Nikon Capture 4 on a Mac...ARRRGH!!!!

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by Amr, Oct 28, 2005.

  1. Amr

    Amr Guest

    Here's an update on Nikon's Capture 4 software, and how it runs on a
    Mac...it's a rather long rant, but if nothing else, this will give me a
    chance to vent some frustration...and hopefully serve as a warning for
    others...



    Anyways, I'll start with the good when Nikon View and Nikon Capture
    are running properly, they actually do a fairly good job of editing and
    manipulating Nikon's NEF raw images. (For those not familiar with these
    software packages, View is the "freebie" viewing and basic editing software,
    and Capture is the "extra cost" editing package.) Certainly not as
    sophisticated as PhotoShop, but then Capture is easier to learn and
    considerably cheaper. I found I could use Capture pretty effectively within
    a short period of time.



    But now the bad Nikon makes excellent camera gear, but their software
    quality and support...well, um...oh dear... Here's the story:



    I originally decided to install View and Capture on my new iBook G4 (running
    OsX "Tiger") using the 30-day trial versions. It was certainly well named:
    it ***was*** a trial to download and install! At one point, View would
    run...but Capture would abort with a funny error message. (Maybe something
    to do with the PACE anti-piracy software.) Then, I managed to get Capture
    to run...but View aborted whenever it encountered an NEF file edited by
    Capture. This was all aggravated by attempting to download software from
    Nikon's Canadian and American websites, which can only be described as sheer
    hell. (I live in Canada, but often access Nikon's U.S. support site for
    packages that aren't on the Canadian site.) For starters, I could usually
    download View and Capture software upgrades...but occasionally both sites
    would tell me I was not authorized to download, even when I should have been
    allowed. (Nikon Support couldn't figure that one out.) As well, although
    the Canadian and American websites seem to be linked (my Nikon support ID is
    honored at both sites), the software packages on the sites don't seem to be
    *quite* the same: it appears that the American site has "U.S." versions of
    software, while the Canadian site has "international" versions. Now, if you
    check the "about" menu selection when Capture is running, there is
    absolutely no indication whether it is a "U.S." or "international"
    version...but the installation process knows: if you try to update the
    software, and there's a "region" conflict, the installer refuses to do
    anything. (How idiotic: why doesn't Nikon simply make one version of the
    software that installs worldwide?)



    Nevertheless, after much tinkering, downloading, and re-downloading, and
    re-installing, I finally got the latest versions of View and Capture to run
    on my iBook. And I liked Capture...so I decided to buy a permanent copy
    today...



    (Sigh.)



    First problem: I bought a copy of Nikon Capture 4.1 from a local Nikon
    dealer, and I was running Capture 4.3.2 (trial version) on my iBook. Now,
    you would think that the installation key for 4.1 would work for 4.3.2...but
    you'd be wrong. Apparently, Nikon changed the authorization code. Here's
    what Nikon says on their support site:



    "The license validation method has changed between Nikon Capture 4.x and
    4.2. License codes from earlier versions of Nikon Capture cannot be used
    with Nikon Capture 4.2. If you own a Nikon Capture 4.x license, please
    install and activate that copy before updating to this version."



    So, I tried their advice...which lead to my second problem: whenever I
    tried to use the "uninstall" option in the Nikon Capture Installer to remove
    Capture from my iBook, it would seem to start up, ask me for my
    administrator password, and then I would get a pop-up box with this message:
    "The application Nikon Capture Installer quit unexpectedly." (From the
    error report, it looks like an attempt to access kernel memory caused the
    Installer to abort.)



    However, if I tried to force an install of Capture 4.2 from the CD-ROM on to
    the iBook, then the Installer would tell me I already had a newer version of
    Capture installed, and would exit.



    At this point, I called Nikon Support in Toronto for help. (At my own
    expense, I might add...Nikon Canada doesn't seem to have a 1-800 toll-free
    number.) The technician was baffled why the uninstall wouldn't work, but
    told me the Capture 4.1 distribution package was obsolete, and the local
    Nikon dealer should have sold me a Capture 4.2 package. I called up the
    store, and explained the situation. The guy at the store offered to refund
    me for the package, but was really miffed: according to him, Nikon Canada
    didn't warn him about any incompatibilities with authorization keys, and he
    thought the Capture 4.1 package was still OK to sell. Anyways, I went back
    to store, and by the time I got there (lo and behold) the store managed to
    find a recently-arrived Capture 4.2 box for me.



    Back at home, I started up Nikon Capture 4.3.2 on the iBook, entered the
    authorization key from the 4.2 CD-ROM...and it worked! Now Capture works
    fine. BUT...I don't know whether my earlier attempt to uninstall affected
    any files, or not. I did an experiment, and found that with even with the
    4.2 CD-ROM I ***still*** can't uninstall Capture (the abort still occurs),
    or re-install Capture 4.2 Lovely...I have an installation of Nikon Capture
    that might, or might not, be OK, and that I can't seem to fix.



    Now, is it just me, or is it dumb to:

    1) Have different "region" versions of the same software that are
    incompatible?

    2) Change the license validation method within the same major release
    of a software package?

    3) Have an "uninstall" procedure that doesn't work?

    4) Have no way of forcing an installation of an earlier version of the
    software?

    5) Have a support site that might, or might not, allow you to download
    software updates?



    I really like my Nikon D100 (and my F90X and my F3), and my iBook, and I
    even like Nikon Capture, when it works. But this is, without question, the
    worst experience I've ever had in trying to install and update software on a
    personal computer. What really cheeses me off is that this is all so
    unnecessary: I can't understand why Nikon even bothers charging anything
    for Capture. They might as well just include it with any camera they sell
    that supports NEF files, and then Nikon users wouldn't have to worry about
    "validation keys" and "authorized downloads". I can't believe Nikon is
    making that much money off Capture to make this pain to the user community
    worthwhile. Better yet, maybe they should just farm out raw image editing
    software to a software house that knows how to properly debug and support
    software. It's pretty obvious software isn't Nikon's strong suit.



    BTW, if anyone has any ideas how to work around the "uninstall" abort,
    please let me know.
     
    Amr, Oct 28, 2005
    #1
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  2. Amr

    A. Longor Guest

    Mac users seems to have as many odd problems as Canon users.
     
    A. Longor, Oct 28, 2005
    #2
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  3. At least they aren't the kind that inspire one line bottom posted, smart
    ass responses to lengthy articles. I say you have a bigger problem
    indeed.
     
    Little Green Eyed Dragon, Oct 28, 2005
    #3
  4. Amr

    A. Longor Guest

    Would you have bitched if I'd top-posted?

    message
     
    A. Longor, Oct 28, 2005
    #4
  5. No, I would not have, every person has a right to be a wise ass
    in my book. Its the stupid crap that wears thin.
     
    Little Green Eyed Dragon, Oct 28, 2005
    #5
  6. Amr

    Amr Guest

    Mac users seems to have as many odd problems as Canon users.

    In fairness to Apple, the iBook is my first Mac...I've had it a couple of
    months...and except for the Nikon Capture issue I've been very pleased with
    the iBook. And the Capture issue is Nikon's problem, not Apple's. I've
    used PCs since the '80s, and I've had far more crazy software issues with
    Windows...even my new Win/XP Hewlett-Packard desktop system, which I bought
    this past June, had some odd software behaviour problems straight out of the
    box.

    Macs seem to be "of a piece", and the software and hardware knows how to
    play together. By contrast, in my experience Windows software likes to pick
    fights with the hardware it's running on. (Add in a virus-scanner, and it
    just gets worse...) I've noticed that stuff that is difficult or
    time-consuming on a PC is a snap to do on the Mac.
     
    Amr, Oct 28, 2005
    #6
  7. Amr

    Paul J Gans Guest

    Yup. But don't worry. Windows is still ahead.

    ---- Paul J. Gans
     
    Paul J Gans, Oct 29, 2005
    #7
  8. Amr

    Paul J Gans Guest

    I think the idea was that you could have trimmed
    the original post a good bit.

    ---- Paul J. Gans
     
    Paul J Gans, Oct 29, 2005
    #8
  9. Amr

    cjcampbell Guest

    The problem is the weird licensing protection system used by Nikon.
    This is not just an issue with the Mac version, BTW.

    You can use Spotlight to find all the Nikon Capture files and remove
    them, then reinstall using your 4.2 disk. Uninstall does not
    necessarily remove all the old Nikon Capture files on either Mac or
    Windows, nor does it remove all Windows registry entries, but you can
    pretty much start with a clean slate on a Mac by removing all files and
    folder related to Nikon Capture. It is actually a little easier with
    the Mac version because there are no .dll files in a "Windows" or
    "System" subdirectory that Spotlight will not find.

    Once you have reinstalled using your 4.2 disk you can use the updater
    to update to your current version.

    One other warning. Nikon Capture, Picture Project, and View are highly
    intolerant of moving their folders from their default location. Don't
    do it.

    And another warning: if you use Photoshop, any of these programs will
    install the Nikon raw plug-in which is not as flexible or powerful as
    the Photoshop raw processor. Go to your Photoshop plug-in folder and
    trash the Nikon raw plug-in in the File Formats folder.

    Nikon's software is terrible, but Capture does have some uses, such as
    removing distortion from 10.5mm DX Fish-eye images. It also does a nice
    job of quickly adjusting some images. Overall, though, I have to say
    that it is a waste of money. One of the worst aspects is the supposed
    ability to send a Capture image to Photoshop. It is actually faster to
    save the image and then open it in Photoshop than it is to send it
    directly to Photoshop. Nikon's software also makes and saves
    adjustments to original images without asking you whether you want it
    to do that.

    Besides the flakey copy protection scheme, silly interface, slow
    Photoshop transfer, lousy raw editor, and a high probabiity of making
    unwanted irreversible changes to your original files, there is very
    little that I can find wrong with Nikon software.
     
    cjcampbell, Oct 29, 2005
    #9
  10. Amr

    Jeremy Nixon Guest

    Don't be so sure. Nikon Capture installs a kernel module that Spotlight
    will never find; it silently alters obscure system-level configuration
    files that should not be edited; and it silently runs a background process
    on the system at all times, without offering any way to disable it or even
    telling you it's there.

    I strongly recommend never letting it anywhere near your system. It's not
    like it's any good anyway.
     
    Jeremy Nixon, Oct 30, 2005
    #10
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