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A First Look at DxO ViewPoint

September 19th, 2012

Here is another product that is being launched at Photokina. It is called ViewPoint by DxO. If you’ve on the DxO mailing list you got an announcement for this product yesterday.

When I first scanned the features my first impression was that ViewPoint could be a challenger for PTlens or the Lens Correction panel in Lightroom. But after downloading the trial and getting a closer look it’s clear that this is not a challenger for either because ViewPoint doesn’t do barrel distortion correction. It does anamorphosis distortion correction, keystone correction (straightening verticals), horizon rotating and cropping. That’s all.

I admit I am totally biased by looking at this product from the point of view real estate photography so in my mind I don’t see why anyone would build a $89 USD product that straightens verticals but doesn’t give you a way to remove barrel distortion because for architectural, interior and real estate work you need to do both. I even tried to fix barrel distortion with the anamorphosis distortion removal feature, but of course it wouldn’t. Anamorphosis distortion is different than barrel distortion.

So in case you are wondering if ViewPoint makes life easier for interior photographers, no! ViewPoint doesn’t even come close to PTlens or Lightroom because it lacks barrel distortion features.

Does someone see something I’m missing?

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10 Responses to “A First Look at DxO ViewPoint”

  • No, Larry you’re not missing something. I was a beta tester for the product and I couldn’t even get it to fix anamorphosis distortion in it’s beta form. I found it to be very difficult to use – very non-intuitive, and I told them so. Until they can make it easer to use, I’m not buying it.

    Michael

  • I have a different view.

    DXO sells a product that does what you expect and a lot more-it’s the full dxo package and it sells for 3-5 times what Viewpoint sells for.

    With Viewpoint, DXO has released a product that is a sub-set of their full product and offers some very specific tools to correct certain types of distortion that some people (me included) find challenging to do well with the tools in Lightroom, et al.

    But it doesn’t include the core lens profiles that bring the value to the full product and automatically fix barrel/pincushion distortion, lens vignetting, and chromatic aberration. If you want the full ride, you’ve got to buy the full trip ticket and not complain because you had to get off the train before it got to barrel distortion city.

    Lightroom already has profiles for a great many lenses and effective manual barrel distortion correction, chromatic abertion, and kens vignetting tools for use with unprofiled lenses. But try and fix keystoning that is not dead on horizontally and you’ll be fiddling with Lightroom sliders for a while.

    The 4-way keystone tool in Viewpoint (and the full DXO product) makes the fix a ten second affair. That feature alone would save me the cost of the product in a week’s time.

    I find the Lightroom workflow works better for me than the full DXO product for most of my shooting, but I have long wished for the tag-four-corners keystone correction tool of DXO to be available in Lightroom. Viewpoint, used as a plugin in Lightroom makes that a reality for me. It does what it promises, does it well at a fair price, and I don’t find it difficult to use. And it gives me far better results than the vertical/horizontal/rotate slider combo in Lighroom with much less effort.

    I’ve owned and used both Lightroom and the full DXO product for several years. I plan on adding Viewpoint as a plugin for Lightroom.

    So, dispite the PFRE rapid and categorical dismissal of the product, there are some of us out here who see value in it. My recommendation to other PFRE readers would be to download a demo and see if works or not for your needs, however don’t expect it to do things that are not a part of the programs feature set-Larry is right, it won’t do those things. It’s not a magic bullet for everything, but what it is aimed at it does well.

    The PFRE reaction to Viewpoint reminds me of a similar reaction to the D600 a few days ago. Lots of whinging about limited bracketing and what where they thinking by limiting features in a FF camera. C’mon guys and gals, you’re all smart enough to understand that this is the “consumer” version of Nikon’s FF camera lineup and it won’t have all the bells and whistles that might undercut sales of the pro bodies.

    I guess I’m just a glass half full instead of a glass half empty kinda’ guy this week.

  • I agree with John Driggers … although I use DxO for pre-processing (to fix the barrel distortion and correct white balance), I like having the ability to correct anamorphic distortion inside Photoshop. I was on the fence about buying it until I got a follow-up email from DxO offering it for $29.

  • @John – great explanation and as a sometimes user of DXO I find that the product is worth its weight in gold for the one-two times a month I need to use it. Like almost every other product out there, we need to pick and use what meets our specific needs and sometimes that doesn’t match a group need, but rather an individual need.

    @Larry, when a new product comes out, perhaps a double review of the product should be posted – one on the pro side and one on the con side so that we can all make a more accurate determination.

    In any case, Larry offers us a service that is invaluable – he points out new products and where to find out more information regarding that product and I thank him over and over again for this service!

  • Besides using Lightroom, many years ago, I started using ACDSee Pro.
    I have found it very effective for quick editing and have been excellent to straighten lines and barrel distortion easily besides excellent perspective control. The program keeps getting better.

    has anyone tried this for real estate?

  • Dont forget ShiftN!
    And is still free!

    You can get it at the following website.

    http://shiftn.de/

    Todd

  • I did a check on their website what they have to offer. I have no idea how easy their system is, but for the price and ease of use I prefer my Elements 9, the stand alone photoFXlab and the plugins from Topazlabs.

  • @John- “C’mon guys and gals, you’re all smart enough to understand that this is the “consumer” version” No, for the life of me I can’t understand their choice of features to put in ViewPoint. Fixing barrel distortion is essential for consumers and pros! Even at $29, PTlens has more functionality (fixing barrel distortion and batch processing)for $25.

  • @Larry-Guess I wasn’t clear-The “consumer” version comment was specific to the D600-your quote is pulled out of context with regards to Viewpoint.

    You value barrel distortion correction and batch processing and you say you can’t understand why those features were not included in Viewpoint, a keystone and edge distortion correction tool.

    Certainly you are correct in assuming that barrel distortion-when present-must be corrected for professional real estate photography. And because it is essentially the same for a given lens at a given focus distance and focal length, it can be batch processed.

    And there are many options:

    -Shoot jpg and use in camera software correction (sometimes it needs to be turned on a la Nikon, and sometimes you get it whether you want it or not a la MFT/Oly/Panasonic).

    -Hate JPGs? (you know who you are) then use PT Lens, ShiftN, or if there is a lens profile, the auto corrections available in Lightroom, ACR, or DXO Optics

    But add in keystone correction and batch processing goes out the window except for a locked down tripod series that was shot for HDR/Enfusion.

    So Larry, here’s the part to help you with understanding why DXO didn’t include barrel distortion correction and batch processing. (Note: It’s a little long and pdantic, but I mean it constructively, so bare with me please)

    Picture yourself on the DXO team.

    Hmmm, you say, “We already have a full featured product that does great stuff (world’s best lens/camera profiles for automated barrel/pincushion/chromatic aberration/lens vignetting, great RAW converter, full suite of editing tools, etc). What we hear on the forums is:

    -DXO is great, but DXO doesn’t support my camera while Lightroom/ACR does.

    -I like Lightroom’s workflow better than DXO.

    -I don’t want to pay for both DXO and Lightroom as there is so much duplication.

    -Etc, etc.”

    So you, as part of the DXO team conclude that you can develop and release a product that offers some features from DXO that are missing or work poorly in Lightroom/Photoshop/ACR at a lower price point than the full DXO Optics package. You wisely don’t give away the farm by including the automated lens profiles that are the the core of DXO Optics and the primary reason to buy the flagship product. And besides, you know similar features are already available/well-done in Lightroom/Photoshop/ACR–and for barrel/pincushion there is PT Lens too.

    You choose to release a tool that focuses on camera viewpont correction-aka keystoning (and decide to call it Viewpoint so most people will get what it does). As a bonus, you throw in a generic version of the custom edge distortion correction feature. It’s not as good as the matched body/lens combo in the DXO Optics program, but it’s pretty good.

    You decide to offer it as a stand alone program so it can integrate into user workflows that include PTLens or jpg shooters who depend on in camera barrel/pincushion correction. You want to give those users powerful keystone correction tools. You don’t worry about batch processing because keystone correction is a photo-by-photo task for the most part.

    And you make Viewpoint also operate as a plugin for Lightroom/Photoshop to vastly improve the keystone corrections tool that are offered in those products–but you don’t try and duplicate tools for barrel-pincushion distortion correction that already work well in those products.

    Good job DXO team. You delivered a value-add product at a reasonable price point that will introduce DXO to Lightroom/Photoshop/ACR users who wouldn’t buy the full DXO Optics package.

    Larry-My point about Viewpoint is that you are criticizing it for not having a feature that it doesn’t claim to have and declaring the program useless for real estate work as a result. It would be perhaps more useful to the community to say something like:

    For real estate shooters, Viewpoint works well and quickly to remove keystoning problems and some of the “stretching” that occurs at the edges of the frame when shooting wide angles (think of oblong clocks!). Viewpoint can be used as a stand alone program to supplement PT Lens and similar programs that do barrel/pincushion correction well and that batch process those operations, but are fussy to use for keystone correction. Viewpoint’s plugin mode in Lightroom or Photohop brings real keystone correction power to those programs–especially if you have keystoning in both the vertical and horizontal plane. Viewpoint does a good job of fixing, well…issues caused by camera viewpoint. It’s a good tool for your software toolbox, if you need it.

    That kind of a statment is fairer than letting your personal disappointment that Viewpoint was not developed as YOUR “dream” all purpose automated lens correction tool perhaps overshadowing what the program does do, and do well. Like you, I too dream of such a tool–but it’s not here yet. I am pretty satisfied with what I can achieve now using a combination of selected programs and am happy to add Viewpoint into my Lightroom workflow.

    @Todd-I really liked ShiftN when I used it, but it’s PC only. I even went so far as to run it in bootcamp on my Mac when I switched platforms, but I finally dropped all PC programs and run a pure Mac environment now, so no more ShiftN for me. 🙁

    Best regards to all.

    JD

  • I think both of you are right. It depends about workflow, I understand Larry’s point here. I just try this program and
    yes, there is something missing but i can see John’s point of view too…so i think both of you are right.

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