My thoughts after a few days using PhotoLab for a few days

My thoughts after a few days using PhotoLab for a few days

For Information;
Windows 10 system, I7, SSD, 16 GB RAM
Nikon D300 camera
Nikon D850 camera
Nikon Lenses 35mm f1.8, 50mm f1.8, 85mm f1.8, 105mm f2.8 Macro
Sigma 150-500mm lens

My thoughts;

  1. No clone tool - Or am I missing something?
    the heal brush works great most of the time but there
    are times when a clone tool would be best.

  2. The crop tool always defaults to PRESERVE ASPECT RATIO
    I lot of the time I want unconstrained.

    Can I change this default behaviour?

    It would be nice If It just remembered the last setting and/or the default action was
    settable In the preference area.

  3. One click export to export using the last recipes settings (How about Ctrl + E)
    Most of the times the settings I use are the same
    So if there was a button to just export the Image
    Based on the last Images export settings that would be great.

  4. In a palette
    A more obvious delimiter between the separate sections in the same palette.

  5. when I set a TAG (picked unpicked)

Why do some of the keyboard short cuts (7, 8, 9, p, x, u) only work in full screen mode?

Why can’t also work in the organize and customize mode as well?

Why can’t I rate the Images (0-5) in the organiser and customise tabs?

  1. the dxo optics module symbol (little camera Icon) In the thumbnail In the film strip Is
    not showing for my Nikon D850 Images, the EXIF Info panel Is showing the camera
    and lens used but the camera Icon Is not displayed In the filmstrip thumbnails
    to state that Image correction has been applied.

when I compare the corrected preview Image to the un-corrected Image, you can see
the module is working as the Images change, you can see the distortion in the un-corrected Image.

The Icon is showing for my D300 camera.

  1. Why can’t the sidecar files be saved in a sub-directory and not mixed In with the Images.
    Possible make this user configurable in the preference section so users can
    choose they preferred way of working.

  2. I can’t find any xmp sidecar files on my computer.
    The option is ticked in preferences
    But it also talks about sidecar files being .dop files, which I can find.

  3. Why is there no Indication (an Icon) in the filmstrip thumbnails to show that an Image has
    been processed?

  4. When I select crop mode, the handles to grab at the corners are just outside the viewing area.
    I have to zoom the Image In a bit to grab a handle.

  5. On top of the filmstrip It tell you how many of the Images have been selected e.g. 1/68
    It would be helpful If It could indicate where you on in the filmstrip e.g. Image 23/68
    Then you would know if you were a quarter, a half, etc the way through your Images.

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I’m on Mac, so perhaps some indications may be different (or not there) in Windows, but I hope this may be valuable for you.

No, you’re not missing anything, clone tool is not available. You can make a request for it in this section:

Yes, you can change it.
As for other choices, you can define your preferences in each palette, and save them in a preset.
For Crop tool, in Image ration you choose “Without constraint” and to save the preset you go in the menu to Image > New preset for the current… (approx item name as I’m not in English)
As you want it by default, you have to use this new preset as your default in Preferences.

There is already a request for that than you can vote for:

DxO PhotoLab comes from DxO Optics Pro which has a long history in its development. So there are some functions which need to be rewritten and may takes time.
These shortcuts work in Full screen mode and this Full screen has been totally rewritten quite recently, and then adding these shortcuts.
So they should probably come also in other tabs in future.

I also have D850 images and don’t see any camera icon in thumbnails. For me, seing a camera icon in thumbnail means that the lens/camera module is missing or there can be ambiguity about the lens. When the module is ok I don’t see anything. And this is true for all my cameras/lenses.

Every user can have a different preference about that. I guess this has been chosen by DxO to facilitate their management.
Personally this is a convenient choice for me.

I guess you mean the xmp in Preferences for Preserve xmp data for RAW images?
This allow to import xmp data from other tool with tag / keywords / IPTC to import them to include in jpeg export for instance.
But it does not produce xmp file, they are .dop files.

In Preferences, Thumbnail section you can define “Always” for “Export status” (again not sure exact translation), and then you have in low right corner of the thumbnail the status of the image (chosen for export, on going and done).

I don’t have this, the handle is just at the limit of the image by the side or top of the image window.

This is something I would like also.


@Pathal - responding to @mabel

Yes, for me too - - It’s definitely best and safest for {RAW + sidecar.dop} files to be held together in the same folder/directory … otherwise it would be too easy to get these interdependent files out-of-syn, with disastrous implications.

John M

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Welcome to your discovery.
Maybe begin with thes tutorials

and filter “Tutorials”


First of all, thank you @Pathal for the assistance.

Let me add some points:

  • Well you can but with one additional key - Ctrl+0-5
  • And here it’s the same you just need to press Ctrl+7,8,9… Actually you can get the info about the shortcuts here (HELP -> Shortcuts):

Well, it looks like you misunderstand the icons. They are:

  • There is an icon about it:
  • It can be if you are not in “Fit to screen” mode and the zoom is higher.

Svetlana G.

thank you for the crop - unconstrained preset advice.

thank you everyone for the replies. much appreciated.

I have indeed misunderstood the icons for the optics module, I thought a yellow camera symbol meant it has been applied to the module.

that means my d300 images need a second look at. thanks.
it looks like the software cant distinguish between the two version of my zoom lens.

i will try the control key with the numbers for rating the images.

i have made a preset for the cropping. thanks

i understand the comments about sidecar location… but…
i would still like the option to have sidecar files in a sub-directory.
it could be selectable in the preference tab so each user can make his own choice.

i have been working through the tutorials, i will go through them again.

so far, of all the raw editors i have trailed, this is the one i like the most.
the Nikon software i have been using is a bit clunky!

I still have capture one pro to test. I did try it about 3 or 4 years ago and thought it was ok but there were a few things about it that put me off. but i hear its got some new whistle and bells now.
its a bit more expensive, but not that much when you compare the combined costs of photolab and the geometry pack.

by image being processed i meant edited but not yet exported.
i do get the tick symbol after i have exported the image.

thanks again every one.

i will now spend some hours working through my recent zoo images and get to understand the software a bit better.

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HI Mabel,

If your reason for not wanting to have sidecar.dop files “cluttering up” your RAW-files folder is because you are happy to depend on the DxO database alone (and only) then you can prevent the sidecar.dop files from being created at all … you simply need to uncheck both these settings (in Preferences):

On the other hand, if you do want the flexibility and security of having your processing corrections saved in a sidecar.dop file that’s specific to each RAW file then you definitely do NOT (IMnsHO) want these two interdependent files to be separated into different folders.

Regards, John M

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central data base, side car subfolder in image folder, side by side image and side car. all has there pro’s and con’s
I came from a subfolder structure and liked it too. There is one “problem” doh, if you replace one or more images out of the folder to a new one you have to manually seek for the sidecars in the subfolder. (first open the new folder to create a sidecar subfolder and then overwrite the new sidecars with the ones you got from the original sidecar folder.

A central database is great for backup puposes but not that flexable at all. (replacement outside the application is creating orphins. (non connected files to images)) PSE is a good example of this behaviour.

So the side by side ; yes looks a bit messy but using short by file exention does help alot. big advantages is the easy movability just select image and sidecar and replace, the application picks up the new place reads sidecar again and no changes except the place on the folderstructure.
And as you copy all side cars, (when you done processing the bunch) in a sub folder in the image folder dated the copied date, then you have a local backup for when you experiment some more for different output. (yes the virtual copy can do this also but its easy to make a mistake and alter the wrong one so a backup of the original sidecar is prefferable…) and when you gain by knowledge of use a better output? just copy this sidecar in the backup folder overwriting the old one done. Or even use filename_1, filename_2 for different backup moments of the sidecar to creates history steps of my stumbling and learning processing a image to see which approach will do best.
(I sometime copy “difficult” images.raw in a seperate folder as “has to be done again better” as a form of practising when i have time and spirit.)

So after some months of useage i think i like the flexible form which DxO is using much more then the more clean version of subfolder system, because now i can create myself a subfolder to manage local backupping sidecars.

But this is just my workstyle and your mileage could be vary.

Then it would not be a sidecar anymore. Kidding apart: I also advice strongly against it and do not even want DxO people spend time to make it optional. If you use a good DAM software like IMatch, you can define the dop exension as sidecar and you won’t see dop and xmp in it’s file window.

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Definitely Obetz. Mabel, for a DAM and rating and culling you can use FastRawViewer which costs all of $15. DxO Photo Lab smoothly reads star ratings and labels from FastRawViewer.

When you have your selects, just create a subfolder (selects) and move the files you want to process in Photo Lab there. Then work through them one by one, improving a Preset as you go. Much the fastest way to cull and work through hundreds of images (I shoot football games).

Trying to use DxO Photo Lab as a culling/DAM tool will only lead to frustration. Photo Lab is engineered for processing and not browsing. I like it that way. I can’t stand the enormous workflow overhead to process even a single RAW in Capture One and love the simplicity of a folder of images to process and Photo Lab with its strong Preset building/improving to speed up a processing session.

Yes, I agree - it’s much faster to use an appropriate tool (such as FastRawViewer or Irfan) for reviewing & culling unprocessed images … and then PL for the processing stage (after all the duds and duplicates have been eradicated).

John M

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That’s what I was doing before (before DOP 11 and new Full Screen mode) with XnView.
But now I use only DPL to sort my images. It’s the only way to assess the sharpness and the Smart lighting potential.


That is one aspect of Exposure 4 that I liked.

Hi Tom, Regarding separation of sidecar files, you noted;

I’d be interested to understand why you would think it a good idea to separate sidecar/.dop files from their associated image(s) … 'cos I reckon that doing so would greatly increase the potential for lost and/or mismatched sidecar files - and would complicate backup & recovery regimes.

Another thought; If you really don’t like the idea of sidecar files accompanying their related images then you don’t need to use them at all - - you can switch them off (via Correction Settings in Edit/Preferences) and use only the PL Database instead. That’s, effectively, the same as having a folder dedicated to storage of sidecar files.

Regards, John M

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I don’t know how it works. When I tested EX4 I noticed their sidecars in their own folder within the folder of images.
It just seemed nice and tidy.

The idea of a sub-folder seems reasonable for sidecars… but I have a question for You Windows users (Mac here): Don’t You have a way to isolate out different kinds of files in a directory?

e.g. on the Mac I can opt to have the files in a directory sorted by “Kind”. This makes for efficient housekeeping as all the images are clearly separated out from the sidecars.

Screen shot - Directory (aka “Folders” on the Mac) sort (“Arrange”) by “Kind”

Hi Jim.

Yes - Using FileManager, one can do this by selecting the View/Group by - Type option.

Note: I don’t agree, tho, that it would be good idea at all to separate sidecar/.dop files from their associated image files - - especially for those, like me, who don’t rely upon the DPL database - - - And, for those that do, but don’t like the presence of sidecar files, there’s always the option to switch them off (see above).

John M

I agree with you John, separating sidecars from image files is not a good idea. I manage my Photos with a professional DAM software. If I move/rename the file in the DAM software all the sidecars get automatically moved/renamed. The moment you separate sidecars from image files the nightmare starts


While I’m answering by « quote from quote » I see that it takes the text but not the original author.
Seeing your post I was not remembering saying that. So going to the original post above, this is a request from @Mabel so I want to give him back it’s request.

My own answer to that was, and still is: