PL7 v PR4 - RAW or DNG?

Hi - my journey in digital has led me here via ON1 / Lr etc. I’ve used PR3 in the past before any Lightroom processing and I understand that DNG files are like RAW but a little better (from the DxO website).

PR creates a DNG file to work on, now I’m a PL7 user the denoise etc works on the RAW file and there’s no DNG file involved. Here’s the question:

  • is there any benefit in creating a DNG file from PR4 before working in PL7?

Looking forward to being part of the DxO community :+1:

In a word, none whatsoever

I didn’t find PR4’s “XD2” denoising algorithm enough of an improvement to go that route for most photos. I will occasionally use PR4’s XD2 for specific cases when I am trying to “rescue” a troublesome photo.

But…
Since PL7 applies the denoising algorithm on export, you do not have the benefit of the “clean” file when making any other adjustments. For extremely underexposed and noisy files I find it easier work from a clean “DNG” to complete the other adjustments, particularly color. I then copy the adjustments back to the RAW file and delete the DNG to reduce clutter/size in my files. I do this all with PL7.
Note: I learned this technique from @joanna so surprised she didn’t mention it.

https://forum.dxo.com/t/workflow-integrating-topaz-denoise-ai/38349/12

Hey! I can’t be expected to remember everything for you as well as myself :crazy_face: :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: :wink: :sunglasses:

it’s about time someone else contributed anyway :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

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In my testing of XD2 I found it to be markedly superior to XD. You are correct it is often not needed when DeepPRIME will do a good enough job. But… I also found XD2 had no downsides on the photos I tested. Even a base ISO, well lit shot was perfectly fine with default XD2. The photos I originally found XD had trouble with came out flawless with XD2 with just the default settings.

I assume when PL8 comes out later this year it will have XD2, and I will be updating my two presets I use for just about everything (one for aviation, one for wildlife) to both use XD2.

The only downside is export time, of course. It probably doesn’t hurt I have a brand new MacBook Pro with 60% faster Neural Engine cores than my previous one. :slight_smile:

That’s two… never mind. :wink:

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Thank-you for providing the original jackal RAW file in the referenced thread – nice catch! I tried this method of editing your file and have a couple of comments.

First, DxO will activate the generic camera profile when exporting as a linear DNG. When copying all edits back to the original RAW file, this may or not be what is wanted. The good news is that color rendering, WB, etc. can still be selected and adjusted as needed.

Second, DxO cautions regarding the DxO optics module that not all corrections (unspecified) will be available on linear DNGs. Perhaps related, I observed that the DNG created with only optical and denoising corrections applied is considerably brighter than the original RAW file plus adjustments copied from the DNG. Ditto any corresponding TIFFs generated from these two files. This brightening may just be an effort to keep some LRc users from complaining about the dark return linear DNGs from DxO PL! Perhaps there are other changes but this one was obvious.

Vignetting correction may be responsible for this – many lenses wide open have more than one stop of vignetting in the corners, some more than two stops.

Optical corrections were identical in the RAW and linear DNG files used here.

What I should have added above is that I applied the standard DxO preset to the linear DNG then copied all corrections from the edited linear DNG back to the RAW. Similar results were obtained using the natural and neutral colors presets as well. Note that all of these presets applied to the RAW directly, rather than being copied from the edited linear DNGs, also result in darker images.

Edited 07-08-2024

@eriepa
I’m a bit confused by your response. Perhaps we are doing something different, as I get the exact same results “both ways” and do not have to adjust my DNG adjustments when applying to the RAW.

In the RAW file I use a preset that includes XD denoise at default, optical corrections at default for my camera/lens combo, and color/B&W rendering for my camera. From this I generate the DNG. The DNG file is “cleaner” and has fewer “speckles” when checking for under/over exposure but is reasonable.

For the DNG file I add changes as desired except these three. I copy these changes back to the RAW using copy/paste selected corrections. By default this seems to get the appropriate DNG changes. The RAW now these changes, plus the original other two (denoise and optical corrections are not applied to the DNG). The Color/B&W rendering shows “active” in both pre-DNG changed RAW and the post-DNG changed RAW. I am using the wide-gamut color space too.

To cross check, I verified the “active” changes are the same for both RAW and DNG except for the denoise and optical corrections (vignetting, lens softness, chro aber, distortion) include in the RAW file; then export both as JPGs. The JPG results look the same to me. Same brightness and everything. As a double cross check, I copied the JPG files into PS layers; changed the layer blend mode to “difference” and got the expected black screen which suggests to me there is no difference.

Are you getting a difference? in brightness? If so, are the settings exactly the same?
I’m guessing the Color/B&W rendering might be different as I have that in my preset for the RAW images. where it is not in the DxO default optical corrections preset.

Thanks!

Thank-you for responding - I will try your suggestion later today - there is a lot going on here and it could be something small as you suggest. Perhaps a double entry or something. In any event yours is a clever way of doing things if noise in getting in the way of close editing. Cheers.

So, I’ve looked at this in some more detail, so much so that I may be seeing jackals in my sleep!

With a range of more typical edits to the DNG such as exposure, tone curve adjustments, saturation, etc. I was able to replicate your results exactly.

However, when I applied the three full DxO presets to the DNG I got the same results as previously described, that is, that the RAW + copied edits was always darker than the edited DNG. The generic camera color rendering did not seem to be a factor. There may be things going on under the hood when applying a full preset to RAW files that are absent when that same preset is applied to an exported linear (demosaiced) DNG file. Or perhaps some changes are not being copied back to the RAW. In any event, and as I said previously, I do think you’ve hit upon a clever workflow for very noisy images.

Thank you - this explains my slight frustration in PL as I too like to work on a clean file. I think my workflow will be to batch process in PR4 (I tend to default to PrimeXD) - work on the DNGs and offload the RAWs to a separate storage backup.

Interesting insight everyone - thanks :+1: