Head to head
We take a look at how Nikon’s Capture NX-D stacks up against Lightroom 6
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 6 Web www.adobe.com Platform PC/Mac Recommended PC Intel Core 2/AMD 64-bit, 2GHz, 8GB RAM Windows versions Windows 7 SP1 to 10 32/64-bit Recommended Mac Multicore Intel 64-bit, 8GB RAM Mac OS versions Mac OS X v10.8 or later Hard drive space 2GB Minimum screen resolution 1024x768 pixels Batch processing Yes One-off purchase £110/$150 Monthly subscription £8.57/$9.99 with Photoshop CC Lightroom is an industry favourite, boasting easy RAW conversion and editing, plus image management and library functions. The latest version (6) costs £110/$150, but is also available as part of a subscription with Photoshop CC for £8.57/$9.99 per month. One of Lightroom’s main strengths is its cataloguing ability, so this forms the first stage of the process. A map is also available for geotagging. The Develop module is where RAW editing is carried out, with a wealth of presets and manual adjustments available. Lightroom’s range of editing tools for RAW files is pretty much the same as it is in the ACR (Adobe Camera Raw) plug-in for Photoshop CC. Edits are ‘non-destructive’, so RAW files are left untouched, and Lightroom keeps an internal log of any changes. Compatibility is pretty good with Nikon cameras and Nikon-fit lenses. ‘Camera profile’ emulations like Vivid, Landscape and Portrait are fairly similar to the corresponding Nikon Picture Controls, and profile-based lens corrections are available. Powerful batch processing tools are available in Lightroom, and the program is no slouch. In our tests, carried out on a mid-range Windows 10 tower PC, it took five minutes and 10 seconds to convert 80 RAW files from a D750 to high-quality JPEGs.
Nikon Capture NX-D
Web www.nikon.com Platform PC/Mac Recommended PC Intel Core 2/AMD 64-bit, 2GHz, 4GB RAM Windows versions Windows Vista SP2 to 10 32/64-bit Recommended Mac Multicore Intel 64-bit, 4GB RAM Mac OS versions Mac OS X v10.7 or later Hard drive space 2GB Minimum screen resolution 1024x768 pixels Batch processing Yes One-off purchase Free Monthly subscription N/A Nikon’s older Capture NX 2 program (£140/$180) is incompatible with recently launched cameras. The replacement, NX-D, is based on independently created Silkypix software. It lacks the older program’s U-Point technology for selective edits, but it is free. Capture NX-D lacks Lightroom’s ability to catalogue images and create collections, instead relying on a more traditional folder view. The adjustment and editing tools are broadly similar, though, and are arranged in a column down the right-hand side of the screen. Whereas Capture NX 2 overwrote RAW files with new versions, in Capture NX-D changes are stored in a ‘sidecar’ or companion file, and the RAW file itself is left untouched. As in Lightroom, editing is therefore completely non-destructive. As you’d expect, the link between NX-D and Nikon kit is seamless, with directly corresponding adjustments for different levels of Active D-Lighting, plus integration for swapping between Picture Controls, and applying lens corrections, at least for Nikon’s own lenses. Capture NX-D makes it easy to apply manual or preset adjustments to batches of RAW files when converting them to JPEGs. However, in our tests, it took more than twice as long as Lightroom to process 80 RAW files from a D750, at 12 minutes and 10 seconds.