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Recently Nikon released the free Windows RAW-Editor Capture NX-D. Since that time I use it and it seems pretty good to me.

How good is this tool compared to the other famous tools? I'm not a professional and I don't have the overview of the current state of the art. What am I missing out on by using this free tool? Does it maybe make sense to buy another one?

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You aren't really missing a lot in terms of RAW manipulation and actually may have some slightly improved options with the vendor provided RAW editor.

The main thing that third party tools are designed for is workflow management and cataloging. They make it easier to manage large numbers of files, tagging them so they can easily be found later and exporting them quickly to a variety of formats based on a variety of conditions.

These workflow enhancements make it far easier to work with large numbers of images, but the RAW editing tools aren't that much more sophisticated (maybe a little easier to use).

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I have tried Capture NX-D, Capture NX-2 and the DxO Optics Pro 7 (the newest version is 9, but 7 can be downloaded for free till the end of this month).

Of these applications Capture NX-2 has a very nice tool called Control Points which provides an easy way of manipulating selected features of the photo. E.g. you put a control point on someone's face and make it a bit brighter, select the sky and make the blue more saturated etc. I find this an easy way to adjust the photo a bit (I'm an amateur myself, I bet pros would find this tool a bit limited).

As AJ Hendeson already mentioned the Nikon software provides options well suited to Nikon cameras but the main functionality of other tools is similar.

In my personal opinion the Nikon applications have rather poor user interface (NX-D being the worst and slowest), you might want to take this into account. On the other hand this is highly subjective so your opinion may be different than mine.

I like DxO's user interface the most but overall I find NX-2 with its Control Points most useful.

Nikon Capture NX-2 has a free trial so you may test this application before you decide to buy (same goes for other software like e.g. Adobe Lightroom).

  • Capture NX2 is going away if it isn't gone already (and won't keep up with the new cameras). The control point technology belongs to Nik Software, which was acquired by Google, and Nikon no longer has license to use it in new development. – user28116 Jul 31 '14 at 5:09
  • good point - i already noticed that this tool is a little slow - i compensated this by loading my images to a RAM drive – fubo Jul 31 '14 at 7:24

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