PMA Notebook: Nikon previews image-editing app

Nikon is on hand at the PMA show to demonstrate a beta version of its upcoming Capture NX software. The photo-editing application is aimed at advanced amateur and pro photographers—even ones not using Nikon cameras. Like Adobe’s Lightroom and Apple’s Aperture, Capture NX is part of a larger trend to provide advanced photographers with an unified environment for managing and editing photos in an efficient, non-destructive way.

Capture NX includes a number of interesting features: Color Control Points, for example, let you quickly make changes to very broad or very specific areas of your image without having to bother with masking or selection tools. When you specify a control point, the software samples the underlying pixels and then uses that sample to identify and adjust similar areas of your image.

For example, placing a point in the sky area lets you adjust hue, saturation, and contrast of the entire sky. You can further refine the adjustments by placing additional control points in other areas of the sky—for example, a cloud—and assigning different values. You can also move control points around the image to change your selection. As you drag it, the image updates dynamically so you can gauge the best position. You can selectively apply adjustments with the program’s Brush or Lasso tools.

Capture NX also includes a file browser for quickly locating, sorting, and labeling images. You can apply many of the software’s editing features from within the browser, saving you a trip to the editor. You can also quickly batch process changes across multiple images.

The software supports Nikon’s proprietary NEF Raw format, as well as JPEG and TIFF files from any camera. When working with NEF files, all edits are non-destructive. JPEGs and TIFFs, on the other hand, must be converted to NEFs to take advantage of non-destructive editing. No pricing has been set. Look for Capture NX to hit the market in late spring.

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