DxO FilmPack 3 Review

4.0
September 19, 2011 | Matt Grayson | Software Reviews |

Introduction

DxO FilmPack 3 simulates the look of many existing and discontinued photographic films, allowing you to apply a specific feel to your images. As well as adding new films and filters, version 3 of FilmPack also offers Hue/Saturation/Luminance sliders, a channel mixer tool, creative vignetting effects and a noise removal tool for more precise grain control. Matt Grayson takes a trip down memory lane in our DxO FilmPack 3 review.

As photographers, we're a fickle bunch. While allowing film to drop out of the limelight almost entirely, we still want our clinically clean digital images to retain the warmth and richness of film. Essentially we want the best of both worlds and that's what DxO aims to provide with their Filmpack 3 software. In this review, we're testing version 3 which offers an expanded number of film looks, an upgraded user interface, better integration with the workflow and new colour and black & white conversion controls. Priced at £99, if you love the look of film but don't want the expense or rigmarole that comes with it, our DxO Filmpack 3 review will decide whether it's worth the outlay.

Nik DfineEssential vs Expert

Nik DfineActivation

Nik DfinePhotoshop Plugin

We were downloading multiple programs at the same time as the DxO Filmpack 3 but it's relatively small so still only took a few minutes. Once downloading has finished, it has to be installed which takes around the same amount of time. You'll need your licence key at this stage or you can try it out on a trial basis for 31 days and either the Essential or Expert version can be chosen. The program works as a standalone option and a new feature is that Filmpack 3 works as a plug-in with DxO Optics Pro, Apple Aperture, Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom. Using it as a standalone is simple enough, just click on the desktop icon to launch, load a file and start editing. In Photoshop open a picture, go to filters, DxO Labs and choose Filmpack 3 from the list. Whether you load from the desktop or Photoshop, the same window will open for processing your pictures but we found it's faster from the desktop.

Nik DfineMain Screen

One of the new changes to DxO Filmpack can be seen as soon as the program is started up. DxO have darkened he background so it's easier to see your pictures. The main window is a simple affair with only 3 tabs which don't have that much going on in them and this is all part of the simple workflow that DxO have worked on. Below the tabs you can choose how you'd like to have the preview screen. The options are just the finished product showing; a single image with the before & after processing shown split down the middle or two separate pictures of before and after. There's a sliding scale to zoom in or you can choose from the preset magnifying options from 25% to 200%. Alongside the zoom options, there's a quick 1:1 scale button which pushes it out to 100% while the four arrows brings it back to a fit to screen size. A new navigator has been added for moving around the main picture easier when you've zoomed in.

If you want to add an effect to your picture to simulate film, there's a list of options at the bottom of the screen, each of which has a thumbnail to demonstrate what it can do. There are 25 Colour Print film effects which are:

  • Agfa Precisa 100*
  • Fuji Astia 100F
  • Fuji FP 100C
  • Fuji Provia 100F
  • Fuji Provia 400F
  • Fuji Provia 400X
  • Fuji Sensia 100*
  • Fuji Velvia 50
  • Generic Fuji Astia 100
  • Generic Fuji Provia 100
  • Generic Fuji Velvia 100
  • Generic Kodak Ektachrome 100VS
  • Generic Kodak Ektachrome 64
  • Kodak E-100 Ektachrome 100
  • Kodak Ektachrome 100VS
  • Kodak Elite Chrome 200
  • Kodak Elite Chrome 400
  • Kodak Elite ExtraColor 100
  • Kodak Kodachrome 200
  • Kodak Kodachrome 25
  • Kodak Kodachrome 64
  • Lomography X-Pro Slide 200*
  • Polaroid Polachrome
  • Polaroid 669
  • Polaroid 690

There are 11 Colour Negative film effects which are:

  • Agfa Ultra Color 100
  • Agfa Vista 200
  • Fuji Superia HG 1600
  • Fuji Superia Reala 100
  • Fuji Superia X-Tra 800
  • Fuji Superia 200
  • Kodak Elite Color 200
  • Kodak Elite Color 400
  • Kodak Portra 160NC
  • Kodak Portra 160VC
  • Lomography Redscale 100*

There are 25 Black & White film effects which are:

  • Agfa APX 100*
  • Agfa APX 25
  • Fuji Neopan 1600
  • FujiNeopan Acros 100
  • Ilford Delta 100*
  • Ilford Delta 3200
  • Ilford Delta 400
  • Ilford FP4 Plus 125
  • Ilford HP5 Plus 400
  • Ilford HPS 800
  • Ilford Pan F Plus 50
  • Ilford XP2
  • Kodak BW 400 CN
  • Kodak HIE (High Speed Infrared)
  • KodakHIE filtered (High Speed Infrared)
  • Kodak T-Max 3200
  • Kodak T-Max 400
  • Kodak Tri-X 400
  • Polaroid 664
  • Polaroid 667
  • Polaroid 672
  • Rollei IR 400
  • Rollei Ortho 25*
  • Rollei Retro 100 Tonal*
  • Rollei Retro 80s*

There are just 2 Cross Processed film effects which are:
Cross processed – Fuji Superia 200
Cross processed – Kodak Elite 100

*Indicates new films added to Filmpack 3.

Entry Tags

software, program, film, plugin, colour, black and white, dxo, plug-in, standalone, film pack, filmpack, DxO Filmpack 3, emulsion, dxo labs, filmpack 3

Tracker Pixel for Entry

Your Comments

11 Comments | Newest Oldest First | Post a Comment

#1 Peter Jones

I simply could not get FP3 to work as a plug-in.  Also, the default output format is jpeg, and cannot be reset to tif.  You have to do this with every image.  So much for ‘professional’ software!

I have DxO 6, which is excellent.  I have FP2 which is OK, but I prefer NIK and Topaz plugins.

9:09 pm - Monday, September 19, 2011

#2 George Kara

Respectfully, this is one of the least informative reviews I have seen in a long time.  It is simply parroting the companies promotional material.  The blog didn’t even attempt the most basic of testing.  For example comparing a preset to an actual film shot of the same subject.  This makes me concerned that you are compensated for creating an infomercial masquerading as and independent review.

9:23 pm - Monday, September 19, 2011

#3 Cyril Le Roux

Peter, I’m with DxO and am interested in your comment about the default to TIFF. Could you please describe the behaviour that you would like to see?

10:19 am - Wednesday, September 21, 2011

#4 John

I think you’re all missing the point… to use it seriously:

#1 don’t apply grain unless you really want to

#2 understand what it really is is a large bunch of preset (tried and trusted!) looks for photos which you can choose between, rather than trying to create a look yourself with a lot of sliders. In that sense it’s an excellent product. I believe the majority of people seriously using it, myself included, see it this way.

John

5:12 pm - Thursday, September 22, 2011

#5 Peter Jones

In response to Cyril Le Roux, when using the stand-alone version of FP3 the default output format is jpeg.  Ideally I would prefer the default to be tiff.  Failing this, perhaps a tick box to change the default to tiff, a selection that is remembered from session to session.

I haven’t been able to try out the FP3-CS5 plugin because it won’t work.  Am I alone with this problem?

5:48 pm - Thursday, September 22, 2011

#6 Cyril Le Roux

Peter,

Your comment makes sense, a few other customers have mentioned it too. What would you think if the file format was automatically set to the format of the entry image? If you open a tiff, it automatically saves as a tiff, if it’s a jpg, it defaults to saving as a jpg.

As for FP working as a plugin in Photoshop, we’re investigating issues where images larger than 14-18Mpix can cause memory problems on 32bit OS. It’s mainly seen on WinXP and Vista. On these 2 systems, activating the 3GB switch has been helping a number of customers. I’m describing below what it entails but this requires some technical skills so please bear in mind that you’d be doing it at your own risks.

The procedure is about identifying the following line in the boot.ini file:

multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS=“Microsoft Windows XP Professional” /fastdetect

and add a /3GB switch as shown below.

multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS=“Microsoft Windows XP Professional 3GB” /3GB /fastdetect

There are plenty of resources on the internet about how to activate that switch on other operating systems if you’re not using XP Pro.

Reboot and try again…

Let me know how it goes.
clr

8:44 am - Friday, September 23, 2011

#7 John

I use it in a DXO raw processing flow, so can have any output format I like. Although I don’t have an interest in TIF 99% of the time, so usually ends up as JPEG.

9:08 am - Friday, September 23, 2011

#8 Peter Jones

Thanks CLR.  I agree with your first para. - tif to tif and jpg to jpg will do just fine.

I have investigated 3GB switches.  I occasionally make registry changes using regedit but your idea seems a bit hairy according to reports I have read.  In any case I am on XP Home, and a 3GB switch does not seem to be an option.  Would I be right in thinking that Win7 may offer a solution?  If so, I am due an OS upgrade soon!

Peter

2:32 pm - Monday, September 26, 2011

#9 Cyril Le Roux

The reason why this issue is not seen on Win7 is predominantly because most of the Win7 install base is running on 64 bit systems. If your processor is 64 bit then adding some memory and upgrading the OS should definitely help, if not completely eradicate this issue. (I’m not implying here that FP is running on 64 bit, but 64 bit systems give FP the best RAM memory environment).

As for the tiff->tiff and jpg->jpg behaviour, I’m looking into whether it can be added to an intermediary version.

8:09 am - Tuesday, September 27, 2011

#10 Simon Dewey

How does it compare with Alien Skins Exposure?

10:44 am - Sunday, October 16, 2011

#11 JVH

It is NOT about past rather about aesthetics in final stage of creative process.

... AKA ::: Andreas Gursky, Rhein II (1999), $4,338,500, November 8, 2011, Christie’s New York. ... This image was photographed on film just like many other sold in six figure number.

11:14 pm - Monday, March 12, 2012