Direct comparison PL6E vs Skylum Luminar Neo

I am attaching JPEG images, all from the same Z9 lossless compressed NEF image – all my copyright. These are the low resolution JPEG uncropped from the Z9 (I generally take both a NEF and a low resolution JPEG, the latter for rapid transmission to a client without post as well as for reviewing in situations when there is no raw viewer that can handle the specific NEF format), the result from PL6E DeepPRIME XD, and Skylum Luminar Neo (LN). Both workflow applications have my presets, not “stock”. My personal initial impression is that the PL6E has less noise, better detail, and somewhat better general rendition than LN with the amount of work I invested (DeepPRIME XD does a good job for a “first pass”). The previous LN output I posted was from using it in the field on a laptop. Since then, a number of issues have surfaced with LN and these are the first images I have been able to process. At present, LN cannot function if the image files are in a local (not “cloud”) network accessed directory tree – what are termed network shared folders on MS Win. LN crashed and would not reopen when it attempted to use images stored on a network, requiring a full re-installation. Note that PL6 and Serif Affinity 2 both do not have this issue – if MS Win File Explorer (MSFE) can “see” the file, so can either of these and either can output to the same directory (folder) that MSFE can access – but not so for LN as of now. The Skylum web site also has issues – download URLs do not work despite being supplied to me from Skylum support (I tried in Mozilla Firefox as well as Microsoft Edge, both current production).


a really nice pic (DxO version)

It is a nice shot, While I assume you are aware of it, you need to clean the sensor.


Cleaning the sensor on a Z9 is not the same as others; Nikon USA claims that only Nikon USA service should clean the Z9 sensor. I have been in communication with a shop that formerly was Nikon USA authorised service (Nikon USA has disallowed ALL independent shops, and will not supply service/repair literature, parts lists, most parts, nor special tools/jigs/fixtures to anyone – evidently some non-USA Nikon depots will supply parts, but then these need to be purchased by someone in that service region outside the USA and shipped to the USA as Nikon will not allow Nikon EU, say, to ship spares to an USA address), Using the technique and tools Nikon USA technical support showed to the shop (pre-disallowed), and using Aeroclipse fluid (none of the other Eclipse cleaning fluids), the technicians successfully cleaned a Z9 sensor without damage. I am tempted to try this myself, but I need to be very cautious and may have that shop do it (provided the shop will indemnify against damage). NPS is offering free sensor cleanings, but none of the locations are convenient for me (the cost of fuel at the California gouged fuel prices plus my time make the offer – for only ONE body, not several – of little use to me). I have the Orbit HEPA filter blower ( – NOT a solicitation for Amazon, merely for reference) and, keeping the Z9 off but dust shutter open (off means that the sensor is “locked down” and the VR “arms” should not be damaged), I will try this.

That is a real pain and a terrible inconvenience for working photographers.