Can I make a copy of the original image,

…then edit the copy leaving the original file untouched … is there a way to accomplish this? This is my 2nd day using DXO PL, and I haven’t quite figured this out. Also, ifg I make a virtual copy of an image and edit it to the way that I want it … may I use that virtual copy and print from it with the edit in tact?


Hi Jay and welcome.

The answer to both questions is yes. To make the VC go to the “Image” dropdown at the top of the screen in Customize mode, you can find “Create virtual copy” there or right click on the image itself and you can find it in that dropdown menu.

But you have to copy the settings to the original if you want to save them along with the dop as they are held only in the data base. Which means you can’t copy the vertical copy else where and use them with out the original data base.

If you are using Windows 10 or higher and If you are in the customize tab you can right click on the thumbnail and create a virtual copy (as many as you like) then edit the virtual copy. You should not do any edits on the Master (the Original). Although you can do the edits on the original and make a virtual copy of the edited original then after you’ve done the virtual copy of the edited original reset the original leaving the virtual copy with all the edits that you did on the original. When finished doing your edits of your virtual copy, you can export the virtual copy to JPG and print the JPG.

Thanks Larry for the answer.

So, to be sure … I can edit the Original to my hearts delight. Once I have completed the edit of the Original image, I may then create a VC of that edited image, save that VC edited image, which will remain a VC w/Edits and Export that to whatever.

At that point, I can then Reset the originally Edited image and Nothing will change the VC image. By that I mean that I will NOT lose the edits to the VC, yet the original will return to the state Original RAW state Before the edit.

Have I got this correct?


Yes, you could reset the original Master if you wanted to, but what would be the reason for returning it to the original state? What appears in your original master and in the VCs is only the result the dop file.

The only reason that I can see to reset the original master version would be if you intend to re-edit that image file from scratch in PhotoLab, otherwise, it doesn’t make sense to me.

The main use of virtual copies is so that you can have a variety of versions of an image with only one original physical file. VCs are not intended as a backup…

A VC is just an overlay of instructions over the raw file. From your response, I’m not certain if you fully understand what virtual copies are, how they work, and how to best use them.



to get to know things, just play (experiment) with a few file copies

Masterfile (M) // the first Virtual Copy (VC1) // a JPEG-file (exported from VC1)

Screen Shot 05-20-22 at 08.48 AM

with the VC1 in the above Filmstrip selected you can instantly compare it to

  • to the Masterfile
  • to the Output (the JPEG-file in this case)
  • to the Reference Image
    • No corrections (with geometry)
    • No corrections (without geometry)

have fun

You need to realise, whatever you do, you are never editing the original file. PhotoLab is a non-destructive editor, which means that all changes are saved into a list of parameters, which are key in a sidecar file with a DOP extension.

Resetting either the Master or a VC simply wipes out all the changes you have made to that particular version from the DOP file.

As @mwsilvers has pointed out, there is very little point in resetting the Master. A Master is only really a Virtual Copy that is marked with an ‘M’ because it is the first (implicit) Virtual Copy of the file on disk. Otherwise it behaves in the same way as any other VC, apart from, if you attempt to delete it, it also removes all other VCs and the file from disk, whereas deleting a VC only removes the list of changes for that particular VC from the DOP file.

My personal procedure is to make a VC before doing any edits at all and work on that VC. This means that I can create a new VC, either from the untouched Master, or from a version I have already worked on, thus giving me a “snapshot” of the work I have done so far, in case I want to easily back out to a previous version.

I have several images, for which I have multiple VCs, which are either experimental or finished different versions - e.g. colour and B&W, or a different colour temperature or other effect. Then I can easily press the Compare button, as described by @Wolfgang, to see what difference I have made between versions.


TY Joanna Carter.

Appreciate the additional info.

So for you, (and anyone else reading this) an extra question … First, I am quite pleased with DXO PL5 and all that it has to offer. Still, as such, I was looking at The Nik Collection, and that is what this question is regarding.

After looking at all the information, and watching a number of the tools that are contained therein, as well as a few You Tube Webinar videos, I am getting the idea that pretty much, The Nik Collection offers all the same bases, albeit in a more roundabout way, which are ultimately covered by PL 5 Elite in combo with FP 6 Elite.

Sure, there are a few small things I see that slightly different treatments of a small number of final edits, but overall, it looks like it’d be somewhat redundant to have both editors, to say nothing for the additional $150. outlay for having done so.

May I be missing some outstanding feature(s) contained in Nik that I am unaware of that is/are simply unavailable in PL 5E & FP 6E, and “oh, so worth having just for this/these thingys”?

Your thoughts, should you have any.


Jay Sigal


PL is a raw-converter and the Nik Collection can only handle tif- and jpg-files.
If you want to know, try it out.

I bought Nik Collection, in case I needed to help anyone on these forums. So far, I haven’t found a single image that I couldn’t do everything that I needed in PL + FP + VP. The only other editor I use is Affinity Photo and then only for focus stacking and panoramic stitching.

My personal opinion is, don’t bother with Nik.

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Thanks for the quick response. I am pleased to know that it was not worth the investment.

And Wolfgang informed me that the NIK software was limited to the type of images that may be worked with it. NO RAW at all. Only TIF & Jpeg.

I had the feeling that the NIK was somewhat older tech and the abilities of PL 5E along with FP 6E rightly seems to outshine the available results.

Again, Thanks for your input.


The Nik collection with his various modules is primarily software which provides users with a huge number of pre-existing filters which can then be modified by users to meet their specific requirements.

While, like @Joanna, I rarely use it, I believe it’s still provides a lot of value to many users. As a general rule I prefer using FilmPack 6.2’s embedded features within PhotoLab. However, I have had very good luck with my mono images processing raw files in PhotoLab first, and then sending the resulting exported Tiff file to Silver Efex Pro for final processing.


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I agree with Mark’s comments. While I don’t use many of the components of the Nik collection, I do use Silver Efex Pro for B&W conversion in the same way that Mark describes. I’m not disputing Joanna’s comments about being able to do everything in PL but I find it very easy and quick to achieve the B&W conversion I want with the Silver Efex filters, followed by a few adjustment setting tweaks.


Thank you to all that responded.

Based upon what Joanna had to report on “The NIK” … I have decided against it, and not too concerned about the Silver Efex part. I am not that into B&W at this point anyway, so money saved is a good thing.

Over the past month I have invested significant $$ into other software beyond LR & PS, and that includes PL 5E & FP 6E. I have enjoyed the early learning curve associated with each of them, as well as the unexpected and interesting results that have manifested along that curve.

I am drafting a question I have for the PL 5E crowd regarding the flow to and from LR & back to PL 5E. Something is just not making sense to me.

Till then, Thanks for all the feedback.


Just another techie example of virtual copies and how they are stored on the drive:

Photolab: Master image (left) and 4 virtual copies:

That’s what’s in the image folder: A few image files plus ONE .dop sidecar file

Closer look: Inside the .dop file with only the top 3 levels showing

The dark dotted “maggots” correspond to 1 master and 4 copies

Even closer look: One copy, partially expanded:

As you can see, it’s the green tinted copy.

App used to see inside the .dop file: BBEdit