DxO recently released an update to it’s magnificent Nik Collection 2.3 set of filters. The Nik Collection 2.3 filters work as a plugin for Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, Photoshop Elements and DxO Photolab.
The Nik Collection 2.3 by DxO has forever been my favourite plugin suite. In my opinion, there has never been any set of photographic filters that are as comprehensive and accurate as the NiK Collection. The package has had a bumpy history, but I am confident that under the ownership of DxO, the filters will progress and modernise. This latest update is proof that DxO is committed to keeping the filters fit for purpose and staying in step with digital cameras, computer hardware and software.
The Nik Collection 2.3 plugins come as a suite of seven plugins and a full copy of DxO Photolab 2 (Essential). DxO Photolab 2 can be considered an alternative to Adobe Lightroom but without the subscription. The Essential version of Photolab 2 is a diluted version of Photolab 2, but it is still a robust standalone application that is worth considering for anyone who doesn’t want to commit to Adobe’s subscription for Lightroom and Photoshop. The whole suite retails at £125 ($149) and can be downloaded directly from the DxO website. When you consider the unrivalled quality of the Nik Collection 2.3 filter suite and the inclusion of DxO Photolab 2, the price represents fantastic value.
I have never been without the full set of filters, and I hope they continue to evolve and grow.
Let’s look at some of the main updates to version 2.3 of the filters.
All the applications have been updated to be compatible with 64-bit operating systems. This 64-bit compatibility makes all the plugins far more stable and a lit bit quicker when launching and saving the final image after applying your adjustments. The full system requirements for the 7 plugins that make up the Nik Collection 2.3 are: –
These system requirements are not too taxing on modern computers, and if you are currently able to edit Raw images using any of the mainstream software packages, you shouldn’t need any upgrading to run this new Nik Collection 2.3.
Black and White Film Simulations
The black and white conversion plugin Silver Efex Pro 2 is probably the most popular of the Nik Collection of filters. This update has added 10 new film types to its current list of 18 black and white film simulations. I urge you to try the film simulations in Silver Efex Pro 2 as a way of adding an analogue quality to your black and white images. The 10 new film types are: –
- Adox Silvermax 21;
- Fomapan 100 Classic;
- Ilford Pan 100;
- Rollei Retro 100 Tonal;
- Agfa Scala 200x;
- Bergger BRF 400 Plus;
- Fuji Neopan 400;
- Ilford Pan 400;
- Polaroid 672;
- Polaroid 667
I can say with complete confidence that Silver Efex Pro 2 is among the best black and white conversion applications ever made for digital photography. Let me go further. When I saw that Google (who used to own the Nik Collection) was offering the full suite of 7 plugins as a free download, I began to fear the worst. You can read more about my thoughts at the time in this article. Fearing that Google had given up on the Nik Collection, I began to look around for a future replacement to Silver Efex Pro 2. Despite there being many black and white conversion applications to choose from, I couldn’t find one that I felt was as accurate or as feature-rich as Silver Efex Pro 2.
I am delighted that DxO has taken the baton and are running with it.
Adobe 2020 Update Compatibility
The Nik Collection 2.3 by DxO is now compatible with the November 2020 updates from Adobe. If you have updated your Photoshop CC of Lightroom Classic CC to the new 2020 versions, you may notice some difficulty using the Nik Collection 2 set of filters. If this is the case, you will be pleased to hear that this update to the Nik Collection 2.3 fixes all those compatibility issues. The plugins are now fully compatible with: –
- Adobe Photoshop CC 2020;
- Adobe Lightroom Classic CC 2020;
- Adobe Photoshop Elements Adobe Photoshop Elements 2020 (apart from HDR Efex Pro 2, which is not compatible with Photoshop Elements);
- macOS 10.15 Catalina.
How to Update to Nik Collection 2.3
Visit the Nik Collection 2.3 website to gain access to the latest download.
Now, this is slightly counterintuitive but important. If you do not own a copy of the Nik Collection 2.3 and you wish to purchase a copy, click on the BUY NOW button and follow the download instructions. That’s the easy option. However, if you already own a copy of the Nik Collection 2, click on the FREE TRIAL button, and download a copy of the trial software. The installer for the trial software will detect your current license key, and all will be good.
It is worth noting that the Nik Collection 2.3 comes bundled with all 7 plugins and a fully working copy of DxO Photolab 2.3. When you purchase the Nik Collection 2.3 by DxO, you will get two license keys: one license key for the Nik Collection 2.3 of filters and one license key for DxO Photolab 2 Essentials Edition. Both license keys can be activated 3 times each.
If you have previously bought a copy of DxO Photolab 2 Elite Edition, installing the trial version of Nik Collection 2.3 will upgrade your copy of DxO Photolab 2.x Elite to DxO Photolab 2.3 Elite Edition.
Bug Fixes and Known Issues
There are a few bug fixes with this latest update. The full list of bug fixes and known issues are listed by DxO as: –
- HDR Efex Pro 2: Output image is now by default saved in one of the input image’s directory instead of being, in macOS/users/ (on macOS) or C:\Users\<username>\Documents (on Windows);
- (macOS) Display issue when a font is missing is now fixed;
- (macOS) Selective Tool minimisation issue in Adobe Photoshop is now fixed;
- (macOS) The progress bar is now refreshing in real-time while installing your software;
- (Windows) The installer now detects the latest and future version of Adobe Photoshop;
- (macOS) Installation issues with Adobe Photoshop Elements 2018 when downloaded from Mac App Store is now fixed;
- Links from installer issue in some languages is now fixed;
- HiDPI support on Windows for Dfine 2, Sharpener Pro 3 and Viveza 2.
This update may not be one of the most significant updates, but it is an update. It is an update to one of the most excellent collections of plugins for Photoshop and Lightroom that I have ever used, and I am delighted that the Nik Collection 2.3 has a good home with DxO.
If you have never used the Nik Collection of plugins, I encourage you to visit the website and download a fully working trial version. And, if you already own a copy of the Nik Collection 2, this update is free and will help with any compatibility issues you may be experiencing after updating to the latest version of Adobe’s Creative Cloud.