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Comparing DXO PhotoLab with Lightroom

Discussion in 'Other Raw Processors' started by Pa, Nov 10, 2017.

  1. I've spent a good bit of this afternoon trying to compare the two mentioned applications by trying to process the same image with each and match them as closely as possible. It's a frustrating exercise, but so far I'm disappointed in DXO. The images show less detail in DXO and some of the colors look unnatural.

    I'm posting here downsized copies of the two conversions. Larger, 4096-pixel-wide versions are available here.

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    If anyone has suggestions for getting better results from DXO I would be pleased to hear it.

    I really like the UI of DXO and would like to use it.
  2. You didn't say which was which and I'm not seeing much difference between them at this size. The second one might have a little less black and saturation in it.

  3. I'm with Larry on this. Exactly.
  4. TonyW


    Jan 15, 2010
    Just downloaded the larger versions and there does not seem to be huge variations i.e. outside of what I would expect with two different raw editors. Still these are presumably rendered files from raw so are you seeing larger differences in the application?

    My impressions:
    DXO compared to LR
    Needs sharpening more - If defaults only then increase a little to match
    Overall saturation seems increased noticeable in Reds and Greens in particular and subtle difference in skin tones. Overall reduction in saturation may get you close plus tweaking individual colours to match. This assuming you are preferring the LR rendition

    I cannot think of any reason why with a little more time you cannot tailor the results more to your liking -

    Two images overlaid at 100% colour differences can clearly be seen and no attempt made to change but added a touch of sharpening
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    Just to show original without any sharpening applied
    LR_DXO_as presented.jpg
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    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. Jim, are you using any of the presets in DXO, or are you working completely in manual mode? I often use landscape standard and then tweak as desired.
  6. Butlerkid

    Butlerkid Cafe Ambassador Moderator

    Apr 8, 2008
    Rutledge, Tennessee
    Both LR and DxO allow the user to control the adjustments. The adjustments that are necessary in one s/w package are not necessarily the right adjustments in another s/w package. When evaluating a new raw processor, I simply focus on processing a raw image and decide whether or not I can achieve the "look" I want using that raw processor. I don't have a "standard" to compare to....simply because each raw processing s/w is different.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  7. I purposely didn't identify which is which as I didn't want to prejudice the viewer. I can see a difference on the posted versions above, but that is probably because I've been wrestling with them so long. You will probably have to view the full 4096-pixel versions I linked to in order to see the differences.
  8. Thanks, Tony. Even in your sharpened samples I see less detail in the faces in the DXO version. And the problem with sharpening in DXO is that they offer both unsharp mask and a tool called "lens sharpness", which has both "global" and "detail" sliders. It may take me a while to sort out which to use when. USM seems like a fairly blunt tool when two levels of "lens sharpness" are available.
  9. Just manual. I am prejudiced against presets, but perhaps I shouldn't be.

    That is exactly my approach, and I'm sorry if my comments didn't convey that.
  10. I agree with this...regardless of which raw processor one uses, you can adjust the image to your liking and get to your desired end product. I guess this is easier for my workflow since I usually process each image separately. I like to start with something really neutral so that I can make all of the adjustments to my liking. I don't like anything baked in at the start. If I find that I have several similar images in the batch, I just synchronize the adjustments to the other files. I do understand, however, that everyone's workflow is different. For me, the choice of which raw converter to use is not significant.

    • Agree Agree x 1
  11. In looking at the sharpened crops I think I'm seeing less contrast in the upper one, particularly in the face and hair of tehwoman on the right
  12. TonyW


    Jan 15, 2010
    Jim, I know what you mean about sharpness but bear in mind that my attempt here just trying to show proof of concept. But somewhat flawed as I only had a rendered JPEG to work with, raw data should allow more possibilities.

    USM is definitely a blunt tool compared to more modern algorithms and maybe best reserved for final global sharpening for output destination. The other sharpening tools may be of more use for initial and creative sharpening.

    I suspect that the more time you devote to learning the finer points and the foibles of this app. will be time welll spent
  13. Totally agree. Migrating from Aperture to LR and dabbling with C1 has taught me that each platform will have its own personality.
  14. The differences between the first two images are immediately evident to me even when displayed in the small size (I didn't look at the larger image files). However, the differences are relatively small, which indicates to me that whatever software you decide upon will make it possible for you to achieve your desired results once you learn the intricacies of using that software.
  15. Jim,

    I use DxO with minimal settings. Try starting with. DxO Default Preset and turn off the slider for Smart Lighting and turning off the sliders for Distortion Correction and Vignetting Correction. I leave the default “Lens Softenss” slider on.

    DxO - No Correction does not include any sharpening. The DxO “Lens Softness” correction is pretty good for starters.

    There are other settings in the “DxO Default” that I adjust such as the Color Pallette and the amount of “protect saturated colors” that is applied automatically.

    DxO is fun to use and I have updated to the latest version, but I still like LIghtRoom better.
  16. I suppose the caveat is that this is typically true as long as the desired output is not an exact replication of the output from the other.
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2017
  17. daveg


    Jul 14, 2008
    I can't help thinking that the correct way to go about any such comparison would to open the RAW file firstly in Nikon NX-D at default settings and save your full size JPEG from there.

    You can then compare your other converters with the way that they should look (according to Nikon). You can then decide which one looks closest to SOOC.

    I am not advocating that anyone switches to NX-D (I don't use it as my main converter) but if I want to do any comparison with ACR, NX-D is what I compare it with. I check what I shoot in the LCD and try to get what I want in camera. Since NX-D is (or should be) a clone of the lcd then that is what I was trying to achieve.
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2017
  18. Agreed.
  19. GPNeville


    Apr 1, 2009
    I've found that adjusting the Microcontrast slider (found in the Contrast section) has a very beneficial result on the final image. Firstly hit the magic wand to the right of the slider (it should be blue) this adjusts the image to what it thinks should be the correct amount - it also detects faces and doesn't apply an auto adjustment. Don't know if in your image it will do so, but you can still manually adjust the slider to your taste. I also apply unsharp mask and adjust this from the default values as they don't seem strong enough to me. In the Colour Rendering section I select my camera body & lens to ensure it has the correct settings - I think this also affects the lens sharpness but can't be sure.

    You can also create a preset of your standard adjustments if you want to make things a bit quicker/easier in your workflow. This preset can be applied to all images you open in the future if you wish - it's a preference you can set up.
  20. Thanks. These are the sort of tips I was looking for with my original post. I'll give them a try.
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