Nikon NX Studio Assessment: How Good Is This Free Photograph Editor?

The submit Nikon NX Studio Review: How Good Is This Free Photo Editor? appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Simon Ringsmuth.

Nikon NX Studio review

To be able to write a great Nikon NX Studio assessment, it’s vital to step again to see who this program is for and the way it matches into the picture enhancing panorama.

In 2006, Nikon launched a software program device known as Seize NX, which was designed for its fledgling line of digital cameras. Over time, Nikon slowly added new options, however Seize NX was by no means a severe competitor to Adobe Lightroom, Capture One, or different widespread picture enhancing and administration software program. That each one modified in early 2021; Nikon retired Seize NX (and its companion, ViewNX) and changed them with Nikon NX Studio.

However is Nikon’s software program prepared for prime time, and might it maintain its personal towards a rising record of rivals? What precisely does NX Studio do and who’s it for? The solutions may shock you.

Nikon NX Studio Review Flower
RAW file processed with Nikon NX Studio.
Nikon D7100 | Nikon 50mm f/1.8G | f/2.8 | 1/3000s | ISO 100

Nikon NX Studio overview

In a really fundamental sense, Nikon NX Studio is like Lightroom – however designed particularly for Nikon shooters. It’s not likely a good comparability, although, as a result of Nikon NX Studio isn’t supposed to be a alternative for Lightroom. The 2 have a whole lot of overlap, however when doing a one-to-one characteristic comparability, Nikon NX Studio comes up woefully brief. Nevertheless, NX Studio does have a workflow that appeals to a whole lot of photographers, in addition to some superior instruments absent from Lightroom.

Nikon NX Studio is nice for photographers who wish to do extra with their photographs than what fundamental packages like Apple Photos can provide. It has instruments for frequent edits akin to white stability, brightness, coloration, noise discount, cropping, and sharpness. Nikon NX Studio additionally goes one step past Lightroom by letting you carry out fundamental edits on movies, akin to trimming and stitching.

It additionally has one crucial benefit over Lightroom and most different packages: It’s free, so that you lose nothing by attempting it out.

Nikon NX Studio Review Overview
Nikon NX Studio goes method past fundamental picture enhancing, and it has some highly effective instruments that attraction to amateurs and professionals alike.

For fans and even professionals, there’s so much to love about Nikon NX Studio so long as you retain your expectations in examine and don’t thoughts some irritating bugs and shortcomings. It’s not a full-featured digital asset administration device like Lightroom, although it does provide some fundamental file management and storage.

However the place Nikon NX Studio actually shines is within the sheer depth of its instruments. The Lightness, Chroma, and Hue changes provide you with unbelievable management over enhancing colours, and the Shade Level device offers you fine-grained management that takes a number of steps to copy in Lightroom.

Lastly, Nikon NX Studio has a trick up its sleeve that no different picture editor can match: it really works with Nikon RAW information without having to reverse-engineer the RAW algorithm or convert all the pieces to DNG.

Nikon NX Studio professionals

  • The value is nice. It’s a free program and needs to be up to date by Nikon recurrently for years to return.
  • Plenty of options that attraction to amateurs, hobbyists, and professionals
  • Primary film enhancing instruments are easy and sensible
  • All the pieces takes place in a single interface with out the necessity to change between Library and Develop modules like in Lightroom

Nikon NX Studio cons

  • Very fundamental import course of in comparison with Lightroom: no key phrase administration, making use of presets, or metadata changes
  • Lacks Brush and Graduated adjustment instruments, together with different enhancing choices supplied by competing packages
  • Lack of a easy Undo characteristic
  • Plenty of bugs and glitches. Some would say that is anticipated with Model 1 of a program, however these points occur extra continuously than I would really like
Nikon NX Studio Review Import
Nikon NX Studio makes use of a separate program known as Nikon Switch 2 to import pictures from a reminiscence card or different supply. It really works positive, however it’s pretty simplistic by way of performance.

When you’re a Nikon shooter, you’ll be able to’t go fallacious with simply downloading Nikon NX Studio to test it out. It’s free, and it gained’t alter your present photographs even should you use Lightroom, Luminar, or one other program. You actually don’t have anything to lose by attempting it, and also you may discover that the outcomes you get out of your Nikon RAW information are a lot better than what you get in Lightroom. (Be aware that Nikon NX Studio solely works with Nikon NEF RAW information. It is not going to load DNG information or RAW information from Canon, Sony, Fujifilm, and different producers.)

Whereas I do suppose Nikon NX Studio is price attempting out, let’s take a better have a look at a few of its traits to assist decide whether or not it’s the precise program for you.

Structure and ease of use

When you’ve ever used a program like Lightroom, Luminar, or Seize One, you’ll really feel proper at residence in Nikon NX Studio.

The interface is fairly easy: the left facet is the place you entry your photographs in folders or albums. The center is the place you scroll by means of your photographs or have a look at them extra intently. Your instruments are situated on the precise and clicking the title of a device expands and collapses its choices identical to Lightroom.

Nikon NX Studio review Layout
The Nikon NX Studio structure is much like different packages like Lightroom, Luminar, and Seize One. Photograph storage on the left, enhancing instruments on the precise, and your picture within the center.

An Import button within the top-right nook will allow you to begin loading pictures from a reminiscence card. Extra icons on the high of the principle window allow you to change between views: thumbnail, map, 2 and 4 pictures at a time, earlier than and after, and record, which customers of Apple’s Aperture software program will definitely respect. Alongside the underside are extra instruments that allow you to present view overlays (akin to a grid or a histogram), assign star rankings, and rotate photographs.

All these buttons and choices might sound overwhelming, however it’s very easy; you must be capable to discover your method across the interface after a couple of minutes of exploring.

One key distinction between Nikon NX Studio and Lightroom is that the previous shops your picture edits in sidecar information, whereas the latter is predicated round a single large database, known as a catalog. Some want one kind of storage over the opposite, however whereas there have been studies of corrupted Catalogs inflicting issues for some photographers, it’s not a difficulty I’ve skilled.

Nonetheless, in order for you a strong picture editor however are cautious of placing all of your enhancing eggs in a single basket, Nikon NX Studio may be a sensible choice.


When it comes to sheer velocity and enhancing effectivity, Nikon NX Studio does depart one thing to be desired. On a 2020 27″ iMac with a 3.6 GHz, 10-core i9 processor, numerous RAM, and a big inner SSD, my edits have been pretty clean.

However working NX Studio on a machine only a few years outdated with a spinning exhausting drive felt positively sluggish by comparability. Adjusting any given slider, from White Stability to Highlights to Shade Booster, resulted in a visual checkerboard sample throughout the picture whereas edits have been utilized. Every adjustment solely took a second or two, however these little bits of time add up rapidly when enhancing dozens or lots of of pictures.

goose on the grass with checkerboard pattern
On slower computer systems, enhancing operations like altering the white stability can lead to a tiny delay, throughout which era a checkerboard sample is seen.

Different Nikon NX Studio options resulted in sluggish response instances or outright crashes. Navigating by means of folders to find pictures took for much longer than I anticipated, and easy operations like cropping have been sluggish and uneven. I usually zoom in to a photograph to examine for focus and sharpness after which zoom out for extra enhancing, however even this comparatively fundamental operation was slower and clunkier than I’d have appreciated. After leaving NX Studio working for a number of hours – not processing photographs, however merely open within the background – it introduced my Mac to its knees with an odd reminiscence administration error.

Memory Error
I left Nikon NX Studio working in a single day; the following morning, I discovered that my pc had slowed to a crawl. It had some type of reminiscence leak that was utilizing each spare scrap of RAM I had accessible.

I’m not saying that this system is unusable, simply that customers must strategy it with a little bit of warning. Applications akin to Lightroom have been simply as buggy of their early incarnations and are a lot improved now, and I’ve little doubt the identical might be true of Nikon NX Studio. It’s going to get higher over time, however proper now you’ll be able to anticipate to come across some glitches.

Nevertheless, it’s not all unhealthy information by way of efficiency. Loading Nikon NEF RAW information was snappy, navigating between enhancing panes was fast and simple, and import/export operations had no noticeable lag. When Nikon NX Studio works, which it normally does, it really works fairly properly. However when it doesn’t work, it may be a bit irritating.

Photograph group

It’s not unusual for photographers to have tens of 1000’s and even lots of of 1000’s of images to wade by means of. Nikon NX Studio isn’t going to win awards for groundbreaking AI-powered picture administration, however it does have some helpful instruments that can assist you set up your footage.

Nikon NX Studio Review Folder Organization
Nikon NX Studio imports pictures to folders in your exhausting drive, to not a proprietary archive. To seek out your pictures, use the folders on the left-hand facet.

In lieu of a Lightroom-style Catalog system, NX Studio exhibits you a hierarchical view of all of the folders in your important drive and allows you to navigate by means of them to find your pictures. It’s not dissimilar from Luminar and others, and I want this methodology over the all-in-one archive system utilized by Apple Photographs. Once you import pictures from a reminiscence card, you’ll be able to create a brand new folder to retailer the photographs. You may create customized names for every import, as properly.

When searching by means of your footage, you’ll be able to assign star rankings, coloration labels, and key phrases. There’s a Filter bar that you need to use to kind your photographs based on these standards in addition to different info, however Nikon NX Studio doesn’t have Sensible Albums or different dynamic strategies for mechanically sorting your pictures. I exploit Lightroom’s Smart Collections to assist me set up my pictures, however should you aren’t a fan of this methodology, then NX Studio might be positive.

Nikon NX Studio Review Filter
The Filter bar enables you to kind by many various standards.

Longtime customers of Apple’s now-defunct Aperture software program will discover the Thumbnail Checklist View to be notably helpful when managing photographs. This exhibits a list-style view much like what you see when searching by means of your Mac OS Finder or Home windows Explorer, with columns that show numerous parameters akin to publicity info, file measurement, date modified, and extra.

Nikon NX Studio Review List View
Checklist View is a really helpful method of viewing and sorting your pictures. It is extremely much like Checklist View within the Mac OS Finder and in Microsoft Home windows Explorer.

Whereas Nikon NX Studio’s photograph administration instruments will not be as strong as I would really like, they’re definitely a great begin. When you want an easy strategy that doesn’t depend on a proprietary catalog or database system, then there’s so much to understand.

Photograph-editing capabilities

That is the place the rubber meets the street, and thankfully, Nikon NX Studio can maintain its personal towards the competitors in just about all of the areas that matter. Whereas some NX Studio options will not be as refined as different packages and a few instruments are lacking in motion, what it will get proper, it actually will get proper.

There’s an extended record of enhancing choices at your disposal, together with:

  • White Stability
  • Publicity Compensation
  • Lively D-Lighting, which is exclusive to Nikon cameras and is a pleasant technique to mechanically brighten shadows and create a extra even publicity
  • Brightness and Shade
  • Ranges and Curves
  • Lightness, Chroma, and Hue
  • Alter Particulars, which incorporates Noise Discount and Sharpness
  • Contact-Up, to take away spots and blemishes
  • Alter Composition, which incorporates cropping, straightening, and perspective management
  • Digicam and Lens Corrections

As soon as once more, it’s price remembering that Nikon NX Studio is a free program, and that truth alone makes the inclusion of all these choices type of wonderful. Whereas instruments like a graduated filter, a radial filter, and an adjustment brush are lacking, the choices you do have ought to suffice for many photograph enhancing. You may even create a number of customized units of adjustment choices that embrace solely the instruments you employ in particular situations. That is fairly helpful should you want totally different instruments when enhancing landscapes in comparison with enhancing portraits.

Nikon NX Studio Review Adjustments
You may create customized units of enhancing changes, then change to your customized units with a easy click on.

The Shade Management Level enhancing device is especially helpful, and one which I’d wish to see in different purposes. It lets you click on wherever in your picture and instantly have entry to eight frequent enhancing sliders. Drag any of them to the precise or left to extend or lower that individual parameter. The highest slider adjusts the scale of the world to which the edits might be utilized. It’s a extremely useful gizmo for exact coloration enhancing, and the flexibility to regulate sliders proper on the picture as an alternative of in an enhancing pane is one thing I’ve grown to understand a terrific deal.

Nikon NX Studio Review Color Control Point
The Shade Management Level device enables you to click on on any a part of a picture and use sliders to regulate colours on the spot.

The Lightness, Chroma, and Hue Adjustment takes an progressive and extremely efficient strategy to manipulating coloration. Whereas much like the Hue, Saturation, and Luminance option in Lightroom, the Nikon NX Studio implementation presents helpful choices that skilled and newbie photographers will respect.

You should utilize the eyedropper device to pick a coloration in your picture, then click on and drag up or down within the rainbow panel to regulate that coloration’s parameters. You may also change the angle of the rainbow, which implies that your edits will be carried out extra dramatically or extra subtly. Lastly, Width enables you to goal your edits to both a really slender or very large band of colours. It’s a strong device for world coloration changes.

Nikon NX Studio Review Lightness Chroma Hue Adjustment
Nikon NX Studio has a really useful gizmo for making world coloration edits to a picture. Click on and drag up or down on the horizontal line to regulate the parameters of a coloration, and alter the Width to manage the vary of colours affected by a given peak or valley.

There are some vital drawbacks to NX Studio’s photo-editing capabilities, and any Nikon NX Studio assessment could be remiss in not pointing them out.

First, there is no such thing as a Undo choice. Sure, you learn that proper; as an alternative of an Undo, you’ll be able to create a saved state in your edits then revert to that saved state at any level, however an precise Undo characteristic is lacking.

Additionally, there is no such thing as a Historical past device that exhibits you each edit and allows you to step by means of them one after the other. Whereas Nikon NX Studio is nondestructive and all of your edits will be modified or eliminated at any time, a Historical past characteristic would assist when doing numerous in-depth modifications.

Different unusual characteristic implementations are current, as properly. After you apply a crop, you’ll be able to’t really make modifications to it; you can begin over with a brand new crop, however you’ll be able to’t edit the crop as soon as it has been utilized. You can also’t darken shadows or lighten highlights – at the very least, not with the Shadows and Highlights sliders. The Retouch brush has no customization choices in any respect aside from its measurement. Lastly, there is no such thing as a technique to make export presets, which could possibly be a dealbreaker for many who depend on this characteristic in Lightroom and different packages.

Nikon NX Studio Review Export Dialog
The Export dialog in Nikon NX Studio has loads of choices, however its use is proscribed by the dearth of export presets.

There’s a few methods to take a look at these drawbacks.

In comparison with a program like Lightroom, NX Studio might sound restricted. However alternatively, you possibly can argue that Nikon NX Studio is free, so there’s not a lot to complain about. It’s additionally presently on Model 1 and can little doubt be refined and upgraded over time. Most of the drawbacks have workarounds or various strategies of undertaking the identical job, even when it does contain some additional steps. And eventually, there may be at all times a studying curve with new packages.

So are these lacking options drawbacks, or is it extra a matter of studying a brand new workflow? One may make a robust case for the latter over the previous.

Who ought to get Nikon NX Studio?

Whereas I can’t suggest Nikon NX Studio throughout the board, it’s a terrific choice for a lot of shooters. Actually, Nikon customers will respect all of the instruments NX Studio has to supply, particularly for enhancing RAW information. If you’re a hobbyist or working skilled who wants a collection of highly effective enhancing instruments and also you don’t thoughts some interface quirks, Nikon NX Studio could possibly be proper up your alley. Inexperienced persons may be intimidated by the plethora of buttons, choices, and instruments, particularly in comparison with extra fundamental picture editors which might be available for free on mobile phones and a few computer systems. However Nikon NX Studio could possibly be a great way for these people to begin utilizing a extra superior picture editor with out spending any cash in any respect.

Individuals who ought to positively not use Nikon NX Studio are those that have a mobile-first workflow. There isn’t a model of this system that works on telephones or tablets, and it’s unlikely to be created anytime quickly. When you primarily shoot and edit with a smartphone, you’re higher off sticking with the instruments you have already got.

Nikon NX Studio Review 4-Up View

Nikon NX Studio assessment: ultimate phrases

Nikon NX Studio is an excellent program in some ways, and the truth that it’s free is definitely certainly one of its most vital benefits.

When you shoot in JPEG, you need to use all the pieces Nikon NX Studio has to supply, regardless of your digital camera model, whereas Nikon customers will vastly respect its RAW enhancing capabilities. Whereas there are definitely some vital caveats to contemplate, in addition to some messy bugs that may get ironed out over time, I definitely suggest you obtain it and provides it a strive.

Hopefully, this Nikon NX Studio assessment gave you some info that can assist you perceive a bit extra about this system and whether or not it can give you the results you want!

Now I’d like to listen to your ideas:

Are you curious about Nikon NX Studio? Do you suppose you’ll use it? What do you want and dislike in regards to the software program? Share your views within the feedback under!

Do I must have a Nikon digital camera to make use of Nikon NX Studio?

Nikon NX Studio will solely work with Nikon RAW information. RAW codecs from Sony, Canon, Fujifilm, and others is not going to work, and neither will common RAW codecs like DNG. Nevertheless, this system works simply positive with JPEG pictures. So should you don’t use a Nikon digital camera however shoot in JPEG, you’ll be able to simply use Nikon NX Studio in your enhancing and photograph administration.

Will Nikon NX Studio work on my cell phone?

Nikon NX Studio is designed for desktop-based workflows; there is no such thing as a cellular model. You may take photographs on a cell phone, switch them to your pc, and edit them in Nikon NX Studio, however that workflow provides many extra steps and doubtless takes an excessive amount of time for most individuals to contemplate.

Is Nikon NX Studio higher than Lightroom, Seize One, or Luminar?

There are benefits and downsides to all of those packages, and it’s not possible to say which one is healthier. Nikon NX Studio is free, however many of the others have free trial durations for brand spanking new customers. When you’re not sure of which to make use of, I like to recommend downloading them, signing up without spending a dime trials (if accessible), and making use of dPS’s many articles that can assist you be taught. That method, you may make an knowledgeable selection and discover this system that fits your wants.

Will Nikon NX Studio run on my pc?

Most computer systems made previously few years will work simply positive with Nikon NX Studio. I personally discovered higher outcomes after I was working with an SSD as an alternative of a spinning exhausting drive, however nearly any fashionable desktop or laptop computer will run this system simply positive.

Can I exploit Nikon NX Studio to edit video?

Whereas Nikon NX Studio does have a built-in video editor, its capabilities are very restricted. It really works for fundamental trimming and mixing clips however not a lot else.

The submit Nikon NX Studio Review: How Good Is This Free Photo Editor? appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Simon Ringsmuth.

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