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Software Reviews

DxO Optics Pro Review

Neil van Niekerk (Neil_vN) on March 27, 2007

Keywords: software

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What DxO Labs say the software does:


"DxO Optics Pro automatically enhances images produced by Digital-SLR, advanced Digicams, and their lenses with revolutionary optics, noise and lighting corrections packed in an all-new, easy-to-use feature rich application."


DxO Optics Pro runs on both Mac and Windows platforms, and works on raw or jpg image. This review is based on version 3.5


DxO Optics Pro





DxO Optics is a truly impressive piece of software in how it was designed precisely for specific camera and lens combinations, to correct for specific optical errors.


The designers automated the use of various features to a high degree. DxO Optics Pro allows you to get the optimum image quality from a variety of lenses with the minimum of fuss in the Automatic Mode. But it also allows you precise control in the Key Control and Expert Control modes, to get exactly what you want.


Over the next few pages I'll touch on various aspects which impressed me, and show examples of how DxO Optics enhances and corrects images.


There was only one area where the software performed slightly under what I anticipated - and that was in Noise Reduction. I believe that a program which specializes in noise reduction will generally give better results.



Certain other functions are better handled by programs such Adobe Camera Raw or Capture One if you are doing raw workflow in any kind of volume. Even though DxO Optics Pro can process multiple images, I don't believe it was intended to compete with the likes of ACR and Capture One.
DxO Optics Pro fills another niche - and beautifully so.


Even where some corrections are available in Photoshop, such as correction of chromatic aberration - you'd still have to manually do it by checking the image. DxO Optics Pro does it automatically for you depending on various factors such as the specific lens, the focal length it was zoomed to, and the focusing distance. The wizards at DxO Labs did your homework for you.


Overall, I would highly recommend this program to anyone who wants to get optimum quality from their lenses, with the least amount of fuss. There certainly isn't anything else like it on the market.




There are three modes of operation:

- fully automatic
- key controls
- expert controls

Fully Automatic is self-explanatory.


Expert Control is at the other end of the spectrum, offering an expanded palette of controls. This allows you fine control over of all adjustments that DxO Optics Pro makes to an image.


Key Controls is a mode that lies somewhere in between, allowing you to adjust the most important aspects of DxO Optics Pro. This mode offers a limited palette of controls.


Having three modes of operation like that is an excellent idea, offering the user a choice of whether to get your hands dirty with the actual work of manipulating an image - or allowing the software to make the choices.


For the major part of testing the software for this review, I had the software in Expert Control mode, but it always seemed as if the default settings the software chose (ie, the Auto settings), were the best choice. This would seem to underline the motivation behind the software's design - to seamlessly offer the user optimal adjustment and correction of the image with the least amount of effort. But, with the option of allowing you full control if you wish. This is a big plus.


DxO doesn't write to the actual raw files, so there is no chance of DxO corrupting them.
Instead, DxO, similar to ACR, writes side-car files. C1 uses a similar way to store info about the raw files.


You can save DxO corrections as DNG file, to make sure that DxO's corrections and enhancements are available for further editing in Photoshop.


Expert Mode offers numerous adjustments under these eight tabs:

- DxO Optics Engine (which corrects Distortion, Chromatic Aberration, Vignetting.)
- DxO Lighting Engine
- DxO Noise Engine
- Colour & Exposure (which contains WB / exposure / Curves / Hue / Saturation / Lightness controls)
- Image Information (which shows the Exif Data)
- Output Settings (which controls output file format and colour space)
- Sharpening
- Histogram


The first three are specific to the DxO software, but the other settings should be familiar to anyone who uses photo editing software. Even then, there are some specific enhancements that DxO brings to the other settings. I'll discuss the DxO-specific tabs on the following pages.

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Neil van Niekerk Neil van Niekerk (Neil_vN)

Wayne, USA
Gold, 29 posts