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Gone is stuck-in-molasses feeling in Nikon View 5.5 for Mac  
Friday, December 20, 2002 | by
If you've felt like Nikon View for Mac has been stuck in molasses ever since the release of v5 earlier this year, then v5.5, released today as a free download from Nikon USA's web site, is for you. Prior to v5.5, the program struggled to keep up with simple tasks such as selecting multiple thumbnails, often registering mouse clicks a full second or more after the click. Now, mouse clicks register immediately, and attempts to browse large folders of photos don't send Nikon View into a spinning cursor depression. Instead, thumbnails begin to draw soon after the folder is selected. Previewing both JPEGs and NEFs is also reasonably quick. In other words, Nikon View 5.5 for Mac, running in either OS X 10.2.3 or 9.2.2, now nearly matches the sprightly feel of its Windows counterpart (which remains at v5.1.4).

In limited testing this morning, it quickly became apparent that while OS 9 users will see an overall performance improvement, the program really comes to life in OS X, especially when run on a dual 1.25GHz G4 desktop. Zooming in on a D100 NEF, for example, is impressively quick in 10.2.3, but bogs down in slow screen redraws in OS 9.2.2, regardless of the program's memory allocation. Browsing of photos on a network volume (a new feature in v5.5) is effortless in 10.2.3; in OS 9.2.2, by comparison, browsing a folder of D100 JPEGs and NEFs on a server, then quitting and relaunching the program, introduces a long delay as the program struggles to redisplay the networked folder of photos.

Like the Windows version, Nikon View 5.5 for Mac still doesn't colour manage the display of photos, an odd omission given that all of Nikon's other digital SLR applications are colour management-savvy. And it still isn't possible to batch process NEFs through Photoshop with the included NEF file format plug-in, since Nikon hasn't provided an option to turn off the display of the plug-in dialog as NEFs are processed into Photoshop.

On the basis of the speed improvements alone, however, Nikon View 5.5 for Mac is a mandatory upgrade, and is available as a free download from the Nikon USA web site (where you'll find a list of other changes as well). Nikon View 5.1.4 for Windows is also available.

Note: Nikon cautions customers outside of North America to wait for the international release of Nikon View 5.5 for Mac, which is expected at the end of January 2003.

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