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New DxO Optics Pro 6.5 May Be Worth Looking At

Published: 22/11/2010
By: larry

Every time DxO comes out with a new version of DxO Optics Pro I spend some time with the trial version to see how the new version works. In the past I've never purchased it because it felt like it has a lot overlap with Lightroom and its user interface never felt right to me. This recent 6.5 version looks particularly interesting because of a couple of new features it has:

  1. HDR rendering from single RAW shots to reveal the full dynamic range of high contrast scenes without the need for bracketing.
  2. Integration with Lightroom 3

I've always thought that Optics Pro was trying to compete with directly with Lightroom. I'm glad to see that they've decided to focus on their strengths instead of a head to head competition with Lightroom.

I know many real estate photographers swear by DxO Optics Pro because of its automated processing capabilities and it's quality distortion correction. Automated post-processing can save you a bunch of time if you can integrate it into your workflow.

The feature that caught my eye in this version was the ability to do pseudo-HDR by making use of the fact that most RAW files contain several stops above and below the 0 EV value of the file. This is a technique that is handy to get better sky exposure for exterior shots and get a better window exposure when the view really matters.

Optics Pro is 30% off ($199 for the Elite version, which you need for most DSLRs) between now and Dec 25 so if you've considered DxO Optics Pro as a post-processing tool this is a good time to evaluate it and see if it's right for you.

6 comments on “New DxO Optics Pro 6.5 May Be Worth Looking At”

  1. OK I'll admit it, I'm a DxO-aholic. I've been using DxO since it first appeared some years ago. It does the job, does it extremely well and only gets better with each passing iteration.
    OK there've been a couple of niggles over the years, but not many.
    I'm a real estate photographer here in (West) Auckland, New Zealand, for the open2view.com real estate website. DxO is an integral part of my daily digital workflow.
    I use it to process every shot of the final 20-ish (per assignment) that appear on the web. With three shoots a day, that's a total of about 60 shots. (yes, it's a factory). DxO lets you specify settings for each shot, light, colour, distortion, barrelling, skew, perspective, etc, etc. Or you can simply choose one of the many presets.
    And then batch process and the automated post-processing goes away and post processes. It chomps through 20 shots in about 5 minutes.
    The latest iteration of DxO has a “single shot HDR” preset. But I think you can do better by simply tweaking the settings.
    Like any piece of new software you've got to learn to drive DxO (yes, there are some settings I don't know how to use), but it is worth it. Prepare to be amazed by this piece of quality shareware.
    Just for record I know Zip about Lightroom.... DxO meant I never had to go near that (one-time) expensive piece of Adobe bloatware.

  2. I'm a convert to DXO too..thanks to Jeremy's persistence!
    My little "factory" churns out up to 6-8 shoots a day at times and it is now an integral starting part of my workflow.
    I get a lot of "other things" done whilst I'm waiting for DXO to do its thing...like editing the first batch that has gone through to LR, enter my jobs to MTOB ready for invoicing, make a few phone calls etc. It really has syncronized and improved my workflow and down time.
    I wouldn't be without the DXO/LR/CS5 combo now!
    But as Rick says..you gotta learn how to drive the bugger. Auto adjustment and Trial and error gets you going!

  3. The current version allows me to spend time shooting instead of tweaking images. I'm waiting (more or less patiently) to see the upcoming HDR plugin. The beta testers say that it is outstanding!

  4. I'm not a real estate photographer, just a lifelong amateur who has been using DxO Optics Pro for a couple of years (and I'm not involved in the company). I came here out of curiosity from the DxO web site and I'd like to correct some misperceptions, mostly because I _really_ like the application. First, I have a Nikon D300, and like many prosumer cameras, it's handled by the Standard version - despite what the brief review says, you may not need the Elite version (there is a list on the site of which version covers which camera so read before you buy). I find its interface quite straightforward - not at all difficult to adjust to - but I've been using Photoshop since 2.5, so that may make a difference.
    Now I said that I'm not a real estate photographer, but I am a keen architecture student, which puts me in roughly the same ballpark in what I shoot, I think. Based on that, I think you would love what you can do with the HDR option, despite what is said on the hdrblog noted above. A lot of HDR looks to me like a bad overdose on strychnine rather than realistic photography, and if that's what that fellow likes, it's not surprising he's disappointed. The DxO version of HDR is just opened shadows and retrieved highlights rather than the orange grass and blue-vinyl skies I see touted as neat-o HDR. Even in the most extreme form it's no wilder than a shot that had a heavy dose of Photoshop's Shadows/Highlight script. The difference is that the transitions are a _lot_ smoother.
    Plus you can do all sorts of things in really snappy fashion. Take out the barrel distortion? Check the box (DOP has already taken out some of the intrinsic geometry issues along with lens-specific issues like colour fringing and vignetting, based on DxO’s analysis of individual lenses and cameras).
    Someone mentioned output and I think you'd like the way that's handled. Making adjustments is fast, because what you’re doing is writing a behind-the-scenes set of corrections to be applied at another time. Once you deal with all your images (and you can correct one, then paste that correction on all the images that need similar adjustments, just by selecting them and keying the command), you send them to a set of outputs defined earlier.
    Want the final version in a full-size TIFF with an Adobe RGB profile? Check the box. Change the dimensions a bit? Type them in - Click! Same but as JPEGs with an sRGB profile for the client’s colour printer? Check the box. A set of JPEGs, 400 x 300 in sRGB for the client’s web site plus 128x 96 thumbnails? Check the box. Then click Process and go do something else while all the changes you’ve decided on are processed and output. That takes time, but meanwhile you’re being productive doing something else rather than waiting for Camera Raw to process individual files.
    It’s fun and it gets the job done. Try it.

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