Oct 242008

These are images of Thursday. I took some in the morning and then late in the evening. All images were converted with DxO 5.3, but with the exception of the last, none was shot at particularly high ISO values.

Speaking of DxO, I’m just speeding through the documentation to get an impression of what a workflow with this tool could look like.

My first impression, just from working with the program without any consultation of the docs, was one of overall simplicity. There are two versions, a standalone program and a Photoshop/Lightroom plugin. I don’t have Lightroom, thus I can’t say how it’s activated there, but in Photoshop you get into the plugin via “File / Import”. Makes sense after all.

Once in the program, regardless which version, you are first presented with a file browser where you can select the images that you want to process. DxO is a batch/pipeline oriented program and employs a “Project” metaphor. A project can contain any number of images. Those get processed in a batch and the result is either that all images are opened in Photoshop (plugin) or get stored in a format of your choice, in the same or a different directory as the original (normally RAW) files.

As I said, I’m just now looking into the documentation. All images so far were processed in “experimental mode”, and I can say that the user interface is intuitive and simple. You begin on a “Select” screen where you include images into your project, walk through a “Prepare” screen where you can specify how each image is to be converted and then start the conversion on a “Process” screen. On my quad-core processor, processing was two images at a time, we’ll see what it does on a dual-core processor when I have installed it in Carinthia.

Speaking of multiple installations, the program has to be activated and activations can be transferred from one computer to another, but as far as I have seen, activation on at least two computers is permitted by one license. That’s quite OK. The idea is to have it on one Desktop and a laptop. We’ll see how that finally turns out for me, because I regularly use two desktops and a laptop.

DxO has one fully automatic mode, a lot of image presets, e.g. for slightly low or high key processing, one tuned for high ISO images, presets for different saturation/contrast combinations, etc, and of course you can set everything manually and save that as a preset.

Whatever you do on the “Prepare” screen, manually setting details or applying presets, it is always immediately displayed in a big preview that can be zoomed in up to 200%, thus you always exactly see what you do.

If you don’t set anything at all, the image gets converted in fully automatic mode, and what that does is usually quite OK. It may not be your desired look, but so far it has always produced a usable result. Automatic processing includes geometry correction for supported lens/body combinations. Some of my combinations are supported, some not.

All of the images in this post were converted by the plugin version using presets. Then I have added further processing in Photoshop, but usually not much.

What Adobe Camera RAW does and DxO seemingly not, is the automatic elimination of hot pixels. This is a bit of a bummer, but no worse than Capture NX.

EDIT: Sorry for the false information, by now I have found out that DxO in fact can automatically eliminate hot pixels, it’s only a tad hidden and not on by default.

One final thing that may be interesting from a workflow perspective: The standalone version of DxO can produce linear DNG files, i.e. DNG files that already contain a demosaiced image. These files can be processed by Adobe products and retain the flexibility of RAW files. I’m not really sure about the consequences, but this could mean that it would be possible to batch-convert all your files and e.g. apply only demosaicing and noise reduction. Anyway. We’ll see soon.

That’s it for today. This series of posts about DxO will continue as long as I learn useful things. Stay tuned.

The Song of the Day is “Just Another Day” from Brian Eno’s 2005 album “Another Day on Earth”. Hear it on YouTube.

  3 Responses to “741 – Just Another Day On Earth”

  1. Andreas –

    Looking at DxO Optics, the noise performance seems very, very similar to running Noise Ninja. At least in my one comparison the pictures were virtually identical (as far as noise goes).

    Have you compared the DxO versus any of these other noise reduction options?


  2. Nick,

    there is a short and a long answer. The short answer is: DxO preserves details that Noise Ninja smudges away. The long answer is in one of my next posts. I have not yet managed to install DxO here in Carinthia. Seemingly they expect me to re-download the whole 300MB. Oh well!

  3. Ahhhhh sooo… In a way you rarely do the commonplace. And in other way it is all you do. But given your super powers of PP and camera control (which I guess are pre P) in a way you don’t do spontaneity even though you have the power to make your own control invisible.

    Which I guess is why I find the first in this series up at the top one of your most interesting ever. In a sense it is about nothing. But it’s really about our setting … the stage scenery. No… no.. it’s better than that… it’s a peek behind the Austrian scenery. A series like this would tell us a whole bunch about what supports life. It’s the infrastructure.. and look at its astonishing solidity! Just one tiny piece of the capital inheritance which holds up all the rest.

    Yep… it’s an image that couldn’t be made in such a large part of the entire world… Yet it’s one that you take for granted. I’d REEEEEELY like to see more of these. More… more.. more…

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