2017-2018 Digital Photography Software News

Nikon Updates Software

Nikon Capture NX-D 1.4.5 adds support for the D7500, the new Auto Picture Control, changed the 11:7 crop tool to 10:7 (?!?), improved display quality of small JPEG thumbnails, and fixed a couple of small problems.

Nikon ViewNX-i added D7500 and Auto Picture Control support, and fixed four issues. Transfer 2 under macOS Sierra is still broken if you use a card reader.

ACR and Lightroom Update

Lightroom CC 2015.10.1 (6.10.1) and ACR were released by Adobe. Camera support was added for the Panasonic ZS70 and Sony A9, and a new lens profile was added for the Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8. Issues with Fujifilm GFX and Hasselblad X1D medium format digital cameras were addressed. 

Another Plug-in Goes "Full Featured"

bythom topaz studio

Topaz Labs today announced Topaz Studio, a single editing platform that has a bit of Inception-like recursion to it: it can serve as a plug-in to Lightroom and Photoshop, and it supports your current Topaz plug-ins. Plug-ins within plug-ins. 

Or it can be used standalone. 

Another interesting aspect of the product is how it is being marketed: Topaz Studio is a free download that comes with a set of ten adjustments (basic, blurs, brightness/contrast, color overlay, dual tone, film grain, image layer, posterize, tone curves, vignette). The free version also includes direct raw support, automatic lens correction, and integrated masking.

Fourteen "Pro" adjustments are also available either individually or en suite (abstraction, color theme, focal blur, radiance, smudge, B&W, dehire, HSL, noise reduction, bloom, edge exposure, precision contrast, sharpen, and texture). The entire 14 plug-in set is US$275 (currently US$137 at introduction), and the individual plug-ins seem to range from US$4.99 to US$29.99. Finally, as noted above, Topaz Studio also can host your existing Topaz plug-ins (Topaz is one of three sets of plug-ins that I have installed on all my machines, the others being Nik and MacPhun Creative Kit; I recommend all three to Photoshop users). 

But there's another interesting thing about Topaz Studio: no license keys, and no need to sync back to the Internet if you've got the latest tools installed on your computer (obviously, updates require you to occasionally check back with the mothership). Topaz Studio can be used on up to two computers for a single user. 

Now to the article title: it seems to now be a 100% trend: the plug-in folk are all deciding to challenge Adobe directly. onOne went from plug-ins to full-on product, MacPhun went from plug-ins to full-on product, Alien Skin went from plug-ins to full-on product, and now Topaz Labs has, as well. And that's just the short list. Nik doesn't count because Google bought them and repurposed them. But it's looking more and more like every plug-in maker really wants you to use their demosaic, correction, and editing tool, and these are getting quite sophisticated. 

There's no downside to trying out Topaz Studio I can see, especially if you've already got the Topaz Labs plug-ins. I do suspect that this means that we won't be seeing new plug-ins from Topaz in the future, but rather new "Pro adjustments" for Topaz Studio. 

May Flowers

Capture One 10.1 adds support for the Panasonic GH5 and a number of Panasonic lenses. Fujifilm X-Trans support has been improved and sped up. Sony A9 users are supported from day one. Meanwhile Nikon D3400 and D5600 have been added to the support list. Tokenized (e.g. from EXIF) watermarking has been added. Mac users get the benefits of Apple Script finally. 10.1 also supports opening Photoshop PSD files. To see the whole 42-page PDF describing the update, click here

OnOne Photo RAW chugs on to version 2017.1 Build—yeah, that's not nerdy—and is mostly a bug fix. If you haven't already moved to version 2017.1 (earlier build), you should, as that was the point where not only did we begin to get bug fixes, but we also began getting meaningful feature and performance additions.

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