DxO Labs Releases DxO PhotoLab 4 With Revolutionary AI-Driven DeepPRIME Demosaicing & Denoising, Improved Workspaces, Batching, History, Launch Discount & More

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. 

The camera that accidentally changed everything. Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4.0 L IS USM kit zoom lens. Image courtesy of Canon.

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.

Fujifilm FinePix X100, the camera that got me hooked on digital photography.

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:

  • GFX100
  • GFX50S
  • GFX50R
  • X-T200
  • X-T100
  • X-A7
  • X-A5
  • X100

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.


Fujifilm Publishes Project #SOOC Videos Showing Film Simulations Made With New Fujifilm X-S10 Hybrid Camera

Fujifilm has been releasing a series of videos about its new Fujifilm X-S10 camera and I am pleased to note that three out of the six videos so far feature female photographers. 

Fujifilm X-S10 with Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR. Image courtesy of Fujifilm Australia.

That must be some sort of record for a camera company, most of which have a long way to go in terms of equal inclusion of female photographers and moviemakers.

I hope that this is a sign of things to come and that Fujifilm goes even further in including other diverse people who are routinely excluded from representation in the media and especially in product marketing and advertising.

The Fujifilm X-S10 and these videos are a smart move given the contraction in camera sales reported by the specialist press over the past few years, and the camera itself looks like an intriguing mini-me companion to the Fujifilm X-T4 but with the easy-to-handle big grip of the Fujifilm X-H1.

Another smart move here is the videos’ emphasis on Fujifilm’s celebrated built-in and customizable film simulations for stills photography and moviemaking, allowing users to bypass raw processing software and film emulation LUTs in video editing software while achieving beautiful images if they desire, an option not available to users of other camera systems.

PROJECT #SOOC: Keiko Akahane x X-S10/ FUJIFILM


PROJECT #SOOC: Maria Fagerström@MariaThePilot x X-S10 / FUJIFILM

PROJECT #SOOC: Thomas B. Jones x X-S10/ FUJIFILM



FUJIFILM X-S10 Promotional Movie :”Your Style. Our Color”/ FUJIFILM

FUJIFILM X-S10 Promotional Movie/ FUJIFILM


Fujifilm X-Photographer Kevin Mullins Shares His Fujifilm JPEG Settings 2020

The photojournalism-style photography of British Fujifilm X-Photographer Kevin Mullins was partly responsible for my buying into the interchangeable camera and lens side of Fujifilm’s X-Series APS-C/Super 35  digital photography system, not least for his reliance on and sharing of his custom film simulation JPEG settings.

At the moment I have reverted my Fujifilm cameras’ JPEG settings back to factory settings but will be installing new film simulations soon, especially now that Mr Mullins recently shared his latest ones and that other photographers have been working on their own versions of a range of classic film stocks, many of which have been shared online by David Triregno.

Pity there are only seven custom settings slots in current Fujifilm X-Series cameras!

Mr Mullins’ 2020 film simulation settings are aimed at the latest generation of Fujifilm cameras with their Colour Chrome, Clarity and Monochrome Colour options but, as I have found with some quick and dirty tests, they are perfectly serviceable on older cameras that do not offer these options.

Accurate film simulations are one of the strengths of Fujifilm X and GFX cameras and are particularly useful if one needs to bypass running all one’s photographs through raw processing software for each project and even more so when one must share photographs without delay.

I will be adding Kevin Mullins’ Padilla, Meyerowitz, Parr and probably Kodak Style simulations to my Fujifilm cameras soon, and will study his other styles as well as those shared on David Triregno’s spreadsheet.


Photoism by Mastin Labs: Which Film or Preset Should I Use? A Guide by Mastin Labs.


Mastin Labs’ Kodak Everyday Original is now available for Capture One Pro. Will Mastin Labs’ other film simulation preset packs also be migrated over to Capture One Pro, one of the most popular top-quality raw image processing applications?

“Film is a 127-year-old medium with many contributors throughout its history. Unlike digital capture, film stocks were not made to accurately reflect reality, but to offer different aesthetic choices to the photographer.

Factors such as the culture where the film company was located and who was available at the time as test subjects greatly determined the characteristics of each film stock. This is one of the reasons that Kodak films render colors differently compared to Fuji films (for example.)…

PLEASE NOTE: Any film can technically be used for any subject or lighting condition, but if you pair the right film with the right subject, you’ll get ideal results….”


I follow either of two essentially different paths when processing my raw stills photography files, based on available time and emotional effect.

If time is of the essence and I must quickly process a collection of selects from a project, in effect a set of proofs ready for client viewing or social media, then I always choose to apply film simulation aka emulation presets through software like DxO PhotoLab and its siblings DxO FilmPack and DxO ViewPoint, Alien Skin Exposure X4, Capture One Pro equipped with film styles from 1style.pro, or several other such options including film emulation look-up tables aka LUTs.

My choice of host application and film emulations depends on what films are available which combination and it can vary a great deal.

If there is plenty of time for slower, more thoughtful processing and experimentation with a range of possible looks, then I will spend some time in products like Skylum’s Luminar and Aurora Pro exploring their many highly original, unconventional filters and controls to follow in entirely new image processing directions.

Most of the time, though, time is of the essence and I would rather be creating new images rather than editing older ones.

Capture One Pro is one of the two raw processing applications I am most likely to turn to when time is limited, beside DxO PhotoLab and its plug-ins, and it is good to see film simulation presets specialist Mastin Labs supporting it now.

Kirk Mastin’s presets are rather pricey compared to others, but I have read nothing but praise for them from photographers working digitally as well as in analog photography.

I have yet to try Mastin Labs’ first collection for Capture One Pro, Kodak Everyday Original consisting of presets based on Kodak Ektar 100, Kodak Gold 200 and Kodak Tri-X 400 as well as tone profiles, custom white balance settings, and 35mm and 120 roll film grain simulations.

The analog films upon which this set is based are not necessarily my first choice though I shot Tri-X film in 35mm, 120 and sheet film formats for many years during my magazine editorial photography and corporate photography careers.

The Mastin Labs presets I am more likely to want to use these days are included in their other collections – Fujicolor Original, Fujicolor Pushed, Ilford Original, Portra Original and Portra Pushed – so I hope that we will see these collections released for Capture One Pro in future.

Meanwhile, there are other ways of achieving acceptable analog film simulation or something similar in a number of host applications including Capture One Pro itself, and the list of links below points to some of them.


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Skylum Releases Tonality Mega B&W Pack, Huge Free Monochrome Presets Collection for Its Luminar Image Editing Powerhouse

Skylum has released Tonality Mega B&W Pack, a massive free collection recreations of the looks from Tonality, the company’s legacy black-and-white aka monochrome plug-in cum standalone application named Tonality CK.

Tonality CK is part of the Creative Kit 2016 collection from the days when Skylum traded under the name of Macphun.

The Tonality Mega B&W Pack has been created for Luminar, Skylum’s image editing and raw conversion powerhouse application cum plug-in, available in versions for macOS and Windows. 

Skylum’s film simulation subset of the Tonality Mega B&W Pack presets pack for Luminar.

I have been hoping for some time that the many excellent film simulations, photochemical toning looks, HDR renderings and more would find their way from Tonality CK into Luminar so the arrival of the Tonality Mega B&W Pack for Luminar is welcome indeed.

The Tonality Mega B&W Pack can be traced back to the Nik Collection’s Silver Efex through Creative Kit 2016’s Tonality CK component via the Nik Software company, several of whose former employees joined Macphun.

Google bought Nik and thus the Nik Collection, apparently for the sake of the company’s Snapseed mobile and desktop image editing application.

Google discontinued the desktop version, sadly, then sold Nik Collection to DxO where it is being developed as a set of Photoshop plug-ins and soon, hopefully, as a plug-in for DxO PhotoLab.

The free Tonality preset collection for Skylum’s Luminar image editing software

Skylum’s Luminar is undergoing development in leaps and bounds with an artificial intelligence-driven Sky Enhancer filter being released shortly, followed not long afterwards by the long-awaited Luminar Libraries module aka media management application that will be released free.

Recent and coming Luminar upgrades are being built with AI technologies developed by Skylum side project Photolemur, an application useful in its own right especially when batch processing large sets of images from events.

I am very excited by the potential of the Tonality Mega B&W Pack for processing raw images I visualized as monochrome when shooting.

Although several image editing applications and plug-ins contain film simulations, can import film simulation styles  and presets or are based entirely upon them, having them contained within Luminar in the form of the Tonality preset pack is handy for keeping it within the same application rather than jumping from one to another and back again.

Tonality Mega B&W Pack contains ten preset categories and over 170 monochrome looks and styles:

  • Tonality Street
  • Tonality Vintage
  • Tonality Toning
  • Tonality Dramatic
  • Tonality Film Emulation
  • Tonality Outdoor
  • Tonality Portrait
  • Tonality Architecture
  • Tonality Basic
  • Tonality HDR

I hope that the Skylum team will look into releasing emulations of great colour films of the past as well as a range of silver-based and non-silver printing processes.

Meanwhile I am excited by the prospect of trying out the Tonality Mega B&W Pack, especially in combining emulations of some of my favourite classic monochrome films with emulations of some of my favourite monochrome split-toning processes.

I visualize, photograph and process my work in monochrome when the colour in the subject and the scene does not serve to convey useful information and emotion, but often choose to process my monochrome images in ways that communicate emotions and informational subtleties swamped by colour.

Example, Tonality Mega B&W Pack in Skylum Luminar 2018

A quick and dirty sample documentary photograph shot tonight then quickly processed in Skylum Luminar 2018 with Tonality Mega B&W Pack using Ilford Pan F 50 ISO film emulation and gold/selenium split toning.


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Mastin Labs: Inspired By | Ep. 4 Kirk Mastin / Diane Arbus, Lauren Greenfield and Annie Leibovitz

“… Mastin Labs founder Kirk Mastin shares a few female photographers that inspire him including Diane Arbus, Lauren Greenfield, and Annie Leibovitz.”


I have yet to try out Mastin Labs’ film matching presets that are made by scanning real analog film with a Fuji Frontier scanner, but the results look amazing and more accurate than any by other companies.

I am not a big user of Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop these days, but I could certainly be convinced to go back to Photoshop sometime soon if Mr Mastin keeps adding more presets that are as amazing and as accurate as his Kodak Everyday pack as well as others such as Fujicolor Pushed, Portra Pushed, Fujicolor Original, Portra Original and Ilford Original.

If I were back shooting editorial portraits for magazines again then I would most certainly seriously consider, well, all of Mastin Labs’ presets and would also hope that some of my other favourite films would appear there one day soon.



1Styles.pro Offers 200+ Excellent Film Emulation Styles for Capture One Pro at 40% Off, Until July 9

Photography has a glorious and long pre-digital history in form of black-and-white aka monochrome, colour in the form of colour transparency film and colour negative film, and colour and monochrome in the form of instant films. 

Little wonder, then, that for many of us who grew up in the analog era analog film emulations provide an essential array of image processing presets, ways of interpreting images based on how films and printing methods shaped tone and colour and thus emotion and information. 

One raw digital negative, three interpretations using 1Styles.pro film emulation presets for Phase One Capture One Pro – Kodak Portra 160VC v2, Kodak Ektachrome mid-1970s (blue) and Kodak Royal Gold 400 v4 Winter.

I often rely on film emulation software in the form of look-up tables aka LUTs, presets, plug-ins and standalone software whether editing stills or video, and one of my favourite film emulation preset collections is made by Alexander Svet of 1Styles.pro.

Mr Svet’s Capture One Film Styles and Capture One Film Styles Extended Set play a big role in how I use Phase One’s Capture One Pro raw image processing software and both sets’ 200in-total film emulation styles are, in my opinion, essentials for anyone needing to make the most out of image editing in Capture One.

I cannot recommend them too highly.

Here, at 1Styles.pro, we started a great sale: 40% discount on all the Film Styles for Capture One till July 9.

If you’re following AlexOnRAW for a while, you know – that’s a big deal. Discounts on our styles are a quite rare, and it’s 100% worth to grab.
Let me remind you how our styles can improve your Capture One workflow:

Original Film Styles Set – https://sellfy.com/p/c9Em/

$29.97 (regular price – $49.95, you save $19.98)
100 styles which emulate classic films. That’s a great tool to find a glorious color correction for your images quickly.

Extended Film Styles Set – https://sellfy.com/p/ufdj/

$41.97 (regular price – $69.95, you save $27.98)
Additional 100 new film styles! All styles are unique, there are no duplicates in both sets. Extended Set delivers more artistic emulation of film picture, plus it offers film grain emulation styles.

Film Styles Bundle – https://sellfy.com/p/uGx5/

$57 (regular price – $95, you save $38)

200+ film styles in a bundle with additional 20% discount. That’s a fantastic source of inspiration for your editing.

All the color styles work with layers in Capture One Pro 11. Each B&W style has four versions with different opacities: 100%, 75%, 50% and 25%.

You can download 12 sample styles for free to try them before buying – https://goo.gl/SoHVa3

If you had thought of purchasing Film Styles before – this is the moment.


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Fujifilm X-Pro2 User Peter Dareth Evans Namechecks Six Photographic Greats with His Seven Excellent JPEG Film Simulation Settings

At the moment I don’t rely on JPEGs from any cameras as my SOOC (straight-out-of-camera) originals for online or print reproduction. Several reasons, prime of which is our lousy national broadband upload speeds and allocations. Then there is the fact that I use and love two different mirrorless camera systems for their different video capabilities and when shooting stills I prefer to edit raw files to colour match projects shot with both. Lastly, I don’t have any clients that demand fast turnaround and online transmission soon after shooting. 

I do, however, like to set custom JPEG and video profiles on each system’s cameras and my preference is looks emulating some of the great analog films of yesteryear. Using as many of them as I could lay hands on, processing and printing my own negatives and transparencies, may have wrecked my health but it exposed me to a vast range of analog tone and colour possibilities that I now apply to visualizing and processing digital images.

Although my workflow does not require film simulation presets when shooting, it is fun to have them in-camera as custom settings. The latest firmware for for Fujifilm’s X-Pro2 and X-T2 permits renaming all seven custom settings. Until Peter Dareth Evans of Pete Takes Pictures shared his custom settings, I had both of Kevin Mullins’ wedding photojournalism customs settings installed but yearned for other looks as well.

Six of the greats plus one

Mr Evans seven custom settings pay homage to some of the greats of photography – William Eggleston, Joel Sternfeld, Mary Ellen Mark, Daido Moriyama, Garry Winogrand and John Bulmer – and one Fujifilm X-Photographer member of the KAGE Collective, Patrick LaRoque.

Those six greats, or at least the photographic schools of thought to which they belong, have been important to my own development as a photographer and moviemaker, so I quickly overwrite my custom settings with them and custom named them according to Mr Evans’ own descriptions.

I am looking forward to putting them to the test with some serious photography soon. Meantime I applied them to some quick and dirty X-Pr02 videos of domestic scenes and was impressed.

The downside of Fujifilm’s implementation of video on the X-Pro2, other than being 1080p only, is that only the film simulation part of the settings apply. Dynamic Range, Grain Effect, Highlight Tone, Shadow Tone, Colour, Noise, Grain, Sharpness settings have no effect on video though they do on JPEGs.

My quick and dirty workaround is to apply a tone recovery LUT from my ever-growing collection of free and paid-for LUTs, in this case FilmContrast_Light.cube from CoreMelt’s LUTx Feature Looks Collection or either of the two recovery LUTs from James Miller’s DeLUTS Fujifilm X-Pro2 LUT set.

Fujifilm, give us exposure zebras on all your cameras PLEASE!

Although Fujifilm continues to improve its cameras’ video capabilities, the company has several blindspots that have me wondering about its commitment to moviemakers using their cameras.

None of Fujifilm’s cameras’ firmware includes exposure zebras, the most essential tool for obtaining correct exposure of video and stills via ETTR – expose to the right. I rely on zebras when shooting video and stills on all my cameras of another mirrorless brand and zebras’ absence from the X-T2 is a major factor in not purchasing one despite its otherwise promising video support.

Crippling the application of custom settings to the X-Pro2’s video capability is deeply disappointing though it did not deter me from purchasing the X-Pro2. I have been yearning for an affordable digital interchangeable lens OVF camera for years now and the X-Pro2 has satisfied that desire for my stills photography work.

Shooting movies with OVF cameras is a passion and pleasure, perhaps peculiar to someone like me who began making short movies with old OVF film cameras. I so wish that the X-Pro2 supported zebras in its EVF, monitor and ERF, and allowed me to fine-tune my custom settings for video in the way that Messers Evans and Mullins do for stills photography.


Thanks to Fuji Rumors for sharing This Guy Fine Tuned his Fujifilm Film Simulation Settings Inspired by the Work of Great Film Photographers. See “Chrome Eggleston” & More.