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Nikon firms up details of new software offerings  
Wednesday, May 31, 2006 | by Rob Galbraith

At about the time volume shipments of the newly-announced D2Xs hit the streets, Nikon will also begin rolling out the next generation of their camera control and RAW processing solutions. Except for critical fixes as needed, Capture 4.4.x won't be updated in the future, says Michael Rubin, Senior Manager for Software Products at Nikon USA. Instead, the company's focus going forward will be on four different  applications aimed at Nikon digital SLR owners: Capture NX, Camera Control Pro, View Pro and Image Authentication Software.

Capture NX (Windows and Mac)

Developed in conjunction with Nik Software, Capture NX is a full-featured image editing program that works with JPEGs and TIFFs from any source, as well as NEFs from Nikon digital SLRs. The centrepiece of Capture NX is U Point, an innovative method for applying corrections selectively to a photo.

Capture NX is slated to ship in July 2006, says a news release on the Nikon Imaging web site; Nikon USA's Rubin says the ship date for the U.S. market is summer 2006. Since Capture won't support NEFs from the D2Xs, Nikon presumably is trying to get Capture NX out the door at the same time or not too long after their newest digital SLR hits the market.

In the U.S., the manufacturer's suggested list price (MSRP) for Capture NX will be US$174.95. The expected street price is US$149.95. Owners of Capture 4.x will be able to purchase Capture NX for US$89.95, and the upgrade will be available exclusively through Nikon USA's online outlet, Nikon Mall. Nikon Mall will also sell non-upgrade copies of the new program, for US$149.95. Owners of a version of Capture prior to 4.0 will have to pay full freight for Capture NX. Nikon USA will make available a 30-day trial version of Capture NX as well.

Camera Control Pro (Windows and Mac)

To link to and control a D2Xs (and subsequent new models) over a wired or wireless connection, this application will be required. The current Capture's Capture Control module will not be updated to support the D2Xs, though it will continue to be compatible with all earlier Nikon digital SLRs back to the D1.

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Get Connected: Nikon Camera Control Pro. Click to enlarge. (Screenshot courtesy Nikon)

In the future, Camera Control Pro (at launch it's really a slightly-reworked version of the control module in Capture 4.4.x) will be where any new camera control-related features emerge, so at some point it will probably become a desired purchase for owners of digital SLRs older than the D2Xs too.

Rubin expects Camera Control Pro to ship in July 2006. The MSRP will be US$79.95, while the expected street price is US$69.95. That will also be the price direct from Nikon Mall. Nikon USA will make available a 30-day trial version of Camera Control Pro.

Camera Control Pro initially won't be fully compatible with Macs with Intel processors, which puts it in the same boat as the Capture Control module of Capture 4.4.1.

Note: If you're not planning on a D2Xs purchase soon, but you are interested in both Capture NX as well as direct control of your current Nikon digital SLR, it will be slightly cheaper in the U.S. to purchase Capture 4.4.x for about US$100 today and Capture NX at US$89.95 when available, rather than to wait and  purchase Capture NX and Camera Control Pro. Doing the math reveals that Capture 4.4.x (which has camera control included) plus Capture NX will be about US$190, whereas Capture NX plus Camera Control Pro will be closer to US$210. This applies to the U.S. market only, though other regions worldwide may offer similar deals.

View Pro (Windows and Mac)

Nikon's lightweight, rapid View Pro photo browser is in development, but its release has been pushed back to a date "to be announced later."

Image Authentication Software (Windows)

With image authentication enabled in the D2Xs' Set Up menu, RAW, JPEG and TIFF photos taken with the camera can be verified as unaltered in Nikon's new Image Authentication Software. Image Authentication Software can determine whether the photo itself, as well as GPS location, date/time and most other EXIF metadata stored inside a D2Xs picture file, has been altered. The software is also designed to verify itself, to ascertain whether its own programming code has been tampered with.

In the U.S., Nikon Image Authentication will have a manufacturer's suggested list price of US$649.95 and an expected street price of US$569.95. It's slated to ship in July 2006. It will run on Windows 2000/XP systems only, there is no Mac version. It will only run when the included USB dongle is plugged into the host computer.

Nikon Image Authentication Software will not be compatible with files from earlier Nikon digital SLRs.

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Verify: Nikon Image Authentication Software. (Screenshot courtesy Nikon)

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