Google Nik Efex Now Free

Nik Software CompleteThe Powerful Nik Efex Suite is now free

As from March 24th 2016 Google has made the latest version of Nik efex plug-ins for free to download for all users. The Nik Collection is comprises seven desktop plug-ins set of image enhancement tools and photographic filter plug-ins for Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom , Elements and Aperture and other photo-manipulation and RAW conversion software. The collection includes:


  • Analog Efex Pro:  which allows you create the look and feel of classic cameras, films, and lenses.
  • Color Efex Pro: A powerful set of filters for color correction, retouching, and creative effects.
  • Silver Efex Pro: to create the best black-and-white photography with darkroom-inspired controls.
  • Viveza: to selectively adjust the color and tonality of your images without complicated masks or selections.
  • HDR Efex Pro: “From natural to artistic, explore the full potential of HDR photography.
  • Sharpener Pro:  to bring out hidden details consistently with the professional’s choice for image sharpening.
  • Dfine: a powerful sharpening and noise reduction tool to improve your images.

For a while Google offered version 1.007 of the Nik Collection for free back in 2013 after it had acquired Nik Software, but not long after the plug-in collection was selling for $149. Google say users who have purchased the Nik Collection in 2016 will be offered a full refund. Too bad for those who got it for Christmas. Worse for me as I paid £199 for the Nik Collectin back in 2012.

Nobody seems to know why Google are doing this and they say on the website:

Google: We’re excited to bring the powerful photo editing tools once only used by professionals to even more people now.

The general consensus on the web seems to be that they are no longer willing to continue development of the plug-ins in their current form, which would be a real shame. Only time will tell.

In the meantime, grab a bargain from here.

Appalling Service from Adobe

Story of the Old Acrobat

acrobat-iconThis post is not specifically photography related, but as I use Adobe products in photography I think it’s relevant, and it sure has soured my impression of Adobe. Like many I use Adobe Acrobat; the free Acrobat reader to view PDF files but I also own a copy of Acrobat Standard for creating my own PDF documents. It’s quite an old version I must admit, Version 8.0 in fact, which harks back to 2007. I’ve this version used it quite successfully on my desktop PC since 2008. The PC originally came with Vista, but soon afterwards upgraded to Windows 7, and used Acrobat 8 without any major issues.

Old Software, New PC

Internet Connection Not Detected – error code 159:41

I’ve just replaced my PC , which came with (at my choosing) the same Windows 7 Professional 64-bit OS.  I’d planned to install my Adobe Acrobat 8.0. It worked fine on the old PC, so I had no reason to think it wouldn’t work on my new PC with the same OS. Well, just how wrong could I be and several hours were wasted trying to get the dam thing working without any success; no thanks to Adobe!

Lack of Activity

Activation of Adobe products by phone is no longer supported

The software requires an activation code, typically accomplished via the internet. However, I should have realised something was up when I got the message “Internet Connection Not Detected, Error code 159:41“. Of course I spent ages messing around to see if there were any  problems with my internet connection, but everything else connected worked just fine. I tried all the usual stuff, turning off the firewall and anti-virus, but still got the same response.

I checked and see that this is a technical issue, you will have to contact our technical support team to resolve this issue

There’s is an option however, to Activate by phone, so I thought I try that, only to be given the recorded message “activation of Adobe products by phone is no longer supported, please visit for further assistance“. I tried, but that page is utterly useless and you just find yourself going around in circles getting nowhere. I eventually found a link to a Chat window with a support agent, but after repeatedly been told to click the “Try Again” box in the install procedure, I received  the following reply: “I checked and see that this is a technical issue, you will have to contact our technical support team to resolve this issue“. What .. I thought I was talking to technical support!

Another Useless Web Page

Unfortunately, I was then directed to another useless web page ( where I was told I could contact technical support. It contains plenty of telephone numbers, but no mention of one for technical support! Luckily I viewed the page whilst still on the chat window, so I demanded the number for UK technical support before my support agent vanished into cyberspace. Call 0207 365 0735 for UK technical support. I tried it, it’s for everything. Several automated submenus later I finally got to talk to a heavily accented agent who eventually said ” Your product is no longer supported by Adobe” and simply refused to go any further.  I actually own this product but Adobe now REFUSE to let me activate it. And advice offered from Adobe .. buy the latest version; apologies .. none.

Your product is no longer supported by Adobe


Adobe make some terrific products, but with this sort of attitude it’s no wonder their software is some of the most bootlegged around. Whilst I can understand (but do not agree with) them not wanting to support legacy products, preventing us from using them is simply wrong. Will I be buying Adobe Acrobat XI .. not a cat in hells chance I’m afraid. Shame on you Adobe!

Postscript: I’m currently using Nuance (Scansoft) PDF Create Version 8 which is OK, but not ideal. If anyone can suggest a better alternative please do.

A New PC, but it’s not Apple

Out with the Old, In with the New

My ageing Windows desktop PC has finally reached a point where I need to replace it. The processor now struggles with the modern day demands of my rather large Lightroom Catalog and Preview files which just take too long to render. I  no longer have the patience to sit and wait. No, the time has come to get something new, shiny, sleek and a dam sight faster.

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Video Review: Advanced Guide to Lightroom 5

Luminous Landscape – Advanced Guide to Lightroom 5

LuLa Advance Guide to Lightroom 5A new set of videos have been released by Michael Reichmann and Jeff Schewe providing an advance guide to the new features within Lightroom 5. Many will be familiar with previous releases from the duo which have covered every Lightroom version from LR1 beta onwards. These have proved a popular resource for those hoping to gain a deeper insight to the workings of Adobe Lightroom. This release is slightly different from the rest and a clue is in the title. It’s purely an advanced guide, so not aimed at beginners, and only covers the additions made to Lightroom in version 5, so does not, as in previous releases, include the entire package. 

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The Adobe Storm Clouds Continue

If there’s one thing for certain, judging from all the comment on many online forums, it’s that the Adobe’s decision to move their software to a subscription-only model is a highly contentious issue. Some love it, others hate it. There doesn’t seem to be many fence sitters on this one. I’ve already expressed my opinion here.

If you find you’re vehemently opposed to the mandatory subscription-only model you may wish to add your name to this online petition and spread the word around. I’m not sure how much good it will do, or whether Adobe will even take note, but there are currently of 33,000+ names of disgruntled Adobe customers on the list. I for one would like to see a choice from Adobe. We can but try.

The move by Adobe however, is music to the ears of potential competitors who must be jumping for joy. Many (and that includes me) will be looking at alternatives to Photoshop from now on, so this has provided a massive opportunity for third party software developers. Adobe is going to leave a huge gap in the market that may cause many an amateur or hobbyist photographer to jump the Photoshop ship in the coming months. Already we are seeing a far more attention paid to potential comparable products, which just a few weeks ago may have struggled to gain such notoriety. One particular product rapidly gaining a good reputation is the recently released Pixelmator which reached a whopping 500,000 downloads in just a single week. This no doubt assisted by Adobe’s announcement and which lead to the following statement being issued from Pixelmator. Currently priced at  just $14.99 it sounds like a bargain, so definitely one App I shall be test driving. Unfortunately for Windows users it’s MAC only.

Lightroom 5 Released

Lightroom 5 Beta
The 5th incarnation of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom was released to the general public yesterday (10th June 2013) well ahead expected. The Lightroom 5 beta version doesn’t expire till the 30th June, so I wasn’t expecting a full release of Lightroom 5 till after that date. However, Adobe have been pushing their new cloud base platform software releases, so I guess there was some urgency to add Lightroom 5 to those as soon as possible. 

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Storm Cloud Approaching From Adobe

Adobe Creative Cloud

Adobe May Upset Hordes of Photoshop Users

If you are a serious photographer then there’s also a fair chance you are a user of Adobe Photoshop too. If you are then you maybe in for a shock, as on the 6th May 2013 Adobe announced that they no longer plan to sell retail versions of this software and all future editions will be available by cloud based subscriptions only.

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Lightroom 5 Beta Released

Lightroom 5 beta

Exiting new tools in Lightroom 5 Beta

Well it certainly came as a surprise to me when this Monday (15th April 2013) Adobe released a public beta version of Lightroom 5 for download and testing by their user base. It’s only just over 15 months since Lightroom 4 beta was released, and 13 months since the official launch of Lightroom 4, so with that in mind we should anticipate a final version of Lightroom 5 in just a few months time.

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Adobe Lightroom 4.4 Available

Lightroom 4.4 Available for Download

Lightroom 4.4

Today Adobe have announced another update to Lightroom 4.  Release version 4.4 provides the RAW support for 25 new cameras and several new lens profiles, but significantly provides corrections to the demosaicing algorithms for Fujifilm X-Trans and EXR sensor cameras, so may prove a much welcome upgrade by Fuji camera owners. More information is listed here.

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Lightroom Tip: Auto Adjust Individual Tone Sliders

Making Auto Adjustments to Basic Panel Tone Controls in Lightroom 4

Adobe Lightroom 4 LogoI came across this little know Lightroom feature yesterday when preparing a tutorial for my local camera club. However it may only be of any significance if you regularly use the Auto button in the Tone section of the Basic panel of the Develop Module. For those who aren’t  familiar with the Auto Tone button clicking it enables Lightroom to automatically adjust Exposure, Contrast, Highlights, Shadows, and set the Black and White points.

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