Has anyone compared Lightroom 4 detail to DxO 8 with Lens Softness On?
Well, I had the chance to do the comparison this weekend.
My conclusion? DxO, for lens softness correction and exposure adjustments, doesn't seem to do anything that can't be achieved with LR4. It does do them faster and with less steps. On the other hand, I liked the results I got in LR4 better than the results from DxO - those results did require more of my time though.
Between noise reduction and Sharpening tools in LR, I can get the same levels of sharpness and low noise with LR as DxO's lens softness function produces and Raw noise produce (on their default settings).
What's interesting, when I looked at 100% or higher (under the assumption of upresing for large prints) I found more "artifacts" of the sharpening process in DxO images compared to LR images. Note, the latter is only relevant if you expect to upres. Otherwise, I like the results of DxO which are produced automatically. Which required no extra time on my part.
Another thing I tried was the new DxO "exposure" slider. It can produce decent results quickly when there are areas in an image fairly underexposed. That said, using the new adjustment functions in LR 4, I was able to get better results with LR4 with just a few more slide adjustments. The images were better for both the underexposed areas and for highlights where I was better able to get more highlight detail with LR4. When you compare the results, contrast, saturation, etc. are all better. The DxO images looked a bit "washed out" in comparison. Note: all my comparisons were lightening images with dark areas or images overall underexposed; I did not test reducing the exposure of an image.
I also compared LR4 lens distortion correction to DxO. The two software packages lens distortion files are clearly different and this can be seen easily if you go back and forth between files that were processed with each for the same image.
Looking at an image from either one, one at a time, it's very hard to say one is better than the other on a 26" monitor. I'm assuming with a large print and a ruler it's possible to judge one as better than the other for architectural images but I could not choose just "eyeballing" the files.
Looking at the extreme edges of images processed with DxO vs. LR4, with lens corrections turned onfor both, I did not see a meaningful IQ difference. I compared images taken with a Nikon 16-85 and with a Nikon 18-70. I've read that DxO outperforms LR for ultrawide angle lenses but I did not compare the two for that.
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