Wednesday 5 July 2023

Photography Post: the amazing power of DxO PhotoLab editing software

Image after processing in DxO PhotoLab

DxO PhotoLabs is raw photo editing software designed to bring out the best in your images, I've been using it for processing noisy images for several months now. I've been impressed with the results and wondered what it could do with older images. After working with a few I'm astonished. Images I'd kept just for the memories have leapt in quality revealing details I never knew were there and losing ugly noise.

The above photograph was taken handheld in 2010 on my Pacific Northwest Trail walk with my 8 megapixel Canon 350D DSLR camera and Canon EF-S 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 lens. The ISO was 1600 and the settings 1/5 second at f5.6. On the original raw file the dark sections are solid black and the whole image has a great deal of noise, which isn't surprising given the equipment and the settings.

Original raw image

DxO has a huge database of camera and lens information and tailors processing to the specific equipment used to take the image. In this case it has produced amazing results from an under-exposed image taken at far from optimum settings with camera equipment that whilst okay for its day doesn't compare with current gear. Details have appeared in the shadows (these show up better with a high resolution image on a large screen than on this small JPEG), the noise has been minimised, and the image is sharper. Here's a crop from the processed image. I wouldn't have believed I could get such detail and sharpness from cropping an image from that camera and lens.

Because of the noise and underexpsoure I processed the image with DeepPrime XD, the most powerful of four denoising options. This does take a little time and the resulting DNG file is 38mb. The original raw file is 13mb. For most images this isn't necessary and processing is much quicker. But for images like this it's wonderful.

1 comment:

  1. Hello Chris
    I too have been astonished; I use DxO Pure Raw. When I began shooting with a digital camera, I shot in RAW and jpeg even though I wasn’t yet editing in Lightroom and the RAW files sat untouched in files for years. On one special trip to Iceland, I managed to bump the ISO to 3200 for a day. The images were, I thought, unsalvageable. A few years later, DxO did a good enough job that they were useable, you can’t tell on a phone though there’s a slightly painterly look on a computer screen.

    Photo editing software nowadays is extraordinary m. The advice I was given back then to always shoot in RAW even if I wasn’t doing anything with the files then, was invaluable, and I’d pass that advice on to your readers as well.