Print module

Optics Pro 8 offers the ability to print images without leaving the application or having to render separate print versions of your raw files. You can print single or multiple images on a page using row and column sliders to define the layout. You also have the option of printing captions containing file name, exposure settings and capture date below each image.

In the Windows version of Optics Pro 8 going to File>Print brings up a separate full-size window with a large page  preview and all of the image sizing and layout options in a single column on the right.
On a Mac, an OS X-style 'print sheet' appears with a small page preview thumbnail. Image and page layout controls are contained within two pulldown menus: 'DxO Layout' (shown above) and DxO Image settings.

As you can see in the screenshots above, the print interface is markedly different between Windows and Mac versions, though the functionality is the same. Optics Pro 8 offers no color management settings so you'll have to rely on the printer driver to apply associated ICC paper profiles. Output sharpening is applied to images automatically, and it is tuned internally to the specific print size, but without any user selectable options to fine-tune it.

Enhancements

In addition to the new features mentioned above, a few of the software's existing tools have been updated. The DxO Lens Softness and Chromatic aberration tools now incorporate new image content analysis alongside their use of lens data from the optics modules. This leads to reduced sharpening artifacts and more effective removal of color fringing respectively, compared to previous versions. Long exposure noise reduction has also been tweaked to minimize hot and dead pixels.

The Color rendering tool now sees an Auto option for the Protect saturated colors option. This option applies a 'smart' adjustment to color saturation that is based on image analysis, distinguishing between highly saturated and less saturated colors when minimizing individual color channel clipping.

Instead of defaulting to a fixed value of 25... ...the Protect saturated color adjustment now defaults to an adaptive Auto setting that is image-dependent.

System requirements

Optics Pro 8 has essentially the same minimum requirements as version 7. It is compatible with Windows XP SP3, and both 32 and 64-bit versions of Vista and Windows 7. Note that Nikon D800/D800E raw file support requires a 64-bit Windows OS. Mac users with Intel processors must now be running OS X 10.6 or higher. For a complete list of processor, memory and graphics card requirements visit DxO's system configuration page.

Versions and Pricing

As with previous releases, Optics Pro 8 is available in two editions: Standard and Elite. Features are identical but the Elite version supports a greater number of camera models which include high-end DSLRs. To determine which version supports your camera, please visit DxO's supported equipment page.

Official pricing is US $169 / €149  / £135 for the Standard edition and US $299 / 299€ / £269 for the Elite edition. Current users can upgrade for US $79 / €69 / £59 for the Standard edition and US $99 / €99 / £89 for the Elite edition. In addition, users who purchased an Optics Pro 7 license on or after September 1, 2012 are eligible for a free upgrade to version 8. There is also a 30 day free trail available for download on the DxO site.

Final word

On its face, Optics Pro 8 does not offer many radically new features, but a more refined and intuitive approach to previously existing functionality. Print capability is of course the big exception, and is a welcome move that finally provides users with a start to finish workflow. We'd like to see a more robust set of printing options that includes multiple image size layouts and built-in color management support for ICC profiles.

The decision to group image editing tools into a more logical palette arrangement should help both new and experienced users achieve their desired results in a more efficient manner. Of course we'll have a more definitive take as we put these tools to the test in an upcoming raw converter shoot-out against rivals Lightroom and Capture One Pro. Stay tuned.