can be made using NIK thanks to its control point technology. However, you can make the same masks using different technologies in CS. Indeed, you can make masks using the technologies in CS that cannot be made using control points.

  11. #11
    dabhand's Avatar
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    Re: Nik software vs Lightroom 5

    Paul,

    +1 to Carl's contribution. I primarily work in mono (so have little NIK experience outside Silver Efex, Noise and Sharpening) and while I do some mono conversions in LR I use Silver Efex presets to consider an approach an then, as Carl highlights, the ability to simply change contrast, brightness and structure on local areas of your photo gives more options for refinements to achieve a desired result - to me a big plus.

    To save me a load of typing I'll also refer you (no vested interest) to Robin Whalley who has a Kindle book on Silver Efex which I found very helpful, will save you a lot of time, it costs 2.68 on Amazon - Robin's site is http://thelightweightphotographer.com/

  12. #12

    Re: Nik software vs Lightroom 5

    Hmmm, I have had a bit of a play, working between LR5, Nik and PSE, and I can understand both the positive and negative comments. The tools are nice, though I would probably not use ColorEfex or HDR, and Sharpening only occasionally. But if you use them directly from LR5, you lose any non-destructive editing elements - all your edits end up back in one single layered TIFF. If you work through PSE, you can preserve edits in a layered TIFF, but at the expense of reverting to 8 bit colour, which is a bit of a waste.
    Given that the cost of Nik is only a bit more than a year's subscription to the full PS, may I amend my original question:
    - Does Nik offer anything that you can't do easily in PS? Or is it just that it provides easy-to use tools in a simpler package than the full PS?
    I very much appreciate the advice members of this forum give!

  13. #13

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    Re: Nik software vs Lightroom 5

    I don't have Photoshop or Lightroom. Elements 12 for me. But, one thing that I really like about the Nik plug-ins are the film analogs. In Color Efex, there are a few film filters each of which has a drop down selection of film styles, in Silver Efex, there is the one drop down menu of film choices, and Analog Efex is an entire plug-in devoted to such stuff. Selecting a film style is like a preset within a preset giving a specific curve and noise level each of which can be altered. So, instead of creating your own film style from scratch which I am sure you can do in other programs, you can see a variety of choices quickly and start from one that seems closest to what is desired. Analog Efex Pro takes this to an extreme by really altering one's image. I just make a copy and go from there. There are too many favorite filters to discuss with the limited time you have so I will just offer the one tip above.

  14. #14
    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: Nik software vs Lightroom 5

    I believe this LR link has been displayed before, I'm thinking that these will give you added functionality to be on a par with Nik and Photoshop Elements.

    http://www.mcpactions.com/lightroom-...m-presets.html

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