Mon 05-Nov-12 09:04 AM | edited Mon 05-Nov-12 09:06 AM by mklass
As Bob says, You have started out with the false assumption that Nik was part of NIkon and that CNX is sinking.
It never was part of Nik. Nik provided the U-Point technology that was built into Capture NX2, and for a while Nikon owned a small part of Nik. Nik developed a version of Color Efex for CNX. and they jointly marketed both products.
Unfortunately, the ownership and development arrangement dissolved several years ago, and when Nik came out with Color Efex 4, they did not bring out a new version for CNX and stopped selling the version for CNX.
In the meantime, Nikon has continued to issue fairly regular updates to CNX2, insuring new camera compatibility and occasional new features. They also did issue a 64-bit version, which was not a small investment in programming resources.
Some feel CNX is in a death spiral, others think that Nikon will always have CNX or something like to provide a way to use all of the cameras' features available for post processing. No one knows the answer to this except Nikon, and they are not talking!
In the meantime, Nik has been bought by Google, and there is uncertainty whether the plug-ins will survive. (My personal opinion is that there is a higher chance of the Nik plug-ins dying than there is of CNX going away.)
So what are your options?
Continue using CNX, as it continues to work and is a useful tool with unique capabilities. You can use ColorEfex 4 (or the other Nik plug-ins) as a standalone program to process JPG and TIF files created after doing CNX raw conversion and editing, However, you can't save Nik edits in the NEF as you can in CNX with Color Efex 3.
If you're nervous about Nik, the new version of onOne's Photo Suite has a module that works like Color Efex (and has other modules that do some other nifty stuff including B&W conversions). Again, you are working outside the NEF environment (it will open NEFs, but apparently does not read any settings or edits, and you can't save back to NEF), but the product may have a more stable future.
You can also use ViewNX2 to do your raw conversions from NEF. It isn't a powerful and flexible as CNX, but it does read and use your camera settings, but it is free.
Or you can simply switch to Photoshop, Lightroom or Aperture and give up on NEF's as you primary editing file, plus the ability to directly manipulate the camera settings in post. There are ways to set-up and use Adobe camera Raw, for instance, that come close to mimicking the setting you would get from a CNX raw conversion. Lots of people have done that and are quite happy with the process.
Like Bob, I am sticking with CNX2 until it stops working, there is a replacement issued, or there is a much better option available.