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Software Review – DxO Optics Pro 7 From DxO Labs

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DxO Optics Pro is a software product that was created for automatically improving the quality of your photographic images. Where most image editing programs offer a wide range of corrections and let you do the work, DxO Optics Pro 7 actually analyzes the image, finds the corrections that need to be done, make these corrections, and show you the result, in letting you to fine-tune to your taste.

So just what is DxO Optics Pro? It performs image corrections to your photos with or without human intervention. In fact they have two different levels; Auto, which automatically adjusts your images – keep in mind that this is not a beginner setting, rather it is intended to give the best results possible and the expert mode in which you handle everything.

DxO Optics Pro 7

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 – cameras and lenses, and then making adjustments through the use of data that the DxO lab has built up over the years on that equipment. 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.

The program 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 advanced de-noising processing and through the use of their database information about each camera body, it gives you the ability to shoot Raw or JPEG photos at speeds of up to ISO 100,000.

DxO Optics Pro gives you the ability to correct all five optical distortions (geometric distortion, vignetting, chromatic aberration – both longitudinal and lateral – and lens softness). This again is because of the high-level measurement database that their labs have been building up for years. It also gives you a correction tool for wide angle shots, which corrects deformation of faces and bodies by using non-conventional (cylindrical or spherical) perspective methods.

You can change the color rendering of your photo so that it looks as though you have shot it using another camera or on a particular film. There are a number of presets that can give you a lot of different looks such has Single-shot HDR, Black & White, Highkey, Vivid coloring, and more.

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.

DxO Optics Pro 7

So what is new with DxO Optics Pro 7?

• Lens Sharpening is exclusive to DxO Labs. Based on the DxO Optics Module, the DxO Lens Softness Tool will automatically compensate for lens softness. Through the use of a new techniques that can read the image content. Also DxO Optics Pro 7 can give you improved preservation of the bokeh while avoiding the creation of artifacts in out-of-focused zones.

• Sharpness Mask will take those areas in which a lens typically tends to soften or blur – usually toward the edges and will give you the ability to gain sharpness from the center to the edge. This feature is available even if your equipment is not yet supported.

• Colors and Textures means that you no longer have to settle for flat stretches of bland, uniformed colors. DxO Optics Pro 7 has now added a tool that gives you the ability to bring out both the details in the image as well as its texture in saturated areas.

• Optimized Ergonomics means that DxO Optics Pro 7 is even easier to work with. Starting with this version working in project mode is optional – you can now work directly from your files and directories. When you select a RAW or JPEG file, your default setting are automatically applied so that you can see your corrections and begin processing.

• Increased Performance has been achieved over version 6 by as much as four times faster running under Windows. DxO Optics Pro 7 has been restructured using better resource management when running on OpenCL.

• 10,000 DxO Optics Modules will be added by the end of 2012. This means more lenses will be supported and better processing for you.

• Browsing of Lightroom catalogs and Lightroom external editor mode have been dropped. However, export to Lightroom catalog is still available.

DxO Optics Pro 7

I really like the redesigned DxO Optics Pro 7 it seems much simpler and easier to use while still retaining the complex capabilities that make it such a good tool. While other tools can handle noise reduction and workflow management, there is nothing on the market that can come close to DxO’s abilities with optical lens correction and camera body maping.

There are two versions of DxO Optics Pro 7 – 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, and make your images the best that they can be, then I highly recommend DxO Optics Pro 7.

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About T. Michael Testi

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