DxO PhotoLab 7 Evaluation

DxO PhotoLab 7 Evaluation

Lately, photographers have been spoiled by a wide range of Uncooked builders along with Adobe Lightroom, resembling Seize One Professional and ON1 PhotoRaw. Another choice is DxO PhotoLab 7, which I’ll be reviewing right this moment. How does it stand as much as its opponents?


I’ve to confess, I get pleasure from making an attempt Uncooked builders. Though I take advantage of Darktable as my main editor, I’ve tried many others, together with Adobe Lightroom, Seize One Professional, Corel Aftershot Professional, Rawtherapee, and even coloured pencils by hand in a determined state of affairs with some prints I as soon as made.

Not too long ago, I needed to match DxO PhotoLab 7 in opposition to some options and course of just a few photographs with it. Certainly one of PhotoLab’s primary options is that it integrates DxO’s common noise discount algorithms additionally present in PureRaw 4. In addition to that, it claims to have “a colour house designed completely for DxO software program,” so I used to be desirous to check it out on some tough recordsdata. On this evaluate, apart from the comparability samples, all photographs have been edited with DxO PhotoLab 7.

Disclaimer: DxO gave me a license in order that I may check out their software program. I used to be not compensated in any other case.

NIKON D500 + 500PF @ ISO 640, 1/800, f/5.6

Notable Options

DxO applied sciences is likely one of the leaders is noise discount with its PureRaw software program. PureRaw takes a Uncooked file and offers you a denoised Uncooked file utilizing superior machine-learning algorithms, which you’ll be able to edit in any Uncooked developer. I examined PureRaw 3 earlier than and located it to offer excellent outcomes, and PureRaw 4 guarantees to be even higher – although there is no such thing as a such factor as a magic noise discount algorithm.

Together with incorporating PureRaw 4 into PhotoLab 7, DxO additionally has an outstanding assortment of modules for lens and digital camera mixtures. Whereas PhotoLab 7 is a considerably minor improve over PhotoLab 6, it does add extra native adjustment options and different instruments like colour lookup tables. Apart from that, DxO PhotoLab 7 incorporates all the essential modifying options anticipated of a contemporary Uncooked processor.

DxO PhotoLab 7 contains a wide range of lens-specific modules and algorithms that do a pleasant job of picture enhancement with out a lot tweaking. Nikon D500 + 500PF @ ISO 100, 1/800, f/5.6

Stress Checks

There are two stress exams I prefer to topic Uncooked builders to: the blown-out highlights check and the demosaicing check.

Blown-Out Spotlight Stress Check

The primary check includes the flexibility to deal with clipped highlights, whether or not the highlights are clipped on goal in post-production or blown out in your Uncooked file. Poor dealing with of those areas can result in unpleasant issues that spoil the look of your photograph.

How does DxO PhotoLab 7 evaluate to another Uncooked builders? I in contrast DxO PhotoLab in opposition to 4 different editors: Adobe Lightroom, Seize One Professional, Rawtherapee, and Darktable. I select a scene for the testing the place low solar is shining by the leaves:

The spotlight rendering of DxO PhotoLab 7 is sweet. Click on to see the delicate particulars

Proper off the bat, Rawtherapee strikes me because the worst at dealing with highlights, with some very sharp transitions between the completely different tonal ranges within the brightest areas. We are able to see that DxO PhotoLab 7 is significantly better.

Issues get fascinating after we evaluate the outcomes to Seize One Professional and Lightroom. Each are fairly comparable, however by default, Seize One and Lightroom each try and protect the yellows, whereas DxO’s default takes a route much like darktable’s default settings with the sigmoid module, leading to a extra salmon colour. In some instances, you must be capable of make some modifications to the colour with cautious modifying, as might be seen utilizing “protect hue” slider within the second darktable instance.

Curiously, in my precise utilization, I discovered DxO PhotoLab 7 to offer barely smoother leads to some instances in comparison with Seize One Professional:

DxO specifically provides a comfortable rendering of spotlight transitions. You’ll be able to nonetheless get good leads to Seize One Professional, nevertheless it’s barely simpler to get a harsh transition with Seize One, whereas DxO PhotoLab 7 is extra foolproof

Though once more, one can get good leads to any program, I felt the spotlight dealing with in DxO could be very “pleasant” as I discovered it onerous to power harsh spotlight rendering. No matter how I pushed the publicity slider or tone curve in DxO, the transition to clipped colours stays clean and delicate.

I did discover one thing unusual with the tone curve device in PhotoLab 7, nevertheless. Specifically, manipulating the tone curve is nearly like modifying a JPEG: you may very simply get clipped colours. I discovered this to be a disgrace given how a lot consideration DxO gave to paint science in different areas of the editor.

Even with a reasonably underexposed picture in order that colours can not clip and utilizing a really mild curve, you may get unusual banding because of the method the tone curve works in DxO PhotoLab 7. This impact is just not potential in most different editors.

The Demosaic Check

Demosaicing is the method by which Bayer or X-Trans sensor information is remodeled into RGB pixel information for displaying. There are lots of methods to do that, and every has its benefits and drawbacks. Many photographers might by no means must learn about which algorithm their Uncooked developer makes use of.

However, for individuals who shoot very high quality patters resembling clothes and feather element, the matter of demosaicing turns into extra vital. That’s as a result of the selection of demosaicing algorithm drastically impacts the rendering of high quality element and the looks of moiré. (Briefly, moiré is the looks of false colour in very high quality element.)

As a wildlife photographer, I discover moiré showing infrequently in sure Uncooked builders. I examined DxO for the way it handles demosaicing high quality particulars that may induce moiré, and listed below are the outcomes:

Testing DxO’s demosaicing algorithm in opposition to PPG and LMMSE, the latter being notably proof against moiré. View at full dimension to see the variations extra clearly

By default, I discovered moiré current in very high quality feather element. DxO PhotoLab 7 has a moiré discount device which is simple to make use of, and I turned it on to get the highest left sq.. The device does an excellent job of eradicating false colour, however the “moiré sample” nonetheless persists in just a few areas.

Curiously, the sample is drastically lowered in most areas as soon as DxO’s DeepPrimeXD noise discount is turned on. Should you view the graphic at 100%, you’ll see that most of the unpleasant moiré patterns vanish. Sadly, a few of the worst-case situations as proven by the bottom-left arrow don’t fully disappear, and the consequences might be seen even in an uncropped picture on my 13″ laptop computer display screen.

Additionally within the graphic are two reference demosaicing algorithms: PPG and LMMSE. The PPG algorithm is a quick however low-qualtiy algorithm that steadily produces moiré, and in lots of instances it may be fairly unhealthy. Nonetheless, the LMMSE algorithm is exceptionally good at dealing with moiré and I’ve by no means in follow seen the consequences of moiré when utilizing it.

In follow, I discovered DxO to be excellent, however because the reference LMMSE algorithm exhibits, DxO ought to think about offering different algorithms as an choice, as there may be positively room for enchancment.

This Frequent Gallinule shot exhibits some slight indicators of remaining moiré, though the moiré correction is turned on. Nonetheless, you need to look carefully to see it. Nikon Z6 + 500PF @ ISO 1400, 1/200, f/5.6


One other space the place Uncooked editors differ is the flexibility to do native edits. DxO PhotoLab 7 does have masks, though the default model of the software program solely has drawn masks. To get the luminosity masking function that permits you to choose a area by luminosity, you want to improve it with DxO Filmpack 7 for $139 – I discover this irritating provided that PhotoLab 7 is already not low-cost at $229 for the “Elite” version.

DxO’s masking interface makes use of a separate panel the place you draw a bunch of masks layers and make native changes with the separate sliders within the masks interface. It’s extra much like masking in Lightroom Traditional (particularly older variations) than to Photoshop or Seize One’s implementation of layers.

The masking panel of DxO PhotoLab 7 is helpful however the changes should not practically as highly effective in comparison with the masking options of Seize One, Lightroom, or darktable

When it comes to energy, DxO PhotoLab 7 is a bit restricted in that it solely does drawn masks. Lightroom and Seize One each have luminosity masks and sensible topic choices. My ordinary editor, Darktable, doesn’t have sensible topic choice, nevertheless it has a strong parametric masking device that permits you to simply specify areas primarily based on any parameter of your colour house. PhotoLab 7 feels just a little missing on this regard.

When utilizing DxO PhotoLab 7, I missed the parametric masking function in darktable that enables one to pick out a portion of your picture primarily based on luminosity or any RGB/HSL variables

DxO PhotoLab 7’s masks are a bit restricted as properly. You’ve obtained some fundamental free-form drawn masks and gradient masks, however radial masks are lacking. I spent a while making an attempt to emulate radial masks for customized vignetting however I couldn’t get it to work. In distinction, it is extremely straightforward to attract a radial masks in Seize One, Lightroom, and Darktable.

Ultimate Impressions and Suggestions

After working with DxO PhotoLab 7, I discovered it to be a succesful editor. The inclusion of DxO’s denoising algorithms make it notably appropriate for wildlife the place there may be typically too little mild, and it’s forward of just about all of its opponents in that regard.

When it comes to usability, in comparison with each Seize One and Lightroom, I discovered DxO PhotoLab 7 to be simpler to make use of. It’s true that Seize One and Lightroom might be realized with time, however I felt that DxO was probably the most newbie pleasant.

I felt I may get the essential outcomes that I wanted with DxO PhotoLab 7. Nikon Z6 + 500PF @ ISO 360, 1/1000, f/5.6

Particularly, PhotoLab 7 provides you a easy file browser and won’t overwhelm the newbie with catalog creation or workspaces. Its interface can be a bit much less cluttered than Seize One Professional, and I discovered it pretty straightforward to search out the instruments I wanted, particularly with PhotoLab 7’s search bar. In order for you a strong editor that isn’t as heavy as Lightroom, I’d positively suggest giving DxO PhotoLab a strive.

DxO has most of the options you will have to edit Uncooked recordsdata. It does an excellent job of dealing with colour, and specifically I used to be very impressed by its capability to deal with clean transitions in clipped highlights. When it comes to negatives, it wants extra masking-related options, and its tone curve wants enchancment. (It appears to function on the output colour house, making it of restricted use in comparison with utilizing customized curves in different editors.)

I had a little bit of bother fine-tuning the distinction on this shot because of the unusual habits of PhotoLab’s tone curve. Nikon Z6 + 500PF @ ISO 220, 1/800, f/5.6

DxO does lack just a few “extras” which can be helpful for some photographers. For instance, it doesn’t have a panorama or stacking operate. So, for instance, panorama photographers who do a whole lot of panoramas might need to keep on with Lightroom or Seize One. Total, I really feel that Seize One and Lightroom are aiming to be a whole toolkit for photographers with tethering and cross-device assist, whereas DxO PhotoLab nonetheless exhibits its roots as a device to maximise picture high quality (due to the lens corrections, sharpening, and noise discount) that’s slowly however steadily including extra Uncooked processing choices.

Although $229 isn’t the most cost effective software program bundle in the marketplace, I drastically respect the truth that it’s a one-time perpetual license, versus the aggressive subscription methods of Lightroom and Seize One Professional.


I loved utilizing DxO PhotoLab 7. It’s straightforward to get the cling of and doesn’t overwhelm the newbie with choices. It has just a few issues that may very well be improved, resembling higher demosaicing choices, extra superior masks, and an improved tone curve device, nevertheless it has another distinctive options resembling best-in-class denoising and wonderful optical correction modules. Total, I’d suggest giving DxO PhotoLab 7 a strive in the event you suppose its function set is enough in your wants. You will get it at their web site for $229.

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