Better Image Processing Software for Nikon Users : Lightroom3 or CaptureNX2 ???

Recently I conducted a basic workshop on Lightroom at APEX (Academy of Photography EXcellence) in Delhi and there were lot many enthusiastic Photographers. I really enjoyed the workshop and some of the participants really had wonderful queries around Digital Imaging Software and we had some nice discussion during these two days.

One thing which we didn't discuss in detail was comparison of Lightroom and CaptureNX. Actually there were many Nikon users in the workshop and they were really interested in knowing the actual difference between Software provided by Nikon and Adobe.

- Photograph Processing Workflow

Frankly I would not want to comment on this part as it would be wrong to say anything when I have used Capture NX only for few days and Lightroom for Months. But what all I have heard/read so far, Lightroom has complete and easy workflows for Photographers as compared to captureNX but CaptureNX has edge over Ligtroom if someone is interested in features like D-Lighting.

- Raw conversion

If we compare Lightroom3 and CaptureNX 2, these is hardly noticeable difference but CaptureNX gives better colors by default and it we convert a RAW into JPEG through these applications without retouching CaptureNX will give better results. But if we use Camera Profile feature of LR difference will be hardly noticeable.

- Color reproduction

With Nikon CaptureNX 2, we get brilliant color from my RAW files. The saturation, contrast, and gradations of the files, as rendered by Capture, have always made for accurate and pleasing images with zero work. But new camera profiles in Lightroom3 are excellent. Simply switching from “Adobe Standard” to “Camera Standard” applies a custom color profile to my Nikon D700 files that is very close to the proprietary profiles from Nikon.


Capture NX 2 renders a coarser, fuzzier noise profile than Lightroom 3... which renders a finer interpretation. For image quality, my preference is for Lightroom, which will enlarge more cleanly for larger prints.  Capture NX 2 crop is much more gritty in appearance, while Lightroom 3 renders a much finer noise pattern.
At ISO 6400 from the Nikon D700, the difference in the fineness of noise is even more apparent than at lower ISOs, with Lightroom 3 doing an excellent job.

- Gradient Treatment:-

Lightroom’s treatment of gradations near the point of clipping is easily the converters biggest flaw at this point due. It becomes more prominent when you are shooting night shows with lot of colorful lights at soe distance...

*** Clearly, Adobe Lightroom has come a very long way from its earlier versions in the third major release... Compared to Nikon Capture NX 2, Lightroom 3 offers some very real advantages in its conversion engine.

When considering the greatly enhanced workflow and user-friendly interface, Lightroom 3 should be in serious consideration by any digital photographer as a nearly one-stop shop for cataloging and RAW conversion.

Though Nikon Capture NX 2 still has some advantages in overall image quality... I shall be spending more time on this in near future and share my personal observations !!!


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