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Subject: "Question re: DXO OpticsPro7 and LR4 Workflow" Previous topic | Next topic
chroaz Gold Member Nikonian since 26th Apr 2009Sun 03-Jun-12 07:06 PM
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"Question re: DXO OpticsPro7 and LR4 Workflow"


Cave Creek, US
          

I am confused as to how to assimilate DXO OpticsPro7 (I am experimenting with a trial version) into my workflow, which has gradually evolved to be Lightreoom 4 centric.

Some background: I am a Mac user who over the last several years has migrated from Film, Sony P&S, D90, D300s, D7000 (which I still have), Fuji X100 and now to the amazing D800.

In this process I have also experimented with a number of PP applications - although I have steadfastly avoided trying Photoshop, largely because of its cost, and preceived (at least by me) complexity. So, from iPhoto, a brief acquaintance with Gimp, then on to several versions of Aperture which was attractive because of its intuitive and familiar Mac interface, View NX and then to Capture NX 2. I stuck with CNX2 for a while as I liked the "Nik" like control point technolgy etc, and because it "read" the Nikon Picture controls etc.

However I found my library organization to be all over the place and with many thousands of photos, a complete mess - even more so as I had also begun to use Photo Mechanic to rate, caption and add metadata to my shoots.

So I needed something that would take care of both cataloging, ingesting, metadata changes, competent RAW conversion and subsequent post processing and output - all in a simple to use workflow. That's when I tried Lightroom 3, despite it being "Adobe Centric" (of which I was at first fearful!) and I found I liked it, and then with the arrival of Lightroom 4 I had finally got my photo archiving and storage hierarchy in place and up and running. The RAW conversions seemed to be much better, and I found I could take care of just about all of my post processing and cataloging needs with this one application (more so with the recent update) and a few excellent plug-ins from Nik and others. So that's where I am now - NEF centric with LR4.

Well along comes the D800 - huge files, amazing detail, fantastic potential, and enormous Dynamic Range. So for fun, I processed a few RAW files (I only shoot RAW) in Aperture - they took for ever, the program was exceedingly slow, and I found that with LR4 I seemed to have outgrown this software. The conversions were "flat" to my eye too.

Next up, I processed a few in CNX2 - the conversions were great and typically Nikon and I didn't notice any slow down on my iMac with 8Gb RAM. But of course PP options were somewhat restricted and, after using LR4, I found the interface to be once again clunky.

So, finally to LR4 - no problems at all. The conversions lacked a little "punch" I thought, but easily recoverable and the new brush controls were excellent. I set up a few basic presets, which took some time, but which seem to work quite well, especially with all the updated profiles Adobe now has, although I found the lens corrections to be lacking somewhat.

Well, my D800 has gone to El Segundo for the LH focus issue so I have some time on my hands. I thought I would would give DXO Optics Pro7 a whirl, as I had heard a lot about it, and liked the concept that it was based on the DXO Labs testing and profiling of specific equipment combinations - It potentially had all the modules for all my cameras and lenses (most) past and present. So, on paper, it looked like the perfect RAW converter, and then some.

Well after a couple of days of experimenting I really liked what I saw with DXO, and in particular the optical corrections it made automatically based on my lens/body combination.
It applies an automatic default preset to every NEF file, and it is pretty darned good - with ample controls to tweak to get the most out of the file. Highlight and shadow recovery I though was excellent as was noise control - provided none of this had been attempted in the camera - ie: Active D-Lighting (which I always have off by the way). The "auto" sharpening in the default preset was prettry good too. In other words in one "ingest" you get a pretty good starting point, an almost perfect image. I think I liked the conversions better than Lightroom, Aperture, or CNX2 - achieved with minimal steps, and a lot of flexibility for some further tweaking. But DXO doesn't seem to have much capability for local adjustments - some, but not many.

Now to the problem! DXO suggests Optics Pro7 always be the 1st step in your workflow, to avoid double corrections etc. Now, what to do with the output? So you've got an image looking pretty much how you want it, but, say, it still needs some local work and adjustments, metadata additions, captioning and keywording, watermarking etc. So now what? DXO lets you output the file in either JPG (well that's no good if I am going to do further work on it), an 8 or 16 bit TIFF (that'll work) or a DNG file (I've never quite understood this and see it as an archiving format for later use) - or all three at the same time if you so choose!

OK, so I choose TIFF and output the file to my Library Hierarchal system (albeit with a "_DXO" suffix) for subsequent import into LR4.... but now my 45-50MB file is 200MB plus! (in fact I have 2 files - one, the orginal 45Mb "source" file (NEF) which remains untouched, and the 2nd a 200Mb "copy" with the DXO corrctions applied in TIFF format - do I have that right?) The TIFF is a pretty big file to manipulate in LR4, and if I have hundreds of them like this I'm going to have to rethink my whole computer hardware and back-up system, which hitherto I had thought was quite adequate. And presumeably it will really slow down the workflow.

Am I missing something here? Is this how DXO integrates with another editor? Is there no way to remain NEF centric? It seems a waste to throw away all the data the D800 has so wonderfully captured and work with compressed files. Even if I were to just use DXO for its excellent optical corrections and do the rest in LR4 the files are still 3-4 times the size. Maybe that's the answer - to only use DXO for files that I see can "benefit" from some of the DXO attributes - but then that's another investment in software for potentially limited use!

Any thoughts anyone? It seems DXO is really just an excellent converter with no cataloging or other essential features, which need to be done in an external app - but with an enormous file size penalty. Is that file size penalty significant in your workflow. I would appreciate any advice or experience you guys have ... Tristan?

Chris

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- Ansel Adams

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Replies to this topic
Subject Author Message Date ID
Reply message RE: Question re: DXO OpticsPro7 and LR4 Workflow
pdekman Gold Member
04th Jun 2012
1
Reply message RE: Question re: DXO OpticsPro7 and LR4 Workflow
chroaz Gold Member
04th Jun 2012
2
Reply message RE: Question re: DXO OpticsPro7 and LR4 Workflow
pdekman Gold Member
04th Jun 2012
7
     Reply message RE: Question re: DXO OpticsPro7 and LR4 Workflow
chroaz Gold Member
04th Jun 2012
8
Reply message RE: Question re: DXO OpticsPro7 and LR4 Workflow
AZBlue
26th Dec 2012
14
     Reply message RE: Question re: DXO OpticsPro7 and LR4 Workflow
chroaz Gold Member
08th Jan 2013
15
Reply message RE: Question re: DXO OpticsPro7 and LR4 Workflow
GiantTristan Silver Member
04th Jun 2012
3
Reply message RE: Question re: DXO OpticsPro7 and LR4 Workflow
chroaz Gold Member
04th Jun 2012
4
     Reply message RE: Question re: DXO OpticsPro7 and LR4 Workflow
GiantTristan Silver Member
04th Jun 2012
5
          Reply message RE: Question re: DXO OpticsPro7 and LR4 Workflow
chroaz Gold Member
04th Jun 2012
6
               Reply message RE: Question re: DXO OpticsPro7 and LR4 Workflow
GiantTristan Silver Member
05th Jun 2012
9
                    Reply message RE: Question re: DXO OpticsPro7 and LR4 Workflow
chroaz Gold Member
05th Jun 2012
10
                    Reply message RE: Question re: DXO OpticsPro7 and LR4 Workflow
chroaz Gold Member
06th Jun 2012
11
                         Reply message RE: Question re: DXO OpticsPro7 and LR4 Workflow
GiantTristan Silver Member
06th Jun 2012
12
                              Reply message RE: Question re: DXO OpticsPro7 and LR4 Workflow
chroaz Gold Member
06th Jun 2012
13

pdekman Gold Member Winner in The Nikonians 10th Anniversary Photo Contest Awarded as a regular contributor who offers in-depth knowledge to members who are interested in building efficient work flows. Nikonian since 17th Nov 2005Mon 04-Jun-12 02:10 AM
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#1. "RE: Question re: DXO OpticsPro7 and LR4 Workflow"
In response to Reply # 0


Swisher, US
          

I think you've got the situation pretty well understood. Due to proprietary raw decoding schemes, if you wish to pass images to different editors, it requires rendering a 'baked' RGB image with all the compromises that entails.

Two possible paths are to organize your NEF's more effectively into folders and keep DXO, or try and solve the Lightroom default rendering to get the majority of images closer to what you desire. Are you using Camera-based profiles and ISO-specific defaults?

Paul
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chroaz Gold Member Nikonian since 26th Apr 2009Mon 04-Jun-12 04:05 PM
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#2. "RE: Question re: DXO OpticsPro7 and LR4 Workflow"
In response to Reply # 1


Cave Creek, US
          

Hi Paul - I was afraid so! No, in LR4 I am using the Camera Calibration Adobe Standard Default Profile with the new 2012 Process (current) - I set up a preset(s) on this basis with some of my "standard" adjustments. Also using the Lens Corrections Adobe Lens Profile (which is where I really seem to notice the difference with DxO), though it takes care of Chromatic Aberration quite well. Yes I do have some basic ISO specific defaults - 3 pretty basic ones to act as starting point.

I always have a back-up of my RAW files on an external drive (actually 2), but I was thinking about keeping my DXO processed files on a 3rd external drive and importing them into Lightroom when needed.

Paul, exactly what do you see as "all the compromises" of a "baked" RGB image?

The "main" attraction I see with DxO is that it provides a pretty good equipment specific (and to some extent shooting condition specific), hands-off, automatic starting point on RAW files, with very good lens and optical corrections. It seems I can get to a "good looking" image with less manipulation than in Lightroom. But now with a bit of time on my hands I am going to process a number of files side by side in the two applications and then evaluate.

Cheers,

Chris

When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.
- Ansel Adams

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

www.throughmeyelens.com

  

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pdekman Gold Member Winner in The Nikonians 10th Anniversary Photo Contest Awarded as a regular contributor who offers in-depth knowledge to members who are interested in building efficient work flows. Nikonian since 17th Nov 2005Mon 04-Jun-12 10:31 PM
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#7. "RE: Question re: DXO OpticsPro7 and LR4 Workflow"
In response to Reply # 2


Swisher, US
          

Chris -

For my particular workflow, I try and maintain non-destructive editing so that I can go back and tweak or reprocess images as needed. I keep my NEFs and their image parameters (I'm using LR) and treat any jpeg or tiff generation as transient files - not backed up or tracked in my catalog as I can regenerate them from the master data at any time.

When I want to use an image filter such as Nik or Topaz, I create a smart object in Photoshop, apply the filter and save back to Lightroom as a PSD. In this way, I can reopen and tweak the filter parameters at a later date without losing any of the editing chain. The PSD is now considered the master image and is backed up accordingly.

As such, the compromises I see in passing TIFF images around to numerous programs is the additional complexity of keeping track of the versions, difficulty re-editing the photos at a later date, and dealing with the additional files and file sizes. Now, workflow is a personal thing and everyone has different needs, so my example is just that.

FWIW, my Lightroom defaults (not presets) include Camera Standard and ISO specific sharpening and noise reduction along with a bit of clarity and vibrance added. It makes for a reasonable starting point upon import.

Paul
My Nikonians Gallery

  

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chroaz Gold Member Nikonian since 26th Apr 2009Mon 04-Jun-12 11:22 PM
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#8. "RE: Question re: DXO OpticsPro7 and LR4 Workflow"
In response to Reply # 7


Cave Creek, US
          

Thanks, Paul. Yes I see the logic in what you say and version tracking is indeed an issue, as is keeping the editing chain in tact .. and economically from a file perspective!

At the moment it seems to me to be an either / or - DxO or Lightroom - except if one is just using Lightroom to catalog, keyword etc. as Tristan does.

Thanks for your perspective. I thought I had my worflow pretty well buttioned down around Lightroom, until I tempted providence by deciding to evaluate DxO!

Chris

When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.
- Ansel Adams

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www.throughmeyelens.com

  

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AZBlue Registered since 09th Jun 2012Wed 26-Dec-12 09:38 PM
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#14. "RE: Question re: DXO OpticsPro7 and LR4 Workflow"
In response to Reply # 1


US
          

>I think you've got the situation pretty well understood. Due
>to proprietary raw decoding schemes, if you wish to pass
>images to different editors, it requires rendering a 'baked'
>RGB image with all the compromises that entails.
>
>Two possible paths are to organize your NEF's more effectively
>into folders and keep DXO, or try and solve the Lightroom
>default rendering to get the majority of images closer to what
>you desire. Are you using Camera-based profiles and
>ISO-specific defaults?
>

This is not true if you use the DNG format. Save to DNG in DXO, it will save your original raw file with all of your settings, plus it's 20% smaller than your original raw file using completely lossless compression. DNG is an open "digital negative" format that gives you raw goodness along with portability among various applications.

  

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chroaz Gold Member Nikonian since 26th Apr 2009Tue 08-Jan-13 07:08 PM
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#15. "RE: Question re: DXO OpticsPro7 and LR4 Workflow"
In response to Reply # 14


Cave Creek, US
          

AZblue - maybe you've seen this commentary on DNG from Thom Hogan?

http://www.bythom.com/dng.htm

Interesting observations.

Chris

When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.
- Ansel Adams

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GiantTristan Silver Member Nikonian since 08th Jan 2006Mon 04-Jun-12 04:05 PM
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#3. "RE: Question re: DXO OpticsPro7 and LR4 Workflow"
In response to Reply # 0


Stamford, US
          

I have been using DxO for many years as my only photo editor, though I have NX2 and PS3. If you don't like the rendering with the DxO default preset, you might want to try another DxO preset or create your own. Once you get familiar with the DxO controls you will probably realize that their algorithms for sharpening, noise reduction and geometric adjustments are quite excellent, and you won't need any other software except for cataloging. I usually put both the original NEF file and the processed JPEG in LR4 for key wording, printing, searching etc.

Tristan

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chroaz Gold Member Nikonian since 26th Apr 2009Mon 04-Jun-12 04:14 PM
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#4. "RE: Question re: DXO OpticsPro7 and LR4 Workflow"
In response to Reply # 3


Cave Creek, US
          

Thank you Tristan - so the only "version" you have of your "DxO processed" image is the JPEG you output to LR4?

Does DxO keep a record somwhere of what it did when it processed the RAW file, in case you want to repeat it or tweak it?

Chris

When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.
- Ansel Adams

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GiantTristan Silver Member Nikonian since 08th Jan 2006Mon 04-Jun-12 04:45 PM
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#5. "RE: Question re: DXO OpticsPro7 and LR4 Workflow"
In response to Reply # 4
Mon 04-Jun-12 04:47 PM by GiantTristan

Stamford, US
          

Yes, DxO has a database, where the adjustments to every NEF file are saved as part of a "Project". I usually start a "New Project" for every shoot and give it an appropriate name. When you open an adjusted NEF file in "Customize" the positions of the sliders show you your last adjustments. You can also backup the adjusted NEF files on your computer.

Tristan

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chroaz Gold Member Nikonian since 26th Apr 2009Mon 04-Jun-12 05:46 PM
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#6. "RE: Question re: DXO OpticsPro7 and LR4 Workflow"
In response to Reply # 5


Cave Creek, US
          

Thank you, Tristan - so one last question about back-ups. When I create a project, add a shoot to it, process the files in the Customize tab (in project view), then select File > Project Database > Create a Back-up, this will then save the NEF files (just those in the current project?) to a destination of my choice? What about the sidecars, as I see there is an "export sidecars" option in the drop down File menu - or do they go along with the backup anyway?

When I do a restore of that back-up - it is just a restore of the one project then, right?

I think I may be beginning to see the light! ..or not!

Chris

When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.
- Ansel Adams

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GiantTristan Silver Member Nikonian since 08th Jan 2006Tue 05-Jun-12 02:38 PM
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#9. "RE: Question re: DXO OpticsPro7 and LR4 Workflow"
In response to Reply # 6


Stamford, US
          

Chris - The pictures in a "Project" remain as you have last changed them in the "Customize" tab and can be accessed when you open the particular Project, no need to process first. You might only want to back up when you want to delete a project. The backed up Project files are NOT NEF files, the NEF files are irreversibly altered/lost during de-mosaicing and lens correction. You are now dealing with another type of files with the extension *.opdb ; I believe these only work within DxO.

I have never bothered with sidecar files. I only know these are in .dop format which is different from the sidecar format used in LR that contains the meta data for each picture. In principle, the DxO sidecar files should contain all the alterations made to obtain a particular JPEG. You might want to contact DxO customer service to find out, whether these can be opened in LR.

Tristan

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chroaz Gold Member Nikonian since 26th Apr 2009Tue 05-Jun-12 03:43 PM
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#10. "RE: Question re: DXO OpticsPro7 and LR4 Workflow"
In response to Reply # 9


Cave Creek, US
          

OK, Tristan, now I get the picture - thank you so much for your help .. and patience!

I'll follow up with DxO about the sidecars, but I think you are right.

Again many thanks,

Chris

When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.
- Ansel Adams

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chroaz Gold Member Nikonian since 26th Apr 2009Wed 06-Jun-12 12:06 AM
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#11. "RE: Question re: DXO OpticsPro7 and LR4 Workflow"
In response to Reply # 9


Cave Creek, US
          

Tristan - I did get a reply from DxO Support - who were very helpful and quick by the way. This is the info they gave me:

"...The sidecar files generated by Optics Pro are only readable and usable by Optics Pro. They are used to track changes to original image files that you may make from session-to-session. They are also useful if you want to move your processing to another computer system.

All processing now in Optics Pro is included in the program database. This includes projects. So, yes, when you work on a project, it is included in the database file. When backed up and restored, it will still allow you to create a TIFF, DNG or JPG output file. Optics Pro does not touch the original file, be it RAW or JPG. So, it is not lost. However, if you restore a database with projects, the database remembers the original locations of the files you use in the program. So if you moved the files, then the restored project can have a hard time re-establishing the connection to the original file..".

... Just in case anyone else is interested!

Chris

When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.
- Ansel Adams

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GiantTristan Silver Member Nikonian since 08th Jan 2006Wed 06-Jun-12 03:04 PM
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#12. "RE: Question re: DXO OpticsPro7 and LR4 Workflow"
In response to Reply # 11


Stamford, US
          

Chris - Thanks for the info. I guess I will disable the sidecar option in "Preferences". Hope you will be enjoying DxO. I still don't quite understand why so few people are using this excellent software.

Tristan

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chroaz Gold Member Nikonian since 26th Apr 2009Wed 06-Jun-12 06:48 PM
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#13. "RE: Question re: DXO OpticsPro7 and LR4 Workflow"
In response to Reply # 12


Cave Creek, US
          

Yes, it is a very very good RAW converter - I just have to get used to it and find a way to fit it into my workflow logically.

Chris

When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.
- Ansel Adams

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

www.throughmeyelens.com

  

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