Nik Collection 7

      Photo Review 8.9

      In summary

      While the Nik Collection 7 plug-ins can be used as stand-alone editing tools, they are essentially designed to work as plug-ins with Photoshop, Lightroom, Photoshop Elements, Serif Affinity Photo, and DxO PhotoLab.

      Each plug-in has a specific purpose – some provide one-click adjustments while others replicate complex masking techniques.

      While many of the results we obtained through use of the various Nik Collection 7 plug-ins can be replicated with a professional-quality image editor like Photoshop or Lightroom, it takes time to learn how to carry them out and go through the necessary steps to achieve similar outcomes. From a convenience viewpoint, many photographers would welcome the time savings the Nik collection apps can provide.


      Full review

      The seventh version of the Nik Collection represents a significant upgrade to a popular suite of plug-ins that extends the capabilities of several of the main image editors used by serious photographers. Available for both MacOS and Windows platforms, the suite includes Nik 7 Dfine for noise reduction, Nik 7 Viveza for colour and tonality adjustments, Nik 7 HDR Efex for tone mapping and image merging, Nik 7 Color Efex for colour filters, Nik 7 Analog Efex for simulating classic camera films, Nik 7 Silver Efex for black and white photography, and Nik 7 Sharpener for sharpening controls. Purchasers can activate the collection on up to three computers.

      The Nik Collection 7 is sold as a once-only licence for US$159 (~AU$240) or four-monthly payments of US$39.75 (AU$600). You can also purchase the Nik collection 7 with DxO PureRAW in a bundle priced at US$248 (~AU$377) or US$62 (~AU$94) with four-monthly payments.

      The Nik Collection 7 is available as a trial download of the full suite of plug-ins that is valid for 30 days. You aren’t asked to provide credit card details and you can access onboard tutorials during the trial period. The download is approximately 747MB in size.

      Who’s it For?
      While the Nik Collection 7 plug-ins can be used as stand-alone editing tools, they are essentially designed to work as plug-ins with one of the following image editors: Adobe’s Photoshop, Lightroom and Photoshop Elements and Serif Affinity Photo as well as DxO PhotoLab, which was developed by the collection’s owner. Users of Serif Affinity should note the Nik HDR Efex [Merge feature] and Switch to another Nik Collection plug-in feature are not compatible with Affinity Photo. In addition, Affinity Photo only supports basic image plug-in filters using the selected pixel layer as input, which can restrict the adjustments available with the Nik plug-ins.

      Photoshop users can open the Nik Collection 7 plug-ins directly from the Filters dropdown menu.

      Each plug-in has a specific purpose and you may find some more useful than others since some provide one-click adjustments while others replicate complex masking techniques. As a suite, the Nik Collection 7 is likely to be of most interest to photographers who are looking for enhancement filters that provide more options and greater adjustability than the pre-sets available in their existing software.

      This illustration shows some of the HDR Efex pre-sets that can be used by Instagrammers who want quick access a wider range of special effects than most software provides.

      Photographers who prefer making their own subtle adjustments will probably be less interested. Those with limited computer disk space should also be aware the download will take up just over 765MB of available memory.

      Since it was first launched in 1995 by a team of photo-editing professionals at by Nik Multimedia Inc., the Nik Collection undergone many changes and been enlarged and refined although it remains mainly a collection of filter effects. Over the years, the developers have collaborated with Nikon, starting with the addition of Nik Color Efex Pro 2.0 to Nikon Capture 4 in 2004, leading to the development of U Point technology.

      The ability to apply a wide range of local adjustments to selected areas of an image via the proprietary U-Point technology is one of the main reasons photographers use the Nik Collection plug-ins.

      Many photographers choose the Nik Collection because of its unique U Point technology, which allows users to make selective adjustments to areas in images using Control Points or Control Lines. The photographer simply selects on the area to adjust and the U-Point algorithms allow adjustments based on each pixel’s hue, saturation, brightness and contrast – instead of having to create masks, as they would in other applications.

      What’s New?
      Version 7 was released at the beginning of May 2024 with significant improvements to the U-Point technology as well as a few additional changes. The latest update sees one plug-in removed from the suite, Nik Perspective, a tool for correcting optical distortion and adjusting perspective. According to the company it was the least utilised plug-in in the Nik collection and ‘keeping Perspective didn’t allow us to increase the speed of Nik’.

      Fortunately, there are similar tools in DxO Viewpoint and Adobe Photoshop. In addition, existing users can keep Nik Collection 6 on their computers to enable Perspective to continue to function.

      The latest version launches 30% faster than Nik Collection 6, while a new ‘Switch to’ button lets users jump seamlessly between plug-ins without having to leave their current workspace, reducing the effects of interruptions, enhancing efficiency, and offering a smoother editing experience. They can also export results in TIFF or JPEG format directly without leaving the plug-in, enabling them to compare multiple versions of corrections for a single image or simply share images quickly online.

      Adjusted images can be exported directly from within the plug-in you’re using and you can choose from a variety of popular file formats.

      The latest version also sees the following improvements to the U-Point technology:

      • Control Points can now be stretched or squeezed into elliptical shapes, as shown in the screen grab below, allowing users to apply effects or corrections to oval areas without affecting the rest of her image.

      • A new Polygon tool lets users create custom masks with straight lines to fit the exact contours of irregular shapes giving even more control over their edits. Users can also adjust the strength of the effect on the edges by feathering the U-Point.

      The new Polygon tool in use for masking an area for adjustment .

      • Luminosity Masks make it easy to select areas in images based on brightness for selective adjustments to highlights, mid-tones and shadows. In addition, a new colour picker lets users create masks based upon hues and/or tones, extending the functionality that is already available with Control Lines.

      These screen grabs show how Luminosity Masks can be used for local tonal adjustments.

      Other improvements include a new workspace management system for organising and categorising Filters and Presets. This is necessary since Colour Efex includes 39 presets and 61 filter categories and you can combine up to 15 filters in a ‘stack’ before the software prevents further additions.

      You can also copy successful adjustments and save your own combinations for future use.

      You can also create personalised categories to match different editing processes and switch between them with a single click. Global searching for filters and pre-sets lets you simply search on the name of a wanted filter or pre-set to have a list pop-up instantly.

      This screen grab shows the application of HSL adjustments to a selected area.

      HSL, ClearView and Grain Filters can now be applied as local adjustments and users can apply each filter multiple times for complex and layered enhancements. Filters can also be blended and mixed with other Nik Color Efex filters.

      Nik Viveza corrections also can be accessed as filters within Nik Color Efex for global or local adjustments in a similar fashion.

      In addition, colours for adjustment can be selected with a colour picker and manual adjustments are supported. Further control is provided through a Vibrancy slider and users can set the default looks for individual filters and mark them as Favourites for subsequent access.

      Further adjustments are provided in the right hand panel, which changes each time you choose a new preset or filter.

      The Dfine 7 plug-in serves only one purpose: to reduce the effects of noise. It’s straightforward to use and provides both automatic and manual modes, both of which work well. The manual mode, shown in the screen grab below, provides a good range of both local and global adjustments.

      The Nik Dfine plug-in has barely changed since the last iteration of the collection.

      There are two sharpening tools: Presharpener and Sharpener Output. The Nik Presharpener plug-in is designed for preliminary sharpening of raw files to eliminate the softening effects of the camera’s low-pass filter and in-camera processing. It works best when no sharpening is applied by the camera at the time of capture.

      Sharpener Output is used for sharpening after the image has been processed and different settings will be required, depending on whether the image is destined for printing or viewing on a screen. Adjustments are provided for configuring the sharpening for different outputs.

      The upper screen grab shows the Presharpener interface, while the lower one shows the Sharpener Output tools.

      A handy feature is the ability to compare before and after versions of each adjustment you make as you work by using one of the three selections in the panel above the main workspace (outlined in red in the screen grab below). Quick compare only shows the split screen while the button is selected; Split compare lets you compare the before and after version in a single frame either vertical or horizontal splits and Side compare provides separate before and after versions with vertical or horizontal arrangement options.

      Comparing before and after versions with the Split compare method.

      The Silver Efex plug-in, which is designed mainly for B&W conversion, can also be used for spot colouring, using the new U-Point Polygon selection tool to outline the area to be colourised, as shown in the screen grab below.

      The latest version has a couple of known limitations, which restricts the ‘Switch to’ functionality when plug-ins are launched from Serif Affinity Photo and also when working on 32-bit images in Nik HDR Efex. However, this does little to reduce the general capabilities of the software.


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      Build: Version 7
      : Intel Core or AMD Ryzen with 4 cores (8 cores preferable)
      Systems compatibility: Microsoft Windows 10 or 11 version 21H2 (64-bit) or MacOS 13 (Ventura)
      Display support: Min. 1280 x 768 display
      Disk space requirement: 4GB
      Minimum RAM:  8GB
      Compatible host applications:  DxO PhotoLab 6, 7; Adobe Photoshop 2023, 2024; Photoshop Elements 2023, 2024; Lightroom Classic 2023, 2024; Serif Affinity Photo 1.8 and later
      Computer interface
      : An internet connection is required to activate and use the software. (Licensees can activate Nik Collection 7 software on up to 3 computers.)
      Languages: English, French, German, Japanese, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Dutch, Italian, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Thai, and Turkish.
      Export options: Export directly in TIFF or JPEG format without leaving the plug-in
      Distributor: DxO Image Science



      RRP: US$159 (AU$240) or $39.75 (AU$60) x 4 months (one-time purchase)

      • Features: 8.9
      • Ease of Use: 8.8
      • Versatility: 9.0