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Old Apr 6, 2013, 06:22 AM   #1
maflynn
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NIK plugins vs Topaz Labs

I own the Topaz Labs plugins but I see people using the NIK plugins.

I typically use DeNoise and the B&W Effects but if I can eek out better quality or ease of use with NIK is it worth buying the suite?

I shoot using a micro 4/3 camera - OMD EM5. Its a great camera but a lot of times I find myself shooting in high ISO. I switched over to Aperture from Lightroom and find that DeNoise plugin part of my work flow a little more then I used too.

If money was no issue, which plugin suite would you get? Is it worth having both or should I be content with Topaz labs?
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Old Apr 6, 2013, 06:31 AM   #2
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NIK offers a 15-day free trial, so you can judge for yourself whether or not it will be a good investment for you.
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Old Apr 6, 2013, 08:13 AM   #3
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I'm installing it as we speak but I'm still curious to hear opinions, both pro and con.

while I can certainly get a feel of the plugins, experienced users can provide more detailed info that I may not initially uncover.

Also, what about Google's ownership - any concern?
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I took the plunge after playing with Define and seeing how its cleaning up my images better then DeNoise. I also found a coupon code to reduce the price to 126 which made it easier to swallow.
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Old Apr 6, 2013, 01:12 PM   #4
AlaskaMoose
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maflynn View Post
I own the Topaz Labs plugins but I see people using the NIK plugins.

I typically use DeNoise and the B&W Effects but if I can eek out better quality or ease of use with NIK is it worth buying the suite?

I shoot using a micro 4/3 camera - OMD EM5. Its a great camera but a lot of times I find myself shooting in high ISO. I switched over to Aperture from Lightroom and find that DeNoise plugin part of my work flow a little more then I used too.

If money was no issue, which plugin suite would you get? Is it worth having both or should I be content with Topaz labs?
My favorite NIK's plugins ar Color Efex Pro and Vivesa. DeNoise does a good job, but so other relatively cheap noise removal applications such as Noise Ninja and Neat Image.

What I have noticed about the Topaz plugins (Topaz Adjust) is that they don't increase the size of the image like NIK does. I imagine that the NIK Color Efex plugins add layers to the image much you one would do manually with PhotoShop.

In relation to which one I use the most that has to be Color Efex and Vivesa, but I also use Topaz for other effects not available in the NIK applications. I have both.

By the way, I also have some of the OnOne Software plugins, and these work in a similar way as NIK's (increase the size of the image with layers (?). But on the Mac using NIK and Topaz is quite easy since these plugins are found in the PhotoShop's filters menu, while OnOne plugins have their own window or screen on the desktop. This screen displays on the desktop once PhotoSop (CS5, CS6) has launched, and disappears when you quit PhotoShop.

I don't think that Google will abandon NIK Software since so many photographers are using it. In my view Google has just taken a huge corner of the market relating to this type of software. By lowering to price from several hundred dollars to $149.00, and by giving it free to existing NIK plugins users all Google is doing is making its "corner" stronger.

Adobe better keep its eyes open, because an application that can do what CS6 can do, coupled to the efficiency of NIK plugins would be quite welcomed by a lot of people. What NIK and other plugins do is to automatically take a series of steps that would take several minutes for you to accomplish manually. Not only that, but the plugins also give the user full control of every effect desired.
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Last edited by AlaskaMoose; Apr 6, 2013 at 03:57 PM.
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Old Apr 6, 2013, 04:45 PM   #5
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I have used all three of the programs: OnOne, Topaz, and NIK, and for _me_ (YMMV), it's a no-brainer: NIK's are the most useful for me.

1. Topaz I like, yes, (and I think they are well engineered), but I don't like the "Snap" actions for having to save experiments, and I find these plug-in's harder to use (I still don't know exactly which slider does exactly what...and how much). Also, I have had the masking program crash my system numerous times.

2. OnOne Suite: talk about crashing. With the exception of Perfect Resize, virtually every one of their programs has crashed my system at one time or another. Much of that had to do with their activation program. Anyway, I finally gave up on getting a fix for their masking program. I would definitely not want to depend on using this within Photoshop _as an alternative to Photoshop_ now that OnOne supports layers, but, hey, maybe that's just me.

3. NIK: I have owned and used this suite for several years, and it has been rock solid in every program. I use _all_ of the programs in this suite, and they are all well engineered and fast. I also like the stacking and ability to reorder the stacking of filters. I always attend their demos at Photoshop World, and they always have the most professional and competent personnel (Dan Hughes).

What will become of NIK after the Google acquisition? Who knows, but I can't believe that Google paid a billion ("with a "b") dollars just to let this program die on the vine. Although I don't necessarily trust Google, I pretty much do trust their affinity for money, and their repackaging and reissue of the suite as The Nik Collection at least convinces me that were conscientious enough to put in many man-hours to rebrand it as theirs, in order to _make money_. Filthy lucre is a great motivator, it seems

Next week is Photoshop World in Orlando, and each of the three demo booths is about ten feet apart, so I hope to "interrogate" Dan Hughes at the NIK presentations :-) Anyway, I did get--and install without any problems--the free-to-existing-owners Google version. Works just the same, but runs faster now on my machine (Mac Pro 5,1, 24 GB ram). I will also, as always, go to the Topaz and OnOne presentations to see what is "new" there and will post what I learn. Maybe their suites run fine now, but I don't have the time to experiment with their software while they tweak it "to perfection."

Hope this helps.
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Old Apr 6, 2013, 07:09 PM   #6
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Haven't had any trouble with Topaz nor OnOne plugins on two iMacs. But I do have the maximum RAM allowable on both computers. But I agree with you in relation to OnOne versus NIK in that the later is easy to use. Maybe onOne tries to "hog" too much RAM space from CS5? I don't really know.
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Old Apr 12, 2013, 06:43 AM   #7
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I have to say I'm liking the performance of Dfine over DeNoise. I'm sure with lots of tweaking I can get DeNoise to have similar results but I have less work with DFine. I also like the simple interface.

I haven't compared how Silver EFEX Pro measures up against B&W Effects which I'm very happy with.

I will say that Nik has greatly improved my workflow and the quality of my shots. I typically shoot in the higher ISO ranges where a flash just doesn't work. DFine 2 has improved the quality which is what I wanted
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Old Apr 12, 2013, 12:45 PM   #8
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Silver EFEX is probably the best Black adn White plugin I have ever seen in my life. And I've tried a lot. It's a great friend of street photographers.
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Old Apr 24, 2013, 08:46 AM   #9
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Another vote for siver efex.
the ability to use the 'look' of old film stock like agfa 100 etc gives my work that little edge it needs.
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Old Apr 24, 2013, 11:45 AM   #10
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What will become of NIK after the Google acquisition? Who knows, but I can't believe that Google paid a billion ("with a "b") dollars just to let this program die on the vine.
Off topic, but where exactly did you pull the billion dollar figure from? I doubt Google paid anywhere close to that for Nik.
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Old May 3, 2013, 01:28 PM   #11
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I just purchased the Nik Collection after playing around with the 15 day trial.

One thing that struck me as odd when making the purchase was lack of a user account for Nik, or a serial number that needs to be entered into the software.

Then looking into the standalone apps and the Photoshop / Aperture plugins another thing that seems odd is there is no "Check for Updates" option.

Is this abandon-ware or is a new version coming out so this is discontinued and discounted?
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Old May 3, 2013, 09:30 PM   #12
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Off topic, but where exactly did you pull the billion dollar figure from? I doubt Google paid anywhere close to that for Nik.
Watch the Trey Ratcliffe video--with the guys from Google--at minute 4:50 to around 4:55:; the Google guys announced the purchase price publically.
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Old May 5, 2013, 08:03 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by platypus63 View Post
I just purchased the Nik Collection after playing around with the 15 day trial.

One thing that struck me as odd when making the purchase was lack of a user account for Nik, or a serial number that needs to be entered into the software.

Then looking into the standalone apps and the Photoshop / Aperture plugins another thing that seems odd is there is no "Check for Updates" option.

Is this abandon-ware or is a new version coming out so this is discontinued and discounted?
Valid questions and I thought the same thing about being odd. My concern with google purchasing is the long term prognosis of the plugins. For the price and the performance of the plugins, I thought the risks were worth it.
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Old May 6, 2013, 06:56 PM   #14
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Compare the plugin cost to your investment in bodies, lenses, flashes, bags, tripods and heads.....
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Old May 7, 2013, 05:33 AM   #15
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+1 for NIK Plugins. I find their results to be far better quality, and the are very easy to use. Google have said that the plan to maintain and update the plugins, so at the price they are going for (and it includes plugins for Windows, Mac, Aperture, Lightroom, and standalone) I think they are a good investment.
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Old May 7, 2013, 10:06 AM   #16
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Watch the Trey Ratcliffe video--with the guys from Google--at minute 4:50 to around 4:55:; the Google guys announced the purchase price publically.
If you listen to that clip, he clearly says "I'm kidding".

NIK was privately held so there aren't any public filings from which to assess, but most outside reports estimate their revenues at between $9 mil and $10 mil. I'd be surprised if the acquisition was very far north of $100 million.
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Old May 7, 2013, 11:35 AM   #17
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If you listen to that clip, he clearly says "I'm kidding".

NIK was privately held so there aren't any public filings from which to assess, but most outside reports estimate their revenues at between $9 mil and $10 mil. I'd be surprised if the acquisition was very far north of $100 million.
Seems a little more realistic.
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Old Oct 30, 2013, 12:18 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by platypus63 View Post
I just purchased the Nik Collection after playing around with the 15 day trial.

One thing that struck me as odd when making the purchase was lack of a user account for Nik, or a serial number that needs to be entered into the software.

Then looking into the standalone apps and the Photoshop / Aperture plugins another thing that seems odd is there is no "Check for Updates" option.

Is this abandon-ware or is a new version coming out so this is discontinued and discounted?
Good News!! NIK software bundle has been updated, with bug fixes, new presets, and an additional tool: Analog Efex Pro

As far as I can tell there is no way to update from within the NIK software itself. I re-downloaded from my purchase confirmation email, and it downloaded the newest version, which installed over the old version.
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Old Oct 30, 2013, 01:20 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by platypus63 View Post
Good News!! NIK software bundle has been updated, with bug fixes, new presets, and an additional tool: Analog Efex Pro

As far as I can tell there is no way to update from within the NIK software itself. I re-downloaded from my purchase confirmation email, and it downloaded the newest version, which installed over the old version.
Thank you for posting this! I saw the news yesterday but couldnt figure out how to upgrade.
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Old Oct 30, 2013, 01:51 PM   #20
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I have Topaz, onOne, Nik: Nik is the standout for me. Like another poster said, very solid and nicely engineered and I really like the fact now that they are fully integrated from an activation/purchase standpoint, no more separate licenses.

Topaz is definitely a decent product, though I mostly use DeNoise but am starting to explore some of the others like BW. I find their UI philosophy to be somewhat clunky.

onOne...not bad when it works, but fairly crash prone.
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Old Oct 30, 2013, 02:44 PM   #21
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Silver EFEX is probably the best Black adn White plugin I have ever seen in my life. And I've tried a lot. It's a great friend of street photographers.
I wholeheartedly agree here. My black & white conversions suck for the most part. But Silver Efex really made me fall in love with black & white again.

I have used both, and I think NIK is the far superior program. I only did the free trial for Topaz, but during those 15 days, I wasn't really impressed with the plugins.

As for NIK, I ultimately purchased the plugins, and they are part of my everyday photography workflow. It was definitely well worth the money I spent on it.
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Old Oct 30, 2013, 08:53 PM   #22
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Thanks for the heads-up guys,

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Old Oct 30, 2013, 09:20 PM   #23
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Having tried both I honestly prefer Nik over Topaz. Nik collection is much more polished and better engineered than the Topaz Labs collection; this is evident especially in noise removal where Dfine annihilates most noise while Denoise leaves messy artifacts around.
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Old Oct 31, 2013, 04:18 AM   #24
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LR5 plus the Nik Suite is a sweet combo.
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Old Oct 31, 2013, 10:01 AM   #25
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Hmmm, just downloaded and installed the Nik update.

The download has doubled in size! Software bloat at it's best... The uncompressed installation size is now 1Gb.

I'm struggling to get excited about the new Analog Efex Pro. It's all a bit Instagram for my liking, call me old if you like I thinking it will stay in the options menu along with HDR Efex Pro and collect metaphorical dust.

For me Silver Efex Pro and Viveza are my most used of the suite, followed by Colour Efex Pro. Dfine and Sharpener Pro are excellent and useful to have as and when they are required. All 5 apps are excellent in my opinion. It is good to see Google developing the suite, even if thus far I'm not keen on the new app addition.
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