Last chance for DXO

I’m slowly losing patience with DXO. I started with OpticsPro 8.0 + Filmpack + Viewpoint, paid for all updates, including NIK filters.
If the next update (version 2.3?) No new features are included, I say bye DXO !!

Can you not do the things you want with the current tools? What are the things that you miss most?


I miss the following features

  • clone tool
  • invert the area of controlpoint
  • elliptical marking area of control points
  • better HSL-Tool for the local adjustements, for each color an slider
  • an option to display the camera focus point

These are not small improvements.
Some are already planned.

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Sorry, these are standard features from Lightroom, Luminar, Capture One.
(exept the last item)

Many items are already planned and that’s great, but all that counts is what is actually implemented. Other than an update to local adjustments, an update to Clearview, the addition of rudimentary search features, new cameras, and bug fixes, what other feature improvements have we seen since PhotoLab 1 was introduced 15 months ago in late 2017? There have been lots of assurances and feedback from them regarding new and updated features on the backlog but so far none of them have been implemented.

I’m not angry about all this, just frustrated that DXO is seemingly unable to enhance it’s already great software in a reasonable time frame.


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I agree planning doesn’t appear to actually lead to introduction being done

Expectations for DxO PhotoLab are too high. PhotoLab is a RAW development tool, not an image manager (FastRawViewer, PhotoMechanic, iMatch, Lightroom) nor a pixel editor (Photoshop, Affinity Photo, Pixelmator, GIMP).

Frankly DxO will drown if they try to keep the mission extension crowd happy. A high quality and reliably fast RAW development tool with hardware acceleration which keeps up with the latest cameras and lenses in a timely way is all it would take to keep my business. Stability, quality in what it does and speed. Sadly DxO in running after the mission expansion crowd is slowly struggling with the core mission.

Great results but too slow and too many recent cameras and lenses not supported.


I agree. For the time being, I think that speed and reliability should be first priority. Once we’re back on this track, expansion can take (carefully executed) steps.

On the other hand, I think that DPL should move towards being a more comprehensive solution, lest it should stay what it is now: A special application that is bought in addition to whatever else is in use.
Why? People tend to cut costs with things that can be omitted without loosing too much.


I understand your point but many of the things being asked for are standard tools for other raw development software like Lightroom, Capture One Pro, and even ON1. I’m certainly not comparing the quality of both the output and tools in PhotoLab with ON1. There is no contest, PhotoLab is far superior. However, ON1 has a number of raw features not available in PhotoLab. That’s the real issue here. DXO’s seeming inability to keep up with their competition’s raw processing features.


Mark, I agree with you 100%. DXO loses the connection to the competition.

DxO cannot possibly keep up with Adobe. Adobe can spend as many programmer hours as they want on Lightroom or Photoshop. Budgets are only theoretical (to keep some handle on what they are doing). The other tools do not create results of the same quality. I tried using Capture One on my ISO 6400 sports photography (Canon 5DS R, 5DIII) and the noise makes the shots unusable in comparison to PhotoLab where the results are beautiful and look like they were shot at ISO 800 or 1600. The other tools are a bit of a joke (yes, they have party tricks but are otherwise so slow - Luminar - or make such hideous RAW - Affinity Photo - that whatever advantages they may have they are non-starters.

A well made hammer or screwdriver is far more useful than a creaky utility tool (sometimes known as a Swiss army knife). Dedicated tools have to be fast though.

A PhotoLab photographer - unless s/he can stand 5 second waits between switching images - really needs to be using ingestion software to create selects. Some of it is cross platform and inexpensive - FastRawViewer at $14.99 – some is more expensive PhotoMechanic or Imatch – but there’s no real barrier to purchase. Heck I’ll buy the first two photographers who own PhotoLab but can’t afford FastRawViewer a license to support the project and stop at least some of the wailing for a DAM solution. Just send me a PM.

A PhotoLab photographer if s/he wants to create exceptional images really needs to have a pixel editor available for advanced masking. I love local adjustments especially if they save a round trip and a huge file going over to Photoshop or Affinity Photo. But not at the expense of speed nor at the expense of support for recent camera bodies and lenses.

I’d hope that over time DxO will add carefully conceived local adjustments that handle the small corrections quickly, always testing against speed.

The DAM project should just taken out with the morning trash, as it will eventually sink the software entirely unless DxO can hire a wholly new and dedicated team to work on it as an add-on, something like ViewPoint.


While I agree with some of what you are saying, it still doesn’t explain the paucity of updates to PhotoLab since PhotoLab 1 was introduced 15 months ago.

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Alec, I agree with your comments especially in regards to DAM. To become REALLY good at that would take a long time, a dedicated team and you would still compete against DAM software which is really good at that. Focus on being the best Raw converter and nothing else


They are not all standard in Luminar and Luminar is a mess right now as well. I agree they are in Lr and Capture One, which is why Lr is my prime raw editor.

Colin if you like LR so much, you are not a DxO PhotoLab kind of photographer. Lightroom is primarily a DAM and PhotoLab is a RAW developer. They are different tools. It’s already possible to use LR’s DAM with PhotoLab so just do that and stop harping on and on about Lightroom.

It’s really time DxO walked back the DAM promises which they won’t be able to start to keep without hiring another four or five developers and dedicating a senior manager and two years to the DAM solution.


Alec, I can’t speak for Colin, but… I am a DXO PhotoLab kind of photographer having given up Lightroom altogether within months of acquiring PhotoLab 1 when it was first released. I find I get much better results with far less effort in PhotoLab than I ever did in Lightroom.

However I must disagree with your comparative assessment, especially since I didn’t use Lightroom’s DAM features and found the need to import all my images before editing cumbersome and unappealing. I used it strictly as a raw editor and as such it shares many tools which are similar to PhotoLab and a number of features which PhotoLab lacks. Some of LR’s raw features are equal to, or slightly superior to PhotoLab’s. For most other features in my experience PhotoLab takes the prize. I love PhotoLab and I don’t regret for a second leaving LR behind, but to suggest Lightroom’s real strength is a DAM rather than as a raw converter/processor is, in my opinion, inaccurate.


Lightroom was originally conceived as a DAM (yes I owned Lightroom 1, 2 &4 as standalone products). Aperture was my main tool and remains the gold standard in terms of workflow and speed, sadly noise management for high ISO photos was never a strength and I’ve always shot a lot of low light photos).

Lightroom is dedicated to forcing photographers to keep their Library in Lightroom and a database system. Which sounded great back in 2005 when Aperture hit the market first. Photographers quickly learned about how catalogues would collapse with more than 20K images (later stretched to 50K) and programs would slow to a crawl.

OS systems are set up to manage millions of files, not thousands. Leading DAM and photographic workflow thought leaders quickly realised that separating file management from RAW development was a far more robust and flexible approach.

Lightroom and Aperture tried to adapt by moving from a Library model to a Catalogue model which helped. It didn’t help with moving files between a laptop for field work and a desktop for main development. Migration of sets remained and remains a tremendous headache. Losing the link between original files and the references in the catalogue remains a weak point of Lightroom, Aperture and even Apple Photos. Lightroom has a new version called Lightroom CC dealing with syncing photographs via an online database (the single master) to deal specifically with these issues.

Other DAM solutions like FastRawViewer (I cite it as I use it and will remind everyone that the grand investment for one of the best DAM solutions out there is $15) decided to deal with the synchronisation issue by using sidecars and the OS. FastRawViewer rejects go to a special folder (can be global or folder specific, I’ve chosen global as it’s a single folder to empty to the trash) in the OS. If you want to move a set from laptop to desktop, you just copy the folder. All the metadata goes along with the original images as XMP sidecars.

If you are using PhotoLab, the colour correction information migrates too as DxO very wisely uses external .dop files for its development work.

Yes, catalogue based DAM can work. It’s a lot of work to keep it synced and it still fails. Adding DAM without sync and reconnect is only a proof of concept and of no value as a working tool. Sync and reconnect are such large projects that they alone overwhelm the work on the DAM.

What PhotoLab does now - offering a basic file browser which shows ratings - more than covers the needs of a photographer trying to work his way through a session and process files. Already, PhotoLab has its limitations though. If I alter the ratings set in FastRawViewer or add new ratings for unrated files, those ratings don’t carry over to other tools. PhotoLab ratings should be stored in the standard XMP format which FastRawViewer and Adobe Bridge understand to be cross compatible with other tools.

Returning to the point - Adobe conceived Lightroom first as a DAM and then as a RAW development tool. Yes, there are some great tools in there now. With Lightroom 3 or 4, Adobe had a breakthrough in terms of noise management (which required special external software before, either Noise Ninja or Topaz DeNoise). When I did a head to head test of RAW developers on my high ISO nightlights sport photos, Adobe Lightroom Classic CC took second place to DxO. Noise was under control without compromising the detail of the photo and colours remained very vivid.

Here’s some samples comparing them on a very high ISO original.

First, my conversion with DxO. The grass looks a healthy green and the detail looks real. Very low noise and colours are rich on the jerseys. It doesn’t look like strong noise reduction has been applied, despite the very high ISO original.

Here’s Lightroom Classic CC 2018. It’s also a very nice conversion and the high ISO is handled with brighter colours and a little less blurring than even Lightroom 6 version:

Both are much better than what C1 does with high ISO files. With noise reduction turned up, C1 struggles to keep colour and to keep the grass looking realistic in any way. There is visible noise everywhere: the alternative was heavy smearing. This is the best compromise of three separate attempts (for economy I’m only including my best version of all three processors).

Here’s a detail from the middle at 100% with CC, C1 and Photolab side by side.

Here’s the RAW file for anyone who wants to have a look him or herself: 118C1766.CR2 (32.0 MB) Technical note: the jpegs above are recompressed on the DxO servers (file size went from 34.6 to 24.3 MB, albeit at a high recompression rate (looks like about 80/90): the differences are small between the original jpegs and the uploads but visible.

What the above points out is that there a multitude of reasons that a serious photographer might want to use DxO PhotoLab over either C1 or Lightroom and they all have to do with image quality and have nothing to do with DAM.

Competing and failing in DAM or neglecting the development tools and performance would only give both Adobe and Phase One and Colin a new stick with which to beat DxO.

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If you knew the resources this DAM project is consuming, you’d understand the paucity of updates across the board. DxO is a small team. If you saw their team photo included about 20 people of which probably 5 are developers of one kind or another. The rest would be support, testing, admin and marketing.

As a retired software developer I am aware of the effort involved and understand that the development team at DXO is small. I also understand that the additional resources needed to develop a DAM impacts the overall development effort. It still doesn’t explain the lack of feature updates, new features, performance enhancements and bug fixes over a 15 month period. With a small team I don’t expect a lot, but I expect more than they have been able to manage.

I was a project manager with a five person development team working at the largest bank corporation in the United States. My team supported 22 global banking applications used around the world and developed at least two brand new applications a year while supporting timely banking applications updates to existing applications, all while providing 24/7 end user support for users in New York, Chicago, LA, London, Paris, Mumbai, Tokyo, Singapore, and Seoul. Six people did that. We extensively coded, tested and implemented enhancements using a rigorous time consuming process with significant quality control. Serious mistakes could cost millions of dollars. While the complexities of Photolab are significant, they are not coding this application from scratch. Sorry, but with 35 years of experience in this field I would expect more output unless they are having serious issues they are choosing not to reveal.