We've got a new and improved version of DxO PhotoLab available today, and version 5 will be of interest to advanced photographers and serious amateurs.
This new version also introduces a new DeepPRIME denoising tool that is up to four times faster than previous iterations as well as support for Fujifilm X-Trans sensors (Beta). The DeepPRIME technology does work well. I've talked about it in my review of DXO PureRAW, offered as a standalone application, but now, that technology is incorporated into PhotoLab 5. It's the first thing I do with a raw file, and you get world-class optical correction, noise reduction, and sharpening. Your raw file stays raw and you can do more editing in Lightroom, Photoshop, or your editor of choice.
More on DeepPRIME
According to DXO, DeepPRIME has been trained by deep learning methods using millions of images analyzed in DxO laboratories over the past 20 years, DxO DeepPRIME technology uses artificial intelligence to develop raw files. It drastically improves digital noise reduction while ensuring more efficient demosaicing. Traditionally, these two operations have been carried out separately, each introducing flaws that adversely affect the quality of the other. With deep learning, DeepPRIME takes a holistic approach that combines the two steps into one.
The deep learning approach of DxO PhotoLab 5 and DeepPRIME, in particular, has been significantly optimized in terms of reactivity as well as processing and export times. These improvements are available to everyone and are up to four times faster for Apple Silicon Mac users and 1.5 times faster on the best Windows architectures.
Control Points and More
If you stay in PhotoLab 5, you'll get a host of editing tools, as well as the beloved Control Points, which have been brought over from the DXO NIK Tools software. Many people who edit with control points are spoiled for any other masking method, and I'm among them.
DxO has now added a second type of pointer: Control Lines. This new tool complements the technology's existing Control Points by allowing users to carry out touch-ups on large areas with an easy-to-use selection method. To make them even more precise, Control Lines and Control Points are now equipped with sensitivity settings. Photographers can easily adjust the effect of their edits based on the luminance and chrominance of the targeted areas.
PhotoLab 5 Library
I still consider the Adobe Lightroom library functions first-class, but DXO is making a solid run at the title. PhotoLab 5 now processes IPTC and EXIF data and third-party application synchronizations. It also includes advanced means of keyword prioritization via an interactive tree structure. In addition, this new version optimizes the software's photo library management tools by reorganizing them.
Fuji Support (Beta)
Finally, and for the first time, DxO PhotoLab 5 now supports Fujifilm X-Trans sensor cameras. From the recent X-E4, X-S10, X-T4, and X100V through to the older X-E2 and X-70, no fewer than 18 Fujifilm cameras are now supported. In addition, 605 new DxO modules have been made available. Created through the DxO Labs calibration process, these modules automatically remove optical defects such as distortion, chromatic aberrations, vignetting, and lack of sharpness. At the time of this release, the support for Fuji is beta, but a subsequent update will have the feature standard.
Using PhotoLab 5
I've had an advanced copy of PhotoLab 5 for a couple of weeks and find it impressive. I haven't done a complete review, but so far, I like the improvements to raw files provided by the DeepPRIME feature. I do a lot of photography by drone, and now, PhotoLab 5 supports all DJI models. The lens corrections for the Sony sensor are excellent, and vignetting is eliminated while the image comes out sharper and with reduced noise, especially in low light. My Sony a7 III files are also improved. DxO has a complete library of tens of thousands of camera and lens combinations, and reading the metadata is automatic to make a match. This is superior to the Adobe method, which often requires you to identify the camera body and lens manufacturers. Sometimes, it is automatic. Sometimes, it isn't. With DxO, it just works.
Recent camera additions include Canon EOS Ra, DJI Air 2S and Mini 2, Fujifilm X-E2, X-E2S, X-E3, X-E4, X-H1, X-Pro2, X-Pro3, X-S10, X-T1, X-T2, X-T20, X-T3, X-T30, X-T4, X100F, X100T, X100V, X70, Nikon Z fc, Olympus PEN E-P7, Panasonic GH5 II, Pentax K-3 III, and Sony ZV-E10.
- DeepPRIME is a game-changer for improving raw files before editing.
- Control Points are a superior way to select parts of an image and edit those parts.
- Control Lines are a nice addition as well and will take a bit of learning on my part to master.
- The speed seems better on my old school Intel Mac, but I hope to have Apple Silicon in the near future, which will be much faster.
- DxO provides a great collection of online tutorials and information.
- I'd like to see sky replacement. Luminar, ON1, Adobe are all offering it. Not everyone likes it or wants to use it, but it should be an option.
- Would also like to see panorama merging. Lightroom does this well.
- PhotoLab 5 can be a bit intimidating. As mentioned above, there are plenty of online resources, but if you are just starting. prepare to do some homework.
Getting PhotoLab 5
DxO PhotoLab 5 (PC and Mac) is available now from the DxO online store at the following introductory prices until November 14, 2021:
- DxO PhotoLab 5 ESSENTIAL Edition: $109.99 instead of $139
- DxO PhotoLab 5 ELITE Edition: $164.99 instead of $219
The DxO PhotoLab 5 license does not require a subscription and can be installed either on two workstations (DxO PhotoLab 5 ESSENTIAL Edition) or three workstations (DxO PhotoLab 5 ELITE Edition).
DxO PhotoLab 3 and DxO PhotoLab 4 users can purchase an upgrade to DxO PhotoLab 5 by logging into their customer account. Users who have a version of the software older than DxO PhotoLab 3 are not eligible for an upgrade and will need to purchase a new license.
A full, one-month trial version of DxO PhotoLab 5 is available on the DxO website.