DxO ViewPoint is a software product with one goal in mind: fixing the distortion that results from using a wide-angle lens that is not pointed directly at your subject. Considering that DxO has made a name for itself for giving you the ability to make adjustments to your images based on the make of camera and lens combination, and that some of these capabilities are already in their main product, DxO Optics Pro, this kind of product should be right up their alley.
What DxO ViewPoint tries to do is to correct a problem called volume anamorphosis. This is a phenomenon caused by wide-angle lenses that makes things in your image appear stretched out, enlarged, or just at a funny-looking angle. Your image takes on an unnatural appearance.
DxO ViewPoint comes both as a standalone application as well as a plugin that can be used in Adobe Photoshop CS3 through CC as well as in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3, 4 and 5. It also comes with direct access to DxO Academy, an online learning center that offers tutorials and webinars to reduce the learning curve.
So what features do you get with DxO ViewPoint?
• Fix keystoning. Keystoning is that strange-looking angle that buildings can get when you shoot with a wide-angle lens or other lenses when shooting upward, caused by the loss of parallel alignment. It may be leaning to one direction and the base may be wider than its top. ViewPoint allows you to fix this by placing anchor points on your image showing the proper way to straighten the angles. When you apply the correction, the unsightly distortion is rendered correctly. From there you can adjust the correction to make sure that everything looks just right.
• Correct distortions and restore the natural proportions of the people in your images. Distortions can occur particularly on the edges of your photos when you shoot with a wide-angle lens. ViewPoint corrects stretched-out faces or distorted body shapes quickly and easily, a problem called volume anamorphosis that can be especially bad when shooting groups of people: The ones in the center of the image look correct but the further from the center, the more distorted the bodies and faces become. These can be fixed with the anamorphosis tools. Again you have the ability to make adjustments to the corrections.
• Various versions allow you to fit ViewPoint into your workflow. The standalone version allows you to work independently of any third party application. Or if you are a user of Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, you can work from right within either of those products.
• Horizon correction lets you make your images look more natural – straightening out an unintentionally tilted horizon will restore balance to your photos. Using the natural visual cues in your image, the pieces are put back in their proper places and you will have a more precisely-leveled horizon line. As an alternative, you can also creatively change the orientation of the horizon to produce a more dynamic effect, according to your own design.
• Change the angle of your shot – and fine-tune the position of your camera. You can change the angle at which you shot your photo. With the Shift Point of View tool, you can change your shooting angle after the fact so as to create the image you want to produce. You also can change your camera angle vertically and horizontally.
• Automatic cropping provides the maximum visible field in your photos. This is available regardless of the corrections you apply. It does not matter if you are correcting keystoning, straightening the horizon, or shifting the point of view, the automatic cropping feature systematically optimizes the visible field. You can also manually correct the crop using a standard or totally customized ratio to highlight what you want to express in your shot. Through the use of the composition grid and the Loupe tool, you can adjust your corrections to get the exact look that you want.
I found DxO ViewPoint very easy to use, and it gives great results almost effortlessly. One of the best things is that it understands that an auto correction is not always correct and so it has the tools to let you “eyeball” your image and make adjustments so that it looks correct to the human eye.
If you own and use a wide-angle lens, then in my opinion DxO ViewPoint is a must-have application. While it has the same types of technology that comes with DxO Optics Pro, there are some subtle differences in the controls you use to make the adjustments as well as in the interface they are housed in. If you want a simple and easy way to fix wide-angle lens problems, then I highly recommend DxO ViewPoint.