The Eternal Raw Processor Battle

NCV

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Italy
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Nigel
When I got my new Nikon 24-200 I was surprised to find DXO did zero corrections on this lens. So I downloaded Capture 1 Express for Nikon which does read the in camera lens profile.

After going to their site and poking about mostly in the help section, I got secession of offers for 30% and 40%. I got a mail the other day finally offering a 60% discount! At this point i gave in and bought a years licence for €35.

Today I have been seriously playing around with the program and my impression is mostly positive compared to DXO. The colour output seems to have a far more subtle feel to when looking at some files I have processed with the two programs.

I still feel the DXO local tools adjustments are more polished, but it maybe a question of learning. But I like the way Capture 1 handles colour. I also appreciate the HDR sliders which I find work well on my difficult monument shots.

It is strange how a change of camera system has twice made me change Raw processor. DXO was the only processor that cured automatically the horrific green purple fringing of my EM5/Panasonic 12-35 combination. Now they have let me down with a lens profile, so I have to look elsewhere.

It would be great to hear your views on Capture 1 and DXO from those who have used both.

Here are a few side by side examples

DSC_3794_DxOsmall.jpg
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DXO

DSC_3794big 1.jpg
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Capture 1

DSC_3699_DxOsmall.jpg
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DXO

DSC_3699small.jpg
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Capture 1

DSC_3534small 1.jpg
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Capture 1

DSC_3536_DxOsmall.jpg
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DXO
 
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The last two samples are not the same image.

It's a matter of personal preference. I looked at your examples in two different browser windows so I could actually compare them side-by-side at the full resolution that you posted. The DxO versions look to be darker; a slight nudge of the exposure slider would fix that.

But otherwise, my wife and I both preferred the DxO versions without looking to see which was which. If you prefer the Capture 1 versions, then by all means that is what you should use.

Does DxO even have a module for the 24-200 available yet?
 
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I haven't used DxO but recall it has the same control points that the old Capture NX used to have. I was not a fan of those as they were not very precise.

Capture One layers and layer masks can be very precise. You have have up to 16 layers.
  • You can apply nearly every adjustment on a layer.
  • You can add luminosity masking to limit by tonal range on the brushed in mask.
  • You also have gradient masks and radial masks and they have lots of adjustments to control them.
  • Radial, Gradient, Luminosity masks can be rasterized into pixel masks so you can brush in / erase into any shape.
  • You can choose a color range with Color Editor on the background layer, then create a new layer with a rasterized mask from the selected color range. You can then add to or erase from that mask, and you can refine / feather the mask.
  • You have "auto-mask:" edge detection while brushing in / erasing to work around objects / people.
  • You have Refine and Feather masks to further tweak them.
  • You can set brush size, hardness, opacity, and flow.
  • You have pen pressure when using a Wacom or similar tablet.
  • You can apply styles to layers, and use the brush opacity / flow, and layer opacity to control where and how much they affect the image.
  • Each layer has its own opacity setting.
All of this is to articulate that for me Capture One layers and layer masks have enormous flexibility that I did not find in control points. I don't know if DxO Photo Lab 3 has improved that. I would be happy for their users to hear so they did.

The new heal brush added in Capture One 13.1.2 is so exceptional that I use it for all my skin retouching now and only go into a pixel editor in the most extreme cases. I now seldom need to use frequency separation for skin retouching. I don't do high fashion and I don't want to make skin look plastic / porcelain.

Capture One has stellar videos on YouTube, and they have frequent free live webinars. Go to https://learn.captureone.com.

If you have questions about Capture One feel free to reach out to me. I have done some one-on-one assistance to help people get started.
 
Last edited:
NCV wrote: "When I got my new Nikon 24-200 I was surprised to find DXO did zero corrections on this lens."

Um, isn't that 24-200mm lens a brand-new one, just out on the market? It takes time for DXO or any processor to develop an appropriate profile for new cameras/lenses. It has to, in order for them to develop an accurate profile/module for the camera body or the lens. Patience, Grasshopper!
 
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NCV wrote: "When I got my new Nikon 24-200 I was surprised to find DXO did zero corrections on this lens."

Um, isn't that 24-200mm lens a brand-new one, just out on the market? It takes time for DXO or any processor to develop an appropriate profile for new cameras/lenses. It has to, in order for them to develop an accurate profile/module for the camera body or the lens. Patience, Grasshopper!
Not if the software maker uses the manufacturer provided profile that is embedded in the Z body raw files. Lots of camera makers are doing this now.
 
DXO does a lens module / profile for each lens, which is separate from the profile for the camera body itself. That way the user can get the maximum value out of the lenses and their particular distinctive features. And, no, they don't rush to crank out something the day the lens appears on the market; it takes time for them to properly evaluate the lens and its unique properties. I don't recall now which lens it was that I bought, but I was surprised to see that DXO didn't yet have a module for it, even though the lens had been out for several months at that point. About three or four weeks later, sure enough, finally the module was ready to download and install.
 

NCV

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Italy
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Nigel
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #7
NCV wrote: "When I got my new Nikon 24-200 I was surprised to find DXO did zero corrections on this lens."

Um, isn't that 24-200mm lens a brand-new one, just out on the market? It takes time for DXO or any processor to develop an appropriate profile for new cameras/lenses. It has to, in order for them to develop an accurate profile/module for the camera body or the lens. Patience, Grasshopper!
The problem is that unlike Capture 1, DXO does not read the Nikon lens profile embedded in the Raw file. A lot of these lenses rely on software correction and doing it manually is a pain.
 

NCV

Joined
Jan 31, 2019
Messages
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Italy
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Nigel
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #8
I haven't used DxO but recall it has the same control points that the old Capture NX used to have. I was not a fan of those as they were not very precise.

Capture One layers and layer masks can be very precise. You have have up to 16 layers.
  • You can apply nearly every adjustment on a layer.
  • You can add luminosity masking to limit by tonal range on the brushed in mask.
  • You also have gradient masks and radial masks and they have lots of adjustments to control them.
  • Radial, Gradient, Luminosity masks can be rasterized into pixel masks so you can brush in / erase into any shape.
  • You can choose a color range with Color Editor on the background layer, then create a new layer with a rasterized mask from the selected color range. You can then add to or erase from that mask, and you can refine / feather the mask.
  • You have "auto-mask:" edge detection while brushing in / erasing to work around objects / people.
  • You have Refine and Feather masks to further tweak them.
  • You can set brush size, hardness, opacity, and flow.
  • You have pen pressure when using a Wacom or similar tablet.
  • You can apply styles to layers, and use the brush opacity / flow, and layer opacity to control where and how much they affect the image.
  • Each layer has its own opacity setting.
All of this is to articulate that for me Capture One layers and layer masks have enormous flexibility that I did not find in control points. I don't know if DxO Photo Lab 3 has improved that. I would be happy for their users to hear so they did.

The new heal brush added in Capture One 13.1.2 is so exceptional that I use it for all my skin retouching now and only go into a pixel editor in the most extreme cases. I now seldom need to use frequency separation for skin retouching. I don't do high fashion and I don't want to make skin look plastic / porcelain.

Capture One has stellar videos on YouTube, and they have frequent free live webinars. Go to https://learn.captureone.com.

If you have questions about Capture One feel free to reach out to me. I have done some one-on-one assistance to help people get started.

Thank's for your kind offer. I will take you up on it if I get stuck.

Yes, the videos on their site are very helpful and are a great help to get started.
 

NCV

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Italy
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Nigel
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #9
The last two samples are not the same image.

It's a matter of personal preference. I looked at your examples in two different browser windows so I could actually compare them side-by-side at the full resolution that you posted. The DxO versions look to be darker; a slight nudge of the exposure slider would fix that.

But otherwise, my wife and I both preferred the DxO versions without looking to see which was which. If you prefer the Capture 1 versions, then by all means that is what you should use.

Does DxO even have a module for the 24-200 available yet?
Yes, I will have to play with some of the mages to get them to match better. In the Florence shot the clarity tool in Capture seems a bit more subtle.

I tried Capture 1 because DXO does not even read the lens corrections in the Nikon Raw file.
 

NCV

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Messages
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  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #12
DXO prepares its own analysis of each lens and provides its own module, which takes time to do......
I see Capture one give me the choice of their profile if available or if it is not, it just reads what Nikon put in the Raw file. This seems a sensible move.

I was and am incredibly pleased with DXO, but the total lack of support for the 24-200 sent me off looking at other software. Not a good move I would say.

I am sure I will drift back to DXO when they finally support the 24-200, but Capture 1 has some nice things about it too.
 
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I was and am incredibly pleased with DXO, but the total lack of support for the 24-200 sent me off looking at other software. Not a good move I would say.
To be perfectly fair .. since DxO doesn't use the manufacturer's lens profile delivered in the raw file, it does take time to get several sample lenses and test them all to develop a profile of their own. It would be beneficial for them to support the lens profiles in the raw files, and then default to their own lens profiles when they have them (like Capture One).

Regarding Capture One's lens profiles - they take color, distortion, edge sharpness, vignetting into account like DxO so I don't see DxO having any significant advantage other than the quality of said profile that each software maker deliver. And all of that is completely subjective. Capture One has been around as long as Adobe Photoshop (or longer) so they have a very long history with digital camera profiling, digital image editing, lens profiling, etc.
 
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Northern VA suburb of Washington, DC
All pre-2000 raw processors that are still being developed should fall in the "as long as PS" category.
Agreed. My comment was only intended to provide historical perspective, nothing else. My preferred choice of listening to recordings of classical music is still compact audio discs, so historical perspective is sometimes important. :ROFLMAO:
 
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I have and use both.
DxO for everything and C1 for a niche camera that isn't supported by DxO.
The fact that I keep using DxO for all others must mean something.
This is quite a personal issue.
Depending on the way you like the interface, and the resulting images.
For me, DxO clearly trumps C1, and not by a small margin, on geometrical control (*) and noise reduction.
(*) you need the ViewPoint licence.

The correction done by the DxO camera-lens modules goes a lot further that what C1 or LR has to offer.
DxO might take more time to bring their modules to the table but it's well worth the wait.

This is, as said, my personal opinion. Me, I have no commercial link to any of the programs.
 
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