Sunday, November 17, 2013

DxO Optics Pro-9 (Part 2)


Processed With DxO Optics Pro-9


Processed With Photivo
There are now only 4 days left for me to make a decision to purchase DxO Optics Pro ver. 9 at the discount price of $199. For me that's a significant amount of money, although not impossible. I'm honestly trying to convince myself not to buy it, so I've done a lot of RAW file work-ups using it against Photivo. Unfortunately, this Blog makes both samples look bad - I'm not sure why that is, but trust me, in both cases, the above pictures look far better when displayed on-screen with a standard Image Viewer, but there's still enough here to demonstrate the huge difference between the two.

But let me talk about what I'm seeing. Optics Pro gives far better detail, and it's colour rendering is great - not only that, with the built-in DxO Film Pack, you can pick any "film-like" colour rendering you want - and by the way, this Film Emulation product works far better when using it within a RAW file than the stand-alone, much less expensive Film Pack product, which cannot work on a RAW file.

DxO Optics Pro is far easier to use than Photivo, the latter offering almost like a bottomless pit of possibilities, and although I'm comfortable with Photivo, I've certainly not mastered it. I especially have trouble with Photivo when it comes to colour - it's colour recovery settings seem way too "hair trigger" to me, unless I'm missing something. Optics Pro, on the other hand, doesn't seem nearly sensitive enough if you want to do a colour boost, albeit it is much easier to keep it natural looking. The above samples really tell this whole story in comparing the two products.

Other photo work-ups I've done seem to give the edge to Photivo - it seems to depend a lot on conditions. DxO Optics Pro always does it's lens correction thing in the background - there's no way to shut it off (at least that I know of - I've never read the manual). But in some cases, this isn't a good thing. Using my Sigma 50mm f1.4 lens, I've had some cases where the uncorrected version is preferred, at least to my eyes. This lens, like most all lenses, gives a very strong presentation in a center circle, with some falling away of detail and light toward the edges and corners. DxO Optics pro tends to flatten the center, while it restores the edges, making it seem less "lens-like" somehow. For me, this is sometimes undesirable, but other times OK. I prefer a photo to look like a photo, and this software really takes away the characteristics of the lens / camera body combination you're using, in a bid to make things "perfect". That's what it's supposed to do. That's what it wants to do, and that's what it does by default. If you have a favourite lens - if there's something about the look that you get from that lens which makes it your "go-to" lens, there's a very good chance that Optics Pro will take that away from you. This isn't the case in the above comparison, because this is a fairly heavy crop from the center anyway. But I've seen a lot of other examples where I would prefer to "see my glass", and leave the lens correction disabled (if that's possible).

One thing I do know for sure - I need to quickly boost my learning of both Applications before I make my final decision.

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