Recently I took advantage of the price reduction in the niksoftware Nik Collection. Its one of those imaging suites that I've had my eye on based on numerous reviews and recommendations, but I thought that the investment was rather prohibitive considering the number of tools already available to me. However, over Easter I decided to give it a go and downloaded the full suite.
Its a bit of a learning curve, but the basics are easy to grasp. I ran two PanStarrs images through the HDR Effex pro and noise reduction routine and was impressed in the amount of detail i was able to get-though the uneven colour casts were undesirable as was the over enhanced dust on the sensor. Previously I have used the Photoshop HDR routines as well as the free luminance-hdr and like the way Nik renders landscapes.
The noise reduction routine Dfine works well, both automatic and manual, though generally I find that Lightroom works just as well. Maybe I have yet to find a suitable image to try.
The Bittern image was a trial run through Viveza. The ability to add control points to selectively adjust various parts of the image without masks was useful-I wanted to tone down the water and bring up the reeds a bit (the image was taken during a cloudy spell but the water was still well lit). It was then run through Sharpener pro which did a very good job of bringing out the fine detail without producing artefacts. Different routines for printing too which is handy.
Basically it is early days (not tried Silver Effex, or Color Effex yet)but I am getting to like using the Collection.