Photolab a Money Trap? Absurt DXO pricing!

Nothing prevents you from installing of course, but activation will be a problem if you already have the maximum number of activations on an old version that you’re no longer licensed to use. You need to contact support to free up an activation (no software-based license management here) and they’ll refuse to help you with an unlicensed version. It can be difficult enough getting them to help you move an activation of a licensed version to a new computer, speaking from bitter experience.

No, it doesn’t, see above.

Of course there’s no perpetual support, but I think most people reasonably expect a perpetual license to mean that you can run the software for as long as you have the required underlying hardware/software to run it on, which may even mean never upgrading your OS again, but that’s simply not what you get with DxO’s license.

And this is exactly what DxO’s lifetime license doesn’t really give you. That fine. They can use whatever model they want, and if I don’t like it I’ll go elsewhere. But marketing the license as perpetual is misleading at best, even if they currently haven’t terminated the license for any existing version of PhotoLab.

The dopf file is not that difficult to overcome though. I have occasionally modified “new” dop files to work with “old” versions of DPL. In most cases, changing the version numbers did the trick. Suffice to say that the old DPL will not miraculously do things that the new version brought to the table. If the dop file documents new features, these will simply be ignored by the old DPL.

Caveat: Success rate is not quite 100% though. I had cases in which version number patching did not work. Sometimes, wording is different (e.g. rotation vs. orientation) and values can differ too, but I suppose that success rate is just above 80%.

As for keeping your dop files intact: duplicate and rename them, and a new dop file can/will be written by the DPL that’s being used.

you are an expert about legal requirements in all possible jurisdictions :slight_smile: ? … in any case DxO itself clearly says that they may support “until it becomes necessary to discontinue support in order to maintain the high quality of our technical support for our current products and versions.” … and in that ( that they can stop support any time ) I do trust 100%

it is very easy - the server knows who (which version) is ringing and the point I am making is that your saved installers DO NOT HAVE OPTICS MODULES… even if activation will work ( legally or not ) you might as well find yourself w/o an ability download the very essential part of software ( you want to argue that optics correction is NOT the greatest part of DxO software :smiley: on par with Ai NR ? )

Well I am just glad that DXO Photolab Elite exists and we can choose whether we pay for it or not.

In my favourite movie - In the Shadow of the Moon, Al Bean, Apollo 12 comments near the end something like “I am glad we’ve got weather. I will never complain about the weather again” - i’ve no doubt missed quoted, but that’s the way I like to remember what he said.

It is the same for me with DXO - I have purchased the full suite since Version 2 and happy to update each year - that’s my choice and no I am not a squillionaire!

That’s my personal preference as I know that when I take the greatest photograph the world has ever seen, DXO will make it the greatest photograph in the universe!

In all seriousness, there is a plethora of different software packages we can choose from and yes, they are all priced differently and do things slightly differently, yet I’m sticking with DXO as for me, with my R5 + EF lenses, the results I get are nothing short of spectacular.


I don’t mean to sound like an apologist for DxO, David - but there are some points to bear in mind.

That was a change from how we were used to working (before PLv6) - but it was definitely a change for the good …

  • Even if we’re working on no-more-than RGB-capable monitors, and with our target being sRGB - it’s still WELL worthwhile to be doing so in the Wide Gamut working-color-space … because it allows PL to work with a lot more internal precision and colour accuracy.

  • Keeping Soft Proofing ON (with sRGB as the ICC Profile) while working this way is simply a technique that allows us to enjoy this benefit (and continue to work like we used to, pre PLv6) without having to do anything else.

The key point about PL is that it’s still the best RAW processor going around - - So, if you were not using PL then you’d lose that critical benefit.

  • Another viable option might be to buy PureRAW for your basic RAW processing (to TIFF or DNG) - and then use something else for image editing.

Yes - that’s a sensible approach.

Also, I’m confident that DxO will be addressing the gaps in PLv7, in upcoming minor releases.


I’m largely happy with PL, except for three points: compatibility (backwards and cross-platform), licensing, and the extremely slow rate at which issues are addressed.

I edit on both Mac and Windows. To work around various issues when moving between the two I’m forced to remove the PL database on the host I’m moving to: moving from Mac to Windows can result in unwanted virtual copies (bizarrely, a Windows-only “feature”) or soft-proofing being enabled, moving in the other direction can result in the shot date being displayed as edited, to name three that I can think of offhand. It’s just not seamless, and I run into new quirks from time to time. (That said, sometimes I need to remove the database to resolve issues on the same host, so it’s not only a lack of compatibility that’s a problem with the database.)

Worse, there are some major features I just can’t use (painlessly at least) because of cross-platform incompatibility being built-in. In particular, DCP (since PL2) and LUT (new in PL7) files are written to dop files as absolute paths, and these simply aren’t portable. It’s not a hard problem to fix (have a known directory on the search path, only write filenames to dop), but DxO hasn’t seen fit to fix it for DCP in 5 major releases now, and now they’ve introduced exactly the same issue for LUT in PL7. It can be an issue whenever a dop is read on a host different from the one it was written on, even if it’s the same OS, and the only workaround is to manually edit the dop.

As for backwards compatibility, DxO just doesn’t seem to care as much as I think they should. The xmp-related functionality added in PL5 caused hundreds of my images to be rotated incorrectly. DxO’s response: they’re not going to change anything (I suggested an option to disable the reading of xmp, which the current sync preferences don’t affect), so my only alternative is to go through the affected images and fix them myself. They add the Wide Gamut colour space, and LUT only works with it, but they haven’t seen fit to provide renderings equivalent to the Legacy ones: you either have to use a new one or muck around to try and recreate the old one one you were happy with. They also change the way tools work without letting the user choose to keep the old behaviour (eg. the way Crop now automatically zooms the image, which didn’t used to be the case, absolutely hate it), which is at least annoying. A release can be a make-work project, which makes me less enthusiastic about upgrading: there are better things to do than adapt to random software changes.

The thing I dislike about licensing isn’t so much the terms themselves as the lack of in-software license management. I’ve never before experienced software in which moving a licensed product to a new computer is a problem, but it can be with DxO since you have to contact a human if you need/want to remove the activation on your old machine, and support is simply not very accomodating. Every time I’ve wanted to remove an activation it’s been a struggle, with support wanting access to my computer to check that PL has been uninstalled (completely pointless even if I wanted to give them access since I can simply restore a backup image; or if the reason is that my old computer has died), and debate back and forth before they’ve finally relented. Just implement some form of in-software license management and retire the activation police.

The rate at which issues are addressed speaks for itself I think. I started reporting platform compatibilty issues in PL5 (I only used Mac before then) and as far as I know not a single one has been fixed yet, although since there’s no follow-up on support cases and the release notes are useless, it can take time to become aware of fixes after you have workarounds in place.

PL is a fine editor that produces very nice results, but I don’t think it’s up to the task of managing an image archive over time. It’s a raw editor with some file management tacked on, but they have to pay more attention to not breaking things (or at least be more responsive to fixing issues when they do) for me to want to use it for anything but export-and-forget. As is, I can use Affinity Photo 2 and be happy for 95% of my images. The day that becomes 100% is the day I drop PL unless DxO starts to offer me more.


Pff, how many times in life didn’t I buy a new laptop (the 2018 version) to get the 2019 version released within 2 months after that.

Or buy a new computer with a Ryzen 2xxx CPU only for the 3xxx serie to be announced weeks later and apparently be a massive step upwards.

Or bite the bullet on a 2nd hand car only to find a much better buy a month later.

etc…, etc…

I know that buying a version for the new version to be available very shortly after that feels nasty, and there is a grace period I believe where you can ask to be upgraded if you bought it within a certain amount of time… But they have to draw the line somewhere.

The whole point of buying something outright and not getting a subscription, is that you choose to buy something and be happy with that purchase, you know what you are getting, and you are not required to keep spending. The same with your PL6 purchase.

You have bought something, that works a certain way, and that’s not going to change. So you should be as happy with your PL6 purchase now as you were 2 - 3 months ago when you first got it.

Why do you have to upgrade to PL7? Why do you have to get Filmpack7 with it? As I see it, you don’t have to, you want to. And that is a decision you make, but yes it costs money.

I can either stay on the version I have and be happy with what I have, or I keep paying the upgrade price yearly… sometimes for features I don’t get about and noting much really, but just to stay ‘on top of things or to get next years upgrade’. In the end, that’s my choice. DxO doesn’t force it anyway (compared to what Adobe is doing).

The same as the Nik collection. I agree, I find it a lot of money for something that is nothing more than bug fixing and UI tweaks, and I hardly use more than 5% of the whole collection… so I never bought it. But again, my choice.

Looking at my ‘recent’ purchase history (I’ve had this since the DxO Optics Pro days but I don’t see that in my account anymore) I’ve upgraded to Photolab5 Elite, Filmpack6, then upgraded to Photolab6 Elite, now upgraded to Photolab7 + Filmpack7 elite. All of that together is less than 400 EUR in 3 years time, which comes in at 133 a year which comes in at 11 EUR a month, for both tools.

So I can look at it Adobe style, and know that for +/- 11 EUR a month I always have the latest version and features, even if I don’t care about them,

or I can choose to not have Filmpack in there (or leave it at Filmpack6 for instance, which I should have done since ‘the new renderings’ I saw on the changelog are a handful of useless effects) to be even cheaper, or, at any moment, I can say ‘I am done with paying them’ and then I can still keep the software I have and know right then.

So, I’m not saying DxO software is cheap… but it doesn’t has to be cheap. Capture one is also 350,- to buy outright and then you also have to be happy with what you have right then and there. Imaging software costs money. It’s up to you to decide if you want it or not.

It seems to me like you have a problem with ‘wanting’ more then you have, instead of being happy with what you got.

I have paid DxO for a few upgrades where I think ‘mweh, why am I doing this’, but then also had have a few updates where I go ‘oh wow I cannot live without this now’. The tool is kind of essential in my workflow / toolset and if I look at how much I am using it vs how much I paid for it over the years, I am very happy.

Another example: I have a game that isn’t even that great, I am sometimes moaning on it, and yet I keep buying every expansion they offer (that isn’t just cosmetic) just to get an extra bit of content.
After a while, I am completely done with the game. Steam says I have spent over 400 hours playing it. So buying the game with all the expansions has put me at +/- 120 EUR for it. That I means I pay 30cts per hour that I play it. I’m ok with that :). A movie is 20 EUR for 2 hours so to speak, so that’s more.
And here are other games where I only go through them once and then I’m done, and I still pay ‘full price’ at 60 EUR. That’s still acceptable for the entertainment I got from it. Everything that keeps me entertained for years on and off, it’s OK to spend more money on it. The total / hour makes it all OK.

Same with DxO. It’s a price every year where I go ‘do I really do this?’. But in the end every time I’ve done it I’ve been happy with it, and over all the years together the money spend on this makes it absolutely worth it.

That’s just me…


YES – this should be changed!


For myself, i think that DXO is a great software with a very good technical support. However, the commercial service is very bad. Moreover, their new version brings almost nothing more.

Like you, i thint DXO become more and more a money trap…


All great points and I didn’t mention that I use DxO for image editing only - I use FastrawViewer to rate and cull then Mylio+ to manage my 75K of images. It’s a fast straight forward workflow and I keep things simple. Mylio+ reads the xmp perfectly!

I am just a “frustrated amateur” so it works for me and allows me and Mylio+ also converts iOS photos into tiffs for editing in DxO. Key reasons for this approach is speed but also that DxO does not play nice (enough) with xmp’s created by other programs and my laptop is a 2017 surface book pro.

When calculating the costs of DxO, it is important to remember that features that are not available there must be covered by other software, often for a fee.
Functions such as panorama, stacking, HDR and now TimeLaps are finding their way into a number of converters and enable a seamless workflow.
Which is usually the goal of most photographers. Personally, I prefer to go shoot and use tools that support me optimally here during development. 15 years ago, that was also DxO, but at that time the scope of RAW converters was generally more manageable. What scared me was, that after my return to DxO, very little had changed in terms of functionality.
I stopped using DxO 10 years ago because of the lack of support for the Fujifilm X-Trans sensor. When with PL5 (I think) this was announced, I immediately bought a license again, but wondered what they had been doing all this time.
DxO will not survive if it is able to deliver the last 2% of image quality, but only if photographers find it a valuable and functional tool.
Where also and at the end pricing plays a role.

Best regards, Bernd!


That other stuff mentioned for panorama, stacking, HDR, etc… I have not done in LR and my version is old enough it probably doesn’t do it. I’ve done time lapsed, but did it with other software. I don’t know how many photographers are like me out there, but I’m pretty simple in my objective. When I take pictures, I want to process the image efficiently and get a great result. I am not looking to do anything fancy, a ton of local adjustments, popping out out into Photoshop for edits, etc. Once in a blue moon I might do something like that but usually I’m doing the basics.

I’m new to PL and quite like its approach for the editing. I trialed PL6 and then 7 came out. I don’t really understand why the complaints about PL7 having nothing new. It seems everyone wanted AI masks, which would have been nice, but they did add a lot of stuff. I use a color checker so native support for that is something that is useful for me. I like the new local adjustments approach. Granted its not a massive new update, but its also not a bug fix release. But the whole point of this is if you aren’t happy with the new version you don’t have to buy it. If you really want something that is constantly getting updated, then probably LR is a better option.

1 Like

which will be much appreciated actually …

Both 5 and 6 (probably 4 as well, don’t remember) were missing split toning when FP was not installed. Same with 7.
I’d have paid a bit extra to get split toning, but not the cost of FP. And I’m an ex-Velvia/Provia guy. The attraction with those was color depth - and PL has that in spades. Now it’s luminosity masking - but that’s something I mostly do when I’m in a pixel editor. I’ll probably trial FP (eventually) to see how well LM works, whether I want to pay for it.
I wondered why this conversation might be in Feature requests as well - realized we were talking about features only turned on when FP was installed - so it might belong here after all…

totally agree

Ridiculous, absurd, greedy and unfaithful to DXO customers.
Couldn’t they find a slightly less indecent pretext than making us buy or upgrade Filmpack to be able to use something as common as luminosity masks?


I think that this artificial marketing practice, which is what it is, does create a lot of negativity for DXO. When competition is so fierce these days I am not sure it is a strategy I would employ. Unfortunately, by the time DXO receive the message they may have lost many customers. Reality is, retaining customers is much easier than gaining them back.


Sadly, the practice is really real!

It seems that they have invented the wheel and want to make it pay the price of gold. It is senseless!