DxO Nik Collection 5 | Is It A Worthy Upgrade?


DxO recently announced the new release of Nik Collection 5. Since DxO acquired Nik Collection from Google, I have been unimpressed with the updates they have rolled out. In fact, I have only purchased Nik Collection from DxO because the previous free version from Google had been crashing when using it as a plug-in for Adobe Photoshop. I was initially happy DxO had decided to revive the abandoned Nik Collection software suite. Google had left it as a free download but was not going to be offering future support for it. Many photographers have relied on Nik for specific features for many years. Unfortunately, the software remained very similar to the first version.

What's New In Nik Collection 5

DxO says that Nik Collection 5 has been rebuilt from the ground up. This includes a fresh, modern interface. The sliders have received a much-needed refresh from the original software.

More U Point™ technology integration

They have also integrated their U PointTM technology. These are local adjustment tools for targeting specific areas of your image. I really enjoyed using control points in the original Nik Software. They were available for Plug-Ins such as Nik Vivaza and Nik Define. They very intelligently target specific tones and colors, allowing you to create masks for your adjustments easily. It appears they have added their U Point technology to Nik Color Efex. U Points work similarly to the original control points but allow you to enhance the mask you create further with a range of sliders. U Points are an excellent update for Nik Collection 5.

Authentic Film Grains

If you are interested in replicating classic film stocks, Nik Color Efex features 29 new authentic film grains.

ClearView In Color Efex

Remove haze, mist, and fog with ClearView. This looks to be like the dehaze slider in lightroom. I might be mistaken, but I don't see any option to use control points to selectively mask in and out the ClearView adjustment. This is unfortunate because rarely would I use a dehazing as a global adjustment.

Nik Perspective Efex

4'500+ new camera and lens combinations now supported

Optimized For Apple Silicon?

Previous models of Nik Collection were never optimized to run on Apple Silicon Macs. This meant that Apple Silicon Mac users had to open Adobe Photoshop using Rosetta to run it as a plug-in when using Nik Collection 4. There are a number of limitations to running Photoshop using Rosseta. I found it odd that Nik Collection 4 was never optimized to run natively on Apple Silicon. Apple Silicon Macs had been out for nearly two years, and most of the third-party software plug-ins I use had been updated. I have searched for information on their website about M1 optimization and could not find anything saying that it is. So I assume it is not.

Why I do not want to purchase Nik Collection 5

I love Nik Collection software and have been using it since before DxO purchased it, but I don't like purchasing Nik Collection from DxO. Here's why

DxO's Lifetime License?

DxO calls its software a Lifetime License. When I hear Lifetime Licence, I imagine it as a one-time purchase for that software. I would imagine you could use it as long as you want because you paid for it. You probably wouldn't be getting any new features unless you want to purchase new versions.

When looking a little closer at DxO's Terms Of Service, it doesn't seem like a Lifetime Licence. This is what DxO defines as a Lifetime License.

What is a Lifetime License according to DxO?

A 'lifetime license' means that after you buy the software, you can use the purchased version for as long as you want, providing that the machine you use it on meets the initial program system requirements. This kind of license also includes free updates and bug fixes but doesn't include an upgrade to the next major release.

This license will continue to work with the cameras, operating systems, and third-party software products which are listed as supported by this version. This will continue into the foreseeable future unless or until it becomes necessary to discontinue support in order to maintain the high quality of our technical support for our current products and versions.

Ok, flat out, this is not lifetime. They are basically saying that the Nik Collection version is only compatible with the operating system or third-party software they specify at the time of purchase. For example, if you bought Nik Collection 3, which was released with Mac OS Mojave or Photoshop 2021, those are the versions they will support. After that, they are not responsible;e for updating that copy of Nik Collection to work with future third-party software or operating systems. I am not sure how they can call this a Lifetime Licence. How many people plan on updating their computer's operating system or third-party software? How do you go a lifetime without updating your computer software?

Knowing this, I would expect to have to upgrade to future versions far more often than I would like. Do I want to pay to upgrade every time Nik Collection becomes incompatible with my computer? Personally, I do not. When Nik was originally sold before DxO, it truly was a one-time purchase. I still hear people saying that they are somehow using the original Nik software.

I wish that DxO would support the software they have sold so that you could use it forever. That would be a Lifetime Licence, in my opinion. It was only a year and a half before my copy of Nik Collection 3 was rendered useless after I purchased it because I bought a new computer that already had the newest operating system.

Why I Bought Nik Collection 5

All that being said, I now own Nik Collection 5. I have dove into it and noticed a few decent chances. The more advanced control points in Nik Color Efex will help refine selection better within the application. Do I think it is worth yet another $79.00? Not for me. But I will be forced to purchase new versions of Nik Collection every time I need to update a version of Photoshop or my computer operating system.