Raw Converter Showdown: Capture One Pro 7, DxO Optics Pro 8 and Lightroom 4

Imaging workflow

Next to image quality, the ability to work efficiently may be the most important attribute of any raw converter. Whether you need to edit one image or 50, being able to quickly make and evaluate adjustments, isolate specific areas of an image to manipulate and save previous adjustments for future use are paramount in establishing a productive workflow.

Tool adjustments

All three apps provide a slider interface for most image adjustment tools. Here you see basic exposure adjustment palettes for (from l to r), Capture One Pro 7, DxO Optics Pro 8 and Lightroom 4.

Both Capture One Pro 7 and Lightroom 4 provide smooth real-time updates to the image preview as you drag a slider. DxO Optics Pro 8, on the other hand, not only incurs a brief delay when dragging a slider, but the image preview immediately switches to a lower resolution version with visible artifacts, making fine-grained adjustments more difficult to evaluate until you let go of the mouse. Neither does DxO Optics Pro 8 allow you to highlight a slider's corresponding value box to adjust the numbers via your keyboard. Instead you must click on very small up/down arrows to move the value in single increments. Both Capture One Pro and Lightroom 4 allow you the option to move in larger value increments by holding the Shift key while pressing the up/down arrows on your keyboard, a very useful way to quickly make gross adjustments.

Lightroom also offers the handy trick of activating the slider value's number box simply by hovering the mouse anywhere over the slider bar. You can then adjust the value via the up/down arrows on your keyboard.

TWO-WAY TIE: Capture One Pro 7 and Lightroom 4 provide real-time feedback when adjusting sliders.

Localized edits

The ability to restrict edits to specific regions of an image is crucial to many photographers' workflows. Capture One Pro 7 offers this functionality via an adjustment layer interface in which you create and then paint on image masks, a là Photoshop. A full complement of exposure, color correction and sharpening edits can be made in this way. Lightroom 4 bypasses the need for user-created layers, automatically creating a mask each time its localized editing tool is employed. Lightroom 4 also offers the option to apply localized edits, including white balance adjustments, with a graduated filter tool. DxO Optics Pro 8 offers no region-based selective editing tools.

WINNER: Lightroom 4 allows for localized white balance adjustments and automatically creates a layer mask with the Adjustment brush and Graduated filter tools.

Before/after comparisons

Lightroom 4 offers a very efficient and flexible solution to before/after comparisons. With a single keyboard shortcut (Y), you can display a 2-up comparison of the image's current state with its appearance at the time of import. Better still, you can select any editing step in the History panel and set it as the 'before' image state. This means you can compare your current image to any previous editing state, whether it occurred 10 minutes or 10 months ago.

When editing an image it's often useful to compare its current state alongside a previous one.

Capture One Pro 7 allows similar, if less robust functionality. But here, in order to view any side-by-side comparison you must first create a 'variant', Phase One's term for a virtual copy, or metadata-based duplicate of the original image. You can easily make a variant that reflects the image in its original default conversion state, but making a comparison against a more recent edit is only possible if you had the foresight to have created a variant at that earlier point.

DxO Optics Pro 8 lets you view the current image alongside the unedited version without creating a virtual copy. Bafflingly though, this 'before' image has all default corrections disabled, meaning you're comparing your current edits not against the image state you began working on, but alongside one that has every auto feature of the software turned off. It's hard to image a scenario, outside a product demo, where this type of comparison would actually be useful.

WINNER: Lightroom 4 offers a user-defined choice of the 'before' image state.

Batch editing

Edits made to one image can be batch-applied to multiple images, though each application differs in the way these can be applied. All three allow you to create a preset consisting of adjustments you've made to all editing tools or just a user-defined subset of them. But Lightroom 4 and Capture One Pro 7 also give you the option of batch applying edits while avoiding the additional step of creating a preset.

In Lightroom 4's Library and Develop modules, once the source and destination image(s) are selected you can choose to batch-apply some or all of the available edits shown above, all from a single window.

In Capture One Pro 7, there are two distinct methods for applying edits from one image to another, depending on whether you want to copy editing parameters for all adjustment tools or just a subset of them. To batch-apply all adjustments you must first select the source image and copy its adjustments. Then, with another image(s) selected, you paste the adjustments. To apply edits on a per tool basis requires you to select both the source and destination images and click an 'Adjustments Clipboard' icon that is located atop the appropriate tool panel.

WINNER: Lightroom 4 has a unified interface for batch-applying edits for all tools or a subset of them.

UI customization

You can take advantage of a dual-monitor workstation in all three raw converters by displaying the thumbnail view and image preview window on two separate screens.

While DxO Optics Pro 8 and Lightroom 4 have a modular interface, in which tool access is restricted by the currently active tab, Capture One Pro 7 (shown here) lets you move individual palettes so that they float anywhere on either screen and, more importantly, remain accessible no matter which category you select from the Tool Tab Bar (highlighted in red).

WINNER: Capture One Pro 7 allows you to arrange individual tool palettes so they're accessible from any organization, editing or processing tab.

Click here to continue reading our Raw Showdown article...

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions held by dpreview.com or any affiliated companies.

Comments

Total comments: 415
1234
BernhardR
By BernhardR (Jan 27, 2013)

I find the current version outdoes Lightroom in some respects and I would consider moving to this software. However, there is one very simple option missing (at least I could not find it): Automatically apply a new name when repeating the procession/export of an image (e.g. *-1, *-2). As long as this is missing DXO, I would not even think about moving to this software.

0 upvotes
dpalugyay
By dpalugyay (Jan 26, 2013)

Capture One 7 Pro Windows version DOES NOT let you display thumbnails on one monitor and the photo on the other. Only works on Mac version. They may update this feature for Windows users. Their web site doesn't tell you this differentiation between the two operating systems, and I didn't find out until I purchased a second monitor for this purpose, and consulted their customer care.

Still is outstanding software.

Comment edited 32 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
John Kay
By John Kay (Jan 26, 2013)

"Neither does DxO Optics Pro 8 allow you to highlight a slider's corresponding value box to adjust the numbers via your keyboard."

I think you'll find that you can! I get a blue outline on the value box when I click on it, and can then type a value in. BTW, that's on a Mac.

Thanks for the article. What it shows is that the software developers have now narrowed their differences substantially in the image editing results, but still have different approaches to management, etc. Wonderful for the consumer!

0 upvotes
Detail Man
By Detail Man (Jan 27, 2013)

That has always worked just fine on all Windows versions of DxO Optics Pro (6.1 - 7.23) when installed on WinXP Pro. It seems unlikely that DxO 8.x would drop that functionality ?

Also - when the user single-left-clicks on (any of the) control-sliders themselves (at the location of where the control's "cursor" is set), the keyboard's Up/Down Arrow keys will advance or decrement that particular control setting-value, incrementing by one gradation-unit, as opposed to the super-irritating individual steps of 5 gradation-units that Lightroom 3.x insists upon stepping-by (in all cases except where it comes to the "Black Level" control-slider).

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
hemiola
By hemiola (Jan 25, 2013)

Thank you for the very interesting article.
Is there a chance you could expand a bit more the image quality section and perhaps add a subsection on artistic/creative rendering capabilities of each?

For example you mention highlight recovery but no shadow recovery. From my experience with Lightroom 3 and DxO Optics Pro 7, the latter was noticeably better in recovering details from shadows while keeping noise at acceptable levels. Lightroom 4 might have narrowed the gap, but it would still be interesting to see which software wins.

Also, do no forget DxO Film Pack which - when incorporated into DxO Optics Pro - offers a myriad of possibilities such as film renderings, film grains, toning, filters. Not sure if Capture One or Lightroom offer something similar.

2 upvotes
Mouser
By Mouser (Jan 25, 2013)

What about Apple Aperture??

4 upvotes
The Silver Fox
By The Silver Fox (Jan 26, 2013)

The introduction to the article specifically mentioned that one of the criteria for being included in this review was that the program run on both Windows and Mac. Since Aperture is a Mac-only program, it was excluded. As an Aperture user, I too would have liked to see it go head to head with the others.

8 upvotes
MPA1
By MPA1 (Jan 28, 2013)

There are photographers who use Windows? Amazing.

1 upvote
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (Jan 28, 2013)

MPA1,

Try editing AVCHD video with a Mac, even getting the files to simply play in Quicktime on a Mac takes extra information.

And remember that turning an AVCHD file into an MP4 or MP2 takes a good deal of time if the file is more than 30 sec in length.

Besides the obvious video point, yes photographers use Windows, because even people who idly shoot in their free time shoot raw and therefore need good raw extraction software.

This website isn't simply for those who have $20,000 in equipment and a dedicated laptop (probably a Mac) for work in the field, then again see the point about Macs an AVCHD from above.

4 upvotes
RichardBalonglong
By RichardBalonglong (Jan 29, 2013)

@ MPA1:
Yes, there a lot actually. It's amazing that you ask about it.

1 upvote
Tonio Loewald
By Tonio Loewald (Feb 3, 2013)

@HowaboutRAW: i think MPA1 was being ironic. That said, to edit AVCHD video natively on a Mac, get Premiere or FCPro X. I don't think either costs $20,000 but I haven't checked lately.

2 upvotes
Bill McKelvie
By Bill McKelvie (Mar 8, 2013)

Till they produce a Windows version it is not worth considering.

1 upvote
Bruce Clarke
By Bruce Clarke (Jan 25, 2013)

Thanks, very well written, detailed article. No simplistic scoring, so you have to read it properly to decide what matters most for you. It would have been worth emphasizing that your choice of software is likely to be for the long-term, if you want to retain backward compatibility with edits, searches, keywording etc.

3 upvotes
Peter K Burian
By Peter K Burian (Jan 25, 2013)

Doesn't anyone use Photoshop (Adobe Camera Raw) anymore? I do, when I need to process hundreds of RAW photos.

I guess Lightroom is the popular choice now, but I tried it and found it too difficult to make the transition after years of working with Photoshop (now CS6).

5 upvotes
Midnattsol Photography
By Midnattsol Photography (Jan 25, 2013)

Camera raw and lightroom 4 are the exact same program

0 upvotes
Bruce Clarke
By Bruce Clarke (Jan 25, 2013)

I used to use ACR in CS3, but found it easy to adapt to editing in LR, as they are essentially the same. The database side of LR took more learning, but it pays, as it's just a much more efficient and powerful workflow. The local edit control in LR4 is very powerful now, making my need to go out to Photoshop very rare now.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
dpalugyay
By dpalugyay (Jan 26, 2013)

It's basically the same software with a better GUI in Lightroom. Enjoy your DOS, I'll use Windows.

0 upvotes
Peter K Burian
By Peter K Burian (Jan 25, 2013)

The next Review should also include Photo Ninja (from the Company that made Noise Ninja). www.picturecode.com

Photo Ninja is a very competent and versatile RAW converter now.

1 upvote
Geoff666
By Geoff666 (Jan 25, 2013)

Does anyone else use Apple Aperture?

I find it works pretty well and I would be interested on how it compares with the others in this review...

A very interesting review nonetheless...

11 upvotes
Howard Prendergast
By Howard Prendergast (Jan 25, 2013)

I use Aperture and love it. I shoot tethered with it and do the vast majority of my editing there. When needed, I use my Nik software plug-ins to get more refined adjustments or PS6 to more complex edits. The applications tested here sound pretty good but I can't complain about Aperture, an excellent image management and editing tool. I am a bit surprised it is not also compared here.

7 upvotes
Geoff666
By Geoff666 (Jan 26, 2013)

Thanks Howard - thought it was just me!

0 upvotes
UnChatNoir
By UnChatNoir (Jan 26, 2013)

I find it a shame that Aperture - which is about to be the 2nd major player in this class of tools - is not in the comparison. It would widen the view to all the major players on the market.

3 upvotes
Stu 5
By Stu 5 (Jan 28, 2013)

Howard Aperture was not included as it is not cross platform.

0 upvotes
David247
By David247 (Feb 10, 2013)

@Geoff666 I also use aperture. I understand why it wasn't included (not cross platform) but prefer Aperture still. I also have a fully licensed version of Lightroom 3 but after checking out Lightroom 4 demo, which is a nice improvement over 3, still prefer using Aperture and didn't feel upgrading to 4 worth my time or money. A lot depends I guess on which features are important to individuals, but I like my Aperture workflow and the quality of conversion I get from it. - And no it doesn't take anything close to 20,000 worth of equipment or software to use a Mac, and even ACHD video can be done easily enough, it is just handled a little differently.

0 upvotes
ronmyers_us
By ronmyers_us (Jan 25, 2013)

In the past, I used Bibble Pro. When Bibble sold out to Correl, the name was changed to After Shot Pro. This software is availble for Windows, Mac and Linex. I like it because of the capability to make adjustments to selected areas independent of the rest of the picture. I have only compared it to the raw file processing addition to Photoshop Elements and find it much superior. In addition to allowing adjustments to selected areas, one can also clone and heal areas of the photo. It does not eliminate the need for editors (like Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro) to complete editing, but it does provide capabilities which I am unable to do after conversion to jpg or tiff format.

Also, the cost is less than any of these three programs. It would be great to see how this less expensive software compares to the higher priced software.

1 upvote
Peter K Burian
By Peter K Burian (Jan 25, 2013)

Wow, Aftershot Pro is only $60? That is surprising.

0 upvotes
borgelite
By borgelite (Jan 27, 2013)

I'm trialling it and it really is poor. Just take a look in the Corel ASP forums to see how dissatisfied people are with the lack of progress and updates. It's a shame as it has so much promise but Corel don't seem to have the expertise to carry on the good work of the Bibble staff.

0 upvotes
DavinaG
By DavinaG (Feb 4, 2013)

ASP is a great RAW developer. Been Bibble since v4 and love the speed your are able to process hundreds of photos. Yes the software has not really changed much since Bibble 5 but what is there works and works well.

0 upvotes
mmartel
By mmartel (Feb 19, 2013)

I've been using AfterShot Pro after trialing LR4 and Capture NX. I've found I personally prefer the AfterShot Pro RAW converter with my Nikon D5100 and D60 images. It's also quite a bit faster to load and process images on my 5-year old Dell laptop.

So I have to disagree with borgelite. I think it's a great piece of software (the others are pretty darn good, too).

0 upvotes
mantra
By mantra (Jan 25, 2013)

hi
great article

i would like to see aftershot (the new bible) too

thanks

2 upvotes
jbagg
By jbagg (Jan 25, 2013)

The absence of any mention of Apple Camera RAW in the article is quite striking. Apple Camera RAW is used by both Aperture and iPhoto. Despite the fact that Apple Camera RAW works on only one platform, I would not be surprised to find out that there are more Apple Camera RAW users out there an CaptureOne and DxO combined, if not more than Adobe Camera RAW as well. Lightroom has a larger market share than Aperture, but Aperture and its sibling iPhoto together represent a very large market.

5 upvotes
The Silver Fox
By The Silver Fox (Jan 26, 2013)

Agreed. I would have liked to see Aperture included because so many of us use it.

2 upvotes
Robgo2
By Robgo2 (Jan 26, 2013)

Serious shooters do not use iPhoto, and there are far more people using ACR/LR than Aperture and DxO combined. Nevertheless, I would have liked to have seen Aperture included in this comparison.

1 upvote
greggerca
By greggerca (Jan 25, 2013)

I've used Capture One Pro for many years, and Lr at times.
On the part about "import speed" and then reviewing pictures - basically I see the same issue on all these packages. So I get around that by adding an extra workflow step before C1 / Lr that saves hundreds of hours a year.

On a PC, I use a program called "FastPictureViewer". It has extremely fast RAW CODEC's that can let you flip through and rate RAW pictures as though they were JPEGs (at that speed!). If you shoot both RAW+JPEG, it combines the files, so IPTC operations, ratings etc. work on both. XMP files are compatible with Capture One and Lightroom.

It does have a learning curve... but it is worth it. The CODECs make all of Windows work better.

I don't know what you can do on a Mac. But it even works on a tiny netbook. You can batch rename, cull, and then let Capture One / Lightroom process only "good" files.

It saved me a lot of time.

3 upvotes
Jylppy
By Jylppy (Jan 26, 2013)

I have also adopted FastPictureViewer as a photo selection tool in my workflow (in Windows). After selecting photos with FPV, I import photos to Lightroom. FPV provides lightning-fast RAW browsing and instant 1:1 zooming. FPV is stable and fast. Money well spent.

Adobe should buy the technology and integrate it into LR workflow.

1 upvote
Steve Dworman
By Steve Dworman (Jan 25, 2013)

I'd love to see a version 2 of this article with Aperture. But I'd like to bring to everyone's attention another RAW converter than in personal test after personal test really blows these others out of the water for immediate results without a lot of tweaking. The software is called Photo Ninja. Been developed over a long time and incorporates the noise processor Noise Ninja. It functions as a browser, not a cataloger. Using it, I've blown up an image from the Fuji X100 to a 6 foot long print in which you can see the individual hairs on a persons head in the distance. It's recovery feature for blown highlights is literally magic. I'm not affiliated with the company in any way, but suggest you check them out and see for yourself.

1 upvote
Robgo2
By Robgo2 (Jan 26, 2013)

What Steve says about Photo Ninja is true. It is in a league of its own. Had it been included in this comparison, it would have been the clear winner by a wide margin. I know this, because I have personally run numerous head to head comparisons of PN with Capture One and ACR. I did not bother with DxO, because result seemed a foregone conclusion.

0 upvotes
Pete
By Pete (Jan 25, 2013)

Thank you for a very helpful comparison. Nice job. I do wish you had included Apple Aperture in this mix. While I realize it is Mac only, which may have been a reason for omission, I have found it to be a very capable tool. It has very strong and flexible project-management features as well as plenty of image-correction options.

When I chose it over Lightroom a few years ago, my main reason was for its flexible project management and the ability of the program to go from raw to final product (wedding books, in my case) with ease. At that time, Lightroom did not offer book creation, which was a deal-breaker for me.

While I feel Aperture's raw converter does a good job, it would have been nice, however, to see how good it does in direct comparison to these three tools.

8 upvotes
Robgo2
By Robgo2 (Jan 26, 2013)

Wrong post.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
attila_feher
By attila_feher (Jan 25, 2013)

I'm a DxO fan ;)

I agree is not perfect, and often is annoyingly slow (especially if you want to remove dust or other unwanted spots) but it has very good ability to squeeze out the smallest detail from the raw file.

But I tried at some point Capture One Pro, too, and the high-ISO noise reduction was quite disappointing...

1 upvote
Peter K Burian
By Peter K Burian (Jan 25, 2013)

Yeah, DXO is slow. That is the most important criticism of it for sure. (And I have a very! fast PC, with 12 GB or RAM)

Comment edited 34 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Adrian Van
By Adrian Van (Jan 25, 2013)

Sorry I find DXO very fast on my imac 27 inch i7 with ATI Radeon and 8GB only. Strong Video card also matters and Apples flow through 64 bit pipeline architecture to push more data through faster.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
attila_feher
By attila_feher (Feb 4, 2013)

Adrian, you have a very strong machine by any standards. I have a mobile i5 (dual core processor, not quad core) without a dedicated graphics card. And yes, in the newer versions the video card takes over a part of processing so it is like an extra processor.

0 upvotes
samsamsamsam
By samsamsamsam (Jan 25, 2013)

I like Rawdeveloper from iridientdigital.com, because I need to ajust the raw curve, before it is converted to gamma 1.8 or 2.2.. And it is also lot faster then PS.
Watch at Suuperguut.com, there are Panorama Photos converted in Rawdeveloper, and there you can see, with oneshot you can have the dynamic range from HDR.

1 upvote
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (Jan 25, 2013)

Isn't that raw extractor Mac only?

0 upvotes
bigfatron
By bigfatron (Jan 25, 2013)

Used Capture One Express for a number of years but it seems PhaseOne aren't bothered about the cheaper version anymore. Having now switched to LR4 i'm pretty happy now i've got used to it. As an amateur there is no way I can justify paying the price difference between Lightroom and Capture One Pro, nor do I see really what you get for that extra money.

1 upvote
madeinlisboa
By madeinlisboa (Jan 25, 2013)

I use Capture NX most of the time. Only app which recognizes Active D-Lighting, allows multiple adjustments and gives me almost all I want when used with NIK Color Efex. For most specific tasks I use ACR and CS. Lightroom = good photo manager tool.
Nikon ought invest in version 3.

2 upvotes
Spectro
By Spectro (Jan 25, 2013)

So for most things I use LR4 (CS5.5 if I need more layering job). For my best portrait I have to go into View or Capture NX and export the 90mb tiff file then add it to lightroom since LR4 features are the best (faster then going into photoshop too). I still hoping Nikon release capture NX 3 with improvement so I don't have to use LR, but since google bought Nik I doubt it will be anything great. Either Nikon share its nef code or have an option to save in dng like pentax, and a few others, so I can just use LR4 straight up.

I will also look into the DxOmark and the other software mention here too.

2 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (Jan 25, 2013)

I get excellent results with ACR and the Nikon D4 and D3s.

The D800 and D600 tests I've done are also very good, no D800E yet though.

Comment edited 53 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Peter K Burian
By Peter K Burian (Jan 25, 2013)

Well, try DXO sometime; set the Noise Reduction to a much lower than the default level. You may be surprised at the quality vs. ACR. I was with my D800 and D7000 RAW photos.

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (Jan 26, 2013)

Peter K Burian--

I've tried DXO in the past, in about 2010, it's okay, perhaps I'll give the trialware a spin again, but I own Aftershot as a second serious raw extraction program. And unlike DXO, Aftershot opens the raws from my Samsung NX100, which I use a lot.

Also, with the exception of greenery and Fuji Xtrans RAFs, I just don't have a problem with ACR in PS CS6.

It not like I'm trying to chase minutia that I just can't extract with ACR or Aftershot.

0 upvotes
Spectro
By Spectro (Jan 25, 2013)

I don't know about other camera raw files. But I think Adobe LR4 and the ACR isn't very sharp and natural looking for portrait reading nikon nef file. If I shoot street, landscape or other object I would care less. But LR isn't as sharp and accurate for portrait, period. Because LR4 is convenience in the workflow I tend to use it more. Nikon ViewNX is as slow as a fat dog. I tried Capture NX, it is a tad faster then view, but for the price I wanted LR4 features. I tried DXO mark software for a few day demo version. The image does look brighter and saturated, but not as natural as nikon NX family. Plus the UI was odd/ancient looking and it was a tad slower than LR.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 7 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
montxsuz
By montxsuz (Jan 25, 2013)

I too own licences for all three. They all have their strengths and annoyances.
I use DOP for Nikon DSLR, I like the image quality. I run batches to convert all images, exporting to DNG which I catalogue in MS Expression Media (MSEM). But RW2 files are incompatible, and is it seems ver 8 is very slow in comparison with ver 6 & 7?
I use LR4 for our collection of Panasonic compacts. LR4 has better workflow, but I have switched off all default image corrections because I do not like the results. So I use LR4 to catalogue RW2 files, and print contact sheets. (MSEM struggles with RW2).
Capture One purchased Expression Media from MS. Initially I was happy, but then realised that my long-time cataloguing program had taken several steps backwards. I could no longer catalogue DNG files (from DOP) or RW2 files from Panasonic. All my old catalogues had become useless in COP, so I reverted to MSEM. . I might use COP7 for one-off raw conversions such as portraits, and not for cataloguing.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Vlad Didenko
By Vlad Didenko (Jan 25, 2013)

Interesting article, but a moot point. Workflows are not portable between tools. So after about 5 years on Lr, and 30K images in the catalog there is no way I can even consider C1 - and arrive to a situation of maintaining two licenses for two separate catalogs.

This is a very unfortunate situation in the industry, which allows big players to skip on quality and hurts smaller players. The pain will go on until smaller players get together and create an exchange format or some other solution.

Comment edited 6 minutes after posting
4 upvotes
Dan Tong
By Dan Tong (Jan 24, 2013)

A very useful article. Here is what would have made it better:

1. Discuss any differences in how Photoshop Bridge w Raw Processor works and differs from Lightroom.

3. Discuss the cons of the database management in Lightroom etc. For example how the whole thing breaks down when backup to a new device or decide to re-organize your files, without fully understanding how the database in Lightroom works.

2. Have a detailed evaluation of batch file naming and renaming in each of the programs.

3. A Summary Table would have been nice showing how each program was ranked with each of the task evaluations.

Error in text: Additional Features page you state that Capture One focus Mask tool is highlighted in red, when in fact the illustration shows green highlights.

In summary a very nice job. We need more comparisons like this.

Thanks

Dan

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
1 upvote
destenoth
By destenoth (Jan 25, 2013)

Regarding the error, the "highlighted in red" referred to their circling the button that corresponds to that feature.

1 upvote
Robgo2
By Robgo2 (Jan 25, 2013)

@vlad didenko. I see no reason why you cannot continue to use LR for cataloging and adopt C1 for raw processing. If you think about it, you could use whatever version of LR that you already own indefinitely and update C1 only as often as you feel the need. Over the course of many years, it should not be prohibitively expensive. This assumes that you would prefer C1 for image editing.

0 upvotes
Adrian Van
By Adrian Van (Jan 24, 2013)

Nice to know that DXO did very well in this review from DPreview especially next to Lightroom. Most wedding photographers I talk to, use Adobe Lightroom and I have been using DXO for 4 years.
For image quality DXO Pro 8 according to this review had the winners in certain image quality categories or tied.
1. TWO-WAY TIE: Capture One Pro 7 and DxO Optics Pro 8 consistently provide natural, pleasing skin tones (from Portrait tests, may depend on camera though)
2. WINNER: DxO Optics Pro 8 typically provides more pleasing saturation at its default settings.
3. WINNER: DxO Optics Pro 8 offers crisp default settings and superior results in the image corners. (default sharpening test, with lens / camera modules)
4.WINNER: DxO Optics Pro 8, with some manual adjustments produces very good high ISO detail while retaining more color data than the competition. (noise reduction test)
Lightroom certainly did better in some tests as did Capture One, but I really like my DXO and its smart interface.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
1 upvote
DStudio
By DStudio (Jan 25, 2013)

Many wedding photographers act like nothing else even exits - I bet quite a few of them literally believe that LR (or maybe LR and Aperture) is the only option out there! Heck, some of them don't even know there's such a thing as MF cameras, since Nikon and Canon don't make one!

EDIT: My mistake regarding MF cameras, I forgot - everyone who bought a Nikon D800 believes they already have one!

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 9 minutes after posting
1 upvote
jadot
By jadot (Jan 25, 2013)

hey @DStudio, what gives?! I'm a Pro Wedding Photographer, I started 10 yrs ago with Capture 1 Pro (v3, I think). Since then I've used LR (Hated it), C1 Pro (Excellent RAW conversion, but no real in house file/library/catalogue management until v7), Photo Mechanic (Never got off the Ground) etc.
I landed on Aperture a few years back and I haven't looked back. Why? The workflow is the most intuitive all-in solution for me as a busy wedding photographer. My Library works the way I want it to and it integrates with my OS seamlessly. Backups are a doddle, and with the right hardware Aperture is fairly stable and the RAW conversion is fine. It may not hit C1's pixel level quality, but it's so close it's negligible and spending less time in front of the computer wins out for me.
They're all good programs. You obviously LOVE C1Pro, but then you might have different workflow needs.
Don't be so quick to diss wedding togs - we may not be as elite as you but we're still technically demanding.

3 upvotes
jadot
By jadot (Jan 25, 2013)

P.S - it might frighten you to learn that "quite a few" wedding photographers I know actually shoot on a *wait for it* - medium format FILM cameras.... Or even have heard about Digital Backs, or whatever they're called....GULP. /s

That's right! We found out about Medium Format, and we're going to lay claim to them as our own. No longer are they the preserve of amazing photographer's like yourself who "really know what they're talking about when it comes to REAL photography and stuff", but now available to whimsical, amateur wedding (I spit!) photographers. We're even calling ourselves things like "Professional", and "Photographer".

Look, I know I've taken your bait here, a little, but haven't things moved on just a little bit? You know, the old 'Wedding photographers are just fashion photographers who couldn't make it" B.S. Next you'll be telling me it's easy money, and contrived, and some other such sarcastic misinformed fearful krap.

Comment edited 42 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Adrian Van
By Adrian Van (Jan 25, 2013)

If you have a powerful enough i7 64 bit imac with enough Ram (like I do) or i7 64bit windows computer, then DXO Pro, I find incredibly fast to go through files and good default setting to begin (semi-automated Lighting improvements at opening files with less manual adjustments to tweak after). I tried liking LR but find it slower to make changes and less intuitive. I imagine Aperature with fast CPU and Ram, would be good from what I read and considering adding it at later date for some of its other features such as slideshows, print etc.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 5 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Philip Goh
By Philip Goh (Jan 25, 2013)

Margins in wedding photography isn't high enough for most wedding photographers to justify the price of a MF system. Especially given that an entry level MF (Hasselblad H4D-31) is over 4 times more expensive than the D800, it's a hard cost to justify. The results you get is hardly going to be 4x better and you're certainly not going to be able to charge your clients 4x as much.

I personally don't understand this hate directed at wedding photographers?

0 upvotes
DStudio
By DStudio (Jan 25, 2013)

I was just having fun with it. I guess I was posting a bit too late at night - didn't realize I'd strike some nerves (sorry about that).

I knew my comments wouldn't apply to anyone who'd actually read this article on DPR.

My point was simply that some (I shouldn't have said "many") people act like it's a simple formula, rather than a serious craft. I find it annoying that a few seem to act as if all that's needed is a couple of Canons or Nikons, 2 zoom lenses, LR and a few plug-ins. No research or thought required. There are many options, and I'd like to know that the photographer at least considered them.

I think those who responded mostly agree with me. I was simply posting based on my observation that some wedding photographers keep passing the word on to one another to simply "use LR," with many never questioning the advice.

0 upvotes
beckmarc
By beckmarc (Jan 24, 2013)

Great article could you please review other raw converters and photographic software in a similar way

2 upvotes
markuswaeger
By markuswaeger (Jan 24, 2013)

Took a look on AfterShot. Still does not support D600 or Sony RX100!?
I could not agree that the workflow in LR is great. Maybe if your workflow fits in LRs workflow. But the only thing you can customize is the logo in the top left. Far too little list of shortcuts and you can not change anything. Version 4 now supports color management but it is far from intuitive.
C1 shines bright but with a lot of shadow. You can customize everything even the adjusting for exposure, whitebalance, lights and shadows can get their own shortcuts. Workspaces and panels can be customized in every way you can think and the integration of color management is exemplary. I used it for a view month with enthusiasm. Sadly the retouching tools are a joke, the file management even in version 7 is horrible with many thousand images it is boring slow and far from stable.
I went back to Aperture. But the problem with Apple is you never know what the future brings. :\

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 14 minutes after posting
1 upvote
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (Jan 25, 2013)

Aftershot extracts Sony RX100 raws (not RX1 raws yet), I checked with my updated Aftershot, v 1.103.

Not the Nikon D600 though, that maybe pared with the Sony RX1 for obvious reasons.

Remember: DXO doesn't do M9 DNGs or Samsung NX raws, there be a lot of raw formats that DXO simply ignores.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
SWDfoto
By SWDfoto (Jan 24, 2013)

I recently tested these 3 products for myself and came to the following conclusions:

C17 gives the best overall image quality almost without exception. Greatest detail and lowest noise. I did run into a software bug, but tech support is very good.

DxO8 is close behind C17 when it supports your camera/lens combination. If your camera lens combo is not supported it is best not to use DxO for RAW processing.

LR4 is not too far behind, but is a definite 3rd given the above. However, I do have some older RAW files not supported by C1 or DxO and still value Adobe Camera Raw (whatever form) for doing a decent job with these files.

I make and sell prints of my work for a living and come from a large format background. I've owned/used C1, DxO, and Adobe CR for several/many years. C16 was a step behind in image quality, but C17 is the real deal

Image variables such as color rendering, etc. are too difficult to judge using default settings and all 3 programs have good adjustment tools

1 upvote
Lucas_
By Lucas_ (Jan 24, 2013)

I know those three RAW converters tested are the most popular, however IMHO the Silkypix Pro 5 is at a similar/slightly better level to/than DXO Pro 8 and Capture One Pro 7 and better than Lightroom 4 (ACR) in image conversion ( general tools , noise control and colors ). I use Silkypix for over 5 years and got very much used to its UI, the latest Pro 5 version has some excellent new tools, mainly the new NR engine. I've tested the 3 last versions of LR and DXO and COne v.P7 and they just can't replace Silkypix Pro 5 for me. It doesn't have a file management system ( I have my own ), though using a conventional, straightforward file browser and open/save similar to Photoshop, which's been my main PP software for over 10 years. I suggest you folks at DPR to take a good look at it!

Comment edited 6 minutes after posting
4 upvotes
Don Douglas
By Don Douglas (Mar 4, 2013)

I totally agree. Even those who don't agree -- obviously including the reviewers -- should acknowledge that Silkypix is a major player and ought to have been included.

0 upvotes
topstuff
By topstuff (Jan 24, 2013)

Taken for what it is, this is great work.

BUT

I think the omission of Aperture is a big shame and renders the test only partially interesting.

Apple's entry is the missing member here. It's absence DOES make a difference.

Apple has a massive user base and Aperture is their proprietary offering. It is not the same as the other offerings also missed from the test.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
13 upvotes
Ellen Anon
By Ellen Anon (Jan 24, 2013)

I agree completely that including Aperture would have made this a far more valuable article. I know many people who wonder how Aperture compares to LR specifically, as well as to the other programs. To my way of thinking specifying "cross platform" crippled the utility of this otherwise very good article.

8 upvotes
en792
By en792 (Jan 24, 2013)

I'm with you on that. With so many photographers on a Mac platform, I don't see why dpr chose to leave Aperture out, if LR is in.

7 upvotes
Peter K Burian
By Peter K Burian (Jan 25, 2013)

Well, I suspect DP Review will be testing other RAW converters too given the huge demand in this Comments forum. For example the new Photo Ninja converter would be a good addition too.

Comment edited 12 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
D1N0
By D1N0 (Feb 2, 2013)

Aperture is not available for windows. These programs are available on windows and mac. To include aperture would be completely useless for windows users, because it is not available to them. This is probably hard to believe for mac users. But there are other options than mac.

1 upvote
neversink
By neversink (Feb 7, 2013)

So Aperture is not available for Windows. That doesn't mean it shouldn't have been considered. I find Aperture easiest to work with. It is the most intuitive. Many of us with Macs couldn't care less about cross-platform. Including Aperture would have made this review so much better, cross=platform software or not!!!!!!!

0 upvotes
CollBaxter
By CollBaxter (Jan 24, 2013)

Thank You.

0 upvotes
ottonis
By ottonis (Jan 24, 2013)

DP-REVIEW, thank you for that great and detailed review.

It's ridiculous that some people here criticize the review because it has not considered their favorite software.

6 upvotes
jonvdveen
By jonvdveen (Jan 24, 2013)

I think if Lightroom was missing, people would also wonder why. Granted, Lightroom holds a larger market share, but Aperture is often considered to be the most notable alternative.

Go to Google and type "Lightroom vs". Google's auto-complete suggestions tell the story.

I appreciate the comparative review by DPReview, but the omission is a shame.

6 upvotes
Catalin Susan
By Catalin Susan (Jan 24, 2013)

I'm guessing being able to run on more than 10% of the computers in the world was one of the criteria.

However good Aperture might be, it's stuck on a minority OS (although one disproportionately used by creative professionals, true)

2 upvotes
clv100
By clv100 (Jan 25, 2013)

Catalin Susan, I expect a lot more then 10% of the photographic community use Macs. The incredibly small sample size of the two professional photographers I know, both use Macs. Aperture clearly should have been included and I can only assume DPR will revisit this article in a month or so to include Aperture.

0 upvotes
attila_feher
By attila_feher (Jan 25, 2013)

About the Macs... I use my PC/laptop for many other purposes and switching to a mac would heavily limit my options! I admit that Macs have probably some the best screens of the market, and I agree this is very important, but still... I simply cannot imagine myself switching to a Mac.

0 upvotes
Tonio Loewald
By Tonio Loewald (Feb 3, 2013)

I use my Macs for many purposes and have yet to discover any use to which a Windows laptop can be put that a Mac cannot. Ultimately, I can run Windows in a VM (but seldom do, and chiefly for testing). The only disadvantage with Macs is you can't buy really cheap junky ones. (Not trying to be a dick — you can buy cheap, perfectly usable PCs.)

As for 10% — probably fewer than 10% of photographers shoot RAW. Why are we even having this conversation?

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
TruePoindexter
By TruePoindexter (Jan 24, 2013)

The comparison is appreciated but I do wonder about the image quality comparison. It seems meaningless to compare default color, skin tone, and sharpening settings - the entire point of these tools is to adjust the image to your liking with the defaults simply being a starting point. Further most applications allow you to adjust what those defaults are making the whole exercise moot.

A better comparison could be gained by having a user skilled in all three applications try to tweak a set of images to their optimal look. Say a monochrome image, a high contrast saturated landscape, a finally a portrait. The comparison will always be subjective but at least then the comparison would be over the output of the programs and not just the image's initial state.

3 upvotes
Amadou Diallo
By Amadou Diallo (Jan 24, 2013)

One point I tried to make in the article regarding IQ is that, with rare exceptions, you can get pleasing and reasonably similar color, contrast and saturation from all 3 programs. The days of wildly varying output quality, among the bigger players at least, seem to be gone.
What is important, though, to anyone who regularly processes large batches of images, is whether one application will give you a better starting point, saving time in the workflow. Of course, you can tune any of these programs via presets to correct for consistently occurring rendering results that you'd like to adjust, but again I think the bigger differentiator here is in the default starting point, rather than 'Software X gives me colors I can't get in software Y'.

1 upvote
Peter K Burian
By Peter K Burian (Jan 25, 2013)

Yes, that makes sense.

However, I use both ACR and DXO 8 Pro elite (with Noise Reduction set much lower than default with both programs - at low ISO especially!) and I get better image quality than with ACR. (Nikon D800 and D7000 anyway.)

0 upvotes
Gene L.
By Gene L. (Jan 24, 2013)

I appreciate seeing these laid out side by side, but am puzzled why Aftershot Pro wasn't considered worthy of competing in this event. It sports a competitive feature set, so the output quality and speed comparison would be particularly useful.

1 upvote
fuego6
By fuego6 (Jan 24, 2013)

because AFP is 1/10th the price and doesn't have the "big name" the others do...

2 upvotes
AndyCS
By AndyCS (Jan 24, 2013)

and because its way out of date in terms of camera support and pretty buggy not to mention Corel's apparent lack of interest.

3 upvotes
utphoto
By utphoto (Jan 24, 2013)

I just tried a trial download of Aftershot Pro. On my Mac Pro it was considerably slower than ACR and didn't provide the level of highlight, shadow control of ACR, in my opinion. YMMV.

1 upvote
Robgo2
By Robgo2 (Jan 24, 2013)

I am a former user of all three of these programs who has moved up to Photo Ninja, so I have no particular axe to grind. But having studied all of the image samples, it seems to me that DPReview has been exceptionally generous to ACR. In particular, they have failed to comment on the lack of skin texture and the weak facial contours in all of the ACR portraits. This is consistent with my own personal experience with the program. It takes a great deal of effort to produce satisfactory portraits. ACR also has a tendency to blur foliage into green and yellow blobs. I'm not sure if that effect is visible in the current samples, but I have seen it often enough in my own work to know that it is a genuine problem. Of the three programs tested, Capture One is the easy choice, IMO, but Photo Ninja is the new king of raw convertors.

5 upvotes
hiro_pro
By hiro_pro (Jan 24, 2013)

I find ACR butchers NEF's. If you want to see how bad ACR is just compare it to Capture NX. unfortunately Capture has a horrible interface. ugh... no winners.

maybe i should check some of the options out

1 upvote
Peter K Burian
By Peter K Burian (Jan 25, 2013)

I was using Capture NX2 until I tried DXO 7 and now 8. I thought NX2 did a great job, but when I compare RAW files converted with both, I see that the NX2 photos seem to have an artificial-looking sharpness.

DXO (with their Lens Module based Lens Softness Correction) produces sharp photos with a very natural look. As if I had shot the photo with the best lens in the world.

Worth a try; they offer a free 30 day trial. http://www.dxo.com/intl/photo/free_trial_version

0 upvotes
utphoto
By utphoto (Jan 24, 2013)

Interesting article, not a real review covering all of the available software, but mostly of interest to pixel peepers. In the real world, buyers of wall art, for the most part, don't have a clue about film or digital formats, print processes or print media, much less post processing. They just care if the image does something for them emotionally.

As for Capture One, it's been of interest to me except the company refuses to support competitive digital medium format systems, in my case the Pentax 645d. So, I'll stick with LR.

And as an owner and user of both Macs and PCs (64bit), anyone who claims PCs aren't up to Apple standards of performance is simply a fanboy to be ignored.

1 upvote
jadmaister2
By jadmaister2 (Jan 24, 2013)

enjoyable and informative as ever..

Have you ever noticed in life,
no matter how impartial and helpful you try to be, there's always someone whining and complaining about your efforts?

Please take little notice of them. For me, as an amateur who doesn't 'know-it-all' your reviews are invaluable.

3 upvotes
Priaptor
By Priaptor (Jan 24, 2013)

Great article.

Thank you.

2 upvotes
EricHiss
By EricHiss (Jan 24, 2013)

Capture one does a much better job handling CA and overall the IQ is significantly better on files from their own digital backs. You can see this in areas of detail near transition from light to dark.

LR4 has better print output than C1. I will often render in C1 with a fine sharpening radius for capture, then use the detail slider in LR4 as a second sharpening pass before printing.

I haven't tried doing LCC with lightroom, but this is an area that C1 handles very well. Not much of an issue with DSLR's but very important for many types of critical work.

1 upvote
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (Jan 24, 2013)

Your showdown is nice, but there are issues.

1) colors depend on color profile, both COP7 and ACR/LR allows user color profiles (I doubt DxO doesnt, but I dont know)
2) colors depend on camera itself paired with profile (for example colors for 5DMK2 from COP7 are quite ugly, while for Sony they have some nice profiles)

So your color comparsion is kinda meaningless as its too individual and cant be quantified.

If you want great colors, it can be done with any RAW converter as long as it allows custom color profiles. And of course you need to know how to make them. Plus you need camera that does have good colors (obviously).

Yea and to make things even more fun, each converter reads WB differently. :D (at least with some dSLRs)

Kudos for trying, but really it doesnt have much point.. If someone wants to try whats best with default ICCs, they simply need to try each converter themselves. Yea and as far as colors go, original manufacturer RAW converters are sometimes better.

0 upvotes
kodachromeguy
By kodachromeguy (Jan 24, 2013)

Interesting article. But like some other readers, I wish the article had included Aperture (even if it is Mac-specific only). Also, like some other readers reported, I have really gotten great results from Photo Ninja. And I find its interface to be easy to use.

4 upvotes
philcozz
By philcozz (Jan 24, 2013)

Just discovered Photo Ninja as a result of earlier comments here. Very impressed. Have used all the big ones, Aperture, LR4, Capture One 7, DXO... Photo Ninja is excellent.

0 upvotes
Robgo2
By Robgo2 (Jan 25, 2013)

Yeah, Photo Ninja really does put just about every other raw convertor to shame, despite its lacking some of the features of the over bloated behemoths. Spend a little time learning what its presets and adjustment tools do, and it will be hard to go back to anything else. PN is extremely polished for a v1 program. When v1.1 is released with a Photoshop plugin, it will really turn some heads.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Simon97
By Simon97 (Jan 24, 2013)

I use RawTherepee. I'm not converting raw files in any large volume, but when I do have a few to process, this program does everything I ask of it. I'm very happy with the results I get. Makes me wonder why I even fool around with JPEGs anymore.

2 upvotes
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (Jan 24, 2013)

Im not always using RT as main RAW converter, but some of its features are both unique and great. Sorta similar is Photivo (larger selection of algorithm tweaking and some nice features aswell, just less user friendly).

1 upvote
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (Jan 24, 2013)

Simon97:

I just tried Raw Therapee 4.0 Win7 64bit and the software would not acknowledge my pictures libraries, nor could I force it to open a raw file by right clicking the raw file and selecting "open with...", not because it wouldn't acknowledge the file, instead I got the message that Rawtherapee was not compatible with my computer; odd it installed and opened.

I've installed a lot of software and never seen anything this weird.

Perhaps it's good freeware, like DigiKam or GIMP, but who knows Rawtherapee doesn't run on Windows 7.

0 upvotes
Simon97
By Simon97 (Jan 24, 2013)

I'm running RT4 on Windows 7 64 bit. Works fine.

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (Jan 24, 2013)

Simon97--

Fine but clearly if it doesn't work on my Windows 7 machine there's a problem with R T 4.

It's nothing like I've ever seen. Perhaps some slight tweak to the software has changed something since you installed it.

0 upvotes
Robgo2
By Robgo2 (Jan 25, 2013)

Raw Therapee has its base of fans, but it really is a bit of a mess. At the risk of mixing metaphors, I would say that RT is an example of too many cooks spoiling the broth by trying to be all things to all people. In contrast, RPP (also donation ware) has only two programmers, and despite its very limited set of features, it produces splendid raw conversions.

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (Jan 27, 2013)

Robgo2:

Okay, but RPP (raw photo processor) is Mac only, so it's not for many.

http://www.raw-photo-processor.com/RPP/Downloads.html

I'm going to try tweaking the installation of RawTherapee and see if my trick helps. I tried putting the 32 bit version on my WinXP laptop, but Rawtheapee for WinXP 32 bit will not install without a minimum of 2 gigs of system ram.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
pixtorial
By pixtorial (Jan 24, 2013)

As some others here, I find the exclusion of Corel Aftershot Pro (fka Bilbble) puzzling. The current build of Aftershot is a capable, if not entirely perfect, RAW conversion and asset management platform with some unique features the other offerings here do not have. It is cross-platform, has been around I believe longer than the three products that were tested, and can be had for practically shareware prices.

Aftershot needs some investment for some cameras in its color profiles, and its asset management features are not as mature as these other products. It has superior speed, especially with multicore AMD support. I also believe that it renders, for many camera systems, with better acutance without added sharpening.

While many here have also argued that Aperture should have been included, it is unfortunately falling behind the other offerings. Somewhere along the way the vision and spirit of earlier versions of Aperture have been lost, and I worry for its future.

4 upvotes
ve7vie
By ve7vie (Jan 27, 2013)

Thanks for mentioning Aftershot! I have been using PSP for years and remember Bibble. I've given up on Picasa and almost jumped to LR until I looked at Aftershot. Only $50 for PSP users so I jumped on it. Can't wait to reorganize. I'll use the Linux, Mac and Windows versions.

0 upvotes
Scottie Wang
By Scottie Wang (Jan 24, 2013)

Please DPREVIEW privide all RAW files in this showdown !!!

1 upvote
WT21
By WT21 (Jan 24, 2013)

Without a clear workflow or output quality winner, I'll go with the application and company that I think will still be around and independent 10 years from now, and who is most likely to give my library and adjustments an upgrade path - Adobe.

Comment edited 25 seconds after posting
3 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (Jan 24, 2013)

True Adobe Bridge is a good library, oh wait DPReview didn't write about that part of the Adobe system.

0 upvotes
Peter K Burian
By Peter K Burian (Jan 24, 2013)

I love the features and workflow of Adobe software but I get better image quality with DXO Pro Elite .... their Lens Modules recognize the exact lens that was used and apply specific corrections that provide a sharper image. In my mind that is the primary value of DXO.

But sure when I need to process hundreds of RAW photos I prefer Adobe.

2 upvotes
Michael Engelen
By Michael Engelen (Jan 24, 2013)

"[...] DXO Pro Elite .... their Lens Modules recognize the exact lens that was used and apply specific corrections that provide a sharper image. In my mind that is the primary value of DXO".
That is also one of the reasons, why I use DxO. Besides there are pretty simple to use and very effective functions like using color profiles of different cameras/manufacturers or (if you buy the DxO Filmpack software) even different film type simulations -- all with just one click--that really saves a lot of time.

3 upvotes
Peter K Burian
By Peter K Burian (Jan 24, 2013)

P.S. I agree that DXO is a bit slow; there is a delay after applying any tool (as with Capture NX2)

.. and it is too slow in general on my laptop PC which has a lot less RAM than my desktop PC.

0 upvotes
Priaptor
By Priaptor (Jan 24, 2013)

I agree.

0 upvotes
Adrian Van
By Adrian Van (Jan 24, 2013)

I have used DXO Elite Pro since 4.9 and now at 8.0 and I love the interface easy to understand and apply any change and I like it better than Lightroom which I thought was slower. Maybe it is just me since I have used it for years. If you upgrade to an i7 processor in imac or new windows CPU with 64bit this software DXO is very fast to use and images load fast enough. Love the lighting features and also new tone sliders features of DXO 8.

0 upvotes
bobbarber
By bobbarber (Jan 24, 2013)

RawTherapee is not the only free option. The "engine" in RawTherapee is dcraw, a free command line converter for raw files written by Dave Coffin. dcraw is also the guts for many, many other free converters. I use UFRaw.

As far as limited functionality in RawTherapee, UFRaw, etc. goes, all you have to do is use those programs (or the command line) to convert your raw files, and complete processing them in other software, like Photoshop or gimp, if the functionality is too little for what you do. For me, it's like one program. When I open a raw file in gimp, gimp automatically presents the file to me in UFRaw. I make whatever tweaks I want, click a button, and the photo is converted and passed to gimp.

0 upvotes
Zdman
By Zdman (Jan 24, 2013)

Rawtherapee uses dcraw to extract the raw colour file and related exif data from the various propeitary formats. The demosaiking is done by Raw therapee as its all the other usual exposure,noise etc adjustments. Very good noise filters, CA correction, Micro contrast adustment and my favourite flat field correction for my manual lenses. Can't do all that from the dcraw command line.

1 upvote
bobbarber
By bobbarber (Jan 24, 2013)

I will admit that the usability of RawTherapee is light years ahead of dcraw, but I don't believe that there is anything that you can do in RawTherapee that you can't do on the command line. In fact, it's the other way around.

The command line, by definition, means that you can use other tools, like imagemagick, in pipes. Thus the functionality of the command line is almost unlimited, unlike RawTherapee.

Even limiting the conversation to dcraw alone, does RawTherapee use the -d option for example, which is grayscale without interpolation? Maybe it does, I don't know. EDIT: This is an option for raw development of black and white documents, but it gives a REALLY cool artistic look to certain photos.

You're right, the command line is only for a few geeks, but that's not because functionality is limited.

Comment edited 59 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
noegd
By noegd (Jan 24, 2013)

Yes many software developer re-use dcraw source code for raw file decoding purpose (incl. Adobe), but develop their own demosaicking algorithms.

I too used to use different software for raw processing, image editing and cataloguing (IMatch back then), but I was tired of the different software UI logic, the need to manage intermediate files and the potential different rendering of the same raw files in different software (IMatch, Capture One, Nikon Capture and Photoshop).

In that respect, an all-in-one solution such as Lightroom has been a life-changing (and time-saving) experience for me.

0 upvotes
CabSav
By CabSav (Jan 24, 2013)

has any of you used XDepth Raw? any good? I have heard contradicting opinions.

0 upvotes
bobbarber
By bobbarber (Jan 24, 2013)

@CabSav

I haven't. I just took a gander at their web site and it looks interesting. Good luck.

0 upvotes
noegd
By noegd (Jan 24, 2013)

I liked the review, and having both C1 Pro, and Lr4, and having occasionally tested DxO, I cannot disagree with the conclusions.

I'd add one thing: the default rendering of Lr, which is indeed quite flat, can usually be made much more pleasing by selecting camera maker profiles, when they exist. You can also tweak the look and profiles to your liking, and define them as the new default settings to apply to that camera on later imports.

What is interesting, is how close these three programs are getting. 6y ago, Lr, C1 and DxO were much more different software that they are today.

Finally, RawTherapee is a great converter with leading edge demosaicking algorithms. It is however not as features rich as the above software: it is still primarily a raw converter (even if the compatibility with Adobe's DNG color profiles and lens profiles extends its usefulness). And more importantly, it is still a beta product that has some serious stability and memory management issues.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Zdman
By Zdman (Jan 24, 2013)

If you can download RT 4.0.9.161 much improved stability but yes does not play well with a 32-bit OS (no problem on 64-bit)

0 upvotes
noegd
By noegd (Jan 24, 2013)

I only have 32bit Windows installs, and there is no 64bit build for the Mac yet. Too bad as I guess it would fly on my 8 cores, 16 GB Mac Pro...

0 upvotes
CabSav
By CabSav (Jan 24, 2013)

World of RAW converters is much broader than only those three. One of the reasons “the big three” is so big is that dpreview and similar sites hardly ever mention alternatives. How about

-Photo Ninja product of the creator of highly regarded Noise Ninja plug-in
-Raw Therapee – one of the best open source Raw converters with hard to beat price of £0.0

1 upvote
stanislaff
By stanislaff (Jan 24, 2013)

I would like to see the test of RawTherapee

5 upvotes
Total comments: 415
1234