DxO PhotoLab 4 may well be the most radical update to DxO’s flagship image processing application since I purchased my first licence to any DxO product some years ago.
DxO PhotoLab, formerly DxO OpticsPro, became my number one raw image processing application since taking up digital photography with the Canon EOS 5D Mark II quickly followed by the Fujifilm FinePix 100.
I was in the middle of processing two archival sets of documentary photographs when news of the DxO PhotoLab update arrived.
Details about DxO PhotoLab 4’s new DeepPRIME AI-driven demosaicing and denoising feature allied with the time-limited launch discount for the upgrade licence was enough to halt processing to make my purchase and resume work with version 4.
As it happened, both projects were shot with my Fujifilm X100 and Canon EOS 5D Mark II.
See the list of links below to view images from these projects as web resolution JPEG files, though the TIFFs output at the same look incredible by comparison.
Reprocessing both projects was a great opportunity to re-evaluate my original selects and rejects choices in the light of the strides DxO has made in the years since first processing them in DxO OpticsPro Elite.
One project was shot with the X100 only while the other was photographed largely on the X100 supported by the 5D Mark II when I needed more focal lengths than the X100 provides with its 23mm fixed prime lens, equivalent to 34.5mm in 35mm sensor cameras.
Each camera has distinctly different colour science and a big variation in sensor size and megapixels with 12.4 megapixels in the X100 and 21.1 megapixels in the 5D Mark II.
Both cameras have Bayer sensors, the only sensor type supported by DxO PhotoLab and its DxO FilmPack and DxO ViewPoint companions, and none of them directly support the X-Trans sensors used by Fujifilm in most of its X-Series cameras though not in several of its more entry-level and GFX-Series cameras.
Here are all the Fujifilm cameras currently supported by DxO PhotoLab and its plug-ins:
Despite the big difference in sensors, one would be hard-pressed to tell which photograph was made with which camera when processed in DxO PhotoLab 4, something that is not the case with images from both processed in several other raw editing products that I use.
As a result I am now actively resisting the urge to run other documentary projects from my Photo Galleries pages through PhotoLab version 4 but will certainly use it for others that I have yet to dredge out of my archives, provided they have been made with the X100, 5D Mark II and other cameras with Bayer sensors.
A dive into DeepPRIME
I did a quick and dirty comparison between images shot with both cameras when choosing amongst the three noise removal options – HQ, PRIME and DeepPRIME.
In previous versions featuring PRIME, I always chose it over HQ but now DeepPRIME will always be choice number one given how remarkably it not only removes noise but more crucially how it reveals every little detail that the camera has recorded.
Hence it being difficult to tell the difference between 5D Mark II and X100 images when exported as TIFF files at the same dimensions.
DxO PhotoLab 4’s incredible processing capability has now persuaded me to get the X100 out of storage potentially to carry it most days when needing a small camera and to loan it to family members.
I am also looking forward to trying PhotoLab 4 out with raw files from my Panasonic Lumix Micro Four Thirds cameras, which I often mix and match with images shot on other cameras due to the different types of lenses I have for each system and their various pros and cons.
All is not lost, though, if needing to mix and match Bayer and X-Trans images made in the same project.
DxO’s FilmPack, ViewPoint and Nik Collection work as plug-ins for Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom, Apple Photos and with other plug-in supporting applications while they can also act as standalone software.
All three can process TIFF, JPEG and some though not all raw files, the exceptions being those from X-Trans and Foveon sensors.
The workaround I use for those is to process them first in Adobe Camera Raw, export as TIFFs then open them in Adobe Photoshop and apply FilmPack, ViewPoint and Nik Collection’s components, especially my favourite, Viveza, there.
I cannot recommend DxO’s software highly enough, especially for documentary photographs made under challenging lighting when PhotoLab’s DxO Smart Lighting excels for drawing out information otherwise lost in the shadows.
Documentary photography is the craft of artfully designed information and any software and hardware that aids in doing that well is welcome.
- Capture One
- DPReview – Fujifilm FinePix X100 In-Depth Review – although I highly recommend DxO PhotoLab for documentary work made on Bayer sensors, I tend to recommend Capture One for those specializing in fashion and portrait photography.
- DxO – FilmPack
- DxO – DxO PhotoLab
- DxO – DxO PhotoLab 4 Introduces Groundbreaking AI Denoising Technology
- DxO – DxO ViewPoint
- DxO – Nik Collection
- Fuji Rumors – DxO launches PhotoLab 4. Features DxO DeepPRIME, a revolutionary demosaicing and denoising technology based on artificial intelligence and trained with deep learning.
- JeffArnold.net – Integrating DxO Optics Pro Into Your Capture One Workflow – Optics Pro has been renamed as PhotoLab.
- Topaz Labs – Gigapixel AI – excellent for enlarging images made with lower megapixel sensor cameras such as the X100.
- Unititled.net – Labor National Conference at Darling Harbour in Sydney on December 3, 2011
- Unititled.net – Marriage Equality Rally in Sydney on July 19, 2011
- Wikipedia – Sebastião Salgado – earlier advertising for DxO PhotoLab/Optics Pro Elite showed how Salgado relies on it and its DxO FilmPack plug-in to match the look of images made with analog and digital cameras.