DxO PhotoLab review

DxO PhotoLab review

DxO PhotoLab review


Verdict: 5 stars ★★★★★

With the inclusion of local adjustment tools, DxO has transformed a great RAW conversion and optical correction tool into a powerful image editor. To get the most from this software, however, it’s best to get the Elite edition and the DxO ViewPoint and FilmPack applications to go with it.


DxO has sprung a surprise with two major announcements. The first is the acquisition of the much-loved Nik Collection from Google, possibly saving it from doom in the process. The second is the release of a new program called PhotoLab, reviewed here, which is a development of its highly-regarded Optics Pro software. Both are big stories in the world of digital image editing.

Update: Read the DxO PhotoLab 2.1 review

DxO PhotoLab is the successor to DxO Optics Pro, a program designed with one simple aim – to get the maximum possible quality from your camera. This is done in two ways. First, the software identifies the camera and lens used to take the shot and automatically applied a lab-developed optical correction profile to correct an array of optical imperfections, or aberrations. Second, it uses a top-quality RAW processing engine to deliver high sharpness, low noise and a wide tonal range from your camera’s RAW files.

This hasn’t changed. It’s what DxO Optics Pro did before this, and it has built a well deserved reputation for very high image quality. But DxO PhotoLab adds a whole new ingredient – localised image adjustments. This was the missing link in DxO Optics Pro. Great as it was, Optics Pro offered no way to adjust smaller areas within the picture.

But now you can, and it makes an enormous difference to this software’s capabilities. Before, DxO Optics Pro was a great RAW converter but you’d still need other software to finish off and enhance images which needed local adjustments, such as a darker sky, or a lightened face in a portrait. Now, it’s a genuine standalone photo editing application in its own right, and unless you want to start compositing multi-layer images or creating HDR stacks or panoramas, you might not need any other software.

This, we presume, is the reason behind DxO’s name change, from Optics Pro to Photolab. Otherwise, DxO’s software bundles follow the same route as before, so PhotoLab itself is available in both Essential and Elite editions, and it’s the Elite edition that offers more advanced tools like DxO’s ClearView feature and PRIME noise removal tool. DxO also offers two add-on programs, ViewPoint and FilmPack, which offer advanced perspective corrections and analog film effects respectively. These are available separately or as part of the DxO Photo Suite bundle. Once they’re installed, they integrate with DxO PhotoLab to offer additional panels and controls.

You can find out more about ViewPoint and Filmpack below – all the screenshots accompanying this review are of the PhotoLab Elite edition with these two add-ons installed.

DxO PhotoLab review
DxO PhotoLab will apply image corrections automatically but it also offers a range of preset image styles, or ‘looks’.
DxO PhotoLab review
Lens corrections are applied automatically, and if you’re using a new lens you don’t yet have a module for, DxO will prompt you to download it.
DxO PhotoLab review
The big story in this version is the inclusion of new selective local adjustment tools.

So what’s new?

DxO says it will carry on developing the Nik Collection plug-in suite and plans to release a new Nik Collection 2018 version in the middle of 2018. In the meantime, it’s incorporated at least one of the Nik technologies into its new local adjustment tools – Nik’s U-point automatic masking tools.

Users of the Nik Collection will know how this works. You add a control point to the centre of an area in the image that you want to adjust, then use drop-down slider controls to change the exposure, contrast, saturation and other properties for that area.

The U-point selection works over a circular area, but within that area it uses the colour values at the point where you clicked to select areas with similar tones only, fading the masking effect towards the edges of the circle and masking areas which don’t match that tone.

You can move the control point around to pick the best location and adjust its radius to control how far its effect spreads. It might sound a little haphazard and imprecise compared to the selections you might make in Photoshop, for example, but it’s fast, intuitive and effective and lets you enhance your images in a very intuitive and visual way.

DxO PhotoLab review
To make a U point adjustment you click on an area of the image you want to modify and start moving the U point’s pop-up sliders.
DxO PhotoLab review
You can use as many U points as you like in the same image. Here, I’ve used three to tone down a distracting background.

How the selective local adjustments work

So here’s how the new DxO PhotoLab local adjustments work. First, you click the new Local Adjustments button on the top toolbar. Next, you right-click on the image to display the local adjustment selector. This is a circular gadget with tool icons around the outside, offering a Brush, Graduated Filter, Control Point, Auto Mask, Eraser, New Mask and Reset buttons.

The Brush tool is simple a feathered freehand brush you can use to paint over areas of the image. When you finish painting the area is displayed as a mask overlay, together with a row of vertical sliders for making adjustments. As soon as you start moving the sliders the mask disappears and you see the effects live on your image. Using a freehand brush tool might sound like a pretty basic way of making adjustments but it’s quick and easy and very effective for smaller areas.

DxO PhotoLab review
The new localised adjustments transform this program’s capabilities. This image has been enhanced with a ‘double-grad’ effect at the top and bottom.

The Graduated Filter tool works just as you’d expect if you’ve used them before in other programs. You get a feathered linear mask you can rotate, position and extend at will, with the same available adjustments – Exposure, Contrast, Microcontrast, ClearView, Vibrancy, Saturation, Temperature, Tint, Sharpness, Blur.

I’ve already talked about the Control point tool above, so the next one is the Auto Mask tool. This is designed to automatically detect the edges of the object you’re painting over. The mask doesn’t adapt to fit the object edges – it overlaps the boundaries even after you release the mouse – but the rendered adjustments show that it works very well where the edges are sharp and clearly defined, though soft or defocused edges produced a slight edge halo effect.

DxO PhotoLab review
The Auto Mask tool is quick and effective, though it can sometimes leave edge haloes around object outlines.

Lastly, there’s the Eraser tool, which is actually very important for refining adjustments you’ve made with a Gradient Filter, Control Point or Auto Mask. All of these can produce some unwanted ‘spillage’ on to surrounding areas, and the Eraser is a quick and simple way to clean them up.

These local adjustment tools work very well. The screen can get a bit cluttered and untidy when you’ve got a bunch of overlapping mask outlines and adjustment sliders, and there is a bit of slow-down when you’re making a number of adjustments and the image has to re-render between each one, but this is still a really good effort – it feels like a finished, polished system, not just a first attempt.

What’s it like to use?

The local adjustments are the principal change between the old DxO Optics Pro and DxO PhotoLab. The rest of the tools and workflow work pretty much as before, split between an Organize pane where you browse your image folders, a Customize pane for carrying out image enhancements and an Export to disk button for batch-exporting edited images in a variety of formats to a destination of your choice.

DxO PhotoLab review
DxO PhotoLab doesn’t have a Lightroom-style image catalogue, but it does have an effective folder browser offering ratings, flags and filters.

The Organize panel is pretty straightforward. DxO PhotoLab is not a digital asset management system (DAM) like Lightroom or Capture One Pro. It’s simply a folder browser with added rating, flagging and filtering tools for images within folders. It’s easy to filter out 5-star images, RAW files or image ‘Picks’, for example.

You can also create Virtual Copies, which is a major advantage. This enables you to try out a whole series fo different ‘looks’ for single image without having to create duplicate files that gobble up your hard disk space.

It’s the Customize panel where the real editing work is done, and here DxO PhotoLab can get quite confusing. It applies lens corrections, and lighting adjustments to your RAW files automatically, so you don’t need to know anything at all about the technicalities at this stage, but once you start working on images manually, there’s quite a lot to learn.

PhotoLab splits its tools into a series of stacked panels organised according to theme, for example Essential Tools, Light, Detail, Geometry and Color. Within these are individual tools, many with their own expanding drop-down options. There are lots of these tools, some appearing in more than one palette, and some which appear to do similar things to others.

DxO PhotoLab review
The Customize panel’s tools are often quite deep and technical, and it doesn’t stop there. You can also clone out small objects and apply a Miniature defocus effect in the Elite version.

Perhaps the best example is the DxO Smart Lighting system, which attempts to bring out detail in dark shadow areas and bring back highlight detail in the brightest. It’s never explained exactly how it does this, and you might prefer the straightforward Highlight and Shadow sliders of a program like Lightroom. But it does work pretty well nonetheless. However, there is an additional Selective Tone tool with sliders for manual Highlights, Midtones, Shadows and Blacks which appears to do a very similar thing. I’ve been using DxO Optics Pro for a long time and I’ve never worked out whether it really does and which of these tools – Smart Lighting or Selective Tone – I really ought to be using.

That’s my only ongoing criticism of DxO’s flagship software – there’s too much technical complexity and apparent repetition in the tools and their organisation. You can, however, create your own custom workspace, and I’d suggest doing that sooner rather than later. You can also save a lot of time by choosing a Preset effect you like and tweaking a handful of the processing parameters if necessary.

DxO ViewPoint 3 and FilmPack 5

This is a good point to mention the two add-on apps from DxO. They can be bought and used separately, but they also integrate with DxO PhotoLab to offer additional panels and tools within the PhotoLab interface.

DxO ViewPoint 3 is a tool for applying automatic lens corrections, just like PhotoLab but also for correcting more esoteric geometric problems like volumetric distortion – this is what makes people and objects near the edges of wideangle shots look stretched out sideways. ViewPoint 3 also has an array of tools for correcting perspective distortion, including converging verticals (keystoning), horizontal keystoning and both at the same time. It can also correct perspective distortion across two planes simultaneously.

DxO PhotoLab review
This before and after comparison shows the combined effect of PhotoLab’s lighting optimisation and distortion correction with ViewPoint 3’s advanced perspective correction controls.

FilmPack 5 is quite different. Where ViewPoint 3 is all about mathematical precision, FilmPack 5 sets out to replicate the look of classic analog films, developers and darkroom processes, adding in textures, borders and light leaks to give a real timeless, vintage feel. FilmPack 5 becomes a whole lot more useful now that DxO PhotoLab offers selective local adjustments.

DxO PhotoLab review

DxO PhotoLab review
PhotoLab’s localised adjustments can be used alongside FilmPack 5’s retro analog effects for a much more powerful set of editing and enhancement tools.

To be honest, I’d recommend getting both of these at the same time as DxO PhotoLab despite the extra expense, as part of the DxO Photo Suite.

So is it any good?

DxO Optics Pro was always a great program even without selective local adjustments, but now these have been added in DxO PhotoLab, it takes it to another level. I’ve already talked plenty about these tools, so I need to briefly mention the results.

First, the image quality. For ultimate quality I’d say it’s a toss up between this and Capture One Pro, depending on the camera model and whether or not Capture One has a matching lens profile. Both produce superbly results from raw files, but DxO PhotoLab does it more consistently across a wider range of camera models and lenses.

This software can extract a level of quality from your camera’s raw files that you probably never imagined it had. You have to look closely to see the improvements in noise, sharpness and especially edge sharpness, but the optimisation of the lighting and the effectiveness of the lens aberration corrections are obvious straight away.

A couple of tools deserve special mention. DxO’s ClearView option is a forerunner of Adobe’s Dehaze control – and it delivers a crisper, less over-the-top correction that adds drama to skies and overall contrast to flat-looking images.

DxO PhotoLab review
Using DxO ClearView with the new Graduated Filter lets you enhance skies without compromising the rest of the picture.

ClearView adds contrast on a broad scale, but DxO also has a Microcontrast slider that does it on a small scale. Other programs have Clarity or Structure sliders that do a broadly similar thing, emphasising textures and objects with localised contrast adjustments, but PhotoLab’s Microcontrast slider seems to add crispness and detail in an altogether more natural and less obtrusive way – but with just the same intensity.

DxO PhotoLab review
DxO’s Microcontrast slider has really enhanced the fine spiderweb and water droplets in this close-up.

And then there’s the DxO PRIME denoise tool. The standard noise reduction process already gives well above average results, delivering crisp detail and low noise without excessive smoothing, but the PRIME denoise feature goes a step further, using complex image analysis to reduce noise to very low levels even in the highest ISO images. There are two caveats. First, the PRIME process is slow, taking a couple of minutes to process a single image, and you can only preview its effect on a small section, and even this takes some moments to render. The other is that high ISO shots don’t just suffer from noise – they will also have an underlying loss of detail that the PRIME process can’t fix, and eliminating noise can often make this more obvious. Nevertheless, if you have the time to use it, DxO’s PRIME noise reduction is very, very good indeed.

DxO PhotoLab review
DxO’s PRIME denoise technology takes time to process but can deliver extremely low noise levels from high-ISO images.

Verdict

I really rated DxO Optics Pro before but the lack of selective local adjustments was a problem for me, so DxO PhotoLab changes everything. It’s not perfect – it can be sluggish, and the adjustment tools are still presented in a way that’s far too complex and technical – but its raw conversions are superb. I would definitely get ViewPoint 3 to add in its powerful perspective correction options and FilmPack 5 is a good call too, given that if you go for all three you can save some money on the combined cost with the DxO Photo Suite bundle. And do get the Elite version not Essentials so that you get the full range of tools.

If you’re not sure, or you’ve never tried DxO software, download the 30-day trial version. There are no watermarks or feature restrictions so this will give you plenty of time to try it out!

29 thoughts on “DxO PhotoLab review

  1. Thanks for this very helpful review. As a DxO user, I was wondering about the change. This review convinced me to upgrade.

  2. A couple of thoughts…

    1. You’re vastly underselling PRIME noise reduction. It’s the sole reason many pros have DXO in their toolkit. It’s the best in the business. 2 minutes is extreme though. I use it with 5D Mark IV 30 megapixel RAW images on a MBP and it never takes longer than 20-25 seconds.
    2. There is nothing mystifying or technical about Smart Lighting vs the selective tone tools. It’s not a one or the other is better discussion. Smart Lighting makes those adjustments automatically. It’s not doing anything magical, simply applying selective tone adjustments based on the DXO algorithm. If you’re happy with the results, great. You can further tweak them with the selective tone tools, or skip Smart Lighting altogether and do it yourself as you would in LR with the selective tone tools.
    3. The review of PhotoLab is very confusing as you’ve mingled in features in the initial review that are only available with the additional tools (separate purchase required) that you mention later. This is really a review of the DXO Photo Suite, not PhotoLab specifically.

    1. 1. I just measured 2 minutes 28 seconds for a 24MP Nikon D5600 RAW file on my MBP, which is typical for all the different camera RAW formats I’ve used with Optics Pro and now PhotoLab. Your MBP must be a darn sight better specced than mine. Interesting to learn that PRIME is the sole reason many pros use DxO. Do you have any data for this? I have, by the way, posted a PRIME comparison here – http://lifeafterphotoshop.com/dont-scared-high-isos/ – perhaps you haven’t seen it?
      2. Sorry, but I can’t agree. Smart Lighting vs Selective tone is mystifying and technical. Smart Lighting adjustments are not reflected in the Selective Tone sliders or vice versa – they are clearly separate processes designed broadly for the same job but acting independently.
      3. I’ve re-read the review and I don’t see where I’ve mingled in features in any ‘initial’ review that are only available with additional tools. I presume you mean ViewPoint 3 and FilmPack 5, which I introduce under their own heading while indicating clearly that they’re add-ons.

      1. 1. It’s possible our specs are different. I’m running a MacBook Pro (mid-2014) with 2.5 Ghz i7.

        I’d need to know exactly how you set up your exports for a 1:1 comparison, but here’s how I tested. I took 3 random RAW photos from 5D Mark IV (indoor portrait, outdoor portrait, outdoor shot of pumpkin patch) at 800, 1600, and 3200 ISO. I used the DXO Standard preset for adjustments and first exported each with the standard “HQ (Fast)” noise reduction at the auto settings. I exported with the default output to disk jpeg option (90 quality, 300 dpi).

        Next I exported the three photos, after quitting DXO and removing the .dop file for each image (to prevent any sort of possible head start) using the same default adjustment settings and the same output settings, only changing the noise reduction to Prime.

        I was a little optimistic with my time guess, having never actually timed it before, but it was still significantly faster than the 2-3 minutes you’re getting. Also, and I found this very interesting, there was no appreciable difference between 800, 1600, and 3200 ISO in output speed, just 3 seconds between the 800 and the 3200.

        So the standard HQ exports averaged 17 seconds. The Prime exports averaged 1 min 12 sec. That’s, on average, 55 seconds to use Prime over standard HQ noise reduction with the resulting image significantly better. (FWIW: fastest was 49 seconds, slowest was 58 seconds.)

        As to my assumption that most pros use DXO for PRIME. This simply comes from a lot of conversations with other pros in person and on various photo related forums. The overwhelming majority use LR (with a lot of bitching) and there isn’t a close second. Those who add DXO to their toolkit do so to utilize PRIME. You can find no shortage of evidence to support this online. I was initially turned on to DXO because of a fellow photog’s recommendation of PRIME. It’s significantly better than the noise reduction in LR, while the same can’t be said of the lens/body optimizations which are very good in both apps.

        2. Agree to disagree

        3. Your screen grabs in the review for PhotoLab include options not available in PhotoLab. The presets show in the preset section, right at the top, within the main review, include those only available in FilmPack and not included with PhotoLab.

        You reference cloning and using the miniaturize defocus effect within the main review (photo of bicycle leaning against rail). The defocus and miniaturize effects are only available with the addition of ViewPoint.

        All of the screen grabs of PhotoLab include features and buttons only available with the addition of the separate packs which are including if you buy the Photo Suite. This is confusing to any user reading your review and then looking to their own application and seeing a different interface and missing features (either before or after purchase).

        That’s fine that you reference them after the review as worthwhile additions. However, those features should have been removed from the initial PhotoLab review, and only referenced in the add-on section. Or, simply make it an updated Photo Suite review.

        1. OK, well, I guess I’ll add a remark about the different versions at the beginning of the review to avoid the version ambiguity you describe.

          1. i like this software but the batch processing is ultra slow… 23 images in 17 minutes… this makes it for me total useless… i hoped to use it after captioning in Photo mecanic, but with this processing speed…

  3. I’m a long-term Optics Pro user – and I’m also excited about the implementation of the Nik-style U-point technology in the new version of PhotoLab.

    However, users (like me) with images already processed with OpticsPro(11, etc) need to be careful NOT to open [RAW + dop] combos with PhotoLab – because it (PL) converts the dop/sidecar files from OpticsPro (OP) format to PL format … with some important negative impact.

    Most significantly, the OpticsPro9 algorithm has been dropped in PhotoLab (as DxO leaves this legacy feature behind) . . . and the conversion to a PL equivalent is a very poor approximation.

    I compared 220 images – originally processed in OP, using the OpticsPro9 algorithm – against the same [RAW + dop] combos simply opened and exported with PL … and I found significant differences.

    Unfortunately, PL doesn’t create a backup of the dop/sidecar – it overwrites them, and in the process it loses the original SmartLighting settings (for the OpticsPro9 algorithm). I have submitted a suggestion to DxO for the process to create a backup.

    I found a few bugs in the conversion process, too … Crops and perspective/keystone adjustments made in OP are not carried forward in the PL conversion of the dop/sidecar files … I have reported this to DxO’s excellent & responsive support staff.

    1. A clarification to the last sentence above; It should read: “Crops and perspective/keystone adjustments made in OP are not carried forward in the PL conversion of the dop/sidecar files, IN SOME CASES (NOT ALL CASES).”

    2. Thanks for that information. I will add a note to the review since it sounds like something other users need to be aware of.

  4. I wonder if the promised new version of the Nik Collection will still work as a Lightroom plugin. I guess that might be too much to ask, now that it is owned by a competitor.

  5. Been using Photolab quite a lot over the last couple of weeks and thought I’d share some thoughts. As a log-time user of Lightroom and Photoshop, and a very halfhearted DxO customer, I had to think carefully about the upgrade to Photolab, but for the price, why not? And I really like the new product, much more than the OpticsPro line. Brilliant automatic noise reduction, that doesn’t affect overall detail at medium iso but clears up that shadow and other noise. Then there is Prime noise reduction which is a step up again. I usually shoot full frame, so noise isn’t often much of an issue, but I bought a Canon M5, which is a top piece of gear, but being a crop sensor, suffers from more noise than I like, so Photolab is more useful than the Nik, PS or LR noise reductions. And I love the integration of Film Pack and ViewPoint. I use the Film Pack all the time and with all the available adjustments, getting the right look is easy. I appreciate the refined functionality of the lighting and contrast panels, compared to Adobe products. The adjustment brushes are just fine. The much vaunted U-Point function is fine but not my fave function. On the other hand, there is no History panel, which I miss very much, so one can’t easily go back for another go. There is an undo/redo capability, or completely Reset, but that’s all. And on starting the program, it always opens at the first image in the folder rather than at the last edited image. Oh well, there’s always another version on the way.

  6. I just started testing DxO Photolabs for the PRIME Noise reduction-feature. However, I can’t get the integration with LR to work. I.e. if I do edits in LR and then chose Transfer to DxO Photolab, none of the edits are there. I thought PL would use the edits made in LR, no?

    1. Any RAW processor will require you “fix” adjustments you made into a pixelated format such as a tiff if you want those adjustments to show in another RAW processor or image editor. The reason exporting from Lr to Ps seems to include your Lr adjustments is that they share the same RAW processing engine, so your Lr adjustments are passed along to Camera Raw. You will note however that when you save your Photoshop edit, a new tiff file has been created and added to your Lr catalog. You may be able to register PhotoLab as an external editor that will appear when you select Photo/Edit In… from inside Lr. In that case I believe Lr. will create the .tiff file for you, and open tiff file in PhotoLab rather than the RAW file, though this may largely defeat the benefits of using PhotoLab.

      I am considering whether to add PhotoLab to my tool bag and it is important to consider workflow. If you plan to use any editing features in Lr but prefer PhotoLab’s RAW conversion, you will want to export a .tiff or .dng file back to Lr to continue your work. If you plan to use Lr primarily for it’s organizational features, (something I fought for a long time, but now really lean on a lot,) you could export a reference .jpg back into your Lr catalog as a reference, but I’d avoid much in the way of further edits on the .jpg.

      1. That’s how it usually works with external editors and plug-ins in Lightroom, but DxO engineered a system whereby PhotoLab gets the RAW file from Lightroom, not a processed TIFF. That’s the theory, anyway. I had this running with Lightroom and DxO Optics Pro, but right now I don’t see an export to Photolab option in Lightroom Classic, so I’ll need to investigate further.

  7. I’ve just bought DXO PHOTOLAB ELITE and the results are very good, but the exposed files are in “jpg.dop” format which cannot be open in photoshop. Is this ok? How can I get jpg’s or tiff’s archives?

    1. You have to use the Export button on the filmstrip at the bottom of the window or the Image > Export command to create a JPEG or TIFF file that another program like Photoshop can open. The .dop file is simply a record of the processing instructions you’ve applied in PhotoLab and it won’t make sense to any other program.

    2. Hi Jose, As Rod said …

      Alternatively, you can also export directly to any 3rd-party application (such as Photoshop).

      To do so, click on the File menu-item, and there you will see “Export to Application” … you will need to select the “executable” file relating to the application – via the Browse button.

  8. Thank you very much for your answer, Rod. DXO creates two files, the “.TIFF’s or .JPG’s” and the “.dop’s” . I`m getting familiar to this new app. I’ve been using DXO FILM PACK 5 with great results. Thank’s again from Spain!!!.

  9. I find this to be immature software – nice ideas, but not very useable yet.
    1. Local Adjustments are great, but you cannot select the “inverse”
    2. Help is practically non-existent
    3. RAW conversion better than its predecessor, but not in the class of Canon’s own, free DPP4
    4. Does not play nicely with other software – no support for Photoshop plugins and interchanging with Photoshop is poor

    1. Dear Andre Nel,
      what do you mean by raw conversion? To jpeg? TIFF? DNG?
      What is so much better with the DPP4 conversion?
      I have DPP4 but I do not get your point, pls elaborate/clarify.

      Tnx in advance

  10. Many thanks Rod – very detailed, but yet to the point.
    I was in need for a new software as Capture NX2 is not supporting my Nikon D500 anymore. NX2 did everything I needed to process my pictures from NEF to JPEG, and it already had a very nice implementaion of U-Point technology to do local adjustments.
    Your review convinced me to try DxO and finally I also bought this very good software. Your review reflects exactly my observations. Photolab Elite is a perfect RAW converter with local adjustments, a good indexed-folder navigation, but by no means is it a complete DAM. (It simply can’t modify Exif or IPTC data).
    Yes, PRIME de-noising can be slow – but this tool delivers stunning clean images. I’m using Prime in batch-mode when finally exporting a bunch of RAW to jpeg. This way speed is not issue for me. I let DxO PL do the processing of 20-80 images and meanwhile use my AMD Ryzen 5 – 1600 for other tasks or have a coffee. BTW, DxO PL feels quite responsive with just 8 GB RAM only.
    After 4 month I have now concluded for PL to be my only raw-processor.
    Currently I’m testing XnView and One1 Photoraw as potential DAM software to accompany DxO PL. Both programs are very nice additions for culling, tagging and archiving my pictures:
    XnView is the most powerful free-of-charge DAM tool, but a bit difficult to learn. The latest version can even tag NEFs by adding XMP sidecare files – DXO is able to read the XMP and embed those metadata into the final JPEG! One1 Photoraw is very good value for money and offers far more than just DAM-functionality. With its modules Effects and Layers it offers further tweaking of my pictures after developing these in DxO PL. The only problem that One1 need to fix is the uncorrect usage of uppercase words in its metadata section. I really need keywords like London, Berlin instead of london, berlin. I hope they will fix this glitch soon. If so, I will be absolutely happy with my photo-combo consisting of DxO PL and One 1 raw.
    Many thanks for all your efforts & best regards from Germany, Thomas

  11. Can you use DxO Photolab as your standalone photo editing software? Anything else needed? Recommended?

    And if so, what are your separate DAM options that integrate well with it?

    FYI, I use a Mac.

    1. I think DxO PhotoLab is now very good indeed, and the addition of local adjustment tools does make it a fully-functioning standalone image editor. It does have a couple of weak points – it has a folder browsing Organize mode, but it’s a long way from being a fully-featured DAM tool. Second, it doesn’t process Fujifilm X-Trans raw files, so if you’re a Fujifilm fan that’s pretty much a deal-breaker. For the quality of its optical corrections and RAW conversions, though, I’d say it’s perhaps the best of all. The Elite version is definitely worth the extra outlay, and I’d also recommend getting ViewPoint and FilmPack at the same time – though this is obviously the most expensive route.

  12. I’m very interested in DXO PL. Looking for software that supports 16-bpc workflow and can display images in 10-bpc out to a 10-bit monitor (Dell UP3216Q) via Nvidia Quadro card. Any feedback appreciated.

    Not needing a catalog function and interested in an alternative to Photoshop.

  13. About the speed of export with prime denoise:
    DXO is one of the very few softwares that has a clean and efficient programming; it uses all resources available of the CPU. Just give it enough rtesources.
    Fortunately this does not ruin you anymore today.
    My PC has an Intel i9 processor: DXO uses all 20 cores at 100% at 4.0 GHz when exporting; it does so since several versions; it continues so with Photolab.
    DXO also loves RAM; so I upgraded from 16 to 32 GB RAM
    Now exporting is superfast; moreover it can be done in parallel while I work on the files.
    Adobe, Corel, etc. please follow this good example
    When finished editing a larger number of files, I export and at the same time I work on the remaining files without any loss of speed. So I don’t have to wait at the end of the process.

  14. I recently signed up for the Photoshop CC suite because I want to learn Photoshop. It can do things, such as object removal. blending HDR images, focus stacking and more that is outside what DXO Photolab can do. But I still use DXO Photolab as my primary image editor. It knows my camera, my lenses and their optical quirks and corrects them automatically.

    Prime noise reduction is great, especially with the fine grained noise you get with a 42mp sensor. I’ve used the dehaze control in Photoshop but the DXO Clearview slider gives you instant pop. I always check back with the Compare button to make certain I haven’t gone over the top.

    Prime noise reduction takes time and sucks up CPU resources but you can continue processing other photos while that happens, On my PC, it takes about a minute to export an image with prime noise reduction. Photoshop’s noise reduction, at default settings, is not even close.

    Local adjustment is a newer feature for me. but I’m getting it. Like, I want to micro contrast one part of an image without having the blurred background get ugly. I need more practice with it.

    I used to use Picasa to organize my photos, but Google pulled the plug. so I switched to the free program XNView MP and it works for me. I’m thinking I should move to Lightroom, since I’m paying for it, but don’t see any pressing need to do so.

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