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The  NEW  ViewNX to go with CaptureNX2

ViewNX is the free image viewer with additional capabilities available FREE from Nikon. This is a good product that replaces PictureProject a product that was more like those with point and shoot cameras than of use to serious photographers. You use this to look at your images, perhaps manage your images, perhaps make some small changes to them, and convert from one format to another, or as a stepping stone to select and load images into an editor such as Nikon CaptureNX or one of the Photoshop versions. It displays images that are Jpg's, Tiff's and Nikon raw (NEF) files.

Those who have attended a Hands on a Nikon day or the Editing with Capture NX day with Camera Images since this programme has been available, so just over the last 18 months, will have been shown this program just before the demonstration you had of the capabilities of Capture NX.

If you are a Nikon user and not using ViewNX, then it would be well worth the few minutes it will take to install it and work out how to drive it. This is not a difficult program to use and often you will find it the fastest and most convenient way to view images especially if you are using Raw images.

The new version V1.1.0 has been changed to line up with CaptureNX2, but also adds a number of new features and improves others. It will still work with the existing Capture NX, at the same time there is a new version of Nikon Transfer, the program that is useful in moving images from your card, or camera into your computer. You can also pick up images that you have just copied onto your hard disk with this as well. Both of these programs you can download for free from many Nikon websites. See links at the end of this page.

The initial difference you spot when you load the latest version of ViewNX is that the screen looks different, some of this is just layout and presentational changes. There are however a number of new facilities and changes, which we can investigate.

Lets just recap on some terminology, Pallets are just the flip out parts, expandable sections of the system that appear when you click on a button and the like. A pane is a sub section of a pallet or window.

The changes include:-

The Navigation Palette, this is the browser like parts that come out from the left, with additional information, and the ability to make non selective adjustments to the entire image, so a form of simple editing. This has been changed to consist of Folders, Metadata, and Quick Adjustment palettes.

  • The Folders palette now displays a folder tree, making it easy to find and display folders containing images.
    • A Favourites folder pane has been added at the top of the Navigation Palette’s Folders palette.
  • The Metadata palette displays a variety of information about images, including information such as filename and image size; camera info such as shooting date, the model used, lens information, focal length, sensitivity settings, exposure mode and shutter speed.  XMP/IPTC information, such as keywords, description, creator, and origin can also be displayed, and edited and saved to image files.
    • The previous Camera Settings and XMP/IPTC Information palettes have been combined in a Metadata palette that now displays File & Camera Information and XMP/IPTC Information.
  • The Quick Adjustment palette allows for adjustment of exposure compensation and white balance settings with RAW (NEF) images. Picture Controls are available for enhancing images. Gradation and Saturation can also be adjusted using the D-Lighting HS and Colour Booster enhancements with RAW (NEF), JPEG, and TIFF images
    • Support for optional Picture Controls has been added.  When optional Picture Controls are installed, these are added to the Picture Controls list in the Quick Adjustments palette, and can be applied to images
    • D-Lighting HS and Colour Booster features have been added for image adjustment and enhancement.  

Display changes:-

  • The ratings (stars) and labels (coloured numbers) system is improved.
    • The ability to tab one or more images selected with the ratings or tags is now on the bottom left of the screen, or from right mouse click.
    • The filter using the ratings and stars is at the top, you can select a single rating or label or click and drag over a range to select more, or click on a tick to include all.
  • A Recycle Bin button has been added to the Bottom bar. You do get a 'do you want to delete' question, before items disappear.
  • When two monitors are used, a Thumbnails and Full Screen option in the Thumbnail Control bar (view mode options) allows thumbnails to be displayed in the primary monitor and full-screen images to be displayed in the secondary monitor (this action can be swapped so that the full screen image opens on the primary screen). The options menu off the bottom of the edit list sets default actions, like double clicking an image.
  • When RAW (NEF) images saved using Capture NX2 is displayed in ViewNX, only the preview image within RAW (NEF) images is displayed, this is much faster, and possible because CaptureNX2 adds a large preview image to the NEF file to replace the small one that the camera added.
    • A RAW button, top left of full screen, allows you to show the RAW image.
  • A Tooltip that displays file information when the mouse cursor is positioned over a filename in Thumbnail Grid and Image Viewer modes has been added. It also displays the meaning of all buttons symbols etc on the screen.
  • An 'i' Information screen now can be shown by images in the split and full view displays, that shows the basic and most useful information on the image. This is really useful, the 'i' keyboard key makes it pop up and disappear as well.
  • When looking at an image in the lower half of the split view or as a full page , the maximum scale before was 100% now it goes to 200% and 400% as well, initially its pixelated but then creates a new image that is un-pixelated and remarkably clear, looking at a large house and garden, 400% took me in to the point where I could easily see nails that made up the window frames. You can also do this within Capture NX and NX2.
  • Individual R, G, B, and Brightness channels can now be displayed simultaneously with histogram display in the Image View area in Image Viewer and Full Screen modes , using a very thin button next to display histogram button, that is easily missed.  In addition, histogram display can now be enabled and disabled by pressing the SPACEBAR on the keyboard, and stays at the setting chosen with the thin button.
  • The label and rating box displayed at the bottom left of the slideshow window when slideshows were played has been eliminated. Image label and rating are now displayed in the Slide Control bar.
    • The slide show feature may not run if the required version of QuickTime is not installed.
  • An option has been added that displays an alert when image files captured with the image authentication feature enabled are edited.

Voice and movie features - some cameras for example D2X and D3, can record voice notes to go with images. Movie features are more common on compact cameras, and generally not on DSLR's.

  • When voice recording files are selected, File (filename), Date Created, and Date Modified, File Size items have been added to the information displayed in File Info 1 in the Metadata palette.
  • Support for audio files recorded using voice recording features has been added.  An icon indicating an audio file is displayed in the Thumbnail Grid, allowing for audio playback of the file.
  • Show Movies and Show Voice Recordings options have been added to the options available from the Thumbnail Control bar in Thumbnail Grid and Image Viewer modes. If movies or voice recordings are not displayed, check the Show Movies or Show Voice Recordings option in the Thumbnail Control bar. 
  • A feature has been added that displays image information for image and movie files in the upper left corner of the Image View area when the 'i' button in the Image Control bar is clicked in Image Viewer and Full Screen modes. Display of shooting information can also be enabled and disabled by pressing “I” on the keyboard. 

Menu and selection changes:-

  • The All Images option in the Edit menu has been moved to the Select Image submenu, and a Select All option has been added to the Edit menu. 
  • A None option has been added to the middle name of the rule displayed in the File Naming dialog. 
  • The minimum value that can be entered when changing image size with file conversion has been reduced to 320 pixels for either width or height, whichever is longer.


  • Support for the Service Pack 1 versions of 32-bit Windows Vista Home Basic/Home Premium/Business/Enterprise/Ultimate has been added.

Help system - Available from the help menu or F1

  • This is improved, but indexing is still poor.

Keyboard shortcuts

  • Can be a nuisance, for example touching the wrong key by mistake looses the images showing basically a white page, closing it down and starting it up again won't clear this. Its just the image is now showing highlight or shadow detail.  The keyboard shortcuts are shown on individual choices and listed in the appendixes at the end of the help  system.

Overall the changes are an improvement and it makes sense to have a similar look and feel as Capture NX2. It appears to be stable and run well, and several simple but nice features in the favourites areas in the browser and the information display are going to make it quicker to use.


You can download a free copy from Nikon www.nikon.co.uk, you won't find it under products, software, but on the support area, go to customer services, then support and downloads, then select software, or click here to reach this point,  then select ViewNX 1.1.0 (or a later version of available) for either Windows or the Mac.

Also collect a copy of Nikon Transfer 1.1.0 or later at the same time. There are minor differences with this version but nothing you are likely to spot.

Tip: When downloading these files its a good idea to save them to a downloads directory of your disk, so creating a backup, rather than just running them, as often later only the latest versions are available. If later you end up with a less stable version or one that doesn't work as well with your system, you will be able to uninstall it and reinstall the saved version. Once on your disk you just click on them to start the install.


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