Newcomer looking at DXO Photolab 3 for Windows

Hello, I have read good reviews of Photolab 3 and will give the trial a try. I have very little knowledge of photo editing, and even less of RAW processing. I have got myself an OM-D E-M1X, and although the jpegs are pretty good from this camera, I know I should shoot in RAW, and now I am retired (with too many hobbies…) I think it is time to do so.

However I want the process to be as simple and straight forward as possible… I have now just got Adobe Photoshop Elements 2020, having previously bought (on the lower cost pre-release advanced order) Luminar 4 - which looked great, but along with many others when it was released, I found that the installer would not work on my desktop PC and although the alternative offline installer did work on my laptop (both recent and hi spec machines) - it would not run without crashing, so I abandoned and asked for a refund.

I am a little confused about PhotoLab 3 Elite edition and the NIC collection, does PhotoLab 3 Elite have the NIK Collection features built-in or do these also have to be bought separately to get the functionality? (which would make it a bit expensive for me).

Sorry if this is a stupid question.

No stupid question. In fact I believe DxO could be more clear in their messaging.

  • PL3 Elite does not include the Nik collection.
  • Nik collection does include PL3 Essential.

Perhaps you find some of the video tutorials helpful to get started with PL3:

Edit: And yes, you should shoot RAW to get the best from PL3 Elite!

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Sorry, but the Nik Collection (2.3 is the current release version) does not include PhotoLab 3 Essential. It includes PhotoLab 2.3 Essential.

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Thank you, I guess the way forward is to trial PL3, and if good for me buy it and then consider adding Nik Collection later.

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Hi Edmund,

Yes, definitely get yourself acquainted with PL before buying the Nik Collection.

Given that the Nik Collection is included with PL Essential (but not with Elite), you might think it better value to go with the Essential version - but, there are significant features in the Elite version that you would then forego … the most important of which is PRIME noise reduction (which is highly valuable for images taken at high ISO values) … See the full list of version differences here.

Also, PL has been significantly enhanced in recent versions, taking on some key technology from the Nik Collection - such as U-points/Control Points for local adjustments - such that much of the Nik Collection is now redundant (IMO) … with the exception of Color Efex Pro (again, IMO).

I would recommend investing in DxO ViewPoint (for advanced geometric corrections) - which interfaces directly within PL - before considering the Nik Collection.

Regards, John M

PS. I see you have retired - - was that from aviation ? :thinking:


Thanks for correction. It puzzles me from a support perspective that DxO still delivers the previous version.

DxO delivers the currnet version of PhotoLab when Nik v2 was released in june 2019.

Thank you John, that is very helpful and I will follow the path you have suggested.

No, my work life was in IT, flying is my hobby (passion…) and I fly a 2 seat light aircraft built from a kit, that as it happens came from Australia back in 2000. I also fly R/C, I just love flying machines of all shapes and sizes!

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I’m with Calle on this. That was then, this is now. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

I have downloaded the PL3 trial, and it installed and runs just fine.

Got a slight fail to start with as the only RAW files I have are from an Olympus E-1 I used to own and had been set to shoot both RAW (.ORF) and jpeg initially, but because I did not really understand RAW, I set it, and my subsequent Olympus cameras to jpeg only. This will stop as of now, and I have set my OM-D E-M1X to RAW only… Sadly although PSE 2020, Microsoft’s built-in Camera app and Amazon Photos can all open and display these .orf files, DxO cannot! So I will have to quickly shoot some new pictures to practice on.

Baby steps!

Hello @EtheAv8r and welcome to the Forum,

Yep, Olympus E1 is not supported by PhotoLab but the one you have - OM-D E-M1X - is fully supported. So shoot in different formats and enjoy the application :wink:

Svetlana G.

I recommend that you shoot in RAW+JPEG. This way you can swiftly look through the jpegs to reject which RAW images you want to process. Well, this works for me as the first step in my workflow, anyway :slightly_smiling_face:

I had the same problem with installing Luminar 4 on Windows 10. It took a bit of going back and forth with Skylum support but the issue was resolved with executing a series of Windows patches that were missing from previous Windows updates. I can’t say enough about a workflow that starts with PL3 for all its great modules and finishes with the adjustable creative looks in Luminar 4. If PL3 could accept external editors or support a Luminar 4 plugin I would have no need at all for Lightroom 6.14 to hold it all together. I hate subscription marketing.