Nikon just announced a new piece of software called Nikon Capture NX-D. This is a free software application that will replace Nikon Capture NX 2. The D comes from the word Development and relates to developing the parameters of the RAW file. The software is currently in beta and their official release is scheduled for summer, 2014.
According to their website, Nikon says, “We will continue to update and provide support for the current Capture NX 2 application while the beta version of Capture NX-D is available. However, once the official version of Capture NX-D is released, we will no longer support Capture NX 2 with updates.”
Having written a book on Capture NX 2 and having run hundreds of Nikon Capture NX workshops, I immediately dove into the program tonight.
1. Image adjustments are not stored with the original file. Rather, they are stored in a file in the same folder as the original image. Therefore, if you move a photo to a new folder, the image adjustments do not move with it. This is odd and I will need to spend some more time understanding how to move adjustments with the image files. Capture NX 2 stored the adjustments inside the original file, so this is a big departure for Nikon and somewhat mimics the Adobe approach with XMP files.
2. The NX-D software has carried over almost all the global RAW processing capabilities from Nikon Capture NX 2 including the obvious things such as white balance, exposure, curves. They also carried over tools like the LCH editor, Active D-Lighting, Highlight Protection, and lens profile controls.
3. In a shocking move, Nikon Capture NX-D has no local or pixel adjustment capabilities. Nikon chose not to include color control points, lasso tools, adjustment brushes, clone stamp or any of the other regional adjustment capabilities that worked so well in NX 2. This is a major disappointment, since these tools were fantastic in Nikon Capture NX 2. I don’t know what to say, other than “why????”
4. The look and feel of the program has changed dramatically, with the user interface looking like a very detailed engineering program. Some people will like the look of it, while others will be completely turned off by the design. My initial stab at using the program left me somewhat perplexed with the layout and the adjustments. Time will tell if the software’s user interface makes sense or is a confusing mess.
5. With all the other powerful RAW processing software on the market today, I think Nikon has realized that they aren’t going to compete with the likes of Adobe Lightroom, Apple Aperture or Phase One Capture One Pro. Therefore, I think Nikon has decided to create a minimalist software program to do quick global edits on their images. They did include a button on the top menu bar titled “Open With…” that allows you to send the image to other software like Photoshop for the detailed regional, local and pixel level editing.
I’ll write more about the program when I know more. Until then, here are the links to download the program, the PDF, and read their new website.