DxO Optics Pro 6 Review

4.0
December 1, 2009 | Jon Canfield | Software Reviews |

New in version 6 is extended ISO processing. Essentially, DxO is claiming that their RAW conversion can give you up to two additional stops of ISO quality. So, if your image is shot at ISO 12800, the output quality in DxO Optics Pro 6 would be equivalent to an image shot at ISO 3200 and processed in Capture One or Lightroom. I found this to be slightly optimistic, although noise reduction is certainly among the best I've seen and can easily hold its own with third party applications like Noiseware and Noise Ninja. Figures 4 and 5 shows the before and after of a very noisy image captured in Yellowstone. The processing in DxO Optics Pro 6 did a better job of preserving details, particularly with luminance noise, than Adobe Camera RAW managed to do.

DXO Optics Pro 6 Figure 4

DXO Optics Pro 6 Figure 5

In the Advanced mode, you have access to a number of additional controls such as the Multi-point color balance tool. This control lets you set up to four different points to adjust the color balance of specific color ranges (Figure 6).

DXO Optics Pro 6 Figure 6

By default, DxO Optics Pro 6 places the tool panels along the right side of the window with tabs for Light, Color, Geometry, and Detail adjustments. You can move this around if you like, or you can have the palettes float. One nice touch is the ability to create a custom palette with only the tools you like (Figure 7). The main area can be set to view the corrected image only, or a split view to see both before and after. Some tools, like the color correction and dust removal require both views, with the tool being used on the before, and the results showing in the after panel. I found this to be a little confusing since I would need to go back and forth between the two images, but you get used to it soon enough.

DXO Optics Pro 6 Figure 7

Tools that I would expect to find, like levels and curves are nowhere to be found in DxO Optics Pro 6 though. While this certainly isn't a deal breaker, I'm used to having more control over specific ranges of tones with other applications and would like to see this in a future version.

DxO Optics Pro 6 lets you save adjustments as presets if you like, making it easier to replicate a specific look, like black and white or sepia processing, or a more saturated look for landscape images. You can also take advantage of a number of color rendering options such as camera or film settings like Velvia and KodaChrome 64.

DxO Optics Pro 6 also includes a number of presets, which can be applied as is, or on top of your current adjustments (Figure 8)

DXO Optics Pro 6 Figure 8

When you're finished with your adjustments, you move on to the Process module (figure 9). Here you can perform individual or batch conversions with options to save your images as JPG, TIFF, or DNG. DxO Optics Pro 6 also has full support for embedding ICC profiles into your exported images. The processing isn't particularly quick - it took about 1 minute per image with my Vista 64 machine to process Canon 1Ds Mark III images as TIFF files.

DXO Optics Pro 6 Figure 9

Once you've processed your images, you can look at a before and after in the View module (Figure 10). If you want to experiment, DxO Optics Pro 6 can create virtual copies of your images so you can apply different adjustment options. Like versions in Lightroom and variants in Capture One, these virtual copies take very little disk space and allow you to process the same image in a number of different ways.

DXO Optics Pro 6 Figure 10

Conclusion

DxO has an extremely strong offering with version 6 of Optics Pro. The noise handling is the best I've seen in any of the conversion programs, and the workflow is straight forward and intuitive. It isn't going to be a one stop application for everyone though. There are no keywording or other image organization features, but DxO recognizes this and makes it very easy to integrate with Adobe Lightroom with a single click to export images into the Lightroom catalog. You can also easily post images to a Flickr account. The quality of the converted images is as good as it gets. Particularly if you have the lens module for your camera/lens combination, you'll see extremely good results with a minimal amount of effort. The ability to correct for fringing and lens optical deficiencies is really stunning.

4 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Features 4
Ease-of-use 4
Value for money 4

Entry Tags

review, RAW, software, standard, processor, dxo, optics pro, elite, 6, DxO Optics Pro 6 Review

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Your Comments

20 Comments | Newest Oldest First | Post a Comment

#1 Josh

There is a tool where you can compare RAW files noise removal from DxO and other soft: http://alphacorner.eu/index.php/porady/wywolywanie-arw-rawow-a-szumy-porownanie - skip the text and use the tool. I was really impressed how well did the DxO go - far better than Lightroom.

4:53 pm - Tuesday, December 1, 2009

#2 Ben

There is a “tone curve” tool in the “light palette”!
Actually I am using the evaluation version but I guess this would obviously be available in the retail version!

8:53 pm - Tuesday, December 1, 2009

#3 Jon Canfield

Ben, you’re correct. I somehow managed to overlook this tool - pretty odd since I was actively trying to find it!


Jon

4:57 pm - Wednesday, December 2, 2009

#4 Jaxupra

I had version 5.4, and it worked OK on my old laptop, but version 6 is more resource-hungry.  I’m deciding on a new PC to take advantage of it, but I love the earlier versions.

7:30 pm - Wednesday, December 2, 2009

#5 Disappointed

It’s a great application with some nasty virus-style “anti-piracy” protection. Just google dxo pace anti-piracy

My experience, after installing DxO I removed some folders (“PACE anti-piracy” and some randomly named ones) which I had no reason to think were related to DxO my Windows XP refused to boot. I was unable to repair it using Windows XP Setup CD. I bought a new hard drive and decided it’s a good time to upgrade to Windows 7.

After installing the system I installed DxO again. The PACE anti-piracy folder reappeared along with the randomly named ones. Start-up and shut-down times increased by over a minute (no other applications are installed). I haven’t looked at the Registry but I imagine it’s a mess. I’ll reinstall Windows and good-bye DxO.

Be warned.

2:18 am - Thursday, December 3, 2009

#6 Stve

reading Disappointed’s post reminded me of when DXO released version 5 it was pathetic more akin to a alpha release than the the finished product i did try it again when version 5.3 came out & was quite impressed.

5:12 am - Thursday, December 3, 2009

#7 Ray

I’m totally blown away with DXO.  DXO saves me a ton of time by batch processing with stunning results.  I shoot Nikon DX lenses and have the modules from DXO.  I hate to say this, but DXO will do a better job on a photo right from the start then I will in other editors.

DXO takes out the noise, sharpens, corrects for lenses, and also brightens shadow areas.  DXO really makes me look good.

I don’t have a lot of time to work on a photo much less hundreds and DXO does it for me.

I would rate it a 5 for value and function and a 4 for features.

Overall, a very good tool that works with 64 bit quad processors.

Ray

7:48 am - Tuesday, December 15, 2009

#8 Dixon

@ disappointed:  The old anti-piracy scheme is gone since version 5.3.  I use DxO on a Windows 7 notebook, and it doesn’t slow the boot time at all. If your machine is old, single-core, and anemic, that may be your issue, because DxO is full-featured software that requires a lot of resources.  Having said that, DxO 6 also runs fine on my tiny HP dv2 notebook with Vista 64 and a single core processor, but it takes about a minute to process a photo on that machine.

My newer HP dv4 notebook with dual-core AMD processors and Windows 7 64 bit runs DxO much faster—I can process 3 to 4 images a minute on that machine.

I make my living as a photographer, and I’ve used DxO since version 4, because it is simply the best RAW converter/noise-reduction software out there, and the automation is a life-saver.  DxO 6 is a magnitude better than any other similar software, and it runs fast and smoothly on any modern computer, other than a netbook.

9:35 pm - Thursday, December 17, 2009

#9 Ray

Dixon.

I totally agree.  DxO runs great on quads and version 6 does a great job on images.

To others, I have a lot of memory on my notebook so it’s very fast.  I would encourage anyone to try DxO as the trial is free and full featured.

I also have picked up the FilmPack product and it creates really unique images.

6:43 am - Friday, December 18, 2009

#10 Dixon

Ray, To my delight, found that DxO 6 runs great on the little machines.  My notebook computers are both less than six months old, and one is a single-core, the other a double-core.  DxO runs fine on both of them, but faster on the double-core because DxO is multi-threading. 

A quad-core would, of course, be faster still.  It’s just that I like very small form-factor computers, and I would have to go bigger than a 14” notebook to get a decent quad-core processor. 

My point is, if you have a modern machine with lots of memory, it will do a fine job.  Both of my notebooks have 4 gigs of memory and 7200 RPM hard drives.  The dv2 is only a little bigger than a netbook (12”), but I still do better than one conversion a minute even on that machine.

7:12 am - Saturday, December 19, 2009

#11 Jokes

Wow! Thanks for the great informative post.
I think the above article is informative for all concerned people. For me the Informations are really really useful. I’ve Bookmarked this page for future reference.

Thank you
Robin Jokes

6:45 am - Saturday, February 27, 2010

#12 Windows Registry Cleaner

These text creations are quite helpful for me. I have already recommended some friends and colleges to read this article, they are also very thankful to me for this recommended article.

Thank u Jon Canfield Great article keep it up.

Christin cleaner

4:39 am - Monday, March 15, 2010

#13 Fay Kelley

I have just downloaded the trial version with the intent of correcting perspective distortion for my Nikon D200 using my MacBook Pro running 10.6.4 Snow Leopard.

It was not as intuiting as Aperture, Painter X, or iMaginator.
It took me a few days to find the various tools for lens distortion.

I will say that it is the best software I have found to making the lines I want parallel to be parallel.  I do a lot of architectural photography and do not want to ever use PS again. 

So far so good.  It is good to see these reviews as I didn’t even think about the noise reduction til I read this article.

5:36 am - Sunday, August 15, 2010

#14 John Colter

While I have used DxO optics pro since v5, I am finally getting worn out by some of it’s installation/uninstall issues.

I am currently running v6.2.  One of the good “buying” points was that you could have 2 copies installed, one on a desktop, one on a laptop.  While this is great, you must have the software running to “de-install” the license from their servers…if you lose or corrupt a hard drive…there goes your licensed copy!

In addition, v 6.1/6.2 did not install properly as clicking on the startup icon for a non-admin account always tried to find a non-existant WiXInstaller.msi file, and then failed to start.

5:43 am - Thursday, October 21, 2010

#15 Dixon

John,

I’ve never had installation or corruption issues, only temporary hangs, which I found was caused by Norton 360 not “trusting” the program files and DLLs.  When I set the Virus scanner to trust all of the DxO files, the problems went away.  DxO is not a commonly used program on the scale of Photoshop or Lightroom, so I imagine most security software is wary of it.

I did have a hard drive crash back in March,(mechanical failure), but I just emailed DxO to explain the situation, and they licensed another install within a couple of hours.  So, reactivating after corruption was not a problem.

There was an issue with non-admin accounts on Vista or Win7 with version 6.0, but I noticed this was fixed by version 6.2.  On version 6.0, I had to right-click and “run as administrator” to get everything working properly.

It sounds like in your case, the earlier versions did not uninstall properly.  This usually is easily fixed by running a registry cleaner like CCleaner after the uninstallation, which will clean all remnants of the old version from your hard drive.

10:54 am - Thursday, October 21, 2010

#16 Pierre

John,
I have the same issue here - Installed v6 with Administrator account on Windows 7 -
Unable to start DxO Optics Pro from non-Administrator account. Constantly tries to complete installation and ask for a file called “WiXInstaller.msi” in an folder that is not accessible from non-administrative account -and anyway, the file is NOT there-

6:01 pm - Saturday, January 1, 2011

#17 Cor

Great test! I’m using DXO now for a while after using an illegal version of Photoshop. Because of I don’t want to use illegal software, I was looking for an cheaper alternative, but better than Ufraw etc.

I also made my own test of this software: http://cor-oskam.blogspot.com/2011/01/test-van-dxo-optics-pro-65.html

After reading this test I started using DXO optics pro, and now I don’t want any other software. My workflow:

Picasa—> DXO—> (sometimes) Gimp

7:24 pm - Sunday, January 16, 2011

#18 Alfredo

One point that really doesn’t work for me is the Purple fringing remove. It only produces a blur on contrasts edges. Even if purple fringing is not present. No one of the lenses that I use is in DXO database, and maybe it is the reason.

In most of the cases, I get what I want from DXO. Agree that for Noise reduction it is very good.

5:07 pm - Tuesday, February 8, 2011

#19 rkamper

Great app! I bought a Canon G12 and wanted to learn Raw Processing after many years of shooting only jpeg. After struggling with Aperture 3 and then ARC I got frustrated with the result. No matter how much I tried I couldn’t get it right without too much fiddling around. I tried Raw Developer, Lightroom and Digital Photo Professional too, but couldn’t settle with any of them. Then I downloaded DxO Optics Pro and played around with it for a few hours. I decided to perform a test. I selected 100 shots taken in various light conditions and developed each in all six apps. Then I selected what appeared to me to be the best result (without knowing the actual app). 70% of my selections turned out to be from DxO and the rest distributed almost evenly among the other apps! That convinced me to buy DxO and I never do RAW development in any of the other apps. After having processed the images in DxO I load the tiff’s into Aperture and do some small fine tuning if necessary.

11:19 am - Monday, June 27, 2011

#20 NevilleMoore

Its really appreciable to share such knowledge in this blog.  vision Toms River Pearle also provides such services which helps you to select the best option for opticals.

11:18 am - Thursday, June 27, 2013