Compatibility issues with NIK Color Efex Pro after installing Nikon Capture NX2 v2.3.0

Several readers reported issues with their NIK Color Efex Pro software after installing the latest version 2.3.0 of Nikon Capture NX. The new Color Efex Pro 4 will not work with Capture NX v2.3.0 (source):

Does Color Efex Pro 4 work in Capture NX 2?

The Capture NX 2 software from Nikon does not support Nik Software's new Color Efex Pro 4 plug-in. Color Efex Pro 4 is built on an entirely new and powerful framework and thus requires certain functions of the plug-in architecture of the host application that are not currently present in Captures NX 2.

If you are a current Color Efex Pro 3.0 customer, you can of course continue to enjoy the benefits of that software with Capture NX 2.

Regarding plans to make the two products work together, the effort to update Color Efex Pro 4 to function within Capture NX 2 relies on Nikon's future plans and development for their photo editing software. Nik Software is not privy to those plans.

NIK Software is working on a solution to fix the compatibility issue with older Color Efex Pro 3 version. Here is an email sent from Nik Software support team to a reader (Google translation):

Color Efex Pro 3 is fully compatible with Nikon Capture NX 2 up to version 2.2.8. Capture NX 2, version 2.3, is a native 64-bit / 32-bit application, the Color Efex Pro 3 in 32-bit compatible mode.

Nik Software's development team checked with the highest priority requirements regarding the development of an appropriate technical adjustment of Color Efex Pro 3.0.

There are no plans to modify Color Efex Pro 4 to be compatible with Nikon Capture NX2 because the software architecture of these applications are too different.

On Mac OS, it is possible to install NX 2 2.3 in either 32 - or use 64-bit mode. If Color Efex Pro 3.0 for Capture NX 2 is installed, it will be in 32-bitmode from Capture NX 2 to be visible and usable, while Color Efex Pro 3.0 for Capture NX 2 in 64-bit mode is not displayed.

For switching the mode exit Capture NX 2, go to the Finder on the Capture NX 2 program icon, select "information" in the Finder menu"File" or cmd + "i" and then put the check mark from "In the 32 - open-bitmode. "With the next start Capture NX 2 will start in 32-bit mode and Color Efex Pro 3.0 for Capture NX 2 is available again.

Here is the original email in German language:

Color Efex Pro 3 für Nikon Capture NX 2 ist voll kompatibel bis zur Version Capture NX 2 2.2.8.

Capture NX 2,  Version 2.3,  ist eine native 64-Bit / 32-Bit Anwendung, mit der Color Efex Pro 3 nur im 32-Bit Modus kompatibel ist.

Das Entwicklungsteam von Nik Software prüft mit höchster Priorität die Anforderungen an die Entwicklung hinsichtlich einer entsprechenden technischen Anpassung von Color Efex Pro 3.0 Complete.

Eine Anpassung von Color Efex Pro 4 hinsichtlich einer Kompatibilität mit Nikon Capture NX2 ist derzeit aus Gründen der zu unterschiedlichen Software-Architektur nicht vorgesehen.

Unter Mac OS ist es möglich, nach der Installation von NX 2 2.3 wahlweise im 32- oder 64-Bit Modus zu nutzen.

Wenn Color Efex Pro 3.0 für Capture NX 2 installiert ist, wird es im 32-Bit Modus von Capture NX 2 sicht- und nutzbar sein, während Color Efex Pro 3.0 für Capture NX 2 im 64-Bit Modus nicht angezeigt wird.

Zur Umschaltung des Modus beenden Sie Capture NX 2, gehen Sie im Finder auf das Capture NX 2 Programmsymbol, wählen Sie »Informationen« im Finder-Menü »Ablage« oder cmd + "i" und setzen Sie dann das Häkchen bei »Im 32-Bit-Modus öffnen«. Mit dem nächsten Start startet Capture NX 2 im 32-Bit Modus und Color Efex Pro 3.0 für Capture NX2 ist wieder verfügbar.

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  • phil


    • Paul H.

      Oh my. Here comes the onslaught of subjective, negative comments about NX software (again). Hold your nose.

      Look, it simply is the premier NEF processing engine available. Don’t ask it to be your everything folks! And if you never figured out how to make it work for you – that doesn’t mean the product is somehow defective or that your workflow should reign supreme.

      CNX isn’t the fastest or the most intuitive, but what it squeezes out of NEF files is unrivaled. If can live with less then that’s fine. Just don’t go assassinating the product or those who employ it…

      • PJS

        ^^^^ +1 ^^^^

  • alvix

    Same here more or less…but ..
    ” (…..) Thank you for contacting Nik Software. To run Color Efex Pro 3.0 in Capture NX 2, you will need to open Capture NX 2 in 32-bit mode. We do have a 64-bit update to Color Efex Pro 3.0 planned for release early in the new year. Though, for the next few weeks, 32-bit mode is the only option. (….) —

    this was reply from US Tech service, not EU, that didnt mention the 64 update coming…

    so for us CFP 3 users…we just have to wait a bit…

  • Yakka

    People use Nikon Capture?

    • alvix

      we are the most regarded niche of clients in the world…

  • Some guy

    Lets not get too wrapped around the axle on this. This is capture NX so this likely only affects about 8 – 10 people. 🙂

    • I think your estimate is a bit high. However, they are a disproportionately vocal group.

      I really wonder if any working professionals use it. I don’t know of any.

      • Well, I am a working pro and use it every day. I love it. I am using the older Color Efex Pro 3 as a plug-in for CNX2 and am amazed at how it integrates with CNX2.

        Now, I am low volume, and have used CNX since it’s first release so I am very familiar with it and comfortable with it. It has so much more functionality than most people understand, when used with the CEP3.

        Does it have issues? A big yes. But for me it does 98% of what I need done to my images. I really hope and pray that Nikon & Nik come together for Capture NX3 with CEP4 as a plug-in.

        • Don

          +1 I use NX2 with Nik CEP. Ez workflow, powerful unless you need to swap heads. Will not move to 64bit until CEP comes along. If NX2 had a clone tool there would be no reason to own PS. NX2 rules.

        • Steven Neiman

          +2 I do all my pro work, sometimes large volume of images, with NX2 and the Nik CEP 3. I use Photo Mechanic as the browser.
          I go to Photoshop for those functions NX2 doesn’t have.
          Agree that NX2 functionality is impressive once you understand how it works and adapt it to your needs. I use it every day and still keep learning, when adding Nik CEP 3 it becomes a very powerful combination.
          It’s a shame that Nikon and Nik do not put any enthusiasm in NX2.

      • I shoot 20-25 weddings per year and use Capture NX2 + Color Efex 3.0 almost exclusively.

        • Vadim, I love your images! Glad to know you shoot Nikon:-)

      • I use CNX2 and love it. It’s my RAW developer. I do my hardcore edits and te-touching in PS, after I develop the RAW in Capture NX2.

        Capture NX2 is actually a very powerful NEF developer. It retains all of the NEF functionality (i.e. Picture Control, Active D-Lighting…etc) as well as employs u-point functionality. The developed NEFs look better when developed with CNX2 than they do from LR or Aperture. I’ve tested this extensively; it’s subtle, but visible. For my workflow, CNX2 and PS are a perfect combination.

        A lot of people think CNX2 is clunky and buggy, but I’ve never really had a problem with it’s performance. It’s never crashed on me, not once (both Mac and Windows). I’ve had Photoshop crash on me more times than CNX2. CNX2 has a bad rap for some reason.

        With that said, I do like Lightroom as well, it comes close. Aperture is a mess, though.

      • alvix

        ok dont use it

    • Some guy

      I understand that CNX has a very loyal and narrow nitch group of users, but in the big picture of things Nikon would be smart to either purchase Corel’s paint shop pro and merge it with the CNX technology or at least a form an alliance with Corel to do so. In its current development cycle it will never stand up to the Photoshop juggernaut in any significant way. Corel could even develop a lightroom alternative to round things out.

      While I personally would not be likely to migrate to such a new hybrid solution, it would be the only significant threat to Adobe and go a long way to keeping PS prices down with healthy competition.

      • anything just not corel.

        afaik best would be just remove effort of software development, keep some small team on view NX (free) and support plugins and raw converters for major players like adobe, phase one and apple

        • I use ViewNX for converting the NEF files.

          I tested LR3, and I concluded that ViewNX converts more accurate the NEF files.

          My only problem is that even with the last version, it crashes several times a day.

          • try capture one. it renders nikon files better then NX2 and can recover highlights and shadows as good or better (in some cases) then NX2. Adobe and Apple cannot.

            • Thanks for your advice, Harold Ellis!

              A few months ago I read that some features of Capture One are not available on Windows for NEF files.

              Do you know if there are any drawbacks?

            • what features are missing?
              i use it to push 50 weddings a year through my computer.
              i dont miss anything at the moment.
              white balance independent skin editor is awesomestest thing on the world too.

  • tengris

    The translation of the first paragraph is incomplete:

    “Color Efex Pro 3 is fully compatible with Nikon Capture NX 2 up to version 2.2.8. Capture NX 2, version 2.3, is a native 64-bit / 32-bit application, to which the Color Efex Pro 3 is compatible only in 32-bit mode.

    Therefore the problem shouldn’t exist on 32bit versions of Vista and Windows 7. Also the problem that 32bit plugins will not embed into 64bit applications is not specific to Nik and Nikon.


    “Regarding plans to make the two products work together, the effort to update Color Efex Pro 4 to function within Capture NX 2 relies on Nikon’s future plans and development for their photo editing software. Nik Software is not privy to those plans.”

    The best Christmas present is the glimmer of hope that Nikon have ditched Nik for capture nx3 and will be releasing a lightroom plugin for NEFs.


    • WoutK89

      That would definitely be best of all worlds.

  • Don

    So many things to love about CNX2 for Nikon shooters. It recognizes all of the camera settings in the RAW files. PS/LR does not. If you like the U-point control of Nik plugins in PS, you’ll love CNX2. Plus I keep keep all my. edits against the RAW without having to convert to TIFF. Only convert to publish. No other reason to convert

  • I have been using CNX2 since the release and as a working pro saves loads of time in PP since is the ONLY software capable to read 100% the info inside a NEF file, plus color efex pro, viveza and silver efex pro covers almost all my needs and for the rest wich is very little retouching in PS.

    Most of the people talking s**t about CNX have never even tried.

    Fingers crossed for a major update for CNX3 in 2012 and I would be happy to purchase a version with all nik plugins built in

  • na

    it’s okay, it’s free

  • On-going thread over on Flickr regarding the NX2 2.2.8 – 3.0 update and issues w/ CEP 3.0.

    Looks like part of the issue for CEP 3.0 users is getting a v3.003 update for CEP installed. I have yet to find one for NX2, however, so I’m SOL for the moment.

    Regarding 4.0, I think a few were suggesting using the Open With command and editing photos in CEP 4.0 in a standalone situation.

  • KnightPhoto

    2.3 is working great on my iMac and yeah I was now able to upgrade to OSX Lion (10.7.2)!

    Capture NX is ripping fast now, and being on the Mac it is very easy to switch to 32-bit mode when I want to apply some CEP 3.003 filters.

    CNX2 is great software if you invest in some training (Moose Peterson had some free vids), Jason Odell’s ebooks and videos. VERY powerful and user-friendly (selection control points in particular). Jason’s website has some tips and performance review benchmarks for making the transition to 2.3:

    • yes, you can invest in training and then still fsck with NX or invest in capture one and start working

  • crappy software is crappy
    news at 11

  • disiderio

    I am amazed at pros that use capturenx2. I have worked as a digital assistant, worked alongside retouchers and have not seen capture nx2 used once in a pro environment, particularly when a client is sitting next to you, reviewing the shots. Not quick enough when I’m getting 10 to 20 images a minute fed into the pc IMO. Wish capture nx2 would die in a fire and Nikon release their secret recipe to programmers.

    • Steven Neiman

      NX2 is not a retouching application, it’s an image processing one. For retouching and pixel deep manipulation only Photoshop will do.
      NX2 and Photoshop are not exactly opposing forces. Managing images with Photo Mechanic; processing images with NX2 and retouching, compositing, etc with Photoshop is a very efficient workflow.
      Nobody can compete with Adobe massive marketing and training output. Lightroom is excellent only if you really know how to use it in depth, otherwise the results are not so good as most pretend.

      • Exactly. Capture NX2 for NEF developing, Photoshop for retouching. This workflow is a really good one and gives the best results for NEF developed images.

  • I used to use CNX2, but now use Lightroom. I trialed 2.3 and was impressed with the improvement in rendering speed. There are reports of 2.3 crashing on many machines. On windows, if your machine does not already have .net 4 installed, it will take up 2 gigabytes, even though the download is only 40 mb. For a machine with a small boot SSD, it could be a problem.

    Enjoy the holidays everyone.

    • studio460

      Interesting. Yes, I was planning to build a Win7 machine with (relatively) small SSD boot drives.

  • Stephen Harris

    I tried hard to like NX2 but I just can’t. While it’s great at processing raw files and the u-point is great the work flow stinks and it’s buggy. A complete rewrite might lure me back but I’m finding Lightroom a great tool. Nikon makes great cameras but they really aren’t a software company.

  • broxibear

    Funny and interesting article written by Ashley Pomeroy that’s well worth a read about the state of the digital camera world heading towards 2012

    • That article is all over the place. The author may have had fun writing it, but it does not say much. Pondering the death of Olympus is not exactly news.

      • Maddog

        Agreed. That was all over the place. Although there was a couple of laughs in it it was hard to glean anything from it…

    • Jim

      Well I made my way through it – he seems to have a rather high opinion of HIS opinions.

  • Scott Cramer

    Nikon CRAPture? Sorry, you’re not a “pro” if you think this is the best workflow software solution.

    • To call somebody a “non-pro” for this workflow shows a total lack of understanding of the benefits from this workflow (Capture NX2 + Photoshop). Not that it really matters to me, I don’t have to live with your images.

  • Klaus

    I m not a pro. I only take splendid photos. I have Photohop, DxO and NX2. Mostly I use the NX2. I can do almost all necessary adjustments logically and fast. Some times it runs out of memory and rendering may take time. I hope that will be corrected with the new version and by adding the memory from 4 to 8 G.
    What I most wait for is perspective correction. It is a nuisance to go Photoshop with a tif only to corrected the walls of a house or the straightness of a painting. Photoshop is as best when changing the ingredients of the image but remains far behind NX2 when improving the image ingredients unchanged.

    • studio460

      I’m excited to try the new 64-bit of CaptureNX thanks to the glowing speed reports! I was still deciding between DxO Optics Pro (for its powerful perspective control features), and Capture NX. I’ll probably end up getting both. Haven’t taken the plunge since I was still deciding on platform choice. I think I’m going to build an i7 quad-core Win7 machine, complete with SSDs, and a ridiculous amount of system RAM, simply because it’s so much cheaper than going with Apple (I switched from WinXP to OS X a few years ago–now I want to switch back to build a dedicated, Win7 post-processing machine).

  • Jim

    The strange thing is that there is a relationship between Nikon Corp. and NIK Software, Inc. – or at least there was.

  • Gérard Beullac

    I use CNX2 everyday for Nef development and basic images settings.
    When I bought ColorEfex Pro, I choose the complete version so compatible either with CNX2 and Photoshop.
    The true thing is using color Efex Pro 3 with CNX2 was a kind of nightmare as soon as I wished using more than 1 filter: I knew so many crashes that I changed my processings: CNX2 for the development only and Photoshop with ColorEfex (now without any alternative choice as Efex4 not compatible with NX2) for the other steps.
    And that’ perfect.
    Nikon never understood the causes of the crashes neither Apple, although the sending of the crashes reports. OS X leopard /snow leopard/lion, intel Duo core 3.16 GHz, 8 Go Sddrm etc..

  • Bruce

    Gérard raised a good point I’ve always wondered about. What did Apple, Nikon and Nik learn, or NOT learn, from the NX crash reports sent to Apple? Does Apple share these with Nikon/Nik? Would like to hear more about these crash reports and how they might, maybe, improve NX and Efex.
    Speaking for myself I’ve never had any problems with NX and look forward to the promised 64-bit Color Efex Pro 3 for NX.

  • Klaus

    Yesterday I changed the memory of my computer from 4 G to 8 G. A noticeable improvement in the performance of NX2 32 bit was observed. Then I updated the NX2 to the new 64 bit version. A remarkable improvement was discovered.
    I only experienced one slow down in rendering – mostly zooming went smoothly and fast. The slow down appeared after a significant amount of editing containing noise reduction and sharpening.

    I can recommend the changing to the new 64 bit version. Hopefylly they will soon introduce compatible plug-ins AND perspective correction!


    Asus P5K, Intel 4 core prosessor and now 8 G memory.


  • Eddie

    Updated from 2.2.8 to 2.3 on a Win 7 64-bit OS.
    Unable to open those optional ‘Landscape &/or Portrait’ picture controls. In fact, it’s no longer available in the Develop Section (I had installed and used them with no problems prior to 2.3).
    Tried re-installing but it does not help. Any help there?
    P.S. Are those optional P.C.s on 32-bit (compatibility issues)? Is there a way to install NX 2.3 in 32-bit mode on my 64-bit Win 7 OS?

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