Head to head

We take a look at how Nikon’s Cap­ture NX-D stacks up against Light­room 6

NPhoto - - Contents -

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.

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