Some basic functions missing

I’m using mainly Lightroom even if I own Photolabs 2. I think I will not make the switch to the release 3 because it’s expensive (69€). Three huge things lack and are necessary to make the switch

  • photo merging for HDR + panorama. Payin 100€ to do it with the Nik collection is very very expensive. Why this function is still missing after 15 years of developpement and all raw competitors have it
  • Nik Collection still not embeded in Photolabs 3
  • Watermarks

Just curious: How much are you paying, per month, to maintain your LR access ?

John M


Frankly, I think this topic is way too broad and unrealistic for voting to be effective. Fortunately, it’s easily reduced. First, we’ve already had numerous voting topics for adding watermarks - it’s now in the backlog, so no need to address it again:

Next, what do you mean by embedding Nik into PhotoLab? It’s already done to some extent, and the overlap in functionality with the rest makes any proposal to merge the software very confusing. The more specific one can be about what one wants to see, the better.

HDR is already covered here: HDR feature

Pano-stitching: discussed in the HDR thread and in many others, but I don’t see a separate votable topic for it. If you want this, what are your requirements?

My own opinions:

HDR is already provided in the Nik Collection and is done well by other dedicated software tools costing about as much as the entire Nik Collection. I’m concerned that embedding this into PhotoLab will be costly and not very productive, considering everyone has widely varying tastes and requirements concerning HDR, tonemapping, and exposure blending.

Pano-stitching: Some tools that do this really well cost a fortune; others like ICE or Hugin are free and very popular. How can DxO compete with either? And why must this functionality be bundled into a RAW developer? At some point, software becomes too bloated, expensive, and unmanageable due to too many features. I actually like having some separation in my workflow for complex processes like this.

Watermarking is something I’m looking forward to. I’m glad DxO is working on it and hope it will be flexible and capable. I wish it was already in PhotoLab 3.


Some good points there, Greg.

FWIY: I use Photoshop Elements for panorama stitching - - it’s relatively inexpensive, as a one-off purchase, and it does a pretty good job - including option to fill-in unmapped areas of the resulting image.

Regards, John M


I was wondering about whether Elements panorama stitching is good as big brother. Great approach. I’m also wondering if Photoshop plugins run properly in recent Elements. How about the phoning home? Will Elements run well without a constant open pipeline to the internet?

For HDR, there’s a great inexpensive HDR program called easyHDR3 which easily outperforms Aurora 2019 for natural looking HDR. Here’s the steps:

  1. develop the JPG or TIFF masters in PhotoLab to taste, including ViewPoint corrections
  2. add those to easyHDR3 for merge
  3. enjoy exceptionally high quality HDR images

If a single wide dynamic range RAW file (low ISO long exposure on a Nikon or Sony camera for instance, don’t try this with your Canon RAW files), the best naturalistic HDR images can often be drawn directly out of PhotoLab itself via local adjustments and gradients. Nik HDR I find a bit slow and clunky but should try more.

For watermarks, I do my master exports from PhotoLab. The last thing I want to see on master images are watermarks. For resizing for web, I use a Mac utility called ResizeMe which sadly was withdrawn from the market but there’s lots of competitors (I’d be happy to send you a copy of ResizeMe if you are on Mac). ResizeMe offers watermarking among other functionality.

You can also catalogue your masters in Lightroom 4 and export web sizes with watermarks from Lightroom. The Photoshop compression algorithm for downsized and high compression jpegs is one of the best.

Resizing, watermarking and preparation for the web are so workflow specific I find it’s a great advantage to allow people to choose their own utility. PhotoLab is also very slow on exports. Exporting every time from RAW to different jpeg sizes would be infuriatingly slow.

Thanks for the Watermark good news.

Nik into PhotoLab :
It’s the idea to have an all in one product : a modal window. Like Lightroom, Luminar…, I select my RAWs for HDR, click with my right button mouse and select parameters directly in the HDR After effect windows which opens automaticaly. Same with Define…

For HDR I will comment directly on the topic to explain what my HDR view is : so simple and so important for photographers

Almost the same price
LR = 143 € a year to do everything I want, but I hate the subscription model and I want to give Dxo a chance. To be free to upgrade or not.
What I pay with DXO when upgrading to the last releases (once a year) : eg

  • 69 for Photolabs 3 upgrade
  • 49 € for Nik Collection upgrade: because HDR is missing in Photolabs and is one of my most wanted function
    => 118 € a year => 25€ gap but watermark is missing but I’ve noticed this function is in progress. So I wait HDR to make the switch.

Hi Alec,

Yes, it checks for new versions, which doesn’t bother me - but preferences can be changed.



You are counting the money and your freedom in the wrong way here. If you stop paying – no PhotoLab 3, no Nik v2 – the old programs keep running. Frankly PhotoLab v2 and Nik v1 (or even the free ones) did the essentials for you. I choose to buy DxO products not because I need the additional functionality particularly but I like to support their efforts to give us better digital darkroom products

What makes me not want to give money to DxO is when they:

  • build DAM features in which make it impossible for me to work on individual images easily (DxO backed off on this) without a catalogue
  • restrict my choice of OS to only the latest versions, full of spyware and telemetry and which are not part of my existing productive setup (i.e. DxO is asking me the user to do the hard work to update my systems on their timeline)
  • build spyware type features into their own product (I don’t like the calling home on every open of the program at all, fortunately we are still free to block it and continue to use the program)
  • don’t support cameras or lenses I use in a timely way (I’m pretty safe with Nikon fortunately, as I was with Canon but Leica and Fuji Bayer shooters really struggle with timely support: surprised DxO is not making a bigger effort with Leica cameras as Leica shooters are just the kind of people to appreciate the good design and excellent workflow PhotoLab offers)

In any case, you are free to upgrade or not. Right now. Already. What is not good at all is that product activation is online. If DxO fails, we will not be able activate PhotoLab (or FilmPack or ViewPoint or Nik) on a new computer. We’ll be stuck with the devices we already own.



I don’t understand the whole debate because of the upgrade price of 69 EUR or the discussion whether LR or Capture ONE might be cheaper.

I would like to pay the 69 EUR for the PL 3 upgrade if my camera was really supported.

I now had to switch to Exposure 5 although I was more than happy with PL 2, clear view - smart lighting - vignetting correction was and is excellent.

But DxO, as Alec has already noticed, has probably no greater interest in keeping Leica owners as customers or gaining new ones.




for me personally creating HDRs or panoramas have nothing to do with raw convertion and i don`t want to have tonns of useless functions in one programm.
I belive i have nearly 5 or 6 programs which are also able to create horrible looking HDRs, but for HDR i rather use a “real” HDR-programm instead of a “cheap looking pseudo HDR-looking function”.

Where is the problem to choose some pictures in photolab and export them to another program for HDR or stiching a panorama together?

when the nik collection is to expensive for you, you are able to use the older google version for free. but when you always want to have the newest version you have to pay. just that simple.