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DxO PhotoLab 5 Review
Great auto-correct process linked to camera & lens type
Superb noise removal
Easy to use interface
No organizational or categorization tools
Not all pro cameras are supported
Serious photographers take note: DxO PhotoLab 5 is designed for you. Instantly correct defects in your images with the software’s powerful optical correction, lighting and exposure optimization tools. DxO PhotoLab is aimed firmly at advanced photo editors and professional photographers, with the detailed and complex tools you need when working with images on a daily basis.
DxO PhotoLab automatically adjusts your images based on your camera and lens type. The image adjustments you get from this software are impressive after just one click, and if you explore the advanced configuration options you can produce some stunning final results.
This program is heavy – you need 4GB of RAM (up to 8GB is recommended) and 2GB of available disk space (up to 6GB is recommended). DxO PhotoLab also requires compatible graphics card and Intel Core 2 Duo, AMD Athlon 64 X2 or higher.
Work directly with RAW image files or JPEG files imported from your DSLR or your point-and-shoot. The software automatically detects the equipment you have used and adds in adjustments for the shooting conditions in order to apply corrections automatically to your images.
The Prime de-noising technology you find in DxO PhotoLab is top of the range. “Prime” expertly differentiates between detail and noise in RAW image files shot in low light or at fast speeds, leaving the color levels and the detail well-preserved. And the new ClearView feature in PhotoLab is perfect for landscape photographers as it removes haze from landscapes and smog from cityscapes. It does this automatically so you don’t need to finely tune your image. Advanced-level editing includes the means of adjusting the foreground and the background separately.
DxO PhotoLab also includes tools to remove the distortion at the edges of images when taken using a wide-angle lens, adjust sharpness, and make individual adjustments to different ranges of light – highlights, midtones, shadows, and blacks. With color rendering you can use your own camera’s settings or choose the settings of another camera so you can batch-match photos taken with different equipment.
You are unlikely to need this level of detailed photo editing for family snaps and pictures of your pets, but for professionals we think it’s perfect.
DxO FilmPack is a separate (purchased) plugin that recreates the image quality and look of traditional film photography, supporting a large number of different film types. Here you can use the preset overlays and add frames and effects. Batch processing is simple using DxO and you can apply a range of corrections from sharpness to color across a batch of image files.
This is where DxO falls down. You don’t get any organizational, tagging, or categorization tools with this program so you need to look elsewhere to control your workflow and keep track of your images. If you work with Adobe Lightroom you can directly export and import to DxO PhotoLab, so these two programs make an ideal pro package.
The export function in DxO PhotoLab is a quick and easy way to export your images to disc, other retouching software, or to Flickr or Facebook. We like that the program works particularly well with Flickr, pulling in previously used albums and tags to choose from and allowing you to set privacy levels. You cannot email images very easily, however. And there are very few printing options to choose from.
Ease of use
While the tools may carry out complex functions, the interface of DxO PhotoLab is easy to use. Everything is laid out logically, and a number of one-step features help keep the work you need to do to a minimum. However, pro photographers will find a wealth of ways to customize and control image editing and formatting in the PhotoLab software package.
Help & support
Find quick help as you navigate the software from the buttons attached to each of the features. The online resources contain some quick-start guides and also the full user manual. And the DxO Academy has videos, tutorials, webinars, and tips. In addition you can contact the support center by email.
DxO doesn’t work miracles but it does have the potential to transform a good photo into an amazing image – and the best thing is, you can get this effect automatically. Choose DxO PhotoLab if you want to reduce the noise in your images and optimize them to their full capacity. DxO PhotoLab 5 is a choice for the advanced editor.
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