Exposure X7 vs DXO Photolab 5

Started 6 months ago | Discussions thread
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DocBobB Contributing Member • Posts: 839
Exposure X7 vs DXO Photolab 5

DXO Photolab

Exposure X7 with Topaz DenoiseAI -"Clear" module

I’ve spent a month with the trial version of DXO Photolab 5, really trying to learn it well. My standard of comparison is Exposure X7 with Topaz Denoise AI, Sharpen AI and Mask AI.

There are 2 areas where it is better than Exposure X7 with Topaz Denoise AI and Sharpen AI. 1. SOME landscapes have a better 3-dimensional feel to them. Some landscapes I can get equivalent results with Exposure X7 but it requires more work to do it. 2. The de-fishing tool is the best I’ve ever used.

In order to learn best practices I tried processing landscapes in DXO with deep prime, then processing in Exposure X7 and Topaz Denoise AI and getting BETTER results. Having the DXO as a target has improved my processing in X7 but in the end the results are better in X7 and DXO is a good learning tool. Not a bad reason to get it though, I really did learn a lot from using it.

Other than certain landscapes, Exposure X7 with Denoise AI is equivalent or better for almost everything else - portraits, macros, close ups, street photos- simply less work and more intuitive workflow to get good results. In fact I used X7 as the target to learn DXO!

One issue I have with DXO is that some adjustments can’t be seen unless the image is zoomed to 75% which I find very inconvenient. To get a sense of the whole photo you have to export to disk, take a look and re-adjust, export again etc.

Exposure X7 masking makes using Topaz Mask AI unnecessary, it is that good. DXO’s masking is pretty good as well though not as flexible as X7.

Where Exposure X7 really beats DXO is that it doesn’t require add-on “packs”. You get film emulations, perspective control, borders, overlays, creative vignetting and colour filters all built right, and the photo browser is in a different league altogether. Keywording is marginally better in X7 but searching, filtering and collections are MUCH better, and the ability to view and compare up to 6 images at a time are invaluable for culling especially if you have been using burst mode and have 25 almost identical pictures of the same bird and need to choose the best.

In the end, I could only use DXO if I was to use X7 as the host program, but I could happily use X7 with Topaz and nothing else.

Here’s my final conclusion - If it goes on Black Friday 50% sale I'll pick it up as a good learning tool, and for occasional landscapes. However if it is not 50% off it is not worth the cost to me for the few images I’d use it for.

My $0.02, YMMV…

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Bob B
www.pbase.com/bbernstein; https://500px.com/p/bbernsteinphoto?view=galleries
In use: Olympus OMD E-M1 mkii; OMD EM-1 mki; mZuiko12~100; m.Zuiko 100-400; Panasonic 45-175 PZ; Pan/Leica 25mm f1.4; m.zuiko 75-300; Rokinon 7.5 fisheye; Zuiko 50mm macro and EC14; Zuiko 50~200 ED, fl36, old e-510.
On the shelf: e30, EC20, 18~180, 14~42, 40~150, Zuiko12~60,

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