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Old Mar 26, 2014, 9:15 PM   #1
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Default Playing with dual raw converters again

I figured what the heck and upgraded my DXO Pro Optics 9 program to the Elite version last week so I could play around with some E-M1 raw files.

The biggest advantages of the DXO program compared to Adobe Camera raw are:

Dedicated body-lens profiles that are already "there" and automatically loaded every time you open a new file. When you first open an image file in the Customize window, DXO presents the image in it's completely uncorrected state, and a couple of seconds later the file jumps into a 100% corrected view and you're ready to go.

From that point, everything from sharpening to noise reduction, correction for chromatic aberrations, etc. are all applied based on DXO's body-lens profile and you could basically Export a finished jpeg image at that point unless you want to tweek the sharpening, exposure/contrast or anything else.

Compared to using ACR in any of the default profiles or, in my case the Huelight profiles, the default colors and hues in DXO are pretty darn rich and compelling.

DXO does not cost you something every month. You buy the program and have it.

The ACR advantages are, it's a much slicker, faster moving program. DXO can be a little clunky, sometimes suffers from short stalls on my very fast-working machine with what should be more than enough 12 GB of RAM and fast Intel i7 processor.

When you want to magnify/zoom in, an image has to reset itself in DXO and takes a second or two to pop into focus vs. ACR, which just smoothly zooms the image in and out at will and at full resolution with no waiting to see the in-focus section you've zoomed in on.

DXO still does not recover highlights nearly as well as ACR does. On the other hand, you can do it in ACR to the point an image can start looking too flat and needs some contrast help. The best control for this is to just expose the image retaining all the highlights you want retained and leave the rest where you put them.

DXO..



ACR..



Panny 7-14mm at 7mm using DXO. Notice how much wider the DXO distortion corrections keep the image compared to the ACR version.



and ACR with no additional corrections beyond the in-camera directed corrections..



DXO..



ACR..



DXO..



ACR..


Last edited by Greg Chappell; Mar 26, 2014 at 9:21 PM.
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Old Mar 26, 2014, 9:34 PM   #2
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Speaking of wider, look at this next file, captured with the Olympus 12-40mm f2.8 at 12mm.

Processed in ACR..



And the exact same file, but processed in DXO. Neither file was cropped by me at all. I was stunned at how much wider the same file is when processed in DXO. The guy walking on the left-hand edge of the frame and the extra detail on the other side, that really is amazing. I'm selling myself more on DXO as I look at image comparisons like this.


Last edited by Greg Chappell; Mar 26, 2014 at 9:57 PM.
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Old Mar 26, 2014, 9:56 PM   #3
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definitely like the color better on the DXO examples. The ACR seems muted a bit more.
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Old Mar 26, 2014, 11:54 PM   #4
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Greg- Thanks for posting such a comprehensive comparison. I'm surprised by how much of the image is lost with ACR. It's akin to the "expose" you did awhile back that demonstrated the difference in lenses at any given focal length. I've heard Lightroom uses the same raw processing engine as ACR so it's reasonable to assume LR is doing the same thing. Color is as good or better in DXO too. Very interesting.
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Old Mar 27, 2014, 10:00 PM   #5
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I've continued testing numerous files captured at 12mm, both with the 12-35 Panasonic and the 12-40 Olympus and in every single case, the files created from DXO were wider than the same files produced used Adobe Camera raw.
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Old Mar 28, 2014, 12:39 AM   #6
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So shooting at 12mm with the lens that produces the narrower FOV, then processing in ACR, would compound the loss of pixels.

Imagine the difference between two photographs of the same image, one captured using the Panasonic and one using the Olympus (both at 12mm). Then process the narrowest image in ACR and the widest in DXO.

I prefer to have all the pixels. That's why I don't change the aspect ratio to 16:9 or anything that pitches pixels before I see them.
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Old Mar 28, 2014, 1:07 AM   #7
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Same here. Always shoot at 4:3. Gonna start using DXO more too. Losing pixels at the wide end I don't like.
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Old Mar 28, 2014, 9:10 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Chappell View Post
...DXO can be a little clunky, sometimes suffers from short stalls on my very fast-working machine with what should be more than enough 12 GB of RAM and fast Intel i7 processor.
Some of the processing that DxO Optics Pro does can use GPU Acceleration.

From posts I've seen on the subject, you need a fairly fast video card to take full advantage of it. It performs a test at startup, and if the GPU is not fast enough to provide any benefit over the CPU alone, it doesn't use your video card. I've seen others report that kind of thing, where the same card would use OpenCL accelerated features with an older CPU (for example, something like a Core 2 Quad Q6600), but DxO Optics Pro wouldn't use it with a faster Core i7 3xxx CPU, when dealing with lower end cards (for example, something like a retail GT 440).

IOW, to take advantage of faster processing using your GPU with a newer Core i7 model, you'll probably need a relatively fast video card. But, I have seen some users report a pretty good performance gain by upgrading to a faster card, even when the old card was being used by DxO Optics Pro; shaving a lot of time off of some of the batch processing to convert multiple raw files to another format.

So, that may be something to look into (see if your card is fast enough so that GPU accelerated features are being enabled in DxO Optics Pro, and even if it is, consider getting a faster card model).

What kind of Power Supply do you have? If it doesn't have enough wattage to support a higher end GPU requiring separate power connections, one new card you may want to look at is the GTX 750 Ti (or lower priced GT 750).

Those are bus powered cards that will run from a PCIe slot without any extra power connections needed, and they're dramatically faster than the older card models using a Kepler Architecture with OpenCL (the GTX 750 and 750 Ti are the first cards in the Nvidia lineup using a newer Maxwell based Architecture, with far better performance/watt compared to competing models, with a huge improvement in performance with OpenCL, where Nivida cards have typically lagged behind AMD).

I haven't seen anybody testing them with DxO Optics Pro yet. But, I saw some results someone posted using the newly patched Smart Sharpen Filter in Photoshop CC (which includes some noise reduction algorithms, and make far better use of a faster GPU compared to other GPU Accelerated features in Potoshop)

Findings:

Nvidia Driver: 335.23
6000x4000 white image with 100 mono gaussian noise added

Smart Sharpen parameters: 100/1/10/Lens blur
openCL disabled: 12 sec
Asus 650 Ti: 1.6 sec (8x faster)
Asus 750 Ti: 0.9 sec (14x faster)



The 750 Ti uses less power, runs quiet, and has much improved OpenCL performance over older card models like the 650 Ti (which would not run from PCIe Slot Power, since it needs a separate connection from the PSU).

In the AMD lineup, you'd probably be stuck with the R7 250 if you need a card that can run from bus power (but, that still may be fast enough to offer some improvements, as AMD cards tend to do well with most OpenCL code). The new Nvidia GT 750 and GT 750 Ti are both faster than that card and also run from PCIe Bus Power.

Or, if you have a Power Supply to handle a more powerful card requiring separate connections from the PSU; I'd look at the new Radeon r7 265 (just hitting shelves now and tests a bit faster than the GTX 750 Ti at about the same price point at around $150). Or, perhaps the R7 260x if on a tighter budget. Of course, if you've got the money and power supply capability, go for something like the R9 270 instead (you can find them for around $200 now).

But, I wouldn't know what to expect from a new GPU with DxO Optics Pro, and it's hard to find any benchmarks showing what improvements others have seen. You can try searching through forums and can run into some threads like this one:

http://forum.dxo.com/index.php/topic,7269.0/nowap.html

But, it's difficult to find threads comparing newer DxO Optics Pro versions using newer card models to get a better feel for the gains you might get with a faster GPU.
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Old Mar 28, 2014, 10:04 AM   #9
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Thankfully, the biggest DXO system drag is this new PRIME noise reduction option you really only have to engage with higher ISO images and I do not anticipate a lot of consistent use of it.

The most disappointing part of the whole exercise is, how Adobe is cutting off image files the way they are. I tried a few of these in The Olympus Viewer 3 software and see results similar to those produced by DXO in terms of where the edges of the files fall at the widest focal length so Adobe is using more than just the raw file embedded information in making the behind the scenes distortion corrections before the file opens up in Adobe Camera raw, and there's no way to "turn it off" and get those pixels back, so the 12mm setting is really more something like 13 or even 14mm if you use Photoshop, and the 7mm end of the 7-14 Panasonic is not 7mm.

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Old Mar 28, 2014, 10:49 AM   #10
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...........so, I again decided I want nothing to do with Adobe, I did sign up for CC but canceled all that.

Still, I want for COREL to ship out a new version but not anticipating that happening.

Perhaps I might download a trial of DXO Pro ... BUT! the iMAC 27 here is now 4-yrs old and I ain't updating / replacing it but maybe a memory max-upgrade which I should have done long ago.

What do you think Jim?
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