PL5 - I'm torn!

According to the New Features page there are four.

  1. Improved U point control points and new control lines.
  2. Metadata management.
  3. “Improved” DeepPRIME.
  4. Beta support for Fuji X-Trans.

I’m not a huge user of Local Adjustments, as I tend not to need them for much of my material — the aircraft shots. However I do use them quite a bit on other subjects and have frequently wished for more control.

As discussed elsewhere, my chief concern with metadata is keywords and PL5 is still not close enough to my requirements, especially when LrC remains free to use for these features. (I have a well established workflow now which is seamless and simple.)

As far as I can tell the improvement to DeepPRIME is only in speed. Now… DeepPRIME was already astonishingly good so improvement in quality isn’t a big deal. And… the speed improvement on my Apple Silicon Mac is breathtaking. But… I’ve said in these forums many times before that I usually just set an export going and walk off and leave my computer, so it’s really not a huge drawcard for me.

I don’t own a Fuji camera and am unlikely to in the foreseeable future.

So out of four new features, one I could make good use of, one will be nice but not necessary, one is not up to the standard I need, and one is of zero use to me.

Meanwhile, I’m noticing many of the little glitches and annoyances from PL4 remain.

  • Watermarks still scale oddly in some situations
  • There’s no shortcut key for the horizon tool…
  • …which hasn’t changed at all (it needs a grab handle mode)
  • The DeepPRIME preview remains tiny despite updating much, much faster
  • Presets with newer sizing modes don’t have proper descriptions
  • …I suspect there are more I’m forgetting

PL3’s Prime wowed me.
PL4’s DeepPRIME wowed me.
PL5… doesn’t.

I am the type to pay for upgrades in some cases to show my support for a company I believe in, but while the Optics Modules and DeepPRIME are clearly ahead of the pack and most of the basics are perfectly serviceable, it seems like PL5 didn’t move the needle enough.

I would be a lot happier if a lot of those niggles had been addressed.


I’m not sure why you are “torn”. It seems like you have made up your mind.



I haven’t. Which is why I wrote the post, and why I chose that title.

As I said at the end, I do not just do a direct value calculation on the features. At the moment, the (low) value calculation is weighing opposite my desire to support the company. The question for me now is whether a choice to support them will be worth my while?

If you can afford supporting the company / product this year, great, do it happily :smiley:
Or maybe this year is the “Fuji year” and you can wait and see what the 5.1 brings for example… You do not need to “pull the trigger” today right ?
At least compared to some other software, if you do not pay the upgrade you can continu using PL4 as long as your computer live with a supported OS :+1:t4:

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I’m in a similar position, do I upgrade simply for the local adjustment improvements and to support DXO.
No other benefits to me and:

  • android raw dng not supported
  • have to use external apps for vignettes and perspective adjustments

Possibly I will upgrade

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All updates will appeal to different users. Big improvement in DAM in V5, I don’t use a DAM. Same for Fuji.
It has been common practice with perpetual software to update every 2 years and I consider it a win win. Update is worth it to me, pay up, if not wait a year and save money :slight_smile:

DXO have expended a lot of effort on Fuji support and DAM this upgrade. Most users of DXO either didn’t use a DAM or already had a solution. DXO is never likely to replace LR for the simple reason that LR was initially developed as a DAM with added image editing and has had 10+ years of development. Metadata is a hard computer science problem :slight_smile:

Hopefully DXO’s consider their DAM sufficient in that it provides basic DAM capabilities for those who don’t need LR or IMATCH. They can therefore concentrate in V6 on image editing tools and UI improvements.

DXO have made a very good start in improving their local editing by adopting a layer UI model like C1, and even LR has now finally adopted a layer UI for its local adjustments, replacing the awful pin&brush UI.

Further improvements in Local Adjustments are needed as this is a major area that raw converters have to compete in. Even LR although it has a dominant market position has focused on this area.

The local adjustment UI needs overhauling and the move to layer based UI consolidated.

The concept of a background layer to replace the clunky “local Adjustment” button would be part of this consolidation. It is how local adjustments are dealt with in other programs and is therefore a familiar UI. The on screen controls need to be moved to the normal menu control area to allow greater freedom for UI design and to again provide a familiar UI for new users. The current crowded on screen controls are creaking as more functionality is added eg “find the dropper tool in control lines”. :slight_smile:

At the moment you can duplicate a mask and then invert it but you can’t edit the masked area, eg add brush mask or erase an area. This would greatly increase the flexibility of local adjustments. An option to rasterise the mask would be a way of achieving this.

Instead of duplicating the mask layer an improved UI would be to allow copying of layer masks to a new layer.

The colour editor should be able to create masks from its colour selection and this mask should be editable as in real world images areas outside of the intended colour change are impacted and if the mask is editable you simply erase those areas. Other raw converters do this and DXO need to compete in such basic editing tasks.

Local adjustments are a fundamental part of a modern raw converter as they mean that they minimise a round trip to a pixel editor. Prior to local adjustments being available it was a case of adjusting sliders trying to find a compromise between retaining highlights, keeping shadow detail, balancing saturation etc. Now with local adjustments you simply go “increase sky detail with a gradient”, “open the shadows with a control point”, etc.

I hope DXO will invest their development time in these types of areas for V6. Time will tell :slight_smile:


Vignette in PL5…

w/ control point and chroma/luma selectivity set to zero you can reach some nice results…
I’m curious: did you install the trial version yet?


I upgraded only for the improvement in local adjustments.
I agree with you and I hope next release will bring more features in this area.
There are also lots of small things that need to be improved in PL and probably don’t need so much work (for example bicubic resize with adjustable sharpness in export) but nothing has been done.


Absolutely! Especially for landscape. Finally I can easily improve sunsets and similar situations with large differences in brightness.

…or you can drag a Control Line all over your image, set the chroma to zero, then choose the right luma value, and for instance just edit the shadows, or highlights or midtones…(e.g. desaturating a bit all shadows in your image…)


…good advice, thanks. Learning curve still in progress with this :wink:

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I have installed the PL5 but only played a little.

Yes I think your suggestion for creating a vignette, while not as intuitive as other software seems definitely doable. If I understood correctly, the steps are:

  • Control point where you want focus
  • Invert mask
  • Set Chroma and Luma to zero
  • Reduce exposure

I think that probably is good enough for me in most cases, exceptionally I can take image into ON1 or Affinity

You’ve probably convinced me to upgrade.

Hopefully a future release will include support for Android phones, perspective and single click vignette

Your technique is correct! :+1:

Using the improved Control Point in PL5 allows you to add vignetting even if you don’t own the FilmPack add-on.

Historically, vignetting for us was only the lens vignetting which needs to be corrected.
But many photographers (myself included) do use vignetting not as a correction but as an artistic effect.
At the moment, “all of our artistic effects” are offered in FilmPack, where you can find what we call the “Creative vignetting”.

We are aware that our stance on this is something that frustrates many users and we do not exclude, in the future, to change that.

At the moment, if you do not have/want FilmPack but you need vignetting for creative freedom, the hack aforementioned will let achieve the same result (and with even more flexibility if needed, like having some vignetting on 3 corners, while on the 4th one, you place a counter Control Point to protect the area…from there, possibilities are endless).


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Competition these days is very intense. It is a strange business decision in those circumstances then to not sell the best version of DXO-Photolab you can? So that in comparisons carried out by websites, influencers etc DXO-PL can then show its true performance.

DXO-PL would be so much stronger if the full Viewpoint and FilmPack were integrated. Expecting users to purchase FilmPack in order to get Tonal Contrast sliders which as we all know significantly improve DXO-PL may have been OK in the past but that decision warrants reconsideration in 2021. Same for Viewpoint.

How many more copies of DXO-PL would you sell with a stronger, more competitive product?

That’s for DXO of course, just my thoughts as an agnostic user hoping for the best Photolab version. :slight_smile:


Just to add my two cents in regard to the original topic of this thread:

I did update to PL5 because I really enjoy working with this tool and want to support DXO, but for me too the only real added value of this version are the changes to the local adjustments - especially the finer control over the CPs’ area of effect (with the control line being a nice new tool).

I understand that DXO has limited resources and, as they seem to be on a quite strict “a new major release every 365 days”-calendar, need to focus those resources on producing at least one big, marketing-effective feature for every such release (PL5: Fuji support, PL4: Deep Prime etc.) in order to encourage users to upgrade, but I regret that many of the smaller, less “sexy” (marketing-wise) feature requests, which have been floating around this forum for a very long time, don’t seem to get much attention.

I’m talking about things like the long-promised rework of the filtering system, being able to have all corrections applied even at less than 75% zoom level, a bigger or free sizeable tone curve, a resizeable preset preview window that remembers the last scrolling position (useful when you have many presets), being able to apply color tags (in addition to stars)… In short, various quality of life features that would make for a much better user experience - because, while PL provides great results in terms of image quality, it stands to gain quite a bit in the UX area, IMHO.

But despite my (hopefully constructive) criticism, kudos to the DXO team on the work done so far - keep it up! :grinning:


Case in point to my assertion above that I’m still deciding… the replies here are pushing me towards upgrading. Along with spending some more time using the trial version.

I recently came across another set of air show photos that I have not yet ‘remastered’ in PL (these are only 10 years old). I started the task in PL4 but quickly decided I would wait until PL5, lest I should be tempted to redo them all again. I’ve picked up this processing in PL5 now and I do have to say the Control Line is a very useful tool, particularly with the Luma/Chroma sensitivity, for dealing with the bright backgrounds that an overcast or rainy day can cause.

In this shot the rain storm in the background made the distant hills indistinct and overall the top of the image was too bright. A Control Line on this area with +ClearView and -Exposure brought this under control without touching the trees in the foreground, leaving the bright white aircraft to steal the show.


Just to confirm, I upgraded

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With my camera bag worth several thousands, the about annual upgrade of the editing software is not an issue. You will pay more for the periodical service of your hardware not to mention i. ex. the participation on a photo safari.
I spend a lot more time / image on the computer than on shooting it. I sure will keep my editing tool up to the highest standard even if there is a lot of features that I don’t use.


I think(?) it was only earlier this year, or late last year, that I bought PL4 Elite plus Filmpack 5 Elite (purchase details have disappeared from DXO website so it must have been prior to April this year…). Reasonably pricey to upgrade both. At this point I’m sitting out the new versions of both and will wait for the version next year, when I hope that FP is incorporated into the product. If I need to do anything fancier than that which PL4 lets me do, I’ll jump into Affinity to do it.

As an aside, we now all have cameras and software which folks (including professionals and even movie studios) just a handful of years ago could only dream about. Makes me wonder just how much “more” we need of everything all of the time.


it’s pretty obvious that this should have been an upgrade within version (i.e. 4.x) rather than a new version. But given the choice which way is a software company going to jump. I came to DXO because I didn’t like the monthly payments for LR - it turns out it’s cheaper to pay monthly to LR. By the time I’ve upgraded PL and Efex Pro each year, I’ve paid more. OK it’s not a direct comparison but at least LR fully supports my camera.