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Software Review: DxO Optics Pro 6.5 From DxO Labs

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DxO Optics Pro is a software product that was created for automatically improving the quality of your RAW or JPEG images. It will give you the ability to gain up to 2 stops of dynamic range and give you better detail without raising digital noise due to high ISO.

So just what is DxO Optics Pro? It performs image corrections to your photos with or without human intervention. In fact they have three different levels: Auto, which automatically adjusts your images; Guided, which takes you by the hand and lets you choose; or Expert, in which you handle everything.

So what kind of corrections will Optics Pro perform? It will eliminate distortion, vignetting and lens softness. It does this by taking in to consideration the kind of equipment that you have. You can also check out which cameras and lenses are supported which will help you to determine which version of DxO Optics you should buy.

DxO Optics Pro 6.5

It will also remove camera noise and chromatic aberration — that purple fringing that is sometime seen on photographs, especially when enlarged. It fixes exposure and contrast problems without degrading the image and by using local correction. That is, each area of the image is treated separately so that the image is fixed where the image needs to be fixed.

It has advance color control and adjustment capabilities. It does this by incorporating Color Rendition Profiles and Color Modes Color Rendition Profiles which let you switch from one camera body to another as well as between film looks. It even allows you to achieve color fidelity when developing RAW files. Multi-Point Color Balance allows you to exploit the full range of available color space for RAW or JPEG files.

DxO Optics Pro gives you the ability to correct perspective using the Auto-Crop feature. This is a keystoning correction feature that fixes a perspective problem when a picture is shot — usually when shooting a building up at an angle, the top of the picture is wider than the bottom. Previously this could only be corrected by having a specialized “shift” lens or other technical camera.

DxO Optics Pro 6.5

Dxo Optics Pro allows you to make optical, lighting and noise corrections on RAW images. In fact it can give you up to 2 stops of ISO sensitivity allowing you flexibility of exposure that can be used to counteract movement, augment the depth of field, capture images in low-light conditions, or shoot without flash.

Another major feature is highlight recovery. This happens when one or more of the color channels are maxed out. DxO Optics Pro has a specialized “Highlight recovery” engine, which adjusts the exposure level of the global image to the exact amount necessary to recover highlights.

So what is new with DxO Optics Pro 6.5?

• Single Shot HDR gives you the ability to create an High Dynamic Range (HDR) image from a single image file (JPEG or RAW) in one click. Depending on equipment and shooting conditions, by using differential corrections of exposure, contrast and color, it is possible to reproduce an HDR effect without having to superimpose several different exposures (the traditional method for obtaining HDR).

DxO Optics Pro 6.5

• New RAW Converter now includes a powerful tool for developing your RAW files. The new RAW converter provides a high noise reduction regardless of the ISO, for even better processing.

• Optical Corrections have increased to 2500 DxO Optics Modules are available. They plan to significantly increase the rate of production to achieve 5000 modules by the end of 2011.

• Interface has been designed to facilitate its use by beginners and to allow users of previous versions to optimize their workflow. Three different work areas are available depending on your level of technical knowledge (first steps, the essentials, power user, etc.). You can also use DxO Optics Pro with Adobe Lightroom 3 software and integrate the two into a single workflow.

• Additional features include Manual optical corrections are now available for your images not yet covered by a DxO Optics Module, the library of presets has been widely expanded to offer even more processing options in a single click, A “first steps” assistant guides you when you begin, you can open the “Project” window separately, and your images can be displayed on multiple lines, and download and installation are much faster, and DxO Optics Modules are automatically downloaded when adding images to the project.

DxO Optics Pro 6.5

DxO Optics Pro 6.5 is pretty remarkable with all of the things that it does and how well it works. I like the fact that there are three levels of use so that the beginning user can get up to speed with the basics and progress as they feel more comfortable.

This program works because the people at DxO Labs test every camera/lens combination to make sure that it is accurate. They measure the optical transfer functions for each camera that it supports and makes the software apply the corrections.

There are two versions of DxO Optics Pro v6.5 — Standard and Elite. The Standard version supports point and shoot cameras as well as consumer level DSLRs and their lenses and lists for $169 USD. Elite supports the Standard level as well as the high-end professional DSLRs and their lenses and lists for $299 USD. All can be purchased from DxO Labs Website.

If you take your photography seriously and you want a professional product that will analyze your images and apply corrections – whether manually or automatically, then I highly recommend DxO Optics Pro 6.5.

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About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.