I am currently tempted by the Black Friday sale price to consider updating to PL5 from PL4. However, it is really only the enhanced local adjustments that might be useful to me. (As an amateur user the other updated features are of little importance to me, and speeding up my workflow is not a priority.)
My question is therefore: Do the changes to local adjustments (control lines and selection by colour and luminance) mean that images can be adjusted in ways which are simply not possible in PL4, or do they “just” make such adjustments easier and speedier? In other words, can PL4 achieve the same results albeit maybe with considerably more effort?
In my opinion, control lines, along with the new chroma/luma sliders add very significant improvement to local adjustments. Control lines, negative control lines, control points, and negative control points, can all be used together in a single mask. I use local adjustments a lot, and I can now do things that were either extremely difficult or impossible to do in PL4.
Keep in mind that mastering the use of control lines, especially in conjunction with control points, will take time and effort. You may struggle a lot at first and be unhappy with the results you’re getting. We can try to help you with that learning curve, but in the end it’s going to be a matter of how much time and patience, and the willingness to experiment, you have.
Depending on your computer, there’s no speed up at all. M1 Macs export much faster thanks to neural whatever optimisation. Intel Macs with good graphic cards like the Radeon WX7100 or Radeon VII are no faster to export.
About those tools, I concur with Mark that the ability to control masking with chroma and luma sliders is a huge improvement. I’m asking myself why didn’t DxO add these controls years (well two years) ago as they make control-point masking so much more subtle and effective. Not that U-points didn’t work before – the defaults are good – but somehow there was always the risk of getting a very primitive effect even when applying the mask with care. One would have to layer multiple new control points on top of one another to get to a good result, instead of adjusting the first one properly.