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PGYTECH Snaplock Quick-Release System Collection Review

PGYTECH Snaplock Quick-Release System Collection Review

P1010045 | 1/80 sec | f/3.2 | 28.0 mm | ISO 200
 

Quick Verdict

The PGYTECH Snaplock System offers a varied and useful collection of accessories that are compatible with a wide range of photography kit. Thanks to features such as ‘push to install’, the accessories are really easy and quick to use. Plus, the anti-loosening design of the plate accessories brings peace of mind that your camera is safe and secure in use. There’s definitely a quick-release accessory for every type of photographer in this collection.

+ Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Quick to install
  • Secure
  • Lightweight
  • Good build quality
  • Widely compatible  

– Cons

  • MultipleSnapLock Plate Adapters/Plates needed to make the most of the system (if you have multiple cameras)
  • Some cameras/lenses feel heavy on the Beetle Camera Clip

 

PGYTECH has introduced a line-up of accessories for photographers, vloggers and smartphoneographers who are looking for quicker and more efficient ways to carry and use their cameras. The PGYTECH Snaplock Quick-Release System features a SnapLock Plate Adapter, SnapLock Beetle Came Clip, Action Camera SnapLock Plate, SnapLock NANO Sviwil and Tilt Mount so it seems there’s an accessory for everyone but are they any good? We’ve been putting them to the test to find out. 

 

PGYTECH Snaplock System Features

As mentioned above, the PGYTECH Snaplock Quick-Release System features four main accessories and if you take a look at the PGYTECH website, you’ll notice there’s also a Snaplock Plate Nano and a Snaplock Reverse Ball Head, however, we’re not reviewing these two accessories today. 

We’ll take a look at each of the products individually as they’re all slightly different even though they’re part of the same collection. 

 

Beetle Camera Clip 

20211013 095956 | 1/100 sec | f/1.8 | 5.4 mm | ISO 160
 

The Beetle Camera Clip removes the need for you to hold your camera or have it around your neck on a strap when it’s not in use. The Beetle Camera Clip enables you to quickly mount and lock your camera securely onto a bag strap or belt and to remove it ready for action, all you have to do is press a button. There’s even a lock so it won’t accidentally come undone when walking and the back features anti-slip rubber so it holds onto a strap more securely. 

An Arca-Swiss compatible SnapLock plate is used in conjunction with the Bettle Camera Clip which means it’s compatible with various devices and the plate features a patented tight-fitting screw to prevent it from coming loose. You can also fasten your camera to the SnapLock plate in any direction so when you’re using a heavier lens, you can mount it horizontally to distribute weight better. 

The main body of the clip is made from an aluminium alloy so it’s strong but lightweight and its size means it easily fits in a pocket. 

Key Features: 

  • Arca-Swiss compatible SnapLock quick release camera plate
  • Attaches to most backpack straps or belts
  • Hands-free carrying 
  • Easy to clamp design
  • Installation in any direction
  • Patented tight-fitting screw
  • Pocket size, easy to carry
  • Aluminium alloy construction

 

Snaplock Plate Adapter

P1010050 | 1/100 sec | f/3.2 | 23.0 mm | ISO 200
 

The Snaplock Plate Adapter makes mounting cameras to tripods and other accessories as easy as one click. The SnapLock Plate Adapter’s mounting base uses a clamp that locks by itself rather than a knob you have to tighten manually which means you can mount the SnapLock Plate, used throughout this collection, in one simple step. There’s also a button you can press to ensure the system won’t unlock itself. 

An Arca-Swiss interface on the side as well as 1/4” and 3/8” threaded holes found on the bottom, make the Snaplock Plate Adapter compatible with a wide range of gimbals, plates, tripods and sliders.

Key Features: 

  • Multifunctional interfaces for wide compatibility
  • Patented SnapLock System
  • One-step attachment 
  • The square SnapLock Plate allows you to quickly mount it in any direction
  • Pocket size, easy to carry
  • Aluminium alloy construction

 

Snaplock Nano Swivel & Tilt Mount

P1010057 | 1/100 sec | f/3.2 | 35.0 mm | ISO 200
 

For those who need a mount that offers more fluidity, the Snaplock Nano Swivel & Tilt Mount can swivel 360-degrees and tilts through 180-degrees with adjustable damping so operation is smooth. As with all of the products in this range, this accessory features patented technology (PGYTECH SnapLock Nanosystem) that allows the user to quickly and easily mount/dismount gear. There’s an extra lock to ensure your camera is securely attached and a square cold shoe mount can be quickly attached in any direction. The patented 1/4” screw lets you securely fix the plate or cold shoe mount in place and the cold shoe mount’s rotate-to-lock knob contains a patented screw, which prevents it from loosening. 

The Snaplock Nano Swivel & Tilt Mount can be used with monitors and it also functions as a mini tripod head so you can connect a smartphone or camera to the device (tripod not included). 

Key Features: 

  • 360° swivelling and 180° tilting
  • PGYTECH SnapLock Nanosystem allows you to easily (dis)mount your gear
  • The extra lock ensures your gear is securely fastened to the mount
  • A square cold shoe mount can be quickly snapped on in any direction
  • The patented 1/4” screw lets you securely fix the plate or cold shoe mount in place
  • The cold shoe mount’s rotate-to-lock knob contains a patented screw, which prevents it from undoing
  • Multifunctional interface for wide compatibility 

 

Action Camera Snaplock Plate Arca-Swiss

P1010059 | 1/100 sec | f/3.2 | 33.0 mm | ISO 200
 

The Action Camera Snaplock Plate, as the name suggests, is for Action Cameras and it features a ball head structure for swivelling (360-degrees) and tilting (32-degrees). It features PGYTECH’s quick-release pin so mounting/dismounting an action camera is easy – simply unlock the pin then rotate it 90-degrees to lock/unlock the pin. 

The square shape is Arca-Swiss compatible so you can use it with tripods or PGYTECH’s Beatle Camera Clip and the universal interface as well as the 1/4”-20 conversion adapter makes the Action Camera Snaplock Plate widely compatible with many popular action cameras from brands such as GoPro and DJI. 

The base of the plate and the ball head are made from aluminium which means it’s light and the size makes it easy to carry around. 

Key Features:

  • Ball head structure
  • A Quick-release pin allows you to instantly (dis)mount your gear
  • The universal interface and the 1/4”-20 conversion adapter for wide compatibility
  • The square shape is Arca-Swiss compatible
  • Aluminium alloy construction

 

PGYTECH Snaplock System Handling & Performance

P1010029 | 1/125 sec | f/3.5 | 30.0 mm | ISO 200
 

All of the accessories on review that are found in the PGYTECH Snaplock System are compact in size and lightweight which means they easily fit in a camera bag or even a pocket for easy transportation. They’re also made really well with the aluminium alloy feeling reassuringly strong and all components fitting well. Lock buttons are easy to push and give peace of mind that your camera isn’t going to fall off the mount it’s attached to. We also like the rubberised textures that give the accessories extra grip when attached to a camera and/or strap. 

The anti-loosening design of the plate brings reassurance that your kit is safe (PGY even provide Alun keys so you can tighten the bolt easily) and the simple ‘push-to-install’ system the plate and adapter offers makes the mounting/dismounting of gear quick.

 

20211013 100008 | 1/134 sec | f/1.8 | 5.4 mm | ISO 50
 

You don’t have to worry about the direction you fit the SnapLock Plate in either as the square shape means you can quickly mount it in any direction. It also uses the Arca-Swiss standardized size, which is compatible with most Arca-Swiss plates. Also Arca-Swiss compatible is the SnapLock Mounting Base with 1/4” and 3/8” threaded holes so you can use the device with a wide variety of gimbals, plates, tripods and sliders.

 

P1010048 | 1/160 sec | f/4.0 | 23.0 mm | ISO 200
 

If you own multiple cameras and supports, one slight snag is that you would need to purchase multiple SnapLock Plate Adapters or Plates so you can switch from sliders to tripods or swap cameras easily. If, however, you have one camera and one tripod, you’ll find the SnapLock Plate Adapter system so easy to use and it really does save time. It’s one of the easiest quick release plate systems we’ve used with a simple press of a button releasing the camera from the support. The plate also easily slides/clicks into place and feels incredibly secure. If you use the Alun key to tighten the plate to your camera there’s no movement once it’s in the SnapLcok Mounting Base and the extra lock gives double reassurance that your camera is safe.  

 

P1010056 | 1/100 sec | f/3.2 | 35.0 mm | ISO 200
 

The SnapLock Nano Swivel and Tilt Mount is an ideal accessory for vloggers as it can be attached to a handheld tripod as the 1/4”-20 screw hole on the bottom and the 1/4”-20 screw on the top enable it to function as a mini tripod head. It also features the square mount design so you can quickly mount it in any direction and use the built-in push button to make sure it’s secure. For further peace of mind, the SnapLock Nano plate’s 1/4”-20 screw and the cold shoe mount’s rotate-to-lock knob contain a patented screw with a mini thrust needle roller bearing so you can fix the plate or cold shoe mount securely in place. 

Once your camera is secure, you can swivel and tilt the mount and the damping means you can adjust the swivel up to 360-degrees and the tilt up to 180-degrees smoothly. 

 

P1010061 | 1/100 sec | f/3.2 | 33.0 mm | ISO 200
 

Also designed for action cameras is the Action Camera SnapLock Plate which features a ball head that enables 360°swiveling and 32° tilting so you can lock it in various positions. The handy quick-release pin features so you can quickly and easily mount/dismount gear to it and it’s also compatible with multiple action cameras so a wider variety of customers will be able to purchase and use the adapter. The square shape is, again, Arca-Swiss compatible and it can be used with Arca-type tripod heads or the PGYTECH Beetle Camera Clip so you can capture footage on the move hands-free.

 

P1010030 | 1/100 sec | f/3.5 | 17.0 mm | ISO 200
 

The Beetle Camera Clip is the final device in our collection of Snaplock System accessories and it’s a device you can fasten to your backpack strap or belt to secure your camera to when it’s not in use. It’s designed to relieve pressure on your neck as you don’t need a camera strap and it keeps your hands free for the setting up of tripods etc. Basically, this device provides a quick-access solution to your camera when you don’t want to stow it away. 

Mounting and locking the camera in place is really easy as there are no knobs to twist/secure, instead, you just press one button to slide the plate in/out which moves smoothly. The same button doubles up as a lock to keep the plate in place when mounted to the clip. 

 

20211013 095921 | 1/100 sec | f/1.8 | 5.4 mm | ISO 125
 

To secure the clip to a strap or belt, you need to lift the small handle which is reassuringly stiff and lifts with a ‘click’. You’ll then see there are 3 steps (PGYTECH call them gears) that allow different strap thicknesses to be secured. A strap up to 75mm wide with a maximum thickness of 15mm and a minimum thickness of 1mm thick can be used with the Beetle Camera Clip. Once over your strap/belt, you resecure the lock you lifted up to hold the device in place. 

The Bettle Camera Clip does hold a camera/lens well but it did take us a while to trust it simply because we’re so used to using a camera strap. You can feel the weight when using longer lenses and we did find ourselves reaching to hold the camera at first but after a while, we did stop doing this. After getting used to the system, we soon found ourselves comfortably walking around, hands-free and with no camera banging around on a strap. Plus, it’s really easy to get the camera off the clip when needed as all you have to do is switch the lock, press it in and pull your camera off the clip. We found it equally secure when using either a backpack strap or belt to fasten it to but sitting the camera horizontally rather than vertically when on a bag strap does help distribute weight better. 

The SnapLock plate the clip is compatible with does grip a camera well, with the patented tight-fitting screw doing exactly what it’s designed to do, too. 

 

Value For Money

The accessories in the PGYTECH Snaplock System have the following prices:

You’ll also need a Snaplock Plate if not purchasing it in a set with the Beetle Camera Clip or Snaplock Plate Adapter which is priced at $14.90. 

All of the products are rather reasonably priced but if you did want to purchase multiple plates or adapters, the cost could soon start adding up. These prices also don’t take custom fees, VAT, duty and tax you may have to pay into consideration – please check before purchasing. 

Alternative camera clips include the Capture Camera Clip from Peak Design priced at just over £50 while various Arca-swiss quick-release plates are available on Amazon ranging in prices along with various plate adapters

For more opinions on photography accessories, have a look at our reviews

 

PGYTECH Snaplock System Verdict

All of the accessories are really easy to use, are well made and will securely hold your camera but to get the most out of the Snaplock Plate Adapter functionality, you’ll need to purchase multiple adapters if you have different supports or buy multiple Snaplock Plates if you have more than one camera so you can quickly swap them in and out of use. However, those who own just one camera and support don’t have to worry about this so will find the system does speed up workflow and makes connecting/disconnecting a camera to a support really easy. 

The action camera accessories offer smooth panning and tilting while the Beetle Clip is a useful way to keep your hands free and your neck more comfortable when not taking photos. 

Thanks to features such as ‘push to install’, the accessories are really easy and quick to use. Plus, the anti-loosening design of the plate accessories brings peace of mind that your camera is safe and secure in use.

Overall, the PGYTECH Snaplock System offers a varied and useful collection of accessories that are compatible with a wide range of photography kit which means there’s definitely a quick-release accessory for every type of photographer in this collection.

 

PGYTECH Snaplock System Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Quick to install
  • Secure
  • Lightweight
  • Good build quality
  • Widely compatible 

 

PGYTECH Snaplock System Cons

  • MultipleSnapLock Plate Adapters/Plates needed to make the most of the system (if you have multiple cameras)
  • Some cameras/lenses feel heavy on the Beetle Camera Clip

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DxO Announces Nik Collection 4.2

DxO Announces Nik Collection 4.2

Nik Tools (now called the Nik collection) has been around since 1995 as an Adobe plugin. Google bought the tools, then dropped them, and DXO rescued the popular photo-editing aids in 2017. They’ve undergone continuous upgrades since then, and this new version will please Mac users with the new M1 chips.

The big headline here is “Native M1” Adobe Photoshop compatibility. That means increased speed when used on Apple Silicon, and since Photoshop is already M1 compatible, it should make for a speedy bundle. The Nik creative suite also improves the performance of its software plugin, Nik Silver Efex, one of the most popular tools for black-and-white conversion.

Nik Collection, combines 250 professional-quality presets with the flexibility of U Point™ local adjustment technology. Its eight software plugins address every aspect of creative photography, including color and HDR photography, black-and-white conversion, and analog simulation.

“Users of Photoshop 22.3 (and later) working on a Mac M1 can run it in ‘native’ mode or with the Rosetta emulator. Up until now, they had to use Rosetta to be able to run Nik Collection,” recalls Jean-Marc Alexia, Vice President Product Strategy. “With the 4.2 version of Nik Collection, users can now opt to run the software in ‘M1 native’ mode and enjoy an optimized user experience.” I can’t testify to the increased speed of the update, as I use the Nik Collection on Intel-based Macs, but early user comments are positive.
 
Nik Collection 4.2 also makes Nik Silver Efex and Nik Viveza compatible with the latest version of Capture One.

I’ve been a long-time user of the Nik tools, way before the messy acquisition by Google. They are often part of my landscape imaging workflow, and I often use the U Point technology to make smart selections of parts of an image for enhancement.

Nik Collection 4.2 (Windows and macOS) is now available for download from the DxO website for the special price of $99.99 instead of $149 and $59.99 instead of $79 for the upgrade until October 10, 2021.
 
Photographers who own Nik Collection 3 or later can purchase an upgrade by signing into their accounts. A full one-month trial version of Nik Collection 4 is available here.

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PGYTECH Introduce SnapLock Quick Release System Collection

PGYTECH Introduce SnapLock Quick Release System Collection

PGYTECH want to make the photo-taking process more efficient with the introduction of various new mounts and adapters.

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Accessories

PGYTECH Beetle Camera Clip

 

PGYTECH has a new line-up of accessories which includes a SnapLock Plate Adapter, SnapLock Beetle Came Clip, Action Camera SnapLock Plate, SnapLock NANO Sviwil and Tilt Mount.

The accessories are part of the PGYTECH SnapLock system designed for photographers, vloggers and smartphoneographers who are looking for quicker and more efficient ways to carry and use their cameras. 

 

PGYTECH Beetle Camera Clip

PGYTECH Beetle Camera Clip

  • You don’t need to hold your camera all the time, just attach it to your straps to free your hands and enjoy your trip. The Beetle Camera Clip also helps to relieve pressure on your neck and to increase your comfort.
  • The Beetle Camera Clip enables you to quickly mount and lock your camera without having to push any buttons. Taking out your camera is as easy as pushing one button. It even locks extra securely to avoid it accidentally unlocking itself.
  • We got rid of the tedious traditional knob and use a clip that you can attach to your strap instantly and very securely. The adjustable buckle enables you to attach your camera to most straps.
  • The Beetle Camera Clip uses the Arca-Swiss compatible SnapLock plate. You can use the plate to mount different Arca-type equipment to meet all your creative needs.
  • The SnapLock plate lets you install your camera in any direction instantly. The camera mount direction can be adjusted according to the camera lens size.
  • The SnapLock Plate uses a patented tight-fitting screw containing a thrust needle roller bearing, which ensures the plate doesn’t get undone. It mounts the camera very securely.
  • Fits PGYTECH’s Action Camera SnapLock Plate perfectly.
  • Support most DSLRs, action cameras, card machines, mirrorless cameras.
  • The use of anti-slip rubber material in the inner part offers a snug and secure hold for your strap, eliminating the worry of clip movement.
  • Pocket size, easy to carry

Price: $59 and is available from the PGYTECH official store.

 

PGYECH Action Camera SnapLock Plate

PGYECH Action Camera SnapLock Plate

 

  • The ball head structure enables 360°swiveling and 32° tilting for perfect shots.
  • The square shape is Arca-Swiss compatible. Fits PGYTECH’s Beatles Camera Clip or different Arca-type tripod heads perfectly.
  • The universal interface and the 1/4”-20 screw conversion adapter enables compatibility between the Gopro, Insta360, DJI Osmo Action/Pocket, and most action cameras.
  • Contains a PGYTECH’s quick-release pin, which allows you to instantly (dis)mount your gear.
  • Light yet sturdy, easy to carry

Price: $19 and is available from the PGYTECH official store.

 

PGYTECH SnapLock Plate Adapter

PGYTECH SnapLock Plate Adapter

 

  • Be more efficient by using multiple SnapLock Plate Adapters simultaneously to quickly (dis)mount your gear. Switch from sliders to tripods or even swap cameras in one easy step.
  • The SnapLock Plate Adapter includes the SnapLock System. The SnapLock mounting base uses a clamp that locks by itself rather than a traditional knob. It lets you instantly mount the SnapLock Plate in just one step. You can easily connect cameras and other gear to your gimbal, Arca-Swiss plate, sliders or tripods. The square SnapLock Plate allows you to quickly mount it in any direction.
  • The SnapLock Mounting Base is designed with an Arca-Swiss interface on the side and the bottom contains 1/4” and 3/8” threaded holes, which is widely compatible with gimbals, plates, tripods and sliders.
  • The SnapLock Plate uses the Arca-Swiss standardized size, which is compatible with most Arca-Swiss plates.
  • Compatible with PGYTECH’s Action Camera SnapLock Plate
  • Push the button to lock it extra securely to avoid it accidentally unlocking itself.
  • The SnapLock plate uses a patented tight-fitting screw containing a thrust needle roller bearing, which ensures the plate doesn’t get undone. It mounts your camera very securely.
  • Pocket size and portable design

Price: $39 and is available from the PGYTECH official store.

 

SnapLock Nano Swivel and Tilt Mount

SnapLock Nano Swivel and Tilt Mount

 

  • The patented PGYTECH SnapLock Nanosystem allows you to easily mount the monitor on your camera after attaching it to the SnapLock Nano plate. The SnapLock Nano plate has a square cold shoe mount, which can be quickly assembled no matter the direction. Push the secure button to avoid it accidentally unlocking itself.
  • The mount is capable of 360° swivelling and 180° tilting for perfect views and optimal audio recording. The adjustable damping allows it to operate smoothly and conveniently, no matter the weight of the mounted devices.
  • The SnapLock Nano plate’s 1/4”-20 screw and the cold shoe mount’s rotate-to-lock knob contain a patented screw, which contains a mini thrust needle roller bearing, to prevent it from getting undone. The patented screw lets you securely fix the plate or cold shoe mount in place.
  • The SnapLock Nano Mount is light, versatile and is widely compatible. The dovetail cold shoe mount ensures it’s working as a monitor mount. The 1/4”-20 screw hole on the bottom and the 1/4”-20 screw on the top enable it to function as a mini tripod head, which allows you to connect a smartphone or camera to a mini tripod.

Price: $39 and is available from the PGYTECH official store.

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Nik Collection 4.2 Update: Optimises Experience For Adobe Photoshop Users On Mac M1

Nik Collection 4.2 Update: Optimises Experience For Adobe Photoshop Users On Mac M1

The Nik Collection

 

The Nik Collection by DxO has had an update which means it can be used with Adobe Photoshop CC in native mode on Apple computers with an M1 processor and users will notice it is more responsive when using the Nik Silver Efex.

Nik Collection 4.2 (Windows and macOS) is now available for download from the DxO website for a special price of £88.99 instead of £133 and £54.99 instead of £69 for the upgrade until 10 October 2021. Photographers who own Nik Collection 3 or later can purchase an upgrade by signing into their accounts. A full, one-month trial version of Nik Collection 4 is also available on the DxO website.

More information on the update can be found from DxO below. 

 

From DxO: 

Nik Collection, which sets the standard for creative photography, combines 250 professional-quality presets with the exceptional flexibility of U Point™ local adjustment technology. Its eight software plugins address every aspect of creative photography, including colour and HDR photography, black-and-white conversion, and analogue simulation.

 

“Native M1” Adobe Photoshop compatibility

Nik Collection 4.2 can be used with Adobe Photoshop CC in native mode on Apple computers with a M1 processor (version 22.3 and up).

“Users of Photoshop 22.3 (and later) working on a Mac M1 can run it in ‘native’ mode or with the Rosetta emulator. Up until now, they had to use Rosetta to be able to run Nik Collection.” recalls Jean-Marc Alexia, Vice President Product Strategy. “With the 4.2 version of Nik Collection, users can now opt to run the software in ‘M1 native’ mode and enjoy an optimized user experience”

Nik Collection 4.2 also makes Nik Silver Efex and Nik Viveza compatible with the latest version of Capture One.

 

Improved responsiveness for Nik Silver Efex

The Nik Collection’s flagship software plugin, Nik Silver Efex, features a range of exclusive presets and effects designed to simulate classic analogue films, including Kodak Tri-X 400, Ilford Delta 100, Fuji Neopan, and more. Its range of customized presets lets users vary the grain structure and contrast characteristics of their photos to accurately reproduce some of the most iconic black-and-white films in the world.

With Nik Collection 4.2, Nik Silver Efex has once again improved its U Point technology. Control Points, which make it possible to locally adjust contrast, edit brightness, and structure specific areas in the image with infinite precision, have become even more responsive. The photographer’s workflow has become even faster.

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What’s new in DxO’s Nik Collection 4

What’s new in DxO’s Nik Collection 4

The Nik Collection by DxO has seen some improvements in recent years, James Abbott takes a look at the latest version to see if it offers enough new features to be a worthy upgrade


The Nik Collection 4 by DxO is the latest version of the unwaveringly popular plug-in suite for Photoshop and Lightroom Classic. This is one of the most comprehensive plug-in suites ever created, and with frequent updates, it’s easy to see why the Nik Collection is once again growing in functionality and indeed popularity.

Nik Collection 4 includes eight individual plug-ins covering a range of popular editing tasks and provides easy-to-achieve effects: Define 2 is used for noise reduction; Viveza 3 is for adjusting colour and tonality; Perspective Efex can be used to adjust lens and perspective distortion; HDR Efex Pro 2 allows you to create HDR images from bracketed and single shots; Analog Efex Pro 2 offers classic film and camera effects; Color Efex Pro 4 provides colour filters and other creative effects; Silver Efex Pro 3 offers powerful control over black & white conversions; while Sharpener Pro 3 is for sharpening images.

What’s new in DxO’s Nik Collection 4 1

Photographer-designed Viveza 3 presets

Viveza features ten new native presets designed by professional photographers and are mostly one-click corrective or quick fix effects, although there are presets for sharpening eyes and softening skin in portraits. When you consider the number of presets that are available in other plug-ins within the collection, ten is an extremely small number so it would be most welcome to see more presets added in future updates.

The presets can be used as a starting point for adjusting effects manually or you can begin with the default Neutral preset that leaves the image untouched for full manual editing. You can also create your own custom presets and import presets made by other people, so there’s plenty of room to customise Viveza to your requirements.

What’s new in DxO’s Nik Collection 4 2

New user interface for Silver Efex and Viveza

The user interfaces of Viveza and Silver Efex have been completely redesigned with a new look that’s more in keeping with other DxO software and provides a much clearer and more modern interface to work with. Surprisingly though, all the other plug-ins within the collection still use the old Nik Collection interface which is looking quite dated these days, except for Perspective Efex that looks nothing like either.

So there’s a real lack of consistency when moving from one plug-in to the next. It’s likely that the rest of the Nik Collection will be redesigned over time, but it’s a shame that all the plug-ins weren’t updated at the same time for a seamless look and inclusive feel rather than creating the feeling you’re using unrelated plug-ins.

An improved workflow

The workflow between Nik Collection and Lightroom Classic has been improved with the Last Edit function in Photoshop now also available in Lightroom. Then there’s the new Smart Copy & Paste feature that’s been incorporated into Lightroom’s Export dialogue so you can apply Nik Collection effects to other images.

If working with a TIFF file you can enjoy non-destructive editing with this feature, although it’s always best to edit a copy of the original TIFF because the Nik Collection will flatten any Layers you have in place already.

It would be better if the effect was added to a new merged Layer at the top of the stack like in Photoshop when a plug-in effect is applied, but it’s understandable why this isn’t possible in Lightroom. The whole process could be made to be more intuitive, but with time you do get used to how it works.

What’s new in DxO’s Nik Collection 4 3

ClearView technology available in Silver Efex

Another new feature in Silver Efex is ClearView technology from DxO PhotoLab. This control removes haze and accentuates edges, details and transitions to improve clarity in images, and it certainly works well within Silver Efex.In the image to the left, the left section is the Neutral black & white preset with no adjustments made and the right side of the image shows how ClearView set to 75 out of 100 affects the image.

This shot was taken on a misty morning so there’s a distinct lack of clarity that has been effectively fixed with natural-looking results. This, of course, means that you can only use ClearView with black & white images, so it’s curious that the control wasn’t also included in Viveza for use with colour images.

Meta-presets for instant results

What’s new in DxO’s Nik Collection 4 4

Meta-presets are a new type of filter that combines the effects from different plug-ins to achieve a one-click result. Meta-presets are accessed via the Nik Selective Tool that integrates almost seamlessly with the Photoshop interface when set to the default dark grey.
There are ten presets in total, which isn’t many, and whether or not they’re to your taste is another matter.

What’s new in DxO’s Nik Collection 4 5

What would perhaps be a great option on DxO’s part would be to create more Meta-presets that users can download and install directly from the DxO website so they can choose the effects they’re most likely to use. One major drawback is that there’s no visual preview of effects, just a crude description when you hover the mouse pointer over the question mark next to Meta-preset names, so you have to run the Meta-presets to see what they are, and they’re quite slow to be applied.

What’s new in DxO’s Nik Collection 4 6What’s new in DxO’s Nik Collection 4 7

39 new and film-style grains in Silver Efex

As you’ll have noticed as you’ve read through the new features listed here, it’s Silver Efex that has seen the most improvements in this version of the Nik Collection. This is not surprising considering that it’s arguably the most popular plug-in in the collection.

Within Silver Efex, there are now 39 realistic film-style grains that mimic the grain patterns of popular black & white films for an authentic analogue look.

These, like most other presets, can be used exclusively or used as a starting point for further manual editing. The results are much better than applying grain in Lightroom or Adobe Camera Raw, and even the higher ISO film simulations help to give black & white images a sense of depth you generally don’t get with digital images.

The image used here was Ilford Delta 3200 and the grain is much more subtle than you’d get with real film so increasing grain size would be necessary for an even more authentic result.

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Improvements to U Point technology

Localised adjustments have long been a part of the Nik Collection, and the mask-free U Point technology that powers these easy-to-use Control Points for localised adjustments have seen a welcome upgrade in Nik Collection 4. The Control Points now feature fewer controls within the point itself, with controls for adjustments now housed on the main control panel on the right.

Plus, the name of Control Points can be changed to make selecting the correct point easier. Other new features within this area include a Colour Tolerance setting that provides saturation control over specific tonal ranges so you can select colours to work with as well as the tolerance to allow similar hues to be included in adjustments. More control is always a good thing and these upgrades to Control Points certainly achieve that end.

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Verdict

Nik Collection 4 by DxO remains the best Photoshop and Lightroom plug-in suite available by a long shot, but while there have been many welcome improvements in this and previous versions of the software, there’s now a serious lack of consistency in terms of functionality and the user interface used in the individual plug-ins – five of the plug-ins are in serious need of being updated.

That said, if you intend to purchase Nik Collection 4 then you certainly won’t be disappointed if it’s a first-time purchase. However, for those running Nik Collection 3 there may not be quite enough new features to make the upgrade worthwhile so it could well be worth waiting for the next update to see what’s included.

Nik Collection 4 costs £133 for the full version or £69 to upgrade so it’s well priced considering what’s included in the collection. The plug-in suite is also available with a fully functional 30-day free trial period, so whether you’re buying for the first time or considering an upgrade, you can test out the latest version before committing.


Further reading

Photoshop kept me sane during my cruise ship lockdown

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I Just Let Go of Half My Gear and I Feel Great: 3 Reasons You Should Thin Out Your Collection.

I Just Let Go of Half My Gear and I Feel Great: 3 Reasons You Should Thin Out Your Collection.

It’s been a long time coming for some of my gear. I hardly used it and it was worth more to someone else. 

Like many film photographers, I have had an inordinate number of cameras in my collection over the years. So much gear in fact that I was hardly ever able to use most of it. This may sound like a lot to you but if you are a film photographer or are friends with someone who is a film photographer, this information should not surprise you. The fact of the matter is that for years, cameras, lenses, and camera accessories were inexplicably cheap and for film enthusiasts, it was difficult to say “no” to new gear. So, there set in the problem for photographers like myself. That is, I (like many) had a problem acquiring more and more without letting go of what you are not using which is of course a problem of logistics. 

With all of this said, this problem is not unique to film photographers. Indeed, there is a name for the compulsion to get more gear that applies to film enthusiasts and digital-only photographers alike, “gear acquisition syndrome” also known as GAS. I suspect this is something that you are familiar with and that you explain away buying more and more gear while there is already a pile of gear sitting somewhere in your home that is not used near as much as you said you would when you were first attempting to justify the purchase of the gear. Does this sound familiar? I bet it does. 

I Just Let Go of Half My Gear and I Feel Great: 3 Reasons You Should Thin Out Your Collection. 10

Here we get to the point of this article. That is, letting go of much of your unused gear. I recently sold off or listed for sale a good number of pieces in my collection of gear and truth be told, it felt much better than I thought it would. When I decided to start letting go of some of my gear, I found such relief that I actually started saying goodbye to gear I thought I would never part with. In reference to film gear specifically, this list includes the Fujifilm GA645, Nikon F100, Nikon FE, Nikon F2, the lenses for these Nikon cameras as well as an assortment of other lenses.

In addition, I have let go of the Sigma 35mm f/2 (review here) I recently reviewed which I really liked and thought for sure I’d want to hold on to (I ended up going with the Sony 35mm f/1.4 GM and prefer it to the Sigma). Lastly, and where I surprised myself the most, I let go of my Mamiya RZ67, 110mm f/2.8, and 65mm lens for the RZ system. Though I have not completely decided one way or the other, I am also trying to decide whether or not I want to let go of my Mamiya 645 Pro-TL. I doubt I will but I’m on the fence about it. 

I Just Let Go of Half My Gear and I Feel Great: 3 Reasons You Should Thin Out Your Collection. 11

Why You Should Say Goodbye

So now let us go over why you may want to consider letting go of some of your gear and the benefits that it may bring. Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, your used gear is worth money that can be used for other, more useful things. Take for instance a lens that you very rarely use and could sell for $500. Those $500 dollars could be used to travel and put yourself in an environment where you can make some beautiful photographs or you could put the $500 towards a different piece of gear that you may well actually use on a more regular basis. Keep in mind though, buying more gear may indeed put you right back into the same place where this begins. 

I Just Let Go of Half My Gear and I Feel Great: 3 Reasons You Should Thin Out Your Collection. 12

The second reason you should consider letting go of some of your gear is to consolidate your equipment and force yourself into fewer options. I think that a lot of photographers have found that when in a position where their options are more limited, their creative juices flow more. In addition, limiting the number of your cameras and lenses means that you will use each piece more often, and eventually meaning that you will get to know the ins and outs/strengths and limitations of each piece of gear. This will, in turn, lead to more successful outings. 

Thirdly and lastly, selling your infrequently used gear gives other photographers the chance to buy it for less. That is, if you have a properly nice lens or camera body or lighting equipment that doesn’t get used enough to justify holding onto it, there is likely a photographer looking to upgrade to just that piece of gear that would appreciate the chance to buy it for less than it would cost new. 

I Just Let Go of Half My Gear and I Feel Great: 3 Reasons You Should Thin Out Your Collection. 13

When it comes to film gear, there is a fourth reason which may be the biggest incentive. You could likely sell the gear for a profit. Of all the gear I have recently let go of, only two pieces were new enough that you can still find them at B&H: the Sigma 35mm f/2 and the Tamron 45mm f/1.8 that lived on my F100. As it happens, those are also the only two pieces that I took a loss on. Everything else was film gear and even after only owning a piece of gear for 6 months (in my case, I’m referring to the Mamiya RZ67), it was worth so much more than I paid that I could sell it for less than all other competing listings (for hundreds less), pay the seller fees, and still make a few hundred dollars. It’s difficult to argue with that. So much so that it is the only reason that I would ever consider selling my Mamiya 645 Pro-TL. For as little as I paid for it a few years ago, it is worth easily three to four times what I have invested. 

What are your experiences? Have you acquired a large collection of gear in your years as a photographer? Have you parted with or sold any of your gear? How did it feel to let go? 

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Nik Collection 4.1 released, discount price extended

Nik Collection 4.1 released, discount price extended

Recently we covered the launch of the Nik Collection 4, which developer DxO claims is the biggest update to the editing suite for a decade.

Highlights include enhancements to the software’s U-point technology for making precise local adjustments without having to build complex masks, along with the ability to group together control points and include them in presets – making it easier to apply the same adjustments to multiple images.

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DxO has now announced the immediate release of version 4.1 of the Nik Collection, which features a new rendering engine optimised for Nik Viveza and Nik Silver Efex. This new version improves the following:

  • Overall responsiveness of the interface and option to preview the effects applied to the image, whether in fit or fill mode or zoomed in.
  • Significant improvement to U Point technology resulting in more responsive Control Points and adjustments.
  • Better support for very high-resolution images.
  • Bug fixes and other improvements to the software’s user-friendliness.

“Fewer than four weeks after the launch of the 4.0 version, we wanted to provide our community with an optimised version of the Nik Collection,” explains Jean-Marc Alexia, Vice President Product Strategy. “To give everyone plenty of time to test it out for themselves, the 30-day trial period was reset.” In other words, people who already downloaded the 30-day free trial version can get it again for another 30 days.

Nik Collection 4.1 is now available for download from the DxO website. The special launch price (£88.99 instead of £133, and £54.99 instead of £69 for the upgrade) has been extended to July 31, 2021.

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MeFOTO, MeVIDEO & INDURO ‘Super Collection’ Under Benro

MeFOTO, MeVIDEO & INDURO 'Super Collection' Under Benro

Benro has announced that it will consolidate the MeFOTO, MeVIDEO and INDURO brands under the Benro flagship brand.

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Industry News

Benro

 

Benro, a global leader in the photo and video space has been busy planning for future success. The MeFOTO (tripods), MeVIDEO and INDURO brands have been manufactured at Benro’s facility and have now merged their product design and innovation resources, becoming available as ‘Super’ Collections under the Benro brand. Long favourites of travelling photographers and content creators who appreciate their range of features and thoughtful design aesthetic, the move consolidates and unifies the MeFOTO, MeVIDEO, INDURO and Benro design and innovation teams in order to share best practices and resources within the state-of-the-art Benro manufacturing facilities.

Benro has long been committed to supporting a global community of creators in the photography and filmmaking spaces as well as the ever-expanding universe of content creators who need support systems to tell their unique and diverse stories. The range of technology available today makes it simpler than ever for photographers, filmmakers, vloggers and broadcasters at any experience level to pick up a device and begin sharing their vision. This also represents a growth opportunity as users gaining in confidence look to add tools that enable them to extend their creative potential.

“We are in an age of 24/7 image storytelling and storysharing. This means that a creator can literally pick up their favourite device at any hour and with the right accessories, begin capturing content. These creators will need not just traditional support accessories like tripods and heads but also lights and modifiers and a wide range of flexible connection devices to hold peripherals like audio recording gear and additional smart devices or wireless transmitters. Benro will have all this and more coming very shortly with the goal of providing a complete content creation ecosystem allowing for infinite flexibility and incredible value,” said Jan Lederman, MAC Group President.

“We realise that space in a creator’s gear bag is very valuable. We intend to have our gear earn its rightful place and always be within reaching distance for every type of creative challenge or opportunity,” said Andy Liu, son of Benro founder Hao “Leo” Liu. 

“Digital storytelling continues to experience enormous growth with creators looking for tools to help their story stand out from the crowd. At Benro we pride ourselves in developing products in conjunction with our users and these new products follow that same model. We believe they will help creators, no matter what their background, experience level or subject matter, express their creativity and move their content to the next level,” said Mark Hoskins, Benro Brand Manager, Mac Group Europe Ltd.

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Nik Collection 4 by DxO brings major updates

Nik Collection 4 by DxO brings major updates

DxO has revealed a major update to its Nik Collection software suite, with Version 4 promising a range of interface and usability improvements. Indeed the firm claims that this is the biggest update for a decade, with highlights including significant enhancements to the unique U-point technology that allows precise local adjustments without the user having to build complex masks. This gains a clearer user interface along with a more accurate colour tolerance setting. Control points can also be grouped together and included in presets, which should make it easier to apply the same adjustments to multiple images.

There’s also a more user-friendly design, with brand new interfaces for the Viveza plug-in that provides precise colour and tonal adjustments, along with Silver Efex that’s used for making black & white conversions. Silver Efex also gains DxO’s ClearView control for cutting though haze and enhancing local contrast.

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Photographers who work with Adobe software get various workflow improvements, with Lightroom users now able to replicate adjustments from one image to the next using the Last Edit command. Photoshop users gain new Meta Presets, which combine settings from multiple Nik plugins into a single action. This allows a set of filters to applied to multiple images with a single click.

You can see full details of Nik Collection 4 by DxO here. It’s available now for an introductory price of £86.99 for new users, and £49.99 for those upgrading from the previous version. At the start of July, these prices will increase to £125 and £69 respectively. A free one-month trial is also on offer.

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DxO Unveils NIK Collection 4: New Meta Presets, Improved U Point Tech

DxO Unveils NIK Collection 4: New Meta Presets, Improved U Point Tech

DxO Unveils NIK Collection 4: New Meta Presets, Improved U Point Tech 16

DxO has released version 4 of the Nik Collection photo editing plugins. It contains major improvements to the U Point technology, seamless interactions with Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom through the leveraging of smart objects, as well as a new and improved set of Meta presets.

This update comes just a year after the launch of Version 3 with the focus this time on Viveza and Silver Efex.

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The new Nik Collection 4 comes loaded with over 250 presets and an enhanced U Point technology for local adjustment controls. Along with these powerful updates comes an improved UI particularly notable with Nik Viveza and Nik Silver Efex. These two apps have been completely redesigned “to offer an optimal user experience, featuring a modern interface that is more beautiful and functional than ever.” The new interface makes it easier for users to directly access all available presets, filter by type or favorites, and identify tools through the new layout and palettes.

Improved U Point Technology

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A long-time favorite user feature of this software suite has been the U Point tool for localized adjustments. This allows users to apply adjustments locally without the use of complicated masks, which can speed up the user’s workflow. With this update, it is now possible to incorporate control points into customized presets.

DxO Unveils NIK Collection 4: New Meta Presets, Improved U Point Tech 19

This means photographers can easily apply a similar style to multiple images while still preserving a specific area: users can choose to apply a specific color effect as well as a burred background to several portraits. The new U Point tool also includes a new color selectivity setting that provides the ability to regulate the saturation of a specific tone range. Editors can select the color they wish to edit, as well as the tolerance of similar color hues. Finally, the U Point tool has been updated to include fewer sliders, which DxO says makes it easier to view adjustments and rename them to optimize personal workflow experiences.

Meta Presets

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With Nik Collection 4, there is a new type of filter that has been added for use in Adobe Photoshop called “Meta Presets.” These are actions that combine the filters and settings of several Nik Collection Plugins into one to apply to images quickly and easily. There are 10 included with this release that are available directly from within the Nik Selective Tool panel for Photoshop as seen in the screenshot above. While it is currently not possible to save your own Meta Presets, it is a feature that the dev team is working on for a future update.

Improved Photoshop and Lightroom Workflow

DxO Unveils NIK Collection 4: New Meta Presets, Improved U Point Tech 21

The Last Edit function, which lets users re-apply the last preset they used in one of the Nik Collection plugins while using Adobe Photoshop, has been extended to include Adobe Lightroom Classic. In addition, the new Smart Copy and Paste feature lets users selectively re-apply the effect of a plugin to one or several images directly in Adobe Lightroom without having to launch the software suite’s interface.

Better Black and White Images

DxO Unveils NIK Collection 4: New Meta Presets, Improved U Point Tech 22

In an effort to help users create better black and white images, Nik Silver Efex has been updated to include a new tool called ClearView. First offered in DxO PhotoLab, the tool removes haze and enhances local contrast in a manner that isn’t as harsh as those found in the Dehaze tool within Lightroom when applied heavily. The technology allows editors to clean up haze in images while keeping the edges, details, and transitions looking natural.

More Presets

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As mentioned above, this launch comes with over 250 professional presets including 10 for Viveza and 39 for Silver Efex that were developed by working professional photographers.

Pricing and Availability

The Nik Collection 4 is available now from the DxO website for $100 instead of the regular price of $149 — and $60 instead of $79 for those upgrading from the previous version — until June 30, 2021. A fully functional, one-month trial version of Nik Collection 4 is available on the DxO website here.

It is worth noting that at the time of this release, the Nik Collection 4 does not natively support the M1 version of Adobe Photoshop. The development team has told PetaPixel that this is on their radar and they hope to have an updated and fully compatible installer soon.

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