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Old Dec 14, 2009, 4:50 AM   #1
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Default Anyone Using DxO Optics

I know this is a software editor question but I also know if I post it there almost no one will see it.

I'm considering getting DxO Optics Elite to help correct lens errors when shooting large groups at wide angles, also for landscapes, architecture etc.

Has anyone got experience of this software. How well does it work etc.

I also see that it seems to do a sort of HDR option from RAW which could be interesting as I don't have photomatrix.

I know you will say download the trial, my problem is I did that just for correcting one wedding photo which although too a while due to being green with the software did a good job and I didn't play with the other areas that are now interesting me.

How does it do with batch raw/distortion processing as doing each photo by hand could be a pain? etc etc

Any views on this would be appreciated as well as any other features of DxO you like.


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Old Dec 14, 2009, 9:18 PM   #2
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I'm no expert with the program, but I used the previous version of DxO Optics (5.5, I think) for a while, not the new one. I'm not sure I'm going to pay the upgrade cost (though it's quite reasonable) - they only just released the Mac version and it doesn't yet support the Pentax K-7. When they do, I'll think about it.

I didn't know it would do some sort of HDR - either that's new with the latest release or else I didn't find it with the old one.

The lens correction is what I really liked about it - if your camera and lens are supported it can make a big difference. Also, it can adjust other parallax errors easily - it will square up a picture taken with a really wide angle by essentially drawing two lines on two objects that should be vertical, but aren't. The lens correction is done automatically (along with several other things, the program has default values). The noise reduction was reasonable, too.

The batch processing never gave me any trouble, though it seemed slow with my MacBook Pro. It's very easy if you want to use the default settings, or have the program with the appropriate "blocks" turned off that you don't want to use. Just go through your pictures, pull the ones you want to process down, skip the custom screen and go right to the processing screen. A neat thing is that you can set up multiple output parameters - such as a full sized tiff file for further processing/printing/archive and a resized jpg for posting on a website in a different folder. The program will do both at the same time. I'd get it started and then go fix myself a cup of coffee and work a Sudoku puzzle while I waited (if I had a number of pictures to process).

Some other things - the program is picky about the files. It needs all of the exif information in order for it to process the picture, and the literature advises that you copy your files straight from the card to the hard drive, without having Lightroom or another program do it for you. So it changed my work-flow - I copied the files to my hard drive, processed them in DxO, then imported tiff files to Lightroom for any further processing (or skipped that and went directly to Photoshop). However, I don't remember having a problem using files that Lightroom had created the couple of times I went to older pictures to play around with. As I recall, the older version did change the exif information but can't quite remember the details - it's been several months since I've used it.

By default, it changes the color some - as I recall they sometimes looked more saturated than what ACR would come up with. That might be camera-specific though. You can also influence white balance, exposure, sharpening, do noise reduction, crop, tilt/rotate etc. I found the interface not that difficult to figure out, but a bit clunky in a way (I'm used to Lightroom). It can do some really amazing things, but other than the geometric corrections and the lens corrections, most of it can be done in other raw converters.

It would be much more useful for someone who shoots Canon or Nikon as there are far more modules for camera/lens combinations. There are only a couple of Pentax lenses that they have modules for (and I do have enough of them to buy the program at the end of my trial period). You can still use the program's basic functions for raw files taken with supported cameras and other lenses but it's benefits aren't as significantly different. It won't process raw files from unsupported cameras and since I'm shooting mostly with the K-7, I've gotten used to not using it again.
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