DXO Lab 4 & Canon RP CR3 Raw

Hi - I’ve been a long time user of Photolab over the years and recently moved from Olympus M4/3 to Canon full frame with an RP body. With the Olympus OM-D EM1 the raw processing was always excellent, but moving to Canon I am really disappointed with this. I shoot raw and JPG at the same time and the raw files come up in DXO labs consistently under exposed and murky, needing a LOT of work to get a good image. By contrast, using Canon Photo Pro 4 (slow, clunky, etc) the raw and JPG images are near identical on first display. The difference between Canon PP4 and DXO 4 is remarkable. Obviously Canon will have a better understanding of CR3, but I wonder if there’s a default CR3 processing filter that needs to be updated on DXO to improve things?

First photo shows side by side Canon PP4…

These these two show DXO Labs JPG and CR3. The CR3 is murky and under exposed by at least a stop.

Thanks for your help! BTW, concerning CR3 to DNG and viewing in DXO 4 gives the same underexposed murk, so clearly Canon PP4 is doing something smart here. Proprietary understanding of the format perhaps?


(first posting…!)

As to whether Photolab’s rendition of your Canon CR3 files needs to be addressed is a separate issue that I am not competent to discuss. However I do want to comment on your observations after using Canon’s Digital Photo Professional.

The similarity you are seeing in Canon"s Digital Photo Professional 4 between your raw and jpeg images is a common misunderstanding of how DPP works . Almost all raw processing programs like PhotoLab display raw images without any of the in-camera settings applied and as a result tend to look a little flatter and less sharp and less contrasty then JPEGs straight out of the camera which have all those in camera adjustments included.

Proprietary software like Canon’s DPP and Nikon’s NX Studio actually apply all the in-camera settings by default to their own proprietary raw files so what you are seeing is identical to their JPEGs rather than an unedited raw file. Some people prefer starting off with an image that looks exactly like the JPEG, but effectively software like DPP and Nikon’s NX Studio have already done much of the post-processing for you by applying the in-camera settings, and therefore take some control away from you. It is similar in some respects to using a JPEG as a starting point for your editing rather than an unedited Raw file.

PhotoLab as well as, Lightroom, Capture One and most other software do not apply the actual in-camera settings but instead apply startup presets which are controllable by the user and often are intended to correct optical issues like distortion and vignetting before the serious editing begins. Some programs do make an attempt to apply their own versions of what they think the in-camera settings might have been, but they are generally not terribly accurate and I do not find that approach very helpful. I like starting out with a unedited raw file and making all the editing decisions myself.



This is very interesting Mark. Thanks for putting the effort in to comment at such detail. Here’s the strange thing: I’ve been shooting raw for 10+ years, initially processing with Lightroom and then on DXO for the last 2 years. I’ve flitted from Canon 6D to Olympus OM-D and now back to Canon RP. In all the previous systems on both LR and DXO the ‘out the box’ raw render was very nice. With RP it’s pretty poor and leaves me with a lot of work to do. I’m wishing for a DXO ‘option’ that does that initial work for me to get me close to JPG and allows me to fine tune!

Good morning @Jonathan and welcome to the forum,

Have you tried to create and apply a custom preset with your body Color rendering?


Svetlana G.

I’m not the OP, but I was under the impression the Generic Gendering option automatically selected the correct camera body. Is that wrong?

I recently (4 months) moved from LR to processing most of my images in DXO. One of my main motives was the better overall rendition of my LEICA (Q2) and Canon (R5) raws as well as the DXO module approach to lens/camera profiling. So the “Color rendering” of PhotoLab was of great interest to me.

I found the Generic renderings good but the Camera Body renderings better in conjunction with the DXO camera-lens modules. Unfortunately there was no “camera body” rendering for either of my current cameras: there are rendering options only for the Leica Q (not Q2) and the Canon R but not R5.

So I fell back to a method that I’ve used occasionally with more exotic raw processors (e.g. Raw Photo Processor ~from the makers of Fast Raw Viewer and LibRaw): I created a camera color profile for each of my current cameras.

There are several ways to do this that use a McBeth color card in conjunction with some profiling software. The best known is probably ColorChecker Passport that sells for $US100+ on e.g. Amazon. But you can pick up a McBeth card (sometimes spelled “Macbeath”) for much less money and buy the excellent LumaRiver Profile Designer Basic (Lumariver) for only EUR30. This version works only with DNG raws (you can use a free Adobe DNG converter for your .CR3 raws) but it works really well in my experience. You won’t need the more advanced Lumariver software for creating a .DCP profile for use in Photolab. The Lumarriver manual contains all the instructions for taking a test shot of the card and making the profile: but it’s an easy thing to do.

The Photolab manual explain how to import the .DCP profile you create for your camera. One of the menu choices in the “Color rendering” panel in Photolab allows you to choose and name a profile to use with each camera (like a ‘preset’).

I find the results are great and reliable. LumaRiver will allow you to make alternate profiles, too, for different lighting conditions. Very useful for strobes, no doubt (I don’t use them).

Hi, thanks for the tip. Selecting RP makes no difference and I’m pretty sure it is selected by default. I have found that DXO One gives a substantially better starting point, and oddly Canon 1000d is closest to the out-the-body jpg. For now I will process with DXO One as a starter. Thanks for the tips.

Hello @Jonathan ,

Some cameras have modes to improve dynamic of images. It’s something, maybe, like Highlight or lowlight priority.

To improve dynamic of images these modes apply an over or under exposure at shot and compensate it with a different tone curve of the standard mode.

Highlight priority mode of Canon make the camera take an under exposed shot and apply a tone curve to get same light in shadows and mid tones but tone curve is smoother on highlights to preserve details.

Rawconversion done by PhotoLab doesn’t take these modes into account and so RAW images can be over or under exposed.

So can you look if you use that function ?
If you don’t know please provide me a RAW file, I can have a look to Exif.


Good morning @PeterGallagher ,

Do you use the latest version of PL4?

As I can see R5 in the list of renderings :wink:

Svetlana G.

I wish too. I first griped about the way PL handles .CR3 files way back in 2020, with PL3. Skin tones are sallow, greens are too yellow. No such problems this Canon .CR2 files though. I didn’t buy PL4 because having tried it, it was no better with .CR3 than PL3. Not even DeepPrime (which is very impressive) was enough to make me spend my money.

I wish I had something positive to suggest by way of a reasonable default starting point but I can’t.


HI Svetlana,

Yes, you are right. There is an R5 rendering! I didn’t see it at first and decided to use a .DCP profile instead. I found it later and then forgot about it. Thanks for reminding me. My apologies.

In fact, I prefer the two Lumariver .DCP profiles I have (one for a temp of 5200 and one for a temp of 3200) to the DXO R5 rendering. But I would say this is only a matter of taste.


1 Like