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DxO Optics Pro V6.5
This from DxO: "DxO Optics Pro 6.5 introduces exclusive Single Shot HDR technology for optimised rendering of contrasted scenes. Other new features include improved RAW conversion, Lightroom 3 support, speed enhancement, and increased cameras and lenses support"
DxO have also released a specific HDR plugin for handling multiple images for HDR creation - we'll look at that in its own review.
I'm seriously not a fan of the over the top 'artistic' HDR look that is one of the current fads to pass through photography.
That said, I do use HDR techniques to extend the dynamic range of some images and was interested to see what DxO 6.5 could 'pull out' from some of the rather dark images I've got after avoiding burning out highlights,
I've selected an image from when I had a Canon 7D to test last year - Just after I'd got the camera, I went out to grab some shots before it got dark (EF14 2.8L II lens).
This particular one was underexposed a bit, so as not to burn out the sky colours and detail
There are three 'HDR' presets
First I've set for 'slight' - you can see how some of the DxO lighting settings have gone from auto to manual.
Using presets in DxO is one of its strengths and one I have to admit to neglecting somewhat in my own use of the software.
This gives a good feel for how the scene looked.
Remember, there was an extreme range of brightness - I'm looking into the sun.
A 100% crop
The artistic version is just moving a bit too far from how the scene looked to me - I did not have huge banks of lights set up to light up the road and those bushes in the left hand side.
Here's a 100% crop at 'Realistic'
Noise reduction seems slightly less prone to lose detail in high ISO shots in V6.5.
This is the V6.5 version
As ever, high ISO noise reduction is a matter of taste and subject matter.
The single shot HDR shows just how much information is in those shadows. It can look great, or it can look seriously 'overdone' - your own opinions of this current fashion may well differ from mine :-)
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I was impressed - it's already help produce slightly better looking versions of some of my commercial images. I don't see using it a lot, but when it's needed, it's nice to know what it can do.
DxO keeps its place as a valuable option in dealing with some of my RAW files.
Numerous improvements on the already rather good DxO V6.2
Works stand-alone or can be integrated with other software solutions such as Adobe Lightroom.
The software has a lot of functionality, and once you move to advanced modes it can be quite complex, but well worth getting the free demo to see how you like what it does.
Can be purchased in download form.
- Mac OS X 10.5, 10.6 (Intel processor - only)
- Memory requirement : 2 GB RAM (3 GB RAM are recommended for processing images which were taken with a sensor of 20 Megapixels or higher.)
- Disk space : The installation of this software requires a minimum disk space of 400 MB. Additional disk space may be required and will vary with the DxO Optics Modules you select.
- Pentium 4 or Pentium Dual-Core or Pentium M or Pentium 64 bit, or AMD or AMD Dual-Core processor or AMD 64 bit
- Microsoft Windows XP SP2 32 or 64-bit, Microsoft Windows VISTA 32 or 64-bit, Microsoft Windows 7 32 or 64-bit - The use of a 64 bit system is recommended for processing images which were taken with a sensor of 20 Megapixels or higher.
- Memory requirement : 2 GB RAM (4 GB RAM are recommended for processing images which were taken with a sensor of 20 Megapixels or higher.)
- Disk space :The installation of this software requires a minimum disk space of 400 MB. Additional disk space may be required and will vary with the DxO Optics Modules you select.
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Declaration of interest - Keith was asked to look at early versions of the software, and has some of his sample images shown on the DxO web site. He has no direct commercial relationship with DxO.
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