The big debate online right now in a lot of forums is about why should I pay for the DXO Nik Collection. The big arguments against paying are 1) I have the free version that works fine 2) DXO didn't change anything.
First off a little history, the Nik Collection has been around for a very long time and originally it sold for $500. In 2012 Google bought the Nik Collection and started charging $150 for the collection.
In March 2016 Google made the decision that they were no longer going to charge for the Nik Collection and in May 2017 Google announced it would no longer be supported or developed. Personally I think Google stopped developing and supporting the Nik Collection well before they announced it in 2017.
In October of 2018 DXO announced they would be purchasing the Nik Collection which brings us to June 6th, 2018. I got an email that the "new" DXO Nik Collection was available for purchase and this is where the "controversy" started.
In 2016, when Google made the Nik Collection free, I downloaded it and started incorporating parts of it into my work flow. I really liked the software and what it could do, but there was a problem. As Adobe continued advancing the development of Photoshop and Lightroom, the Nik Collection became more unstable and unusable and eventually didn't work at all on my computer. This was a major complaint from a lot of photographers.
When the DXO Nik Collection was released, DXO put on their website the four things they had changed.
1) Fully supports the latest versions of Photoshop, Lightroom, and Photoshop Elements
2) Fully supports the latest Mac OS X Operating System
3) Better Stability
4) Auto Update engine now integrated into the software.
All four of those things were very interesting to me because not only had Adobe made a lot of changes to their software but OS X is on High Sierra and there was a lot of complaints about the free version of the Nik Collection not working on High Sierra.
Now lets jump back to the controversy. The two big points were "Why should I have to pay $50" and "Why should I pay when nothing changed"
Well, you have to remember, the Nik Collection was not always free. It started around $500 and was that way for years until Google dropped the price to $150. The Nik Collection has only been free for around two years and during that time it was not developed or supported.
Software development and support costs a company money and quite frankly a price tag of $50 is pretty good to get software that I liked using that is going to be supported and developed into the future.
The second part of the debate, which is "nothing changed" is both valid and invalid. On the surface it is true, nothing changed. The DXO Nik Collection still contains the same 7 plugins as it did before, has similar controls and similar features. The thing is, the Nik Collection did change, but it changed "under the hood"
Since DXO purchased the Nik Collection they when through the source code and improved the code so it would be stable on every modern version of Photoshop and Lightroom as well as the latest versions of Mac OS X and Windows.
So while the outward appearance might not have changed they spent a lot of time fixing it so it was compatible with modern software and operating systems.
This needed to be done to get a good baseline before updating any of the plugins. By releasing a stable version DXO can get feedback from customers on compatibility issues and get a good solid foundation. Once this happens DXO can easily make changes to the individual plugins or even add plugins to the collection.
The last thing DXO did was integrated an auto update engine. Now if Adobe changes or the operating system changes, DXO can develop and distribute an update to maintain stability for the Nik Collection. Personally this is worth $50 to me.
Now with all that being said DXO still has the free 2012 version available on their website for download. The only caveat is, the 2012 version will not be supported or updated in any way.