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Test Drive: Nik Collection 5 Share This on LinkedIn   Tweet This   Forward This

15 June 2022

DxO has released Nik Collection 5 with updated interfaces for the Color Efex and Analog Efex modules, the addition of ClearView, smarter U Points and other refinements.

The company also announced it would bundle PhotoLab 5 Essential, its image editing software, with the new release at no extra charge.


Highlights of the new release include:

  • Updated user interface for Color Efex and Analog Efex
  • Local adjustment refinements to U Point technology
  • Color Efex adds ClearView plus 29 color film grains
  • Nik Perspective Efex adds over 4,300 new camera-and-lens combinations
  • DxO PhotoLab 5 Essential included


After a briefing with DxO product evanglist Nicolas Beaumont and Nik Collection product manager Maxime Pericaud, we gave Nik Collection 5 a test drive for a couple of days earlier this week.

We picked an image of apples, which we tweaked using our usual preset for our Nikon D300 before cropping it square.

Apples. Nikon D300 with 18-200mm Nikkor at 105mm (157.5mm equivalent), f8, 1/60 second and ISO 200.


Installation was simple enough, as always, but with a new wrinkle. At the end of the install, a dialog box offers the option to download PhotoLab 5, "available for free with a Nik Collection 5 license."

Clicking on the button immediately starts the download.

Our license didn't fly with PhotoLab, so we weren't able to test Nik Collection with PhotoLab, so we resorted to Photoshop.


We called the prior release a "cornucopia of creativity" and this release ripens the harvest a bit.

DxO list four of the modules as creative tools and four as technical tools. The creative tools are Color Efex, Silver Efex, Analog Efex and Viveza while the technical tools include Dfine, Perspective Efex, HDR Efex and Sharpener.

That's a useful way to look at them.

Color Efex

The new version of Color Efex features:

  • ClearView
  • 29 film grains
  • Upgraded user interface
  • Enhanced Control Points

Control Point Masking. Top image shows just the mask, refined with the Luminance and Chrominance sliders to affect just the apples. Bottom image shows the Curves adjustment restricted to that masked area.

The interface for both Color Efex and Analog Efex has been updated to match Silver Efex and Viveza.

We found the Luminance and Chrominance sliders (that delineate brightness and hue) very helpful adjustments to the masks that U Points create. We were able to isolate the apples from their foliage using just one U Point in the Levels & Curves panel.

The name of the game in Color Efex is manipulating the color palette of the image. Masking is essential to that and U Points make it fun to mask the areas you want to alter.

But presets can give you entirely different ways of thinking about your image's color palette.

Presets. Light & Bright -- Sunshine Morning.

In the above example, we applied the preset named "Light & Bright -- Sunshine Morning" to our apples for a completely different look. That, we note, is entirely editable.

The addition of ClearView to the module duplicates Camera Raw's Dehaze slider but it's such an important function in bringing a digital image to life that it's a welcome addition to Color Efex too.

ClearView. An essential adjustment.

In demoing ClearView, PhotoJoseph told us even running ClearView to its maximum effect can still look realistic. And he wasn't exaggerating. Much. In our example above, we just gave it a healthy nudge to add some depth to the image.

Analog Efex

The new version of Analog Efex features:

  • Custom preset management with creation of new presets, sorting Recently Used, sorting Favorites
  • Upgraded user interface
  • Enhanced Control Points

Like Color Efex, Analog Efex sports the updated interface of Silver Efex and Viveza. It helps you create vintage photographic effects.

Analog Efex. Antique Blur.

Analog Efex. Black & White 7.

Our two examples apply two presets to our test image, one color and one monochrome.

Analog Efex enjoys the enhanced U Point technology of Color Efex, too. The Luminance and Chrominance sliders greatly aid in refining a mask created by no more effort than a single mouse click.

Perspective Efex

The new version of Perspective Efex features:

  • Support for 20 new cameras and 40 lenses for 5,000 new camera-lens combinations

There wasn't anything for us to test in this case but if you've just bought a newly-released camera or lens, you'll be happy to hear DxO probably supports it already.

PhotoLab 5

PhotoLab 5 was released in October 2021 for an introductory price of $165 (regularly $219). Bundling the Essentials version at no charge with Nik Collection 5 is "a gift," Beaumont said.

The company told us that 90 percent of its Nik Collection users run the software as plug-ins to Photoshop or Lightroom, which remain their primary image editing software. Nik Collection does run standalone, too. And it runs with PhotoLab, as well.

If nothing else, this will give Nik Collection fans, three of five of which run Windows, a new way to use the suite while giving them a chance to look at some of the unique processing options PhotoLab offers.

This is the Eseentials version of PhotoLab 5, not the Elite version. DxO provides a table of the differences between the two versions.


Nik Collection 5 [MW] is available now for download from the DxO Web site for $149. Upgrades from Nik Collection 4 are available for $79. And a fully functional, one-month trial version of Nik Collection 5 is also available.


At every briefing, DxO boasts that they are selling a license not a subscription. Which is absolutely true, of course. But the company innovates so aggressively that you'll find yourself paying the $79/year upgrade fee as if it were a subscription.

From our perspective, it doesn't matter whether a company offers a perpetual license or a subscription. Software isn't a static product. It evolves. So the question is two-fold: 1) does the company continue to innovate and 2) are the innovations worth paying for.

One both accounts DxO once again comes through. And we're giving them four corners for it.

Nik Collection 5: Major upgrades to Color Efex and Analog Efex, improved local adjustment technology and a smoother user experience

The latest version of the renowned suite of eight plug-ins for Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom Classic also features a brand new tool to reduce haze and 29 faithfully reproduced color film grains.

Powerful and diverse, the eight plug-ins of Nik Collection 5 also function as standalone apps and offer unlimited creative potential. More than 300 presets give instant results, while intuitive sliders and DxO's exclusive U-Point technology for local adjustments bring endless creative opportunities and the ability to refine every detail.

Revamped user interface for a more refined editing experience

The user interfaces of Nik Color Efex and Nik Analog Efex have been rebuilt from the ground up, bringing them into line with the recently updated Nik Silver Efex and Nik Viveza. Nik Color Efex is a powerful means of enhancing and manipulating color and continues to be Nik Collection users' most popular plug-in, while Nik Analog Efex is unique in its potential to recreate vintage photographic effects. Thanks to the newly refined and functional user experience in both of these plug-ins, presets are now more accessible with improved options for saving and editing favorite settings.

Local adjustments just got even smarter thanks to U Point technology

U Point technology, the pioneering local adjustment tools that make targeted changes feel intuitive and efficient without using masks, continues to evolve in Nik Color Efex and Nik Analog Efex. Control Points can now be renamed, making them easier to manage and users can also save them as part of a preset, speeding up workflows. The addition of two Color Selectivity sliders -- Luminance and Chrominance -- gives users greater control over the impact of local adjustments and the interface has been updated so that creating and editing a Control Point is a clean and distraction-free experience.

Two more major boosts to Color Efex: ClearView technology to remove haze and 29 authentic color film grains

Haze in photographs is simple to remove when using Nik Color Efex thanks to the addition of ClearView, technology borrowed from DxO PhotoLab 5. Fog, mist, smoke and pollution are intelligently reduced using a simple slider, returning contrast and color to photographs. Color Efex also benefits from 29 new, authentic color film grains created in DxO's purpose-built laboratories, giving analog era enthusiasts a host of new creative options.

Nik Perspective Efex adds more than 4,300 new camera and lens combinations

Nik Perspective Efex benefits from the ongoing research conducted in DxO's exclusive labs with more than 20 new cameras and 60 lenses added to its database of supported equipment. The plug-in can now automatically correct the geometric distortions of more than 70,000 camera and lens combinations.

DxO PhotoLab 5 Essential joins the party

Those shooting Raw get to experience the power of DxO PhotoLab 5 Essential, the feature-rich photo-editing software that contains DxO's renowned Optics Modules and U Point technology for precise local adjustments.

Price and availability

Nik Collection 5 (Windows and macOS) is now available for download on the DxO Web site for $149.

Photographers who already own Nik Collection 4 can upgrade their software by signing into their customer accounts for $79.

A fully functional, one-month trial version of Nik Collection 5 is available on the DxO Web site:

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