In the final week of October, DxO Labs released its newest version of Photolab. The app has been improved overall but the main features worth a closer look are ClearView Plus, advanced colour management, spot weighted corrections, U-Point functionality and PhotoLibrary.
Rumour has it that GoPro’s HERO6 isn’t selling well and that’s really a pity because this is a very fine action camera. In fact, I thought the HERO5 was pretty amazing until I saw the results the HERO6 can achieve. It’s the action camera we have been craving for.
Luminar 2018 has new correction filters powered by artificial intelligence, it’s faster than the previous version, it has a dedicated RAW development module and in 2018 Macphun (soon to be renamed to Skylum Software) plans to release a full-blown digital asset management (DAM) platform. Of course, there are also new features, such as the intelligent Sun Rays filter, LUT support and real-time noise removal. About the only thing that remains unchanged — which is a good thing — is the concept of adaptive workspaces that match your style of shooting of the moment. Macphun/Skylum states that Luminar 2018 has been re-built from the ground up for dramatic performance boosts. I don’t know about the adjective “dramatic”, but Luminar 2018 does load faster than its predecessor. The user interface has been updated too and makes it easier yet to find your way around. A great new feature is LUT support. LUTs are relatively new to photographers — they’re used all the time by videographers. Lookup Table (LUT) adjustments can cater for camera/lens combination-based colour corrections, but …
DxO acquired Nik Software’s assets, including U Point technology, integrated it with DxO Optics Pro, added a new repair tool for good measure, and renamed its flagship RAW editor to [DxO Photolab](http://www.dxo.com/us/photography/photo-software/dxo-photolab). The result is an editor that’s closer to Adobe Lightroom or Phase One’s Capture One Pro in terms of features than its predecessor.
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.
I’m not a fan of automatic image enhancement tools, but Perfectly Clear 3 struck me as a Photoshop plug-in that allows for subtle improvements on portraits without making you look like a plastic Barbie doll. It offers a plethora of presets and a full set of controls too.
Video footage is often a little soft and sharpening details can make a world of difference. I tested Samurai Sharpen for Final Cut Pro X. This Digital Anarchy plug-in allows you to use parameters that let you easily isolate specific areas of the footage and only sharpen those areas. It’s precise and simple.
Macphun develops Aurora HDR 2017, the best HDR app currently on the market. It just released Luminar, a photo editor that resembles Aurora HDR’s interface. However, it is less feature rich and falls short in some areas, although it is easy to use.
Colour depth or bit depth is either the number of bits used to define the colour of a single pixel in a bitmapped image or video frame buffer, or the number of bits used for each colour component of a single pixel. Chroma subsampling is the practice of encoding images by delivering a lower resolution for chroma (colour) information than for luma (lightness). The two combine into what your footage looks like when it has been freshly recorded.
Image noise is detrimental to photographs, but it’s even worse when it occurs in video. Even a bit of noise can ruin your footage. I received Photon Pro, a very inexpensive and simple to use Final Cut Pro X plug-in that claims it removes noise from your footage achieving the same quality as much more expensive “professional” denoising products. That’s a pretty hefty statement, so I decided to compare Photon Pro with the Red Giant Software Denoiser II plug-in in After Effects.