I've been a satisfied user of the Nik tools suite going way back to 1995 before Google bought, then dropped it. In 2017 DxO rescued the popular suite of editing tools, and they've never been better.
The Nik Collection has just been updated to version 4.1, only a few weeks after version 4 launched. The tools have been improved in performance, and more specifically the overall responsiveness of the interface and options to preview the effects applied to the image, whether in fit or fill mode or zoomed in, has been speeded up. Also, there have been significant improvements to U Point technology resulting in more responsive Control Points and adjustments.
The company also says there is better support for very high-resolution images and bug fixes. There are some specific changes to the user-friendliness of Nik Viveza and Nik Silver Efex (GUI tweaks) and the company claims improved compatibility if you are using the Nik Collection as a Photoshop or Lightroom preset, which most photographers do. You can also use the software as a stand-alone editor. Each tool is a separate app. Silver Efex Pro 3 is the latest version of one of the more popular plug-ins in the suite of tools, offering black and white image processing and darkroom effects. Viveza 3 is a color adjustment plug-in with sophisticated local adjustments for "dodging and burning" color images and applying global adjustments.
Giving the Nik Collection a Spin
I didn't see anything dramatic in the update, but did notice speedier operations in the updated Nik Viveza and Nik Silver Efex tools. There are nice before/after buttons for side by side and split-screen to see the changes you are making. My most used tool, Color Efex Pro 4, hasn't been changed much, but the improvements to their U Point technology are universal throughout their apps. U Point is a maskless selection of areas to edit. It has always worked well, and has been continually improved. After working with it for many years I miss the feature when I work in other editors.
One thing I don't like is the DxO update method. If you pull up any of the tools, you are alerted to an available update. I was running version 4.0, and the 4.1 update popped up. I said OK, and nothing visible happened on my iMac. In fact, the app started downloading the DMG file that contains the update. Rather than do it all hands-off, I had to get the dmg file out of my downloads folder, mount it on my desktop, then select the installer It would be so nice if it just happened on its own. Also, before it would install I was asked to OK some legal pages. I understand the reasons for this, but if I wasn't a first-time installer. It could have been, and should have been simpler. Not the biggest deal in the world, but I'd love to see this improved. The update deletes your older version of the Nik Collection, and updates all the individual tools.
The Nik collection is something I use a lot. With 250 presets and the ability to adjust each tool to your own taste it's powerful and something most photographers would use. This current update is free to owners of version 4.1. Nik Collection 4.1 is now available for download from the DxO website. The special launch price ($99.99 instead of $149, and $59.99 instead of $79 for the upgrade from pre 4.0 versions) has been extended to July 31, 2021. There is also a 30-day free trial so you can see if you like what the Nik Collection offers.