Tiffen Dfx 3 Review
Mac users, we're pleased to announce Macphun's all-in-one photo editor Luminar is now available for purchase with special launch pricing. (Existing Macphun customers get a further discount.)
We rated Luminar as "Highly Recommended", and you can now visit the Luminar web site to try it for free.
Each filter that appears along the bottom of the frame has several other filters that will pop up on the right side of the window. There are also a few other useful tools along the top of the preview screen. For example, you can zoom into the image, make side by side comparisons or perform a split screen comparison if you prefer. The split screen can be done vertically or horizontally.
There are a number of new features in Tiffen Dfx 3, some of which seem useful such as the BeBlock, DeNoise and DeBand filters. Others are a little cosmetic such as the Colour Shadow filter. The idea is that it creates a high contrast image in a similar fashion to a Warhol pop art image with different colours instead of black and white such as what Warhol would do. Tiffen liken it to Apple's iPod advert but we've not seen it to pass judgement. Any features that have a point on the picture - such as Rays - can be manipulated so that the effect will originate from the point. For example, the rays will emit from the point on the photograph. On our sample, we placed it where the sun was in the shot so that the rays look as though they're coming from the sun.
Colour Shadow Effect
There are a select few filters that are both cosmetic and useful such as the Film Stocks filters. They simulate popular film types and there are 113 variations from Agfa to Polaroid. Without the actual film stocks in front of us it's difficult to say exactly how precise they are to the real deal. Fans of those types of film such as Agfa CT Precisa or Fujifilm Provia will be able to tell though. Interestingly, when the filters are applied they don't look as strong on the final image as when they're on the preview in the Tiffen program.
The price of Tiffen Dfx 3 is $199. Using the Reuters conversion calculator, that works out to around £130. For that, you get an extensive program with lots of interesting filters to use and have fun with. Having fun does seem to play a big part in the program which isn't a bad thing in many ways. Adjustment filters are present such as Levels and there's a histogram, but these can be done in Photoshop anyway so it's nothing new.
Tiffen Dfx 3 isn't the easiest to use. The navigation isn't the most intelligent we've come across and the downside to all those filters and their variations is that it takes an age to get through them. To use the program effectively, you'll need a full understanding of the program and know the filters inside and out.
However, in its defence, Tiffen Dfx 3 is lightening fast. The Tiffen website mentions almost nonchalantly that they've improved processing power. We think they've understated it because it's super fast. Changes are instantaneous when previewing or making the final render - it goes so fast that it puts other programs to shame.
If you want a digital effects filter system and you need to work fast then Tiffen Dfx 3 is the program for you. It has its downsides but we think that using it often will get rid of those. It took us around a week of regular use to remember to automatically create a layer before opening the program. After that our original issues were a thing of the past.
The filters look nice when applied to the right pictures. The trick is to explore Tiffen Dfx 3 which does take time until you find your feet. Features such as the noise reduction aren't that powerful and we had to run a couple of pictures through Nik Software's Dfine 2.0 which we reviewed last year.
Yes, the filters are good and seem to be precise. Yes, it's eye wateringly fast which means that there will be no more drinking tea while batch processing. While we're on the subject, if you want batch processing in-program, it's only available on the standalone version and on the plug in you have to create an action for Photoshop to do it. While this includes a bit more work, it does mean that the program code is lessened so takes up less space on your computer and means you don't have unnecessary duplicating of programs. There are a lot of pros and cons to Tiffen Dfx 3 and it will boil down to your own judgement as to whether you'll find this program useful for your daily workflow.
|Ratings (out of 5)|
|Value for money||3.5|