If you read my review of , DxO Optics Pro 4.5 you would know that DxO became the first company to have a photographic software application that builds a common work flow with Adobe Lightroom. Pioneers in establishing compatibility with Adobe technologies, they believed that Adobe Photoshop Lightroom would be an important platform for photographers and took advantage of it.
With the release of version 5, DxO Labs has completed the cycle of improvement and integration with Adobe Photoshop products and now leads the way on Raw conversion and Noise Reduction utilities.
What do you need to run DxO Optics Pro 5? Well Windows XP SP2 or VISTA 32 bit (will not run on 64-bit) or Mac (Mac version will be released later this year); Pentium 4, Dual-Core, 64 bit, AMD, AMD Dual-Core, or AMD 64 bit. 1GB Memory for Standard edition and 2GB for Elite edition. 150 MB hard disk space.
So just what is DxO Optics Pro 5? It is an automatic image enhancement program that is intended to be "first in your workflow." It can perform image corrections to your photos without human intervention; but once you have the skills you can also take control of corrections that are available. By using an extensive body of information about cameras and lenses, DxO Optics Pro 5 is able to make intelligent corrections to your images so you don't have to.
So what kind of corrections does DxO Optics Pro 5 do? First, it will eliminate distortion, vignetting, and lens softness. It does this by requiring you to enter in the kind of camera and lenses that you are using. In fact you should check out which cameras and lenses that are supported by which version before purchasing the product. Second, it will remove camera noise and chromatic aberration; that purple fringing that is sometimes seen on photographs, especially when enlarged. Third, it fixes exposure and contrast problems without degrading the image. Fourth, it has advanced color control and adjustments by incorporating new color functions that include Color Rendition Profiles through Color Modes and DxO's Multi-Point Color Balance. This gives you more flexibility and control. Color Rendition Profiles let you switch from one camera body to another as well as between film looks. Fifth, DxO Optics Pro 5 gives you the ability to correct perspective using the Auto-Crop feature.
So, what is new in DxO Optics Pro 5?
RAW Conversion Engine – has been completely redesigned. Ever since digital images have been shot using sensors with a Color Filter Array, they have been plagued by a number of disgraceful artifacts: false colors, unnatural 2×2 grain, and maze like structures for example. These artifacts, particularly visible and unsightly are compounded at high ISO settings and are in large parts responsible for what is deemed the unnatural look of digital images. DxO, instead of only considering pixels with respect to their direct neighbors, uses a ‘non local’ approach looking much farther afield than is usual from each pixel in the image in order to reconstruct detail. This produces images with much more detail and fewer artifacts; setting a new standard in image quality.
Noise Removal Technology – is now applied before demosaicing; that is before noise has the chance to be amplified by the Raw conversion process. By moving noise removal up front, images processed with DxO Optics Pro 5 are more natural looking and contain more detail and color saturation.
Dust Removal Tool – that allows you to "click once, clean many." Here you can click on dust spots with the mouse and DxO Optics Pro v5 removes them and provides a natural reconstruction of the scene. Since dust tends to be in the same spot on many photos, you can batch clean them all.
A new interface – DXO Optics Pro’s user interface has been reorganized to improve workflow and provide for ease of use. In particular tools are now organized into four main sections that match the photographer’s approach: Light > Color > Geometry > Details. Users of DxO Optics Pro 5 can also customize their workspace to their particular way of working or choose to keep the tool organization of the previous version. The interface itself is organized into Select, Prepare, Process, and Review. This allows the user manage their projects; and projects are the at the heart of DxO Optics Pro 5
And of course…More Cameras – DxO Optics Pro v5 will support the latest Canon and Nikon Digital SLR camera bodies. Support for the Canon 40D, Canon 1Ds MKIII, Nikon D300 and Nikon D3 will be included in DxO Optics Pro v5 over the next few months following the availability of these cameras.
There are things that I haven't covered like the fact that DxO Optics Pro also has the ability to build projects and organize your photos. You can work with images as a project in which you can prioritize your photos by giving star rankings. You can stack related images together for processing. You can also remove and rotate your images as well. This is handy if you do not have Adobe Photoshop Lightroom or a similar product to handle these tasks.
One point to make is that when using DxO Optics Pro, you need to begin with original camera files. If you do a bunch of editing of files; especially if it affects the EXIF data, DxO Optics Pro may not be able to process the file properly.
This program works so well because the people at DxO Labs test every camera/lens combination to make sure that it is accurate. They measure and test for each camera and lens that the product supports so that the software can apply the corrections as seamlessly as possible. My only complaint with DxO Optics Pro 5 is it seems really slow to load. Once it is loaded things run much better.
There are two versions of DxO Optics Pro; Standard and Elite. The Standard version the amateur and expert amateur DSLRs and their lenses and lists for $169 USD. Elite supports the Standard level features 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 image correction product that will analyze your images and apply corrections; whether manually or automatically, then DxO Optics Pro 5 will make a fine addition to your tool chest.