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Personal review of DXO Photolab 5

  
 
osv2
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p.2 #1 · p.2 #1 · Personal review of DXO Photolab 5


thx for writing this up.

it's unfortunate that dxo puts such a dysfunctional interface on this software, if the cropping/leveling/exporting/etc features worked better i'd be tempted to dump photoshop.



Dec 29, 2021 at 05:33 PM
LCPete
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p.2 #2 · p.2 #2 · Personal review of DXO Photolab 5


Thanks for the review very interesting and helpful
Iíve recently changed over to DXO Photolab 5, I use it in conjunction with Affinity photo
Iím not an expert software user , prefer things to be simple to be honest but find that I get on well with DXO , use it to work on raws then finish in Affinity
After reading your review I understand how it works a bit better
Agree with you about deep prime itís amazing



Dec 30, 2021 at 03:51 AM
Rajan Parrikar
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p.2 #3 · p.2 #3 · Personal review of DXO Photolab 5


As the OP has observed, the real star of DxO Photolab 5 is the DeepPrime technology for noise reduction. This alone makes Photolab 5 worth its price.

I use DeepPrime + Lens Sharpening and then export the DNG to Adobe Camera Raw (make sure you reset/check your camera profile at this step as DxO may not preserve your intended camera profile). I donít use any of the other features of DxO. The Auto sharpening default in DxO is very aggressive and almost always I have to pull back from it.



Dec 30, 2021 at 08:09 AM
j4nu
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p.2 #4 · p.2 #4 · Personal review of DXO Photolab 5


Thanks! This is very informative and useful.
Nice to see it matches my observations in some areas, i.e. I thought I was going crazy when adjusting shadows/midtones/highlights compared to CaptureOne.
Anyways, I learned to reach pleasing (to my eye) colors in most cases in PL5, by a subtle and ever changing combination of contrast* + levels* + curve (I usually lower Red gamma) + Smart Lightning (and sometimes, if I want more "bite", - ClearViewPlus, but it is limited to only some pictures) adjustments . I find Smart Lightning a must if I want to get close to CO's highlights preservation.
The area I struggle the most is, as usual, skintones, where I often don't like the effect of increasing saturation and vibrance (and have to resort to HSL + curve + ... to get the picture more "lively").
I also find I increase the global contrast a lot compared to CO, but maybe CO's contrast defaults are simply higher...



Dec 30, 2021 at 08:50 AM
Ayoul
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p.2 #5 · p.2 #5 · Personal review of DXO Photolab 5


j4nu wrote:
I also find I increase the global contrast a lot compared to CO, but maybe CO's contrast defaults are simply higher...


The default film curve of C1 is indeed contrasty, but DXO is not bad either in this area, most of the time, the default rendering has a strong curve applied.




Dec 30, 2021 at 09:30 AM
ruthenium
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p.2 #6 · p.2 #6 · Personal review of DXO Photolab 5


Thank you for the thorough review! I have been using DxO Photolab for about 5 years. I agree on "the most overlooked aspect of DXO Photolab" - the Color Rendering. I think of this as a key choice in postprocessing in Photolab. Too often, the camera default rendering is not the best profile. This is especially true when working with images obtained in varied light, from bright day to low artificial light. I regularly use the Cobalt DCP profiles as well as more recently I have enjoyed using the newest addition in Photolab 5, the Fujifilm GFX 50R... color profile. The amount of postprocessing so much depends on the choice of the right profile, that the users who are not aware of the profiles in Photolab may well dislike working with the program while using the default profile.
DxO Smart Lighting usually works for me. This is an automated dynamic range optimizer, and most of the time it does a reasonable job of adjusting the highlights and shadows. I think of this as a "vehicle" that, although would not take one to the destination, yet helps to approach it. The subsequent adjustments in Selective Tone are often minimal and straightforward. In my experience, the main adjustment is usually toward the Highlights; the Shadows and Blacks change little (e.g., +10 and -5, respectively)
Understandably, there are different needs, and those of a wedding photographer can be quite different from the needs of someone working on art projects. Thus, it is natural that the user experience with, and the opinions about DxO Photolab can be vastly different. I like the program, which has grown significantly in the last 5 years.
Thank you for mentioning Fine Contrast which requires purchasing DxO FilmPack - I was not aware of that. Like you, I wish the feature had been part of Photolab Elite. I purchased FilmPack, and I am very happy with the several new features I see added in Photolab.



Dec 30, 2021 at 06:15 PM
ruthenium
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p.2 #7 · p.2 #7 · Personal review of DXO Photolab 5


j4nu wrote:
Thanks! This is very informative and useful.
Nice to see it matches my observations in some areas, i.e. I thought I was going crazy when adjusting shadows/midtones/highlights compared to CaptureOne.
Anyways, I learned to reach pleasing (to my eye) colors in most cases in PL5, by a subtle and ever changing combination of contrast* + levels* + curve (I usually lower Red gamma) + Smart Lightning (and sometimes, if I want more "bite", - ClearViewPlus, but it is limited to only some pictures) adjustments . I find Smart Lightning a must if I want to get close to CO's highlights preservation.
The
...Show more

For skintones, check whether you should like setting Vibrancy to +50 and Saturation to -30 as a starting point, from which you can, if needed, make further small adjustments. If you have Cobalt DCP profiles, try their Standard for portraits. Another profile to try is the newest addition in Photolab: Fujifilm GFX 50R...
Yet another thing to experiment with is Style - Toning - Portrait (move the slider from the default 100, if necessary).



Dec 30, 2021 at 06:24 PM
j4nu
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p.2 #8 · p.2 #8 · Personal review of DXO Photolab 5


I'd also add that in my experience PL5 is visibly faster (more responsive) than PL4 .


Dec 30, 2021 at 06:54 PM
Ayoul
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p.2 #9 · p.2 #9 · Personal review of DXO Photolab 5


j4nu wrote:
I'd also add that in my experience PL5 is visibly faster (more responsive) than PL4 .


That's right ! DXO is not a speed demon, but I noticed that as well. I will add it in my "general performance" message.



Dec 31, 2021 at 09:30 AM
Ayoul
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p.2 #10 · p.2 #10 · Personal review of DXO Photolab 5


ruthenium wrote:
Thank you for the thorough review! I have been using DxO Photolab for about 5 years. I agree on "the most overlooked aspect of DXO Photolab" - the Color Rendering. I think of this as a key choice in postprocessing in Photolab. Too often, the camera default rendering is not the best profile. This is especially true when working with images obtained in varied light, from bright day to low artificial light. I regularly use the Cobalt DCP profiles as well as more recently I have enjoyed using the newest addition in Photolab 5, the Fujifilm GFX 50R... color profile.
...Show more

I will try the Fujifilm GFX50R, interesting, thanks.

I'm glad that other users like the way DXO handles colors, I thought that I was the only one.



Dec 31, 2021 at 09:34 AM
 


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Ayoul
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p.2 #11 · p.2 #11 · Personal review of DXO Photolab 5


I thought that I would add a few examples about the color rendition of DXO.

That was after all the main part of my review. The discussion on the Sony forum about the magenta cast of the Sony A1 made me think about a few examples focused on skin tones.

For each picture, the first one will be a Sony A9 picture using the generic rendering (so the imitation of the sony A9 rendering by DXO), the second one will use the Canon 250D 850D etc R5 etc profile from the camera body rendering, and the last one will shows the Astia profile from DXO that I like a lot.

As you can see : The Sony (generic) rendering is undoubtly more red for the caucasian skins than the Canon rendering, which is a little bit more yellow.

The Canon rendering is also more contrasty without being more saturated, which is imho one of its strengths. It makes the highlights clip earlier though.

The Generic rendering has also some nuclear greens (very blue and very saturated). The Canon one shows more yellow and desaturated greens.

The Astia rendering shows a slightly blue, desaturated light skin.

The Astia makes a je ne sais quoi to the highlights to reduce them (in a discriminant way that you can't reproduce with the horrible highlight slider of DXO). That's why I like it too.

You probably can't really see it here, but Astia has a specific way of handling the blue, with a strong saturation of saturated blue and a strong desaturation of desaturated blue (compared to a neutral profile). It's interesting as well. It makes suits very punchy and skies very lights.

The Astia has a bad habit : it shift a little bit skin tones toward yellow under incandescend light.

You can see that the three profiles handle a strong pink cast very differently (the first dance of the couple).
































Jan 20, 2022 at 06:49 PM
Mujabad123
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p.2 #12 · p.2 #12 · Personal review of DXO Photolab 5


Thank you Ayoul for this comprehensive write up!
I' ve used DXO PL for a couple of years (PL5 now) and I upgrade every year without any thoughts. For me it' s the best raw converter, bar none. I' ve used Lightroom for years and after that I tried Capture One/ On1/Skylum/Affinity Photo/Imaging Edge/ and more.
I still use Affinity Photo for some specialist work that PL cannot do. For 95% though, I can stay in PL.
That PL / Affinity Photo combination is perfect and I do not find it expensive for what it offers.



Feb 18, 2022 at 03:19 PM
LCPete
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p.2 #13 · p.2 #13 · Personal review of DXO Photolab 5


Mujabad123 wrote:
Thank you Ayoul for this comprehensive write up!
I' ve used DXO PL for a couple of years (PL5 now) and I upgrade every year without any thoughts. For me it' s the best raw converter, bar none. I' ve used Lightroom for years and after that I tried Capture One/ On1/Skylum/Affinity Photo/Imaging Edge/ and more.
I still use Affinity Photo for some specialist work that PL cannot do. For 95% though, I can stay in PL.
That PL / Affinity Photo combination is perfect and I do not find it expensive for what it offers.


Thatís what I use as well , a combination of DXO photolab and affinity
I started off with affinity to replace Lightroom and photoshop but found affinity raw conversion a bit basic although it did the job
DXO is excellent Iím still learning it but the raw conversion is excellent



Feb 19, 2022 at 03:08 AM
Ayoul
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p.2 #14 · p.2 #14 · Personal review of DXO Photolab 5


Mujabad123 wrote:
Thank you Ayoul for this comprehensive write up!
I' ve used DXO PL for a couple of years (PL5 now) and I upgrade every year without any thoughts. For me it' s the best raw converter, bar none. I' ve used Lightroom for years and after that I tried Capture One/ On1/Skylum/Affinity Photo/Imaging Edge/ and more.
I still use Affinity Photo for some specialist work that PL cannot do. For 95% though, I can stay in PL.
That PL / Affinity Photo combination is perfect and I do not find it expensive for what it offers.


I have a license for Affinity but I almost never use it, because I still have an Adobe account with LR and PS. But I keep hearing good things about it. In which situation do you use it ?



Feb 19, 2022 at 05:24 AM
Mujabad123
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p.2 #15 · p.2 #15 · Personal review of DXO Photolab 5


Only in rare cases that I want to do things that DXO PL cannot do (panoramas/HDR/layers/etc.). For raw conversion PL is unbeatable (and editing images also).
Maybe something like Lightroom vs Photoshop in the Adobe world.



Feb 19, 2022 at 06:04 AM
rattlebonez
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p.2 #16 · p.2 #16 · Personal review of DXO Photolab 5


I just did a comparison of ON1 Photo RAW 2022 vs DXO Photolab 5
I have used both for a few years. I was very surprised I could now get better images from ON1 Photo RAW 2022 when processing the same images in both applications. The new nonoise built in to ON1 Photo Raw 2022 is very good.




Feb 23, 2022 at 07:19 PM
Ayoul
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p.2 #17 · p.2 #17 · Personal review of DXO Photolab 5


rattlebonez wrote:
I just did a comparison of ON1 Photo RAW 2022 vs DXO Photolab 5
I have used both for a few years. I was very surprised I could now get better images from ON1 Photo RAW 2022 when processing the same images in both applications. The new nonoise built in to ON1 Photo Raw 2022 is very good.



Interesting. I also noted that Nonoise AI was very good, but in my opinion not as good as DeepPrime.

Could you show us a comparison of the same picture by the 2 softwares, with a short explanation about what you prefer in the ON1 version ?



Feb 24, 2022 at 09:56 AM
BokehBeauty
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p.2 #18 · p.2 #18 · Personal review of DXO Photolab 5


Hi Ayoul, thank you for your tour through DxO PL5. I use DxO for DeepPrime, lens sharpening, and the huge selection of color profiles whether other cameras (Leica M9, Nikon D3x) or negative film Fuji Pro 400H. But the final edit I do in LRC.

On the color profile selection, I struggle however, when I export from DxO into LRC as dng file. I donít know what color profile I should then use in LRC. Any advice, or stay away from dng and go with tif?



Feb 27, 2022 at 03:18 PM
Ayoul
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p.2 #19 · p.2 #19 · Personal review of DXO Photolab 5


BokehBeauty wrote:
Hi Ayoul, thank you for your tour through DxO PL5. I use DxO for DeepPrime, lens sharpening, and the huge selection of color profiles whether other cameras (Leica M9, Nikon D3x) or negative film Fuji Pro 400H. But the final edit I do in LRC.

On the color profile selection, I struggle however, when I export from DxO into LRC as dng file. I donít know what color profile I should then use in LRC. Any advice, or stay away from dng and go with tif?


Hard to make the choice.

I think that a linear DNG file will retain more information in the highlights and shadows, compared to a tiff. But for sure, by exporting in DNG, you lose any color profile used in DXO. And if you like them, like I do, it's a pity.

You can :

1. Adapt your editing to do everything inside DXO. I did a few weddings using only DXO but the few shortcomings in the interface are frustrating. In the end, I was too slow.

2. Make all the steps you're comfortable with in DXO, export in tiff, then finish in LR. White balance and exposure adjustments really should be done in DXO and not in LR, otherwise the modifications won't look very natural if they're done on a tiff file in LR. I did that as well, using C1 and not LR to finish the tiff files, but it's the same point. It's also slow. I had to come back in DXO a lot of time to modify exposure and WB adjustments and it's honnestly not very practical.

3. Give up on the color rendering of DXO, and do everything inside LR/C1 using a denoised DNG. Efficient and fast (except the frustration of giving up on colors). There are a huge amount of DNG profiles and presets available for LR, you can probably find a lot of interesting stuffs by digging a little bit.

Personnaly, I used a different path. I used a personnal ICC neutral color profile, and 3D Lut creator, which is a VERY powerful tool, to mimic the Astia rendering of DXO on top of that ICC profile. The results are very, very close. I have now the colors of DXO inside Capture One.

I cull my files inside FastRawViewer, open them in DXO, export the selected files in DNG using Deep Prime and do everything else in Capture One using this personal profile.

If you don't have thousands of files to cull and edit per week, 1 and 2 are acceptable. If you shoot and edit a lot, I don't recommand them.



Mar 01, 2022 at 08:23 AM
BokehBeauty
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p.2 #20 · p.2 #20 · Personal review of DXO Photolab 5


Ayoul wrote:
Hard to make the choice.

I think that a linear DNG file will retain more information in the highlights and shadows, compared to a tiff. But for sure, by exporting in DNG, you lose any color profile used in DXO. And if you like them, like I do, it's a pity.

You can :

1. Adapt your editing to do everything inside DXO. I did a few weddings using only DXO but the few shortcomings in the interface are frustrating. In the end, I was too slow.

2. Make all the steps you're comfortable with in DXO, export in tiff, then finish in LR.
...Show more

Thank you. Currently I use option 3 with the new, very good Adobe Canon profiles and Cobalt Fuji profiles in LrC, and will continue. I do the culling in LrC. Somewhat sad to loose the DxO color profiles.



Mar 01, 2022 at 01:53 PM
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