My first converted images are muddy and soft

I’ve been using Qimage Ultimate for as long as it has had a RAW converting module. I have taken out a trial of DxO and am using to convert some pix from our recent travels. They are shot on a new Ricoh GR3 and I have the optical file loaded. My initial concern is I find my DxO shots are not as sharp or as clean as when converted with Qimage Ultimate. I’ll post two comparisons here.

I am willing to send the two original RAWs to anyone who wants to take a stab at improving my efforts.

Every suggestion is welcome as currently I am not tempted to turn my trial into a purchase.

Welcom to the forum. Please give us the RAW. In right top you can find presets. You can change preset or create a own preset, what you like and in the options you can say, wich preset DxO PhotoLab use .
Sorry for my english.

I have used Qimage for ever, but not for raw conversion :slight_smile:

Put a raw file in Dropbox or similar and I am sure you will get help.


There was a reply from Mark asking what changes I had made, if any, within DxO. Yes, I did make my best shots at optimising. I see Mark has pulled his post but I am putting four RAW files on the internet in the hope that some other folk around here will have a go with them and maybe send me the DOP files so I can see what it is that I have missed. With them are two jpgs from each - one from Qimage and one from DxO.

My biggest disappointment is how less clean the DxO jpgs look. The colours are not as fresh and the images are not as sharp. I am sure that DxO is capable of more. I’d value guidance as to how.

The four sets of files can be found on:-

Thanks in anticipation.


In the hope that some DxO gurus take a look at these four files I have now uploaded higher quality jpgs and the four DOP files that was used for the export.

The new folder to download with this extra info is

I just have time to process an image: the first.

  • the white balance value of the camera is not good. Replace with: daylight.
  • the photo is over-exposed. Correction of smart lighting: strong (75)
  • for the same reason: clearview plus at 50 (which would generally be too much)
  • Auto micro contrast at +16
  • … and automatic horizon correction

That’s all. We can do better, but it was to stay in the basic corrections.

(Automatic: vignetting, lens sharpness, color rendering)

Thanks Gerato,

As White Balance is no more than a flag in a RAW file I use the WB dropper - this case on the grey of the clouds. That was what I did in Qimage as well. I have abandonned the dropper and adopted daylight. Yes it is better

Exposure. I always expose to the right. Qimage was working on the same file.

I have made these changes " * Correction of smart lighting: strong (75)

  • for the same reason: clearview plus at 50 (which would generally be too much)
  • Auto micro contrast at +16"

I still get a soft and somewhat dirty file. Can you send me the DOP? I am not sure whether you can attach it to a reply but if not then send it to

Thanks for replying. I am sure DxO is brilliant. I simply need folk like you to show me how to get the best of out it.

Hello @TonyGamble and welcome to the Forum!

As far as I see for some images (if you want to mimic the result of your Qimage Ultimate corrections), it’s sometimes enough to change Color Accenturation and Contrast:

But I’d really recommend you to play with different corrections and to work with details to have better results and I’m pretty sure our Forum gurus will help you along with different tutorials here -

As for example, I see your first image in a more warm tonality in comparison with the result you have from Qimage Ultimate like this:

Svetlana G.

Thanks Svetlana,

I have been playing since Monday - three and a half days now.

My version of that mosque shot has a really messy sky. In my attempts to find out what I am doing wrong I have looked at the appropriate forum on DPReview. There people warn off the use of Smart Lighting amc Clearview Plus. All my converted files look like they are being seen through a thin gauze. The colours are dirtied and the definition is not as sharp as when I process through Qimage.

I would love someone to process my RAWs and send me the DOP files. That is how I was shown how to solve problems in Qimage. They call them filters but once linked to the RAW it enables me to see every line of change. It could be that DxO is not installed corrrectly but I did not find much that is capable of being altered. I am using the default monitor profile.

There will be answer somewhere. I cannot believe anyone would use DxO for real if they were getting images no better than I am so far.


The .dop file for this raw R0000238.DNG.dop (25,0 Ko)

Thanks Gerato.

By comparison my QU convertion is too contrasty. Yours has better tones.

What I feel though is that your file is not as sharp. Would you be able to improve that?


Hi Tony,
Image 238 is very overexposed but can be worked on. I only had a minute or two to work on the first image but here is my effort. I have some time tomorrow so will have a go at some others and let you have the DOP.

Thanks Geordie,

Yes, the first one is overexposed. I was not ready for those kids and did not want to miss them.

I’ll be fascinated to see what you make of all files.


The main problem with 238 is that it is severely over-exposed. Here is the data from Raw Digger, which shows just how much is over-exposed :


And the colour temperature was very weird. Always shoot at 5600°K and then correct in DxO afterwards if necessary. Do not use auto-WB with RAW files.

Likewise 296 is even more over-exposed in the sky :


The golden rule of digital photography is never over-expose. It is the one thing that cannot be properly recovered properly from a RAW file and trying to compensate is a tricky business that can lead to some compromises.

Here is my attempt at 238 :

… and here is the dop file :

R0000238.DNG.dop (13,5 Ko)

296 is never going to work 100% due to the extreme over-exposure of the sky, which can only be made slightly gray in the strongest highlights.

Here is my version :

… and here is the dop file :

R0000296.DNG.dop (12,4 Ko)

Thanks Joanna,

238 was a grab shot. I could have taken more time to correct the exposure and would have missed the kids altogether. In fact one second later they were off that wall and looking for some other mischief.

  1. Fair enough. That’s your interpretation of 296. When I shot it I was willing to lose the sky in the interest of capturing the deck actiivities. Without wanting to sound rude - thanks for trying but I much prefer my interpretation. I can live with a clear sky but not with that dingy deck. It was very contrasty and I exposed for the area that interested me.

I take your point about never over-exposing. I realise that 255 255 255 gives you nothing to recover. However my experience is that most meters over compensate and that the in camera jpg that shows the shot about to be taken or recently taken usually clips too soon. There is usually far more range in the RAW than the jpg suggests.

White balance. RAW files are rarely affected by whatever WB setting you have on the camera. The setting may put some info in the EXIF and that may be read by some computer software. I do a lot of theatre work. I shoot scenes that range from sunny drawing rooms to spooky blue ghost parlours. I never touch the WB setting in the camera. I WB every file in my RAW converting software. I am sorry to challenge someone offering help but I can assure you that fiddling with WB on the camera makes not a jot of difference to the RAW files created.

Sorry. You will probably never speak to me again. I apologise. But I do value your advice. I promise.


Tony, you are not sounding rude; it is your image and you know how you want it to appear.

I would, however, suggest that, with a scene like that when you’ve got time to do it, that you try in future to change the exposure mode to manual, take a spot reading from the brightest part of the scene and then over-expose from that reading by between 1⅓ and 2 stops.

  1. It will avoid blown highlights
  2. You will be surprised just how far down into the “shadows” you can go to retrieve details.

You could also do something like this :

After all, there is no rule that says images have to be the same proportions as the original file :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

I have trained myself to ignore the screen on the back of the camera. I would never rely on it to determine whether a shot was over-exposed. Since working out the limitations of my camera, I work a bit like I do with large format film - if I’ve done the calculation right, the image will be right after processing. After all, with LF film I don’t have a screen on the back to check :blush:

Personally, I never move my WB from 5600°K. As you say, it’s not going to affect the resulting RAW file, but it does give me an indication of how warm or cool the lighting was when I took the shot.

Tony, I’ve been teaching photography for many years. If we didn’t have differing opinions on how an image should look, I would be extremely surprised, if not annoyed that you were willing to blindly follow what I said :nerd_face:

Here are two versions of the woman in front of the shop based on your DNG file. Both done quick and dirty. If it were my image I would spend some time adding additional edits and some local adjustments as well. As you can see the first version includes a lot of the shadow detail as a result of using smart lighting,. The second version does not include smart lighting.

Thanks Mark,


Any chance of attaching the DOP files for the two techniques?

Bed time UK now.

Attached is the .dop file used for both images. I used the virtual copy feature of PhotoLab Elite. When you add this.dop file to the same folder as the original .DNG you should see two separate images in PhotoLab representing two virtual copies. All the edit details of a image file are stored in a single .dop file regardless of how many virtual copies are created. Since you may want to retain any existing .dop files you have already created, you might want to consider copying the .DNG file to a separate folder and then copy the attached file to that folder.

My goal was to first make the image look somewhat similar to the one you outputted from Qimage Ultimate. since you seemed to like that “look”, and then to enhance it a bit from there. If it was my image and I was editing it just to please me, the results would have very likely been quite different.


R0000353.DNG.dop (20.9 KB)

Thanks again Mark.

And that virtual facility is a great asset.

Refreshed and ready to challenge a few more files today.