Nikon View 5.01 for Mac and Windows is now available as a free download from Nikon USA's technical support web site. The revamped browser sports a new interface, support for Mac OS X and Windows XP, broader IPTC captioning capabilities and, unlike Nikon View 4, is able to browse photos once they've been transferred to the computer from a CompactFlash card or camera.
Nikon View 5.01
Shooters of raw .NEF files benefit from the new release. That's because NEFs can be previewed in Nikon View 5.01 at lightning speed. For example, double-clicking a D1X NEF file loads a large, eminently usable preview in just under 2 seconds on a 1.8ghz Pentium 4 machine here. D1H NEFs spring open even faster. Previously, preview speed like this was obtainable only from certain third party programs, such as Bibble.
Mac users will also see sprightly NEF preview speed, both in Nikon View 5.01, and in the image cataloger iView MediaPro 1.4. Running in Mac OS X 10.1.3, MediaPro is able to preview NEFs in its Media view at least as fast as Nikon View itself. That's because Nikon View installs supporting files that MediaPro calls on to generate its Media preview.
Unfortunately, Nikon View 5.01 for Mac otherwise feels much slower than its Windows counterpart. Moving through screens of thumbnails and other basic operations all seem to trail the Windows version. For example, the program appears to have trouble keeping up to even a moderate pace of successive mouse clicks, making selection of multiple photos cumbersome.
In addition, v5.01 appears able to add IPTC information only during the transfer of images from card to computer. Once transferred, the information can be viewed but not edited, at least not in Nikon View. It's unknown whether this limitation will be addressed in a future release.
Update, April 19: Nikon has pulled the Mac version from the web site: "Due to reported problems on some Macintosh Systems running OS 10, the Macintosh version of NikonView 5 has been temporarily removed."
Supported cameras in Nikon View 5.01 include the Nikon D1, D1H and D1X, as well as a smattering of Coolpix models. The Mac release is compatible with OS 9.0 through OS X 10.1.3. The Windows release is tuned for Windows 98SE, Windows ME, Windows 2000 and both the Home and Professional versions of Windows XP.