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Author Topic: DxO how often used by Michael and others?  (Read 5243 times)
marty m
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« on: August 19, 2005, 08:08:18 PM »
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I guess I'll respond to my own posting.  Given the lack of any responses -- incuding from Michael who helped develop and endorsed the software -- I guess no one uses it any longer.

So here is my own assessment from the view of an amateur:

* The lens blur that is highlighted by Michael in his review has no scientific basis.  It is just another form of sharpening and is not, in fact, correcting actual lens blur or softness.  (Unless it can be said that all sharpening programs do just that.)  The software would have you believe that their correction is unique to every lens and fixing the specific softness for each lens that they make you buy a module for.  Baloney.  Michael has subsequently endorsed other software for sharpening such as Photokit, and I agree that they are probably superior.  It makes no sense to apply the so-called lens softness or lens blur of DxO and then apply Photokit or USM on top of that.

*  The lighting feature and auto correction of lighting or color is a little shop of horrors.  ACR does a better job and is not as heavy handed.

*  ACR does the same job on vignetting as does DxO.  I would not buy DxO just for that feature.

*  That leaves the correction for lens distortion.  Unfortunately this can only be used as a raw converter and not within Photoshop as a plugin.  But I guess you can always export as DNG.  But even then, it makes the largest difference on the most extreme wide angle lenses.

So that means it is useful -- and worth the considerble price charged for the software -- only for the most extreme of wide angle lenses, and then only to use a single function.
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Richard Marcellus
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« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2005, 09:23:46 PM »
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I batch all of my images that were shot with my 18-70mm and 24-120VR lenses through Optics Pro. I use it to correct for lens distortions, and vignetting, and I think it does a very good job at this. I leave the lens softness correction set at 0, which is the middle setting and does apply selective sharpening apparently proportionate to where the lens is softest (ie more in the corners, less in the middle). I shut off unsharp mask. I leave the noise reduction set on automatic. I leave the WB set at as shot, and I don't do any colour or exposure corrections in DXO as I prefer to do this in ACR.

My workflow is to transfer all of the images off my CF cards, then anything shot with my two midrange zooms gets batched through DXO to produce .dng files. Images shot with other lens (105 macro, 80-400, 300) don't go through DXO). In ACR I rank my images, toss the junk, and do all WB, exposure and colour alterations on an image-by-image basis before moving to Photoshop. Once in PSCS2 I do Capture Sharpening, play more with contrast and colour dependent on the image, creative sharpen selectively, then output sharpen (all sharpening with PhotoKit sharpener).

I usually only use NeatImage on images from lenses that didn't go through DXO, and only when shooting at high ISO.

I like DXO for its optical corrections as I think that it does a very good job at improving images from consumer level zooms. I like the automatic noise reduction as it saves me time and does a pretty good job. When I get a 12-24mm, I will get the DXO module. On the other hand I really don't like the interface of Optics Pro and would never use this program in anything other than batch mode.

I would love it if DXO could be a plug-in to ACR, with a couple extra tabs added into ACR for the lens corrections and noise reduction.

Regards,

Richard
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marty m
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« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2005, 02:01:39 AM »
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Thanks very much to all for your insightful comments.  I'll have to run more tests based upon your observations.

Thanks again.
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marty m
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« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2005, 01:20:18 AM »
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An earlier version of DxO received a favorable review from Michael.  Several follow-up questions for Michael and any others who have used the program. Any responses would be greatly appreciated.  

Since the program and its modules are expensive, a follow-up by Michael and others on the forum should be useful for others as they evaluate the program  (I've already invested in the program.  My concern is trying to figure out when to add DxO to  my workflow -- and for what SPECIFIC purpose and function that is included in DxO.)

(1)  How often do you use it to correct for the various characteristics of lenses?

Only with wide angle?  With all lenses?  

ACR doesn't deal with distortion for wide angle, which would appear to be the real plus for DxO, so I assume it might be used heavily for wide angle distortion --  and maybe only for that feature.  (Other features covered below.)

(2)  A quick on-screen test comparing ACR and DxO for vignetting on the 17-40 lens at 17 seems to show that ACR can do as good a job, but it is not automated.  Agree or disagree?  

Does ACR do as good a job for chromatic aberration?  

(3)  How does the raw converter compare to ACR, RawShooter Essentials, or CO?

(a)  Any views on the DxO Lighting feature?  On my screen in a few tests it appears to result in odd colors.  If auto is to be used, ACR on auto appears to be preferable and do less damage.  Agree or disagree?

(  In his review, Michael showed an example of "lens blur" in the earlier version, now referred to as "lens softness."  DxO claims this deals with optical softness of lenses, and the implication appears to be that they have actually measured this in the lens modules.  This would appear to be a big selling point, in addition to distortion.  (They now include unsharp mask on top of that.)

Does anyone use the "lens softness" feature?  This would mean that it is applied first in DxO and then sharpening is applied again in PS using unsharp mask or one of the other sharpening plugins like Photokit?  That could be confusing -- sharpening on top of sharpening.

Or would it be better to just leave sharpening to Photokit or unsharp masking in PS, since sharpening corrects for the lack thereof in digital capture anyway?  Does that suggest that DxO's "lens softness" is hype and is performing a similar function as unsharp mask?  Has anyone critically compared the difference between the two?

(4)  Since it is a raw converter -- and it leaves you no choice but to do a conversion -- how do you use it for wide angle distortion if that is the only feature of interest and all others are turned off?  Export using DNG?  

Thanks again for any all responses.
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Graham Welland
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« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2005, 08:30:56 PM »
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I've used DxO with the Canon 20D and 10-22, 17-40, 24-70 and 70-300 DO lenses. My findings are somewhat different to those given here in so far as I found that the application and lens modules have quite a significant effect on the quality and sharpness of images taken with these combinations.

Lens correction - the largest difference is obviously with wide angle lenses and for me the effect on a 10-22 is to improve the distortion and shaprness significantly. Even with the 24-70 the lens correction is noticable for pin-cushion distortion and I found that it made a visible improvement in the sharpness and distortion of that lens.

Sharpening -  it's debateable whether the DxO sharpening is better or otherwise compared to other sharpeners. I liked using the sharpener effects in a single pass pre-ACR process of raw files so that I didn't need to perform any capture sharpening at all. Personally I'm a big fan of the PS CS2 smart sharpen tool as it is essentially artifact free.

Shadow/Highlight recovery - with the 20D combination I found this tool to work extremely well and saved me the blending step that I often need for wide dynamic range images. Personally I'm not a big fan of the PS CS shadow recovery tools as they tend to bloom recovered brightness areas and so I'll normally do this stuff manually with layers/masks. However, the DxO process as part of a pre-ACR raw pass saves a lot of time and the results seem fine to me.

Raw processing - I always run DxO to produce simultaneous jpg and DNG ouput files. The advantage is that you can process the DNG files in ACR for tonal correction. I don't do much of that type of processing within DxO.

In summary, I'll run 'keeper' images through DxO to correct for lens distortions and to clean up images from my 20D. The sharpness and shadow recovery processes work well with the lenses I used to produce excellent base images for photoshop. The lens distortion filter in PS CS2 works well to correct for verticals/shifts etc but DxO nails the lens distortions - you don't notice them unless you compare before/after for even the mid-range zooms.

Is it worth the money? Can you live without it? Sure. Could I live without PhotoKit Sharpener/colour/effects and NoiseNinja/Neat Image? Sure - but I don't. These are all just tools for the toolbox to get the best from your images.
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Graham
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« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2005, 11:14:57 AM »
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I have used Version 2 and now use Version 3.  My camera is a Canon Rebel with three consumer-grade canon lenses.  To my eye, DxO produces clearly better images than anything I have been able do with ACR.

The lens corrections, in particular, produce substantial improvements that are easy for me to see. This is consistent with the original report by Michael R that led me to buy the software. To me, DxO images look clearer, sharper and more vibrant than the same raw files run through ACR. (This is my subjective judgment, not a scientific measurement. Others may see things differently.)

Lighting Correction is hit and miss (depending on the image) and usually needs to be tweaked from the auto setting -- but when Lighting Correction works it can save an otherwise bland or murky image.  I turn sharpening to zero and use PhotoKit at a later stage. Noise reduction seems to work well but I have not compared it to other noise reduction methods. Unfortunately, DxO is slower than ACR.
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