DxO Optics Pro 9 brings a number of important enhancements and new features, but the new PRIME noise reduction processing is one of the most important. It’s a highly sophisticated noise reduction process which surveys a thousand surrounding pixels for each pixel processed in an attempt to separate genuine detail from noise. The payback is the processing time, which can run to several minutes.

DxO says it’s also improved its regular, real-time de-noising tool, so I thought it would be useful to compare the results. I processed the same image four times: once with no noise reduction, once with DxO ‘classic’ de-noising, once with the PRIME process and once using a competing RAW converter (Aperture).

All four tests were carried out using the default settings, and you can see the full result at the end of this post. I’ve kept the image at its full resolution, so click the image to see it at its full size.

In the meantime, here’s how it works.

01 The Noise reduction panel

DxO Optics Pro 9 PRIME

DxO Optics Pro 9 looks quite different to its predecessor. The Organize and Customize tabs are still there at the top left of the screen, but you now Export images using the button at the bottom right.

You need to click the Customize tab to make image adjustments, and the adjustment panels are displayed on the right. I’ve closed all the panels except the Noise reduction panel for the sake of clarity.

02 1:1 view

DxO Optics Pro 9 PRIME

To see the effects of noise reduction on the image itself, you’ll need to zoom into the 1:1 view using the button (1) on the top toolbar. You can also see a zoomed in 1:1 view in the square preview window in the Noise reduction panel, but this is quite small.

For this first test, I’ve switched off the noise reduction completely using the switch gadget (2) in the top left corner of the panel.

03 Regular High quality NR

DxO Optics Pro 9 PRIME

To use the regular (classic) noise reduction, switch the panel back on and click the High (High Quality) button. After a moment’s processing, you’ll see the result in both the main viewer and the magnified preview in the Noise reduction panel.