A case study of IQ differences between Luminar 4 vs DxO PL4

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AlmostDoctor Contributing Member • Posts: 775
A case study of IQ differences between Luminar 4 vs DxO PL4
1

I have been going through some of my old raw files, re-processing them in DxO Photo Lab 4 to try to learn the program and see how it works.

I compared one of those photos to the jpeg I made from Luminar 4 and I was blown away by the differences.

However, keep in mind that I did not process these files with identical results in mind or that I used optimal workflow in Luminar 4.  In fact, I'm sure my poor luminar skill is more to blame rather than the inherent IQ differences between the programs.

This comparison is just one anecdotal evidence based on my poor editing skills and should be interpreted with a massive grain of salt.

With that said, I should note that I spent less time processing this file in DxO than in Luminar.

First, here's the SOOC Jpeg for reference. (Do view the photos in full screen if you can.)

The sky wasn't blue enough and the grasses weren't green enough for my liking.

SOOC Jpeg for reference. I wanted to bump up the saturation, increase the contrast etc.

Luminar 4. I settled for this edit, but I remember not being quite pleased with the way it came out. It just looked over processed but it was difficult to bump up the saturation while trying to keep the image looking photo-realistic.

DxO PhotoLab 4. I may have overdone it with saturation, but the image looks much more photo-realistic compared to the output from Luminar IMHO.

In Luminar's defense, I do love their AI face detection portrait fix settings. It makes it so much easier to work with environmental portraits. But in terms of  pure IQ, I got the impression that Luminar 4 didn't necessarily get the best out of the raw files compared to my past experiences with DarkTable. DxO handsomely beats both in my limited experience so far.

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C Sean Senior Member • Posts: 2,842
Re: A case study of IQ differences between Luminar 4 vs DxO PL4
2

I haven't used Luminar 4 much for obvious reasons. With my trips abroad canceled and I hardly go anywhere at the moment, I'm not getting a fair use out of the program.

I think the main strengths of the AI and Luminar 4 are portraits, landscapes and cityscapes. Other than that I probably wouldn't recommend Luminar 4 for your main photo editor. I did play with Luminar 4 AI when it comes to my Sabi Sand(safari) photos, the AI doesn't recognise the animals.

Dick Barbour
Dick Barbour Senior Member • Posts: 1,123
Re: A case study of IQ differences between Luminar 4 vs DxO PL4

AlmostDoctor wrote:

I have been going through some of my old raw files, re-processing them in DxO Photo Lab 4 to try to learn the program and see how it works.

I compared one of those photos to the jpeg I made from Luminar 4 and I was blown away by the differences.

However, keep in mind that I did not process these files with identical results in mind or that I used optimal workflow in Luminar 4. In fact, I'm sure my poor luminar skill is more to blame rather than the inherent IQ differences between the programs.

This comparison is just one anecdotal evidence based on my poor editing skills and should be interpreted with a massive grain of salt.

With that said, I should note that I spent less time processing this file in DxO than in Luminar.

First, here's the SOOC Jpeg for reference. (Do view the photos in full screen if you can.)

The sky wasn't blue enough and the grasses weren't green enough for my liking.

On my monitor the PL4 file just looks plain garish. The Luminar file isn't bad but I wouldn't settle for either of these. For what it's worth here's my take with just a little s-curve plus saturation bump for cyan, yellow, and green. All in Photoshop.

Dick

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OP AlmostDoctor Contributing Member • Posts: 775
Re: A case study of IQ differences between Luminar 4 vs DxO PL4

I noticed that on my phone screen, it does look too much. On my laptop, it doesn't look nearly as over the top so I didn't really realize it.

I guess it's the downside of not having calibrated monitor and pushing the saturation to the limits.

While I agree that the saturation is too high in PL4 image, the textures in the tree stump is still far more realistic looking in PL4 than in Luminar 4 which is interesting to me. The textures in PL4 looks a lot more painting-like, which is also something I noticed from other files I edited in Luminar 4. In my limited experience, DxO seems to retain more photo-realistic textures even when pushing the saturation quite a bit.

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BG28
BG28 Regular Member • Posts: 446
Re: A case study of IQ differences between Luminar 4 vs DxO PL4

AlmostDoctor wrote:

I noticed that on my phone screen, it does look too much. On my laptop, it doesn't look nearly as over the top so I didn't really realize it.

I guess it's the downside of not having calibrated monitor and pushing the saturation to the limits.

It's pretty wild how different screens display the same image..

While I agree that the saturation is too high in PL4 image, the textures in the tree stump is still far more realistic looking in PL4 than in Luminar 4 which is interesting to me. The textures in PL4 looks a lot more painting-like, which is also something I noticed from other files I edited in Luminar 4. In my limited experience, DxO seems to retain more photo-realistic textures even when pushing the saturation quite a bit.

One difference that stands out to me is that the clarity looks to have been pushed a bit too far in Luminar (imo). Looking at the stump, the midtone contrast is much less than the DxO image and jpeg. That might be contributing to the overall "blown out" effect, alongside the saturation.

It's a nice portrait, tho. That dog looks so majestic!

The other current thread about raw processing has me convinced I need something else besides Luminar (3) to rely on. I just recently lost access to PS Elements during a software update last week, so I definitely needs something to replace the lost capability.

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OP AlmostDoctor Contributing Member • Posts: 775
Re: A case study of IQ differences between Luminar 4 vs DxO PL4

BG28 wrote:

AlmostDoctor wrote:

I noticed that on my phone screen, it does look too much. On my laptop, it doesn't look nearly as over the top so I didn't really realize it.

I guess it's the downside of not having calibrated monitor and pushing the saturation to the limits.

It's pretty wild how different screens display the same image..

Right. I have preference towards really saturated colors so I need to remember that it could be too much on other people's screens.

While I agree that the saturation is too high in PL4 image, the textures in the tree stump is still far more realistic looking in PL4 than in Luminar 4 which is interesting to me. The textures in PL4 looks a lot more painting-like, which is also something I noticed from other files I edited in Luminar 4. In my limited experience, DxO seems to retain more photo-realistic textures even when pushing the saturation quite a bit.

One difference that stands out to me is that the clarity looks to have been pushed a bit too far in Luminar (imo). Looking at the stump, the midtone contrast is much less than the DxO image and jpeg. That might be contributing to the overall "blown out" effect, alongside the saturation.

I remember it was a bit tricky for me to boost clarity/sharpness/microcontrast/saturation in luminar before the images started to look very artificial. DxO does a much better job keeping the image looking more natural, imo.

Deep Prime Noise Reduction and lens sharpness modules are especially great.

It's a nice portrait, tho. That dog looks so majestic!

The other current thread about raw processing has me convinced I need something else besides Luminar (3) to rely on. I just recently lost access to PS Elements during a software update last week, so I definitely needs something to replace the lost capability.

 AlmostDoctor's gear list:AlmostDoctor's gear list
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kaphinga
kaphinga Senior Member • Posts: 2,848
Re: A case study of IQ differences between Luminar 4 vs DxO PL4
1

AlmostDoctor wrote:

I have been going through some of my old raw files, re-processing them in DxO Photo Lab 4 to try to learn the program and see how it works.

Thanks for doing this. I always enjoy post-processing comparisons.

In Luminar's defense, I do love their AI face detection portrait fix settings. It makes it so much easier to work with environmental portraits. But in terms of pure IQ, I got the impression that Luminar 4 didn't necessarily get the best out of the raw files compared to my past experiences with DarkTable. DxO handsomely beats both in my limited experience so far.

My experience is that Luminar will tend to overcook things if one isn't very careful. I keep Luminar around mostly for their "color contrast" slider, which would be difficult to replicate in Lightroom or DXO.

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Marie

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OP AlmostDoctor Contributing Member • Posts: 775
Re: A case study of IQ differences between Luminar 4 vs DxO PL4

kaphinga wrote:

AlmostDoctor wrote:

I have been going through some of my old raw files, re-processing them in DxO Photo Lab 4 to try to learn the program and see how it works.

Thanks for doing this. I always enjoy post-processing comparisons.

In Luminar's defense, I do love their AI face detection portrait fix settings. It makes it so much easier to work with environmental portraits. But in terms of pure IQ, I got the impression that Luminar 4 didn't necessarily get the best out of the raw files compared to my past experiences with DarkTable. DxO handsomely beats both in my limited experience so far.

My experience is that Luminar will tend to overcook things if one isn't very careful. I keep Luminar around mostly for their "color contrast" slider, which would be difficult to replicate in Lightroom or DXO.

I wholeheartedly agree with this. It was generally difficult for me to make the images pop without looking very artificial.

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Joe Lynch Senior Member • Posts: 2,028
Re: A case study of IQ differences between Luminar 4 vs DxO PL4
1

Thanks for posting the comparison.  I have Luminar 4 but don't use it much, mainly because I like DXO so much.  I may go back and do some comparisons on my own.  I can over cook with almost any editor!

Joe

Landscapephoto99 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,183
Re: Moved from DXO to Luminar
1

I like Luminar better.  You have to do your own processing after using the presets.  I think most of the major programs can give similar results, it's just a matter of getting used to a workflow.

OP AlmostDoctor Contributing Member • Posts: 775
Another Example

Luminar 4

DxO PhotoLab 4

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