Starting Out - how do you do it?

Hello. I’m new here and trying to get to grips with PhotoLab 3 trial version and have a few really simple and basic starting out questions. I am anticipating using PL3 as a standalone programme and abandon Lightroom.

I’ve noticed that DxO have a lot of excellent training videos on how to use the many aspects of the editing power of the programme, but I cannot find a simple introductory video that starts before the editing begins and helps answer my overly simple questions below.

  1. How are users expected to interact with the programme from the outset? I take a picture, I plug in my camera to my Mac, or extract the SD card and stick it in a reader. Then what? Being used to Lightroom, I would activate the Import process, set some Keywords, a custom file naming protocol, create a dated folder, determine some custom text that would be assigned to file name, and then after all that, let LR copy or move the files to my chosen location. The ability to process and carry out some initial admin on new photos seems to be missing from PL3, or have I just missed it?

How do people carry out this process with PhotoLab? Does everyone do this outside the programme? If so, is there a magic app that does this or do you generally not care and just dump the photo files as they are in a big vat, and do some initial re-filing/ admin on them before undertaking the PL3 photo processing? I find re-filing a load of pictures that have different creation dates quite confusing and time confusing.
2. Can I assume that there is no Lightroom Migration Tool that I can use with PL3 and that the adjustments made in Lightroom won’t cary over to PL3? That means that c. 10,000 photos will need to be processed before I abandon Lightroom.

Many thanks and sorry if the questions seem banal!

Hi @chickenlegs, welcome to the forum.

Think of DPL as a raw developer to start with.
This means that you have to manage your photos yourself.

  1. copy images to your computer
  2. put them where you want them
  3. open DPL and start working

I recommend to work with folders that contain several tens of files instead of several thousands.

When you add keywords, know that they reside in DPL’s database only and not in the .dop sidecar files. They move to exported images though.

Know that DPL does not read development settings from Lightroom’s .xmp sidecars which means that you’ll start from scratch if you use camera original raw files.

Create a list of your must-haves and test them thoroughly before scrapping Lightroom completely.


Welcome Chris

I complete platypus answer.
A a user who is familiar with Lr finds everything he need in this tutorial.


Welcome, Chris.

This is VERY good advice from platypus. We see regular comments on this forum along the line of; “Why is PL so slow when displaying (what turns out to be 100s or even 1000s of) images ??!!”.

PhotoLab is probably the best RAW converter around - - but, there’s significant processing effort being applied to each image before it’s ready to be displayed - - which makes it slow when there are many images to be processed. So, don’t fall into that old trap.

John M


As you have been so helpful, may I ask a slightly disconnected question?

In your experiences, how often do DxO create major updates? I am trying to ascertain the long term cost of dedicating myself to DPL rather than other RAW processing applications. I am retired and therefore have a finite income.

Looking at other threads on this topic, historically the rough timetable for major updates seems to be between 1 and 1.5 years. Is this your experience and would you normally expect to opt for the major updates and pay a discounted price in this sort of timescale?

My conundrum is whether I should opt for Adobe’s subscription service, (currently £120/year) or focus on DPL, which offers some improvements over LR but also is lacking in its cataloguing and organisation structure. I appreciate that this is a very subjective point as it will largely depend on what each application offers and what a user needs it to do. Having done a lot of trials of alternatives, you probably won’t be surprised to hear that there isn’t a single application that does it all!

DxO creates major updates every years, the last week of october.
The price is 70€ (£ 60 ? ) during this promotional time.
This software continues to evolve while Adobe is latent.

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@Chickenlegs What software you decide to use can only really be your choice:-)

If you are retired then opting for rental software which stops working as a raw processor if you stop paying is probably not a good choice. Remember, you don’t have to upgrade each year with DXO the software keeps on working. It becomes a simple question “does the upgrade offer me something I am happy to pay for?”. If it does, great, if it doesn’t then you have saved some money. A rental service simply does not offer that option.
The only time you have to upgrade is when you change cameras and the new camera is not supported by the version you have. Again if you are retired then you might not be changing your camera every year?
You might want to add a pixel editor at some stage and there you have Affinity Photo which at full price $50 is not expensive and is often on offer at reduced prices. AP will not only give you pixel editing, the in-painting brush is great, but panos, HDR and focus stacking capability. Again no need to upgrade, so one off cost.

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Optic pro to plv1 was major.
And from v2 to v3 was major.

That’s my experience, wil the v4 again major? No one knows, but the good part v3 wil keep on working if you decide not to upgrade.
If you wait for a camera or lens ask dxostaff members when this device is included in the supportlist.

…you can also check this page and make suggestions:

platypus - many thanks for your very helpful reply. I have been investigating apps that help add EXIF data to images that are copied from my SD cards, which seems like a good way of replicating my workflow.

I am not abandoning LR by choice. I am one of the many who wants to upgrade my Mac to Catolina and appreciate that LR, and my other purchased Adobe products will not function, (or at least not able to be reinstalled if they are removed for some reason), under this OS. I feel annoyed that I am expected to pay a subscription of £120/ year and that purchases that I have already made are effectively ignored by Adobe.

I really like the incredible abilities of DPL and the range of editing opportunities that it provides, particularly the AI aspects and effects that it can apply. It runs very smoothly on my iMac. I have just had to ditch a trial of ON1 as it makes the Mac run very hot and continuously activates the fans, which is apparently a very common problem.

thanks again.

Hello Chris, Like you I am pretty new to DXO PL3 Elite version. I am still learning the basics and encounter frustrating things from time to time due to my familiarization with the way former software worked for me. I use win 10 pcs.

I use a third party software program, Downloader Pro to ingest my Nikon RAW files. It automatically creates file folders that I can name using tokens in the program. My usual approach for each file folder is YYYYMMDD_Job Code_Camera. And for the image YYMMDD_Job Code_Camera_number. If I have multiple days of shooting on one card, DP creates a new folder for each day. I prefer this approach. If I had a large shoot at a place like a zoo, I could use DP to download a portion of the files in sequence to create a folder for that sequence, like multiple images of the same animal. Other programs can do the same.

I add keywords and EXIF/IPTC data that gets put into sidecar files that DXO PL reads.

I agree that more folders with fewer images is a plus for most any program as it speeds the browsing and editing process.

I still use Nikon View NX-i for most of my browsing mainly because I am familiar with it, it is fast, and it supports a two monitor configuration without having to move any of the DXO pallets around. After I delete all of the bad images, I then use DXO PL to add additional keywords. Copying new keywords to multiple images in DXO PL is possible but not intuitive enough for me (due to my old habits from previous softwares.)

Hello Joseph. So nice of you to respond and provide such useful information. I will look up the apps that you mention, the workflow you suggested looks interesting and worth a try. Do you know if the apps are available for Mac?

I have found a programme called PhotoMill that (although a little childish in its layout) does a very good job of renaming, adding EXIF data and finding GPS locations from a search, and adding all this to images. DxO seems to recognise this data too, which is a bonus.

I’m sure this won’t be any surprise to those used to using DxO, but I have today been reviewing side by side, images exported as TIFFs and JPEGs from DxO, ON1 and Lightroom 4, (the only Adobe programme that survived the Mac OS upgrade), and DxO seems to win on how it renders exports. I am really surprised how much better the DxO images are to the others when doing a side by side comparison. Fur is particularly good!!

Thanks again for your time.

One way to migrade is export in LR as 16bittiff.
But maybe it’s “smarter” to use dplv3’s prime and optical module on the raw to create a dng and open in LR, copy paste the original development except the optics lens and denoise settings, from raw to the dng.
See if this improves the image.

And at the end you have to redo all raw from scratch which you like to improve.

Hi Chris, Unfortunately Downloader Pro works only on Windows pcs.

Photo Mechanic from Camera Bits works on both windows and Mac. It is more costly but can do a lot for you especially if you a very active photographer who takes a lot of pictures at each shoot.

If you shoot with Nikon cameras, Nikon Transfer, part of Nikon View NX-i , allows you to set up file folders with unique names each time you download a card. There i a windows and a mac version of it.

I do not know if any of the image rankings , like Star rankings, from Photo Mechanic are recognized by DXO PL. If they were, that would be a big plus in my opinion. Perhaps someone on this Forum knows the answer to that question. I do know that star rankings done in Nikon View NX-i are not recognized by DXO-PL.


Chris, here is a link about ingesting images: