Highlight recovery. DxO vs Lightroom

I just saw an interesting review of Photolab 7 , by Andy Hutchinson.

After about 5 and a half minutes , he compare Highlight recovery , DxO vs LR. I think DxO is the clear winner here.

But … there is a catch to it. I think pulling the Highlight slider affect midtones way too much. Then I have to adjust the midtones which again affect Highlight and Shadow. After a while . it ends up with a mess.

Anyone else experiencing the same ?

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that’s where using mask come in effect, luminosity mask is even better if you can use that

The PhotoLab global highlights and shadow sliders affect too large a tonal range, and should be used with great care with small adjustments only. For years I have primarily used local adjustments to modify highlights exactly where I want them without affecting the rest of the image.

The same goes when raising details from shadow areas. I generally use only very small adjustments to the global shadows slider. I use Local adjustments which allows me much more control when raising shadow detail without affecting the entire image. In addition, using DeepPRIME or DeepPRIME XD will eliminate the noise which will be a side product of raising shadow detail.



of course not , as noted and illustrated multiple times DxO actually discards the data close to clipping point in raw channels ( that other raw converters like ACR/LR do use ) … so DxO is clear winner in losing the data … it seems DxO released v7.2 today - I bet that is not fixed , somebody with spare time can test raws like in PureRaw + Fuji X-T5 + Lightroom = purple in highlight - #174 by noname


“Minor bug fixes and improvements” has got you covered.

Does luminosity mask really recover highlights ?
I mean, does it act when demosaicing or after, when highlights are lost and can’t be recovered ? (I think the whole point of recovering highlight is to not loose them from the raw file. But not trying to tweak what’s left after demosaicing - Am I right ? @noname ).

Highlight recovery feels like a contradiction in terms.

  1. If highlights are burnt, all that can be “recovered” is void of detail, structure etc.
  2. If highlights are just too bright, all we need to do is pull them down by whatever means takes us there: exposure compensation, tone curve, selective tones etc., all working hand in hand or against other tools.

I mostly don’t use selective tone adjustment in DPL because the crosstalk of any correction is too severe. I find Lightroom to be better fit in this area. Nevertheless, highlights (case 2 above) can be recovered with both DPL and Lr, but we need different approaches…and both want to be learnt and exercised before getting easy to use.


Certainly with DxO we are dealing with a great program in most respects, but when it comes to the ability to recover overexposed areas (and also very dark areas) easily and with natural-looking results, PhotoLab loses to Ligtroom. It’s obvious that the highlights and shadow sliders in Lightroom work differently. Those in PhotoLab have far too “wide” ranges, and their usefulness is sometimes simply questionable. You can only use them to a very limited range so as not to spoil the image. It is possible that the highlight and shadows sliders in Lightroom not only have a narrower range, but also interact with the image in a more complex way. I don’t know that, but the results of their operation are different. In PhotoLab, of course, we have other tools to achieve similar goals, but certain actions that in Lightroom are achieved by a single slider movement in PhotoLab require much more complicated work… These sliders in PhotoLab unfortunately have very limited functionality in practice if you also compare them with Lightroom. In my opinion, Lightroom gives worse results overall, but in the aspects mentioned it is simply still better.

Smart lighting + tonal controls + exposure controls can be quick and pretty precise was to recover shadows or highlights. I use it all the time. If there is no recorded data in the highlights or shadows there will be no recovery, but if there is it works well. Not sure how much Lr or C1 is better or worse, its pretty similar , just slightly different way to get there.

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sometime too much recovery is too much, should had just shoot HDR than ending with an over processed image. some people should learn their camera before using them

I’ve gradually come around to wishing that PhotoLab could more easily adjust highlights without also affecting midtones. However, I’ve not liked Lr’s tendency to over-process details. While complex, PL’s variety of ways to adjust highlights and shadows is working for me - especially if I use both global and local adjustments. I’m even starting to rely less on HDR software for tonemapping (which often messes up colors).

FWIW, if I’m using a special color rendering such as a FilmPack emulation, then I can usually expect blown highlights or crushed shadows regardless of Smart Lighting.

The new luminosity mask also helps in some cases.

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Ahhh, the old “learn to use your camera” crap so common around here…
How about shooting live action on a sunny day when you’re not allowed to use a strobe and there are no do-overs. How’s your HDR work then?

This is a real problem when you don’t have complete control over the environment which is so common in many genres…

Anyway I do wish the whole “learn how to shoot better” crowd would keep out of discussions that don’t impact their photography…


it work with a burst of multiple shot with + and - exposure (that every digital camera has in their menu) and you’ll combine them later with your software, that’s how HDR works.
read your light meter and your histogram, that’s how to adjust your shot according to the light, easier to recover shadows than highlights which usually are burnt no details.
so it come back to what i wrote that you don’t like.

i don’t do just wildlife, there’s always street shot, cityscape, waterfall and landscape. i have dogs and children but that has nothing to do with this thread.

How’s your multiple exposure HDR work with running athletes? Lol.

As I said not everyone has control enough to do things as you say…

And even if you underexpose to preserve th highlights you still have to make the adjustments with the highlights midtones shadows controls so they should work properly. Or adjust with curves but that’s not always so simple either.

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the right tool for the right job. there’s a reason why this “know your equipment” come out often, get a camera for the job you intend to do!

You could automated it with many cameras if that is what you want, or you can simply automate EV metering and if you know how your camrea reacts overexposed or under exposed it should be no issue. In RAW and sunny day you don’t need high ISO so you can simply underexpose by automation to about one or two stops, you will not get blown highlights. And if you shoot at night you can overexpose as much as camera allows and clean up any noise with DXODeepPrime. That is why its there.

It is I agree. But I’ve not found a situation with modern camera where you have to worry about overexposure, only direction and intensity of the light.

That is because we know how to use a modern camera. Duh!

= bouddha with 16 arms (or legs - but maybe this is no more bouddha).

This discussion is exactly why this community sucks. Thanks so much for illustrating it…. You guys have no idea what experience I have or what gear I shoot with. I know all about not overexposing highlights. I know all about the latitude in shadow recovery and highlight recovery of my cameras raw files. I shoot professional cameras design for fast action. (Sony A1 and A9II)

This discussion was about how the images are changed (how the transfer curves are are affected) by the sliders in Photolab… then it turned into a discussion about how I don’t know how to use my gear because I don’t understand multiple frame HDR photography. I completely understand it thank you very much… it’s of no use to me with my moving subjects. And automating it with many cameras?? Hilarious. Try running around a football field with some contraption and trying to get multiple cameras with long f2.8 lenses lined up and focused on the right target as that target is running down the field. Y’all know better than me though… haha

As I said, these forums are shit because of posts like this…


The thread is about highlight recovery and has gone off-topic fairly quickly. While drifting happens often and easily, we can still try to keep on track.

Assuming that everyone knows their gear and technique, can we contribute something about highlight recovery?

I usually check files with RawDigger to find out if an image has burnt highlights or if it only looks like it because of whatever an app did due to its internals or my own settings. Only then can I decide how to act…which includes simple things like shrugging burnt highlights off and moving to the next capture.

Starting out with the flattest possible preset can help to decide without the use of other apps and PhotoLab has gotten much better in providing reasonable defaults.