Still confused about FilmPack 5 and PhotoLab 3

I have PhotoLab 3 Elite on my Win 10 laptop but thought FilmPack 5 Elite would be a nice addition so I installed the trial version. Then I realized there’s a FilmPack palette already in PL3 and it seems to have everything the stand alone version has. I believe I was told as much in another thread so I uninstalled FilmPack. Then in that same thread it mentioned that some FilmPack controls are unavailable in PL3 without the stand alone version. So I re-installed FilmPack but nothing changed in PL3.

In order to use FilmPack 5 Elite within PL3 must I have the stand alone version installed? What’s missing if I don’t have FP installed? Sorry for my confusion.

Many thanks.

Hello Tom,

  • Nope, you don’t need to have a standalone version of Filmpack separately, but you need to activate your FP inside the PhotoLab as soon as your trial period is over otherwise FP palette disappears. You can do it from this menu:

P.S. The key is the same as for standalone.

Svetlana G.

I believe part of the confusion here is that he indicated in a different topic that he did not seem to think he needed to purchase FilmPack because it is already in Elite. I could be mistaken, but that was my understanding of what he was initially asking.


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Hi Tom. You still have to buy the stand-alone FilmPack 5 elite program(even if you don’t intend to install or use it) in order to use the activation key in PL3 for the control palette to appear in PL3. Make sure to buy and activate FP5 elite before your trial period expires. It’s worth it, you will miss it badly if you don’t!

Of course. Thanks a lot, I didn’t see the activate in the help pull down. I think it makes sense now. I really appreciate the help.

Thanks Mark, I bought the activation key and activated it in PL3. Does that mean the stand alone FP5 doesn’t open anymore? Mine won’t open now. It works fine in PL3. I’m not sure I’d ever use the stand alone version but looking at thumbnails of the various films might be handy.


  • Nope, it should work and the key you bought can activate the stand alone as well. Could you, please, try to uninstall and re-install FP again?

Svetlana G.

OK, I’ll give it another go. Thanks!

The stand-alone app should still work if it is separately installed in addition to PL3. Both PL3 and the stand-alone FP5 must be activated separately but using the same activation key. I don’t currently have the stand-alone app installed, I just use the preset viewer in PL3 to preview the film-types as described by @mwsilvers, but I have had both installed at the same time without any problems. Please be sure to check out the extra tools included in FP5 elite. FP5 elite when used within PL3 is so much more than just film emulations. I find that the advanced contrast sliders are crucial to the operation of the selective tone sliders. Without them, to me at least, PL3 is not the same program. I realize that this could be done with tone-curve adjustments, but I prefer to use selective tone in conjunction with advanced contrast sliders. I hope that you can get the stand-alone to work for you but I find that I really don’t need it as it does everything that I want it to from within PL3.


Thanks Mark. A simple reboot seems to have fixed it. You’re right, the contrast tools are very powerful. Unlike anything I’ve seen on other software.

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PhotoLab is all about contrast. There is Contrast, Microcontrast (my favorite), Fine contrast, Highlight contrast, Midtones contrast, Shadows contrast, and ClearView Plus . That is 7 different tools that affect contrast. Add to that Lens sharpness and the Unsharp Mask which both affect edge contrast, PhotoLab actually has 9 different tools affecting various aspects of contrast. Most software has far fewer tools for that purpose.

Mark .


Yes, you hit the nail on the head Mark. I’m convinced that contrast and the lens/camera modules are the reasons why DXO-produced images look so much better than it’s competitors, to me at least. Most other processors only have a single contrast slider along with maybe highlights and shadows sliders. I have occasionally had to process a RAW file for which there was no lens/camera module available in DXO software. I had to use other software that I had on hand. I was always disappointed in their lens-only modules and lack of contrast adjustments. “If I could only raise the fine or shadow contrast this would be great” I found myself saying. BTW don’t forget Smart Lighting in your list of adjustments. SL is my first adjustment in the tone palette in order to make the dynamic range of the shot fit better into the output range 0-255, then use the contrast and levels sliders from there.

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Of course, the only downside of so many different contrast related tools is that there is a learning curve to understand when to use each one as well as the relationship between them when you use multiple sliders together…


Yes that certainly is a downside, but to achieve the beautiful results that DXO PL3 is capable of, it’s worth it in my opinion.

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Absolutely agree!