DxO, the well known French developer of DxO Optics Pro and the force behind DxOMark, plans to continue development of the Nik Collection, with the current version to remain available for free on DxO’s dedicated website, while a new version is planned for mid-2018. The first results of the acquisition are the inclusion of Nik’s U Point local adjustments solution, in addition to a new Repair tool and improved DxO Lens Sharpness technology. As a result, DxO Optics Pro also gets a new name — DxO PhotoLab — and is expected to be setting a new standard in RAW processing for pro and enthusiast photographers.
DxO PhotoLab is released today and introduces a comprehensive local retouching solution that is fully integrated into a non-destructive RAW workflow and includes former Nik Software’s U Point technology. The lack of local retouching was the only flaw I could find in the previous versions of DxO’s image editor.
The new DxO PhotoLab — whose name actually covers the app’s capabilities better than the old Optics Pro — also contains an auto-mask brush, a graduated filter and a new Repair tool. In addition to these brand-new features, its RAW-file automatic Lens Sharpness correction feature has been dramatically enhanced.
Needless to say, I’ll be reviewing DxO PhotoLab very soon here. If it’s as good as the first release, 13 years ago, it will be one of the best RAW converters/editors on the market, as its strongest selling point hasn’t changed: optical corrections are based on laboratory-grade mathematical models. The new app still includes DxO PRIME, a gold standard in noise reduction technology and Smart Lighting.
In the previous version, though, one thing was missing: local adjustment tools that would set DxO’s app on the same level of functionality as Adobe’s Lightroom, but with the unique lens-and-camera-body based automation. DxO PhotoLab now gives photographers these tools and they immediately get one of the best user interfaces ever developed for image editing, which is U Point, originally developed by Nik Software.
Through its acquisition of the Nik Collection assets from Google, DxO was able to integrate U Point technology, which allows users to make complex selections, without ever using a brush tool in a non-destructive RAW workflow.
The local corrections feature set also includes an auto-mask retouching brush for making precise selections and a graduated filter tool. These tools share many similarities with Control Points: they give users access to essential settings, including exposure, contrast, white balance, micro-contrast, vibrancy, sharpness and a bokeh effect.
These controls are fully integrated into DxO PhotoLab’s RAW conversion feature and are non-destructive. For example, users can restore highlights locally by using the extra data contained in the RAW file without changing the rest of the photo.
Photographers who use JPEG files can use these local adjustment tools as well. DxO PhotoLab also lets users work with maximum efficiency by allowing them to use several different tools within the same selection.
DxO PhotoLab includes a brand new repair tool as well. It’s a brush that can be used on only those areas that need retouching. The underlying algorithm, however, is said to provide much better and faster results.
Available for the nearly 40,000 camera-lens combinations DxO has analysed in its laboratory, Lens Sharpness applies the most appropriate sharpness correction to each point in the image’s field of view, while also accounting for the type of equipment and shooting settings used. Lens Sharpness optimisation also adapts to the image’s ISO level. This part of the tool is of particular interest in the DxO PhotoLab release. RAW images are now much sharper when shot at medium-sensitivity settings, while noise levels remain well-controlled. This improvement should be used in conjunction with DxO’s brilliant PRIME noise reduction technology to really tap into low-light photography.
The ESSENTIAL and ELITE editions of DxO PhotoLab for PC and Mac get an introductory price through November 30, 2017:
- DxO PhotoLab ESSENTIAL Edition: 99 € instead of 129 €
- DxO PhotoLab ELITE Edition: 149 € instead of 199 €
(Recommended retail price, VAT included)
Photographers who purchased a license for DxO OpticsPro can get a discounted upgrade license for DxO PhotoLab by signing into their customer accounts at http://www.dxo.com. Photographers who purchased or updated a DxO OpticsPro license on or after September 1st, 2017 can upgrade their software for free.
A full, one-month trial version of DxO PhotoLab is available at DxO’s website: http://www.dxo.com/us/photography/download.