Home News Death of Nik? The future for Silver Efex Pro & Co.

Death of Nik? The future for Silver Efex Pro & Co.

  Little Angel — I just love Silver Efex Pro. What am I going to do without it?
Little Angel — I just love Silver Efex Pro. What am I going to do without it?

Silver Efex Pro is the member of the Nik Collection that is the most loved, at least in the circles I move in. I discovered the black-and-white processing tool back in the days of Apple Aperture and I was glad to find it could also be integrated into my Lightroom workflow. I loved that program and it encouraged me to like monochrome output more and more, especially when I got my hands on the Leica Monochrom camera. The rather flat standard DNG output from the Monochroms need a bit of work; and Silver Efex was a quick way of adding a bit more life.

Unfortunately all is not well in the land of Nik and there is now a big question mark over its future. When I first purchased Silver Efex Pro is was expensive, well over £100 as I remember. I couldn’t afford the full suite of applications but I grew to depend on this black-and-white processor. Then I read that Google had bought Nik Software and, to celebrate the purchase, they decided to make it free and give me the remaining components of the Nik suite. Wonderful. Except, as we all know, there’s always a snag if something comes free. 

That snag has now materialised. Google has decided to stop support for the Nik collection and there will be no further development. In the immediate future this isn’t a problem. My Silver Efex Pro will continue to work as a plug-in for Lightroom. But what happens when Lightroom is upgraded or when Apple or Microsoft introduces the next operating system? Sadly, almost certainly Silver Efex will one day refuse to work.

 Time to say goodbye? I
Time to say goodbye? I’ve been using Silver Efex Pro for over five years and it has been a blessing in handling the rather drag DNGs from the two Leica Monochrom models

So, in effect, Google bought a product and is in the process of killing it off. I feel sad that such things can happen. Having enjoyed using Silver Efex Pro, in particular, I now feel reluctant to rely on it. I know that one day I will lose it, so I will probably seek pastures new. 

The Nik Collection consists of Analog Efex Pro, Color Efex Pro, Silver Efex Pro, Viveza, HDR Efex Pro, Sharpener pro and Dfine. I’ve dabbled with all of them but it is Silver Efex Pro that I particularly like and which has a reputation among many Leica photographers.

Note: Reader Bouchard (see comment below) recommends Tonality CK from MacPhun, pointing out that former Nik Software staff have been involved in development. At first glance it looks like a good bet and I will try it out.



  1. One way is to keep one computer to run legacy programmes and avoid any updating. But I see that would be difficult for some. I kept a windows XP laptop just to continue using my old faithful Nikon Coolscans.

    Another way is to master LR which can produce excellent mono if you invest time in learning and experimenting. Then create your own presets which can be tweaked to your taste.

    • You are right, David. I will probably invest more time in Lightroom and establish some presets that meet my requirements. I don’t much care for legacy apps or legacy platforms since it is only putting off the day. It’s best to move on and choose a new way of processing.

  2. This will continue. Software and other IT companies make decisions daily about what we can and cannot do on our computers and devices. We have very little say in such matters and this will continue into the foreseeable future. It seems that regulators and governments can do very little to address such matters, notwithstanding recent European Union decisions re Google, Apple etc. Mike is right. It is better to move on and to see what else is there. The only worry is that some day there will be no choice at all.




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