Returning Images to DxO after Lightroom

Hi everyone.

I imported a large batch of raw files files into Lightroom (2000 plus). No editing at this stage.

Then I have transferred (via the plug-in) and edited the whole batch of raw files in DxO using my preset. Uses most of the features from DxO including sharpening and noise management and placing a copyright watermark.

I then used the plug in to place back in Lightroom.

I then tagged, rated and filed these files within Lightroom

On looking at some of the images, the original editing with DxO needs some revision, and if I choose to print, I will need to remove the copyright watermark. When I return these modified images to DxO (Still as DxO.dng files), I am not given the option to revise the original formatting, or return to the original .dng and/or raw file.

I love using the DxO for these bulk imports, and realise I might have used a better workflow (and can in the future). I don’t particularly want to keep 2 copies of every image filed on Lightroom (raw/dng + DxO.dng). Is there a way of reverting the DxO.dng back to the raw/original dng for those few files that I want to edit again from scratch, or at least revise?

Thanks in anticipation


I’m interested in that too. Following.

How did you “transfer” them? What format were the original files and what format were they once you had transferred them? Were they in the same place on disk once they were transferred?

How did you do this? Did you export them from PL? In what format?

If you did export them then they are only copies and won’t contain the original RAW data any more.

Hi Joanna

I loaded them first into Lightroom, no edits at all, no rating or organising. They were left as .orf or raw files (I am using an Olympus).

I then used the File/Plugin/Transfer to DxO PhotoLab 5, to transfer them all to DxO PL.

Hi Joanna

I loaded them first into Lightroom, no edits at all, no rating or organising. They were left as .orf or raw files (I am using an Olympus).

I then used the File/Plugin/Transfer to DxO PhotoLab 5, to transfer them all to DxO PL. I then edited them using a preset (my own) which included adding a watermark.

I then used the blue export button bottom right (I am on a Mac) selecting the DNG all corrections applied. I chose the folder for Lightroom then clicked Export. This generated ******_DxO.dng file in Lightroom, in the same folder as the original orf.

I then sorted all these *****_DxO.dng files into folders and rated them. I did no further editing on most. I did this only for the **** _DxO.dng files… The original orf, files, I did not file/rate, and some I deleted.

90% of the images were great (hence the idea of using a preset that I was happy with for that genre of photos). However, the other 10% were a little oversharpened for my taste. On noticing this in Lightroom, I used the same route as before to take these modified files *****_DxO.dng back to DxO PhotoLab. They show as _DxO.dng files, but do not show the previous editing (with any option to remove some of that editing). They to all intensive purposes, look like newly imported image files with no previous editing. I can edit them further, but not undo previous editing, including removing the watermark.

I hope this explains better the route I took.

For future imports, I can of course change my workflow if needed (although I had good reason to do this initial batch import and edit through DxOPL5, before then rating and filing in Lightroom). For the 2000 images I have just imported, it would be a pain to have to keep both file copies (at least of the ones I have not already deleted…), re-rate them and re-file them. Much better would be to leave them all as edited/filed in Lightroom, but have the option to select some of these to take back to DXoPL5 and undo some of the earlier edits.

Would appreciate any advice from yourself or other group members.

Kind regards


Why do you start by importing into Lightroom if you are not going to do anything before editing them in PhotoLab?

When you say “transfer” do you mean copy? This shouldn’t be necessary as Lightroom is simply a catalogue which points to where your images are stored on disk.

Equally, PhotoLab doesn’t store your images internally, it simply points to where they are on disk.

When PhotoLab edits an image, it does so non-destructively. In other words, the files themselves never get changed - all changes are written to PL’s internal database and (optionally) a DOP sidecar file.

When you export an image, even to DNG, PhotoLab creates a brand new file by combining the original image with the changes recorded in the database/DOP. At this point, the new file has no way of knowing anything about the changes made before it was created.

In deleting the original files, you are removing the edited image from disk and, if you are using DOP files, unless you also remove these, they will just sit there on disk, orphaned from the image that they were created for.

PhotoLab is not like apps such as Photoshop. There is no need to create output files ever until you want to do something to them like send them to somebody or post them on a website.

Looking at your present workflow, I can confidently say that you do not need to use Lightroom at all.

When you take your images from your camera, you can copy them straight to disk using Finder, organising them into folders as you go, if required, and using Preview to quickly sort and throw out any images you don’t want to keep. Then all you have to do is open PhotoLab, point it to one of those folders and start editing.

Provided you have set the option to automatically sync metadata to XMP files, you can also rate the images there and then in PhotoLab.

PhotoLab will show you the fully edited image and you can assess whether you really want to keep it or not and delete it from within PhotoLab.

You can also create multiple Virtual Copies of any image. This would allow you to have one version with just the edits you have made and a second with the watermark added. Should you need to change anything to the edits, after you have finished, if you need to update the watermarked version, you can simply copy and selectively paste those adjustments into it.

In brief, for the use you are making of Lightroom, just don’t bother using it at all.

Let me know if you have any questions on what I have said.

Hi Joanna

Thank you so much for such a comprehensive and helpful reply. Really appreciated.

I have used Lightroom for many years, but DxO I only discovered a few months ago. I have 40k plus pictures edited, rated and filed via Lightroom and with several keywords added to each image, so I guess I was trying to retain this investment, and add DxO into this, but the workflow route I chose was flawed through my lack of understanding. I have been able to locate and use the copies of the raw files that Lightroom held, so that I can re-edit as required, but this does mean I have 2 copies of the whole batch now. That at least solves the immediate problem, even if it was a bit of work! As I said though, my fault, not a fault of the programme.

I need to give a little thought to the best file organisation and workflow moving forward, and I appreciate the comments you made.

I currently hold the entire Lightroom catalogue, with all the photo files on a fast external SSD. This is so I can use it on my laptop, or iMac depending on circumstance. Lightroom and DxO programmes are on both my laptop and IMac. Of course, the file structure within the external SSD hard drive mirrors that in Lightroom. I periodically back up this external SSD to a separate external drive.

I do take panoramas, focus stacked and HDR images, so I do use some features of Lightroom that I cannot manage via DxO? Because of this, and the filing/rating/keywords and editing carried out through Lightroom on my historic data, I may have to consider a different workflow to the one you recommend?

I many senses, this would be a pity. The processing and editing options through DxO is better in the vast majority of my images, than Lightroom. Using a micro 4/3 camera, the sharpening and handling of noise are particularly helpful with DxO. To get the maximum benefit from a programme, you really need to use it regularly and explore the full feature set. That is why my preference was to batch edit though DxO, and use Lightroom only where needed.

Thank you again for all the help. At least I now understand what happens as I transfer between Lightroom and DxO and can make better choices on my next batch!

Kind regards


I think you may run into trouble in trying to use PhotoLab on two different machines, pointing to the same set of images (on your SSD) … because PL insists on creating a unique database on each machine (it cannot be convinced to share one - because the database format used does not support multi-users).

The unfortunate result is that you will see spurious Virtual Copies of each image, as PL tries to deal with what it sees as duplicate sets of correction details for each image.

See here for more discussion on this.

John M

On a sidenote, when using Lightroom as the central hub, is it neccessary to have a Photolab database as long as the .dop files are kept along the original raw files?

No it is never essential to use the database for saving adjustments unless you use projects or the persistent history, or if you want to use the search facility.

However, in the kind of situation where you are using more than one computer to access the same external drive, you would need to delete the database, that PL needs for caching purposes whilst running, either before or after every use on each machine.

I thought edit history wasn’t persistent? I asked a while a go and it was “nope”

Hi John

Thank you very much for the information. I kind of guessed that would be the case, hence me trying to use Lightroom for the cataloguing (which you can use between machines), after batch processing through DxO. I have used the same machine when trying to batch process through DxO, export to Lightroom, then bring back into DxO.

I had imagined though that the ****_DxO.dng files retained the DxO information once imported into Lightroom, but have since discovered this is not the case of course (Thanks Joanna).

I will certainly follow the link for more information and really appreciate the response,

Kind regards


Quite correct, and I think this is what I will have to do. It means though that I will have duplicates of all my files if I batch process the whole lot each time. I guess it makes more sense to select only those that I really want to use DxO on. A shame, because after the batch processing in DxO, I had a much better idea of what I wanted to keep and process further than I would have had from the original raw files.

Thanks again


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up til now, that’s for the MAC people only

That’s what I do. I don’t shoot for clients (no weddings or corporate) nor do I sports and such, so I don’t come homes with hundreds of files to batch process in no time. I cull, select, catalog and process in LR and only send to PL5/FP/VP when needed. Most of my keepers are done that way.

You can try and put your PL database on your external SSD too. This should solve any problems with shared database and .dop files.

Yes, that should work. I don’t use PL on multiple PCs - but I don’t want/need/value ability to use keywords or projects - and I prefer to rely on the sidecar/.dop files associated with each image, rather than hope that the database never becomes corrupted or disassociated from the image files it represents … so, I run PL via a “wrapper” that first deletes the database file(s) before invoking PL … and, of course, I have preferences set so that sidecar/.dop files are automatically ingested and updated.

Here’s the basic .CMD file that I use, for anyone interested:

Yes, Mac retains history across sessions - but the Win version does not … Again, tho, I don’t value that (whilst acknowledging that others do !) … All details of corrections made to an image are retained in the sidecar/.dop file (tho, not the minute detail of every step taken to reach that result).

I assumed that would/should work too, Keith … but “someone” (I can’t find the reference now) tried that and found that PL insists on creating a database that’s unique to its host PC - even if they’re stored in the same place … tho, I cannot confirm that as I don’t run multiple PCs.

John M

DPL (win) seems to provide the possibility, but with DPL (mac), things get more complicated. One needs to a) copy the database to the new location and b) edit preferences files accordingly. And while this worked when I tried it a few days ago, I’d not want to rely on such a workaround though.

The database is just a simple SQLite database and as long as there is nothing in the database that requires a specific computer to access it, then there should be no reason it can’t be shared on an external SSD as long as only one computer acesses it at a time.


As far as I know, you can set the location of the database in DPL’s Windows version.

DPL for macOS does not provide such a facility and there is no guarantee that the modified location will work in any case. If there is just one place in the app with a hardwired DB address, you’ll get an issue -and at the least welcome moment probably.