From the outset of the photographic art form, post processing was as important, if not more important, than the experience of capturing an image. The two processes have always gone hand in hand.
In today’s highly competitive world of photography, brought about by the digital revolution, having the right tools to recreate what one experienced and saw is critically important.
As an avid user of Photoshop, I have often been frustrated because I was simply unable, despite all the wondrous tools available in Adobe’s offerings, to pull out of the photograph what I experienced as a digital artist.
So, when Hunt’s Photo offered me the opportunity to review DxO Pro 8, I jumped at the chance.
Photos tell the story. Here is a before and after using this amazing software. Click on a photograph, a larger image will appear, then use the arrows to view the two for quick comparison.
To my eyes the second example is much more alive, with richer more vibrant colors. It is absolutely on par with what I experienced the morning I captured the image.
The User Experience
I want software and hardware to be intuitive. The last thing I want when using post processing software is attending a four-day seminar to understand what the software will or will not do. So, with absolutely no prior experience, I opened up DxO Pro 8. Here is what I saw.
When one views the browser, one has three options. The first is “Organize” – this is where one navigates to a file folder to find the photographs one wants to process. The second is the window shown above, the “Customize” screen – this is where one chooses from a large array of adjustments that can be made to the photograph. The last is the “Process” screen – this is where one specifies the output one wants for the photograph.
Within the “Customize” screen, one has the following adjustment options, here discussed generally as the options are limitless – truly limitless with nuances for each choice.
Use a single slider to adjust master lighting.
One can brighten or darken a photograph with DxO’s Smart lighting feature. Easily done with a slider. The software automatically lightens dark areas and restores details to bright areas.
Control Saturated Colors.
The software protects saturated colors and reveals details in areas of the photograph that are highly saturated. Basically, the software produces the best possible color and saturation quality.
Sharpness and details.
The software calibrates cameras and lenses providing one the ability to produce perfect sharpness. The DxO team has made available virtually every camera and lens presently produced and will download automatically the correct settings for each camera and lens combination.
The software totally gets rid of undesirable color fringes.
Low Light Images.
The software enhances low-light images and assists you in restoring details.
Directly print RAW and JPEG Photos.
One can print directly from the software, allowing you to setup margins, image size, and printing of EXIF information. Using ICC profiles, images are assured of excellent color rendering.
Integration with DXO Filmpack 3.
This is simply an awesome addition to the overall DxO Pro 8 package. For here, one can choose between a large number of film replicators including black and white. Let me just say, WOW! I was simply blown away when I applied the Fuji Velvia 50 filter to some of my photographs. What was once a boring shot came to life!
The above are general options, within each there are subsets that provide one with limitless options.
To say the least, I was astounded at what I could do with the options provided. One might say that the experience of using DxO Pro 8 has changed my workflow forever.
The proof of any photographic software package in my mind is the final product of a workflow. Rather than babble on about this and that, let me show you some before and after results.
Perhaps what I like most about the DxO Pro 8 software is the Filmpack module. Here are some examples.
Or another version:
Or perhaps, we might want to convert this photograph into a black and white. Easily done with two clicks.
The DxO Team has established itself as the industry standard for camera and lens testing. Their DxO Pro 8 software is a welcome addition to any serious photographer’s tool kit.
My experience using the software package has been limited, only about three weeks or so. But, I gotta tell you, I am impressed with what this new tool will do for me.
Will it replace my use of Photoshop CS? No, as there are things I can do in CS that I can’t do with any other software package. Will DxO Pro 8 be a tool I will use in the future? Absolutely, especially when I want to pull out of the photograph those subtle things I cannot do with CS.
And, the price is right. The DxO Optics Pro 8 Elite Software sells for $299 at Hunt’s Photo and Video. This is a bargain considering that Adobe CS6 is more expensive.
In sum, I am a happy camper. I have a tool that will allow me to produce photographs like the two which follow.
From my experience, DxO Optics Pro 8 Elite is a tool that every serious photographer should use. It has changed my whole photographic experience for the better. What more can I say?
My friends at Hunt’s Photo have some special prices. Check them out. Wow, some of these are absolute bargins.
In the day ahead I will provide more examples of the DxO Pro 8 experience.