Hey everyone, RC here with pretty cool news!  Nik Software has just released a new version of their killer HDR software – HDR Efex Pro 2.  They’ve got a new tonemapping algorithm, some sweet speed increases, and a new interface.  Rather than me sit here and just go on and on about it, I figured it be a neat idea to just walk you through the process with one of my files.  I’m even including the file for you guys to play with at the bottom of this post!

http://youtu.be/8027uFEtxr0

Scott Kelby Fans Get a Jump Start and a Great Discount!
So, here’s the deal.  We are all getting advanced access to Nik HDR Efex Pro at a very reduced rate.  How reduced?  Its like 40 dollars off…   In order to check it out, go to this link: http://bit.ly/M8axzX

Some Samples of Images Tonemapped with HDR Efex Pro 2

I know that just showing a quick video of a tonemapping process wouldn’t be enough to convince you that this is something that you should really look at.  That’s why I went ahead processed all of the images below with HDR Efex Pro 2.  This thing is the real deal.

Download the RAW Files Used in the Video
I didnt want to just show what I can do here with the program – I also wanted to see what you guys come up with!! To that, I figured it be cool to get you a link with the RAW Files (its about 108MB in size.. 8 RAW Files). This way, you can play with them and share with me what you come up with. Download the program, take these files for a spin and share with me what you come up with!! Download the file here: http://bit.ly/LSpv0s

You can follow me at my Google+ page (http://www.gplusrc.com) or at my blog (http://www.aboutrc.com) – Enjoy!!

About The Author

Scott is the President of KelbyOne, an online educational community for Photographers, Photoshop and Lightroom users. He's editor and publisher of Photoshop User Magazine, Conference Technical Chair for the Photoshop World Conference & Expo, and the author of a string of bestselling Photoshop, Lightroom, and photography books.

116 Comments

  1. $40.00 off new purchase.  $10.00 off upgrade price.

    • I bought it, Just installed it. The HDR 2 registered properly and I have already used it on a one image picture. Faster than using all the other nik programs!

  2. If you are a NAPP member, you cannot stack the Nik discount. It will tell you the existing discount is larger than you NAPP discount.

  3. Shame discount is for U.S and Canada only!

    • response from Nik software when I queried it with them:

      “Thank you very much for your e-mail.

      At the moment, this offer is only available to US and Canadian residents.  We will inform you, once a similar offer is available in Europe.

      If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.”
      err ok, not really answering my question though!!

  4. Wow. Love the plastic HDR look.

  5. This is a great special but sadly it is only available to USA and Canadian residents.  I live in New Zealand and would love to be able to have this opportunity.  Why do we miss out?  New Zealanders are your fans too Scott

    •  This hasn’t got do with Scott. In fact, Nik has always had a rather strange pricing for most people outside USA. I live in Sweden and have to buy their products in Euro. HDR Efex Pro for example is $99 in the US and €99 for me. With the current exchange rate to the Swedish Krona that means I pay almost 50% more for their products tham I would if I live in the US. I really don’t see why they do this.. Or, I guess I can, but I don’t like it.

      • Weird indeed. I bought Perfect Effects 3 through OnOne USA with my EU cc and not a problem, so technically and legally it’s not an issue, it’s Nik’s policy to deny EU customers access to their US/CAD payment portal.

        Oh well, I guess Nik doesn’t want our money then ;)

      • If the VAT is included in that €99 price then it’s actually cheaper for you than the “$99 for US residents”. Why? Well, to that $99 every vendor is required to add VAT (requested by EU). $99.95 + 25% (VAT in Sweden) = $124.94 = 871 SEK. €99 = 854 SEK. Thus, if the price €99 includes VAT (as it should be in my personal opinion) then it’s actually cheaper for you.

  6. My only gripe with the original version was the ghost removal was poor.  It seems much improved with version 2 - more control and a preview of the ghost and CA removal, and the results are better on a sampling of my images.  Jennipha, I live in NZ and just bought the upgrade without a problem

    • Mike,
      How did you pull that off?

      • I clicked on the link and bought (from the US site) using an NZ credit card.  I’ve alwasy bought their products from the US site.  Sorry not sure how I’m able to and other’s aren’t.   

      • Well, I haven’t. The academic version in Australia cost just about as much as the upgrade Nik version – a $100 more than the American site – but they don’t care. I actually went as far as phoning them myself but they just shrugged their shoulders and told me to piss off. I am quite prepared to pay the full upgrade price now (and not the academic price) but I cannot download the program. It says it will be reviewed and I will then get an email. It will probably say that because I’m not from the USA, I cannot buy the product.

    • How did that work, buying from NZ?

  7. Same for Europe (Holland) :((

  8. Saw the SK Twitter feed – got excited – 40% off $100 – Wow.  Hang on. US SK fans only. $60 in the US $160 in the UK.  Must be the additional costs of electronic distribution ;-)

    Well Nik, at $60 you get my $60 and at $160 you get zilch. Think about it.

    • Even worse for the complete edition – $349 in the US (would be $418 with 20% VAT) vs $618 in the EU.  I too would have bought it at the US price, but not at the EU price.

  9. I’m another UK based prospective customer they don’t want.

  10. I guess Nik Software has just a totally different attitude regarding customers in the US/Canada and customers from the rest of the world. Example: At Photokina 2010 I’ve bought an upgrade from the academic version to the regular version of their complete collection, only to learn afterwards that an upgrade to the latest Silver Efex Pro 2 is not included. So, after paying even more in total than the regular complete collection, I’m stuck with the old version – no wait: I’m stuck without Silver Efex Pro as it is simply not working in 64bit, Thank’s Nik!

  11. yes, Nik doesn’t want our Euros if they are not in Euros…sad…

  12. Hi RC, That link does not take me to the files. It takes me to a Google signup page. Something I’m doing wrong?

  13. Upgrade doesn’t seem to work.  Says I have not registered my ver 1 product, but go to accounts and there it is registered.  Come on NIK.

  14. I just did the upgrade  Thanks for the heads up.  The first HDR Efex Pro is my goto software for HDR.  And, if this is better.  WOW!

  15. RC, once you’ve done the tone mapping, how do you decide whether to do further processing (global tonality, color, saturation, curves, etc.) in HDR Efex Pro 2 rather than going back to Lightroom?

  16. At first I got really excited about this. Wow, a new HDR Efex Pro and it seems to process files very much like Lightroom 4 handles 32 bit files, only with the benefits of all those Nik features. The fact that pricing might be higher for EU countries did occur to me, but maybe, just maybe they had made an exception this time……

    They hadn’t of course. Even worse – HDR Efex Pro 2 is not even available on the EU website!

    While I usually try to avoid negative statements about companies, this may be the moment to make an exception. Please feel free to share the following:
    Nik’s products are great, I love them and would gladly buy them all. But why, Nik, do you treat us non US/Can residents like 2nd class customers? Not only do we have to pay more, we also have to wait further than everyone else to buy you products. Why?
    Is it that you spend time and effort to develop a specific EU version of you software, with additional language support? Fine, then make one and offer it at a slightly higher price to cover your developing expenses. But at the same time, I’m Swedish and do not speak German, nor Italian or French but I do understand English perfectly well. As do most of the European population these days! At the same time I assume that the majority of your customers download their software rather than buying a boxed package.
    So why not go the Adobe way and offer an English download version at a fixed price for all nationalities, take or leave a few bucks extra for local VAT or transaction fees if it’s absolutely necessary. Available to anyone from day one!
    We all love your products and would gladly pay for them, heck I’m even prepared to pay a little more for your stuff than I would for your competitors’, because I think Nik’s products are slightly better in some aspects that are of importance to me. But that doesn’t mean I’m prepared to pay a lot more. And certainly not a whole lot more on the sole ground of not residing on the North American continent. 
    In the growing online market for software we’ve seen Adobe offering a unified pricing strategy, even if they run separate online stores for each country with minor local adjustments (pun intended). Same with Apple. Topaz and On One both offer flat rated prices for their international customers. All these mentioned software companies also offer international discounts for NAPP members.
    Nik, there are lot’s and lot’s of potential customers waiting. But time is running and the boat may sail sooner than you expect. Will you be able to catch it in time?

    Scott, Brad, RC – great reading as always. You guys rock!

  17. Funny, I was able to login to NIK’s site and buy the product with no problems.  Now I can’t login to the site again.  Wierd

  18. A while ago I looked at all the HDR programs out there, and lapped up R.C.’s book. Then Photoshop CS6 came along and Matty says the HDR engine in P/S-CS6 is as good as anything out there.  Boy am I glad I didn’t buy another one.  So, with all due respect, I will wait until R.C or Matt does a comprehensive comparison on Kelby On-line Training. 

  19. This is a great deal, and at the right time. I was looking into it this morning, and I saw HDR Efex Pro 1, and it was $100. mI didn’t een know they released a pro2 

  20. I downloaded the program and it works great.  It is a great improvement over version 1

  21. The only thing I noticed is that the certificate was expired for the actual download site.  The certificate for the purchase was fine, but then once the purchase was complete and I hit download I was presented with a message about an unconfirmed cert.  Did anyone else receive this message?

  22. I completely agree with Per Börjeson !!!!!!!!

  23. I am from Czech Republic and I know about let’s say 4 other friend and we all wanted to buy today HDR EFEX PRO 2. So why is the European Market so disadvantaged ? Nik Software should think about their future strategy very quickly !!! Sorry but that’s my opinion, not only my I gues….

  24. Bah another offer I cant use in the UK….  Looks impressive too.  Have emailed NIk to ask the question anyway.

  25. Hey guys just paid and installed the upgrade, works fine and WOW. Oh yea I live not in the USA or Canada and it accepted my payment, downloaded, install and activated. The only problem I can’t currently log into my account, but hey I can fix that. Also all registrations etc. occur on the International (USA) site anyway.

  26. Are you not able to install this to multiple computers? Its giving me a hard time.

  27. Great post RC! As someone who is just getting started in HDR, your demonstration was very informative. I’ve already purchased and downloaded HDR Efex Pro 2 and can’t wait to start working with it. Thanks to your demo I feel like I can ‘hit the ground running!’ Thanks again!

  28. Scott,

    I have been a member for a few years now and hope to be for a long time, but…..
    I do not like receiving offers for NAPP member that are only for NAPP members in US/Canada. Maybe you can make a statement to NIK et al. Make an offer to all NAPP members around the world, or not at all. I pay the membership just like everybody else.

    Leon.

  29. This is a very nice upgrade, however there is no speed increase, in fact it is much slower to render and open the image than version 1 or photomatix

    • That’s strange, all of our benchmarks as well as the results from our beta team showed that the software was actually much faster than version 1. We are taking advantage of the GPU in version 2, so you may want to make sure you have the latest driver installed on your system (if on a pc) or have the GPU enabled if on a Mac with the option. Of course the best bet would be to contact our support team with any questions as they can help troubleshoot directly.

      -josh from nik

    • Have to agree with Josh here..  Timing Photomatix and HEP1 on the shots, I actually saw a marked speed increase..    Dont mean this to sound off.. but i’d start checking on your computer stuff..  there’s got to be something weird going on there.. 

  30. I bought the entire suite since it said “receive free upgrade to hdr efex pro 2″  The download links I received is still hdr 1,  I wonder when I get the upgrade?  

  31. Just tried to purchase the update (I’ve got the Complete Collection) but my order is currently pending. I’m also from New Zealand, and have had no problems in the past purchasing from the US site. Guess I need to wait until my order is reviewed manually now…

  32. I just tried to upgrade and it says it cannot find me as a HDR 1 user when I copy and paste in my serial number.

    I have the complete version for photoshop BUT have the academic version. Is this a problem Kevin and is the price lower for academic users?

    Thanks. (USA user)

  33. I bought the update to the full collection from Aperture edition not long ago, and off cause the update is not enable to get an free update to HDR Efex Pro 2……

  34. Well, I cannot buy the product.. The academic version in Australia cost just about as much as the upgrade Nik version – a $100 more than the American site – but they don’t care. I actually went as far as phoning them myself but they just shrugged their shoulders and told me to piss off. I am quite prepared to pay the full upgrade price now (and not the academic price) but I cannot download the program. It says it will be reviewed and I will then get an email. It will probably say that because I’m not from the USA, I cannot buy the product.

  35. Thanks for sharing such a great deal.  I have been using version 1 for a year now.

  36. WHY DOES NIKSOFTWARE.COM HAVE AN INVALID SECURITY CERTIFICATE?

    Seriously, first the site cannot find my HDR 1 serial number, there is no help for academic version, and now I am getting the message that the https portion of their site has an expired certificate.

    Pretty lame Nik.

    • Sorry you had trouble upgrading your copy. The academic discount is actually better than this discount, and HEP 2 has not officially launched yet–this was a special pre-sale for NAPP members. You’ll be able to take advantage of your academic discount by contacting us directly on Monday.

      I’ll also look into any expired certs, last I checked they were all up to date, but I’ll make sure with our web team.

      • Correction. “…special pre-sale for US NAPP members”. …There are many international NAPP members that have all missed out, and as per other comments are disgruntled by NIK SOFTWARE international price hiking.

  37. Thanks for the tip RC!  I’ve upgraded to HEP2 and I plan to tackle your files and have a go at them.

  38. I’m your fan and follower from New Zealand, and was greatly disappointed that Nik software didn’t want to honor the discount offer for my country. If the offer is limited for the US only. Then please state it clearly.
    Lachezar

  39. So Scott, let´s see what impact you might have on Nik Software’s strategy to give us non-Americans the opportunity to buy the Nik Software Complete Collection in English at a price approx 50% higher than you guys. I would gladly pay what it costs in the U.S., but I will never ever buy the product for € 499,95…never….

  40. Its funny i was just at their site today and didn’t notice they had a new version.I use the first one for all of my HDR stuff and really like it. Low noise and great results. I try to make my images look (normal) not grungy and I really like being able to do that with this software. You have so much noise to kill using photomatix.. Ill def be trying this new one out.Thanks for the heads up RC.

  41. Hey is there a way to get a trial version yet to try it out? Just see the buy here info.

  42. Nik, if you want to operate in a global market, why do you go out of your way to anger your customers just because they live in different parts of the world? You need to realise that if you continue with these discriminatory practices, all you will do is lose customers. Stop charging people differently just because they live in different countries, and start offering everyone the same upgrade paths.

  43. just grabbed the upgrade for 32$ , thanks!

  44. So I got a reply back from Nik, and they directed me to the New Zealand store, where they are still selling HDR Efex Pro 1, and no special available. Note that Nik also promote their USA store as an International store, and I’m quite happy to purchase from there in US dollars as I’ve done previously. Agree with others that the same discount should be accessible for all, and that if you’re going to have electronic downloads available, it shouldn’t be geofenced to just the USA.

  45. Happy Birthday Scott! Hope your day was wonderful!

  46. NIK has the same problem with their pricing in Australia. Discounts only seem to apply to US customers. I accidentally tried to buy from the .com site once, only to have the order cancelled and get redirected to the Australian site. This was when I discovered just how much more expensive Aussie prices are (and coupon codes don’t work), even though our dollar is stronger than the US dollar. Oddly, even the full-price digital download of some software is cheaper than the academic version because you have to pay for postage on the academic version. Very strange. I wonder if NIK knows just how many sales they lose because of this disparate and confusingly inequitable difference in pricing?

    • It’s an unfortunate artifact of the fact that so many companies subsidise their prices in the US market by charging the rest of the world a lot more. Nik just seems to be particularly bad at it. Scott, I really hope that you’ll reconsider your association with such an unethical company.

  47. I was a little disappointed when I tried to find out the cutoff date for people who recently purchased HDR Efex Pro to get complimentary upgrades. The blurb on the Nik website has pre-written copy that says that date is “TBD.” Apparently, the editor forgot to enter a date. I then wrote Nik to see if I qualified, but didn’t get a response. What was I to do? The offer runs out this weekend. I bought the upgrade.

    • Free upgrades are available for anyone that purchased HDR Efex Pro 2 30 days prior to the official launch, which will be tomorrow July 9th. That means anyone that purchased the software on June 9th or later will get the free upgrade.

      • Uh, but that’s a brutal short time period. It’s really like selling a customer the last pieces of on the shelf articles while having the new ones already on stock. It would seem ok to me if it is announced that new stuff is around the corner and perhaps offer a discount to the old ones. Or extending that period of to to something like a half year or so… 30 days is brutal short – almost looking to gain some extra bucks for those concerned.

  48. Is there a standalone version for those of us without PS CS or LR?

  49. When I click through the upgrade link it will not allow me to enter all the numbers from my serial number.
    Rob

  50. I can not upgrade, when I click through the upgrade link it will not let me enter all the numbers from my serial number.

  51. Pricing model is a joke. You wonder why soooo many people resort to piracy!

  52. For the non Us /Canadian customers, it is RARE for stores to offer the same price to Canadians as US customers. Many Canadian stores have learned this the hard way. Look at the pricing information on the back of Scott’s Lightroom 4 book for an example.
    For me, it is too easy to cross border shop to not take advantage of the ‘slightly higher in Canada’ sticker.

  53. I am a bit mad…want to spend money on software and I’m not being able to…
    I’ll have to “acquire” it some other way…

  54. I went to the link to purchase and click Buy Now and it says the requested file does not exist.

    The requested file does not exist! ‘/srv/vhosts/www/htdocs/store/singlepurchase/usa_HDR2_NAPP.shtml’

    • Sorry, that’s being fixed now. As this was a weekend only deal, the discount is no longer available. We’re fixing the redirect, but you can go to http://www.niksoftware.com/hdr to purchase HDR Efex Pro 2 directly.

      • Thanks Josh.  I got tied up over the weekend and didn’t realize it’s only a weekend deal.  I wanted to check it out since it’s a good deal.  I’ll stick with Photomatix Pro which I already have for now i guess.

  55. Appreciated your reposting Dtown 110 on you blog.
    Haven’ been able to view videos at offical Dtown website or PhotoshpTV for months. 
    Missing out on all your info except this blog.

  56. Somewhat disappointed that I bought the Complete Collection (including HDR Efex 1.0) in April of this year yet it doesn’t qualify for a free upgrade. I know they can set any policy they want, but most software companies usually have a longer timeline.

  57. The cutoff date for a free upgrade is 6/9/12…I’d be really ticked if I had bought it on the 8th of June.

  58. I bought the upgrade but have not been able to use it. It makes CS6 stop working. At the moment I have not figured out what the problem is or how to correct. 

  59. As I’m in the UK and only recently decided to take the plung with NIK due to the price differential I was really starting to get a tad annoyed about this but fortune was on my side for a change and I qualified for a free upgrade ;0)

  60. Geez, whish I had waited + read comments.
    I never realized there was a problem buying for non US citizens, I’m swedish.
    I hit buy, order went through for review, however my Visa was charged & money drawn.
    What now? .. I paid & received nothing, support seems to take forever, this is not funny.

  61. Wow , seems like nothing but issues and problems. Almost feel bad my upgrade order and download went through without a hitch.
    Only had time to play for just a bit. I like the upgrade. The sliders and interface make sense in a start here and end up here way. I was able to make a non HDR HDR photo easily and also went over the top too just for fun. And my skill level is not high. Glad I upgraded.

  62. So I upgraded and then did a head to head compare against Photomatix Pro latest version using the Photomatix Pro Lighthouse DL from their website. Yeah, PM Pro is not as good a GUI but the comparison of the Tone mapping for these images is dramatically different. The Nik SW gave me a massive area of GREEN skies in every mapping option. Even control points (which PM Pro doesn’t have couldn’t get rid of it) No issue with PM Pro. Check it out. 
    Love your comments 

    Signed 
    ‘out $39 bucks’ Al

  63. GREETINGS BRAZILIAN. I have great respect for his work. And thank you for providing the files in Raw.

  64. Well decided to try out the “demo” version since I don’t qualify for a free upgrade. Will probably keep my money as I use it LR4 and it crashes every time. Using Win7 with 4GB of memory.

  65. Scott is a globally thinking guy.
    I believe Nik Software used Scott’s clout to sell a few more copies of their outrageously overpriced software  and “forgot” to mention that the offer is for the US only.
    I don’t think Scott would have gone with publishing it knowing that.

  66. HDR Efex Pro 2 not visible in Lightroom 4.1 (Mac) !???

  67. I was going back and for with support about the discount offer being good for US only. Doesn’t say so on any page, it’s just their greed to rob European customers. But I found an easy solution: use Photomatix

  68. RC
    Really would appreciate YOU trying the Lighthouse images from the Photomatix site in the Nix SW vs Photomatix. I certainly couldn’t good results with Nik.

    Al

  69. I live in the UK. The pricing of Nik software outside the US is a Joke

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