DxO PhotoLab samples

Edited to Add: I figure I should include a link to the SmugMug Gallery (LINK) for them inclined to visit it and see the full-size photos.

I’ve been using DxO’s PureRAW as a pre-processor for many of my latest photos and I wanted to do a quick test with DxO PhotoLab to compare the two.

With PhotoLab, the output is used pretty much as is, while PureRAW has to be further processed in Lightroom. Well, “has to” is a bit strong. I usually process it because the output is a bit too aggressive and contrasty for my tastes, but it’s a good starting point.

Remember this panorama?

That’s six photos processed in PureRAW and then tweaked in Lightroom. Here’s the photos processed in PhotoLab, also stitched into a panorama.

One could argue which one looks better, but it all depends on what you want to see. In this case, I wanted to see the texture of the tree trunks.

Here is one of the photos used for that panorama presented as output from the unedited RAW file and with my processing in DxO PhotoLab . . .


This is another gallery showing the unedited, the PhotoLab processed version, and the version from the post last week (processed in PureRAW and Lightroom). . .


I don’t have a PureRAW version of the last photo.

Comparing those, it looks like I processed the white balance in DxO with a bit more green (or, less red). It could also be an artifact of outputting from ProRGB to sRGB (different color spaces).

However, for the lanscape scenes, the water was covered with green growth, so I can’t really say if that’s my processing or more accuracy in rendering the colors (I sampled neutral areas to set the White Balance).

While the color balance is a little difficult to nail (those were shot in the middle of the day so by all rights they should be a “warmer” and harsher), both program do a pretty good job of bringing out clarity and details (they should as they use similar engines) but with PhotoLab, I have more control of the processing. Whether I do a good job or not, that’s another story.

Here’s a gallery of a hawk from February of this year. Again, the original as shot and the DxO PhotoLab processed version. All of the photos are cropped. I didn’t go back and find the previously processed files, but intrepid readers could certainly hunt them down.


PhotoLab has a sale on its new release. The sale ends tomorrow.

If you already own the program, I think the upgrade price is a bit steep because the changes are more what I would consider maintenance as opposed to new features (there are a few new features, but probably not enough to warrant upgrading . . . I’d wait until PL 6).

But, if you don’t have the program and are looking for a good photo editor, this is one of the better ones. You could buy it and not initialize it (meaning, run it as a trial for up to the 14 days money-back limit) and if you then decide you don’t like it, you can get a refund . . . again, provided you don’t initialize it. Meaning, once you initialize it, you own it. BUT . . . they also offer a 90 days money back if you’re not satisfied, so that’s a bit confusing.

You know what? Don’t worry about it unless you’re really into fine editing. For the price, the Photographer plan from Adobe (you get Lightroom and Photoshop for $9.99/month) is probably the better deal for most people. Or, Luminar AI. Or, the Topaz offerings.

Hmm . . . forget everything I’ve said . . . do your own research and buy — or don’t buy — whatever you want.

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


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