I am a newbie to the world of photography but am an eager learner and believe I have bought the right equipment to get started. My issue is this...should I use photoshop or Capture NX2? I used the trial version of NX2 and found it relatively easy to use but found the trial of photoshop confusing. Any advice you can offer would be greatly appreciated. Thanks Laurie
#1. "RE: Nikon Capture NX2 or Photoshop?" In response to Reply # 0
St. Louis, US
This is always a big can of worms. Many feel very strongly about their vested position with the software they use. The fact is each has it's strengths and it's weaknesses.
My advice is to look at some video tutorials for every piece of software you would like to explore. Look at them before starting the timer on the free trial periods. Use one software at a time so you can maximize the trial period. Then make a decision. Most of us have multiple software programs. For now, one size does not fit all.
Quite honestly I think you should have both.
I like NX2 for editing and have been using it since it came out as NX1. For me, it is fast and I like the results I get. Of course the image should be pretty close before editing begins. Now bare in mind my CS4 skills are not as strong as they should be. I just do not find the need to use it that much. NX2 is a RAW editor writing the edits you make to separate data within the NEF file. This edit data is applied to the original RAW image data to present the changes you made. If you want to go back later and make changes to the same image, the edit data, with the new adjustments, will be the only thing that gets altered. What I mean is the original image data is not lost or changed when you are editing and ALL the info is saved in one file.
CS4 is a very powerful pixel editor. It changes the image by changing the pixels to the color needed to get the effect you are wanting. Once it is saved, the image you started with is lost. This why you want to edit a copy and save the originals. CS4 will do things NX2 can not. I use CS4 to make "Event Photo Frames", cloning/healing issues NX2 can not handle and a few other things. CS4 is more photo editing friendly than the previous versions, IMHO. Again, I am not as proficient with CS4 as I ought to be.
Some find NX2 user interface to be awkward, some do not. I think that comes down to what you are use to and how much time is spent with any program.
There are going to be good arguments for other software as well as these. LightRoom has a great cataloging tool built in. It is also a RAW editor but saves the edit information in a separate file. It is faster than NX2 as well. NIK software makes plugs in for both CS4 and LightRoom that use the same U-Point technology found in NX2.
Take a look at the tutorials. Many samples can be found on you tube of tutorial packages offered for sale. I always try to get as many tutorials for all the software I use be it Photography, CAD or even for the OS of the MAC. One package may offer information or methods not found in another. I learn faster by watching and listening than by reading. I think most people are that way. Of course I have very long shelves with all kinds of tutorial books as well.
#2. "RE: Nikon Capture NX2 or Photoshop?" In response to Reply # 0
Laurie, First, welcome to Nikonians! Second, you've purchased some great Nikon equipment that will serve you well. And third, happy holidays.
Mark really covered many of my own conclusions. Your question comes up often here at Nikonians, and feelings can run strong concerning the advantages and disadvantages of each editing program. I would continue doing as you have started out to do. Give each trial version a fair shot with a single, backed up image. Although I am a NX2 user, I like (and use) many of the features in Lightroom 2 (after discarding LR1), and would suggest giving it a try as well. CS4 certainly can do everything, but at the price of a steep learning curve, and expense. If you find your head spinning with trying to learn all the software, don't feel alone. It is not easy, and can be confusing at times. But stick with it and it will start to make sense as there is sort of a commonality between the programs.
FWIW, I continue to like NX2 because of its flexible editing capabilities, especially when combined with the Nik Color Efex Pro 3.0 filter set. And I think the price of NX2 is very reasonable.
Who knows what the future holds for NX2 or LR2. NX3 is rumoured, and LR3 is just around the corner and appears to offer some nice new features.
Regardless of which software(s) you decide on, there are many experienced folks here who can help you out.
#3. "RE: Nikon Capture NX2 or Photoshop?" In response to Reply # 2
Thank you both for the quick response and happy holidays too! I have tried both trial versions and feel more comfortable with the Nikon product for the moment and your right it is a little more cost effective when on a learning curve. I have also purchased a book on the Nikon software. I think I will order the full version and once I become a little more proficient with my new camera and take a few courses photoshop may be the better option.
#4. "RE: Nikon Capture NX2 or Photoshop?" In response to Reply # 3
Photoshop CS4 includes a RAW editor (Adobe Camera RAW) that does non-destructive edits of the RAW file just like Lightroom and NX2. The NEF file is never edited with the RAW editor in Photoshop or Lightroom - edit instructions are saved in another small file with the same file name as the image and extension of xmp. Capture NX2 edit instructions are saved in the NEF file, but the image data is not modified.
#5. "RE: Nikon Capture NX2 or Photoshop?" In response to Reply # 0
As others have suggested, you might be better off giving Lightroom 2 a trial over Photoshop. LR2 was designed by photographers for photographers. Personally, I am still using NX2 in conjunction with Photo Mechanic as my front end. You can easily cover most or all of your post-processing needs with NX2 or LR2, and those are the programs I would recommend starting with. Somewhere down the road, you may find the need or desire for Photoshop. It can do some things that neither NX2 or LR2 can do, but it is also quite a bit more complex and harder to gain proficiency with Photoshop.
#7. "RE: Nikon Capture NX2 or Photoshop?" In response to Reply # 6
Basically the others have said it, however, a couple of additional points to consider. In Photoshop, you can adjust your image with adjustment layers instead of modifying the base image directly in many cases and as long as you save as a psd file, you can go back and undo or modify those adjustment layers without modifying the base image. Yes, photoshop has a very big learning curve, but it is also a very powerful utility. I would suggest checking out lynda.com for a start - they have lots of online video tutorials for lots of software. Some of them are free - check them out and see what you think of the tutorials (personally, I find them well done in general). If you want to continue with their other tutorials, they are quite reasonable for unlimited access for $25/month etc