Unveiled: DxO OpticsPro 10 / FilmPack 5

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Perhaps best known for extensive testing of different lenses and camera image sensors, DxO should also be known as a maker of high-end post-production and image-editing software. Offering distinct solutions for raw file processing and photo adjustments, DxO has just announced two new updates to its lineup of editing programs: OpticsPro 10 and FilmPack 5.

OpticsPro 10 Elite and Essential Editions

As the flagship program, OpticsPro 10 is, at the core, a raw file processing tool that also aids photographers in correcting optical flaws in imagery, reducing unwanted digital noise, and adjusting color, exposure, and tonal values of imagery. Split between two versions—Elite and Essential—DxO offers two levels of this application, which are characterized by their versatility and number of included features.

The lighter of the two versions, the Essential Edition, contains much of the core functionality of the program and allows photographers the ability to process their raw files using a rich set of features to control exposure, color, and noise. Distinct denoising technology, as DxO calls it, is a noise-reduction process that helps to preserve detail and color saturation in raw and JPEG files while removing distracting discolorations caused by working with higher ISO sensitivity settings. An updated interface for controlling the amount of noise reduction avails a larger preview area along with easily navigable palette settings for intuitive control.

Benefitted by DxO's vast experience in testing lenses, OpticsPro is also unique in its ability to compensate for a wide variety of optical defects, including distortions, chromatic aberrations, and vignetting. More than 20,000 lens and camera combinations have been tested in order to specifically correct for these flaws in imagery when made with nearly any current lens or camera available. Furthermore, a Lens Softness tool can also be used to enhance sharpness and vividness in imagery, which reduces artifacts for more naturally appearing sharpening control.

Improved DxO Smart Lighting is another hallmark of the new version of OpticsPro, which can automatically analyze scene content in order to extend the effective dynamic range of an image to better control highlight and shadow values. Manual control is also afforded, with a series of sliders to adjust tone, brightness, and contrast response for extracting greater details from files.

Among other features found in this new version, close collaboration with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom permits non-destructive editing between the two programs, with the ability to import Lightroom catalogs into OpticsPro, refine imagery, and then seamlessly export back into Lightroom for greater control over file management. Support is available for working with DNG files, too, and batch processing allows you to perform consistent edits to multiple files. This Essential Edition license can also be activated on two different computers for users working from multiple locations.

 

Upping the capabilities of the Essential Edition, the Elite Edition strives to improve a number of distinct features and adds several more to serve as a more well-rounded editing suite. Enhanced denoising control is aided by PRIME technology, which helps to minimize noise and preserve detail by an equivalent of one f/stop. In doing this, imagery gains increased brightness with faithful color and shadow detail. Visible noise is cleanly replaced through an intelligent sampling process, where more than 1,000 candidate pixels are used to accurately inform interpolations.

Another distinct feature in the Elite Edition is ClearView haze reduction which, as its name suggests, works to clear up haze that becomes increasingly prevalent when working with distant subject matter. By increasing local contrast and clarity in scenes, unwanted diffusion can be better controlled for more vivid results with enhanced black levels, maintained ambient color values, and smooth tonal transitions.

From here, this Elite version further characterizes itself with the inclusion of an anti-moiré tool for easily removing distracting color artifacts, as well as the ability to apply ICC profiles from calibrated cameras for more consistent color accuracy. Additionally, custom controls, such as those to create and edit different presets, create customized palettes, and select multiple unique exporting locations simultaneously, are also available. And the Elite user will also have the ability to activate OpticsPro 10 on up to three different computers.

FilmPack 5 Elite and Essential Editions

Dedicated to simulating the look of various film types with your digital files, the newest version of FilmPack supersedes its predecessors through the inclusion of new film stocks, as well as refined controls for a greater range of adjustments to your filmic digital photos. Again available in both Elite and Essential Editions, this software follows OpticsPro 10 by affording a richer feature set with the Elite Edition and a pared-down set of tools with the Essential Edition.

The Elite Edition contains more than 80 unique film-type presets to apply to digital images, including 16 new options from Adox, Bergger, Foma, Fujifilm, Kodak, and Ilford. In total, this edition comprises 38 black-and-white films, 27 color positive films, and 17 color negative films, and allows you to apply the unique qualities of any of them to both JPEG and raw image files. When creating these film simulations, DxO utilizes a process in which they have photographed both test charts and real subjects on each of the films, scanned in the results at high resolution, and then mapped the grain qualities and response patterns to best replicate the look of working with the films themselves. Additionally, grain intensity and density can be adjusted manually, and different films can be combined to lend personalized results. Furthermore, this edition also includes 39 Designer Renderings that simulate a variety of film-based effects beyond the inherent look of the films themselves.

The Elite Edition also characterizes itself with the ability to fine-tune micro-contrast in imagery, in order to extract greater details throughout the tonal range, and 18 color filters can also be used for contrast control with black-and-white photos. A Blur tool replicates the look of a soft-focus lens, which maintains clear focus yet adds an ethereal quality to subjects. Among other unique effects, a variety of frames, textures, and light leaks can be added to photographs, as well as tonings and vignetting.

Lastly, the Elite Edition also has a number of workflow-oriented tools that separate it from the Essential Edition, including the ability to import and export custom renderings, take snapshots of your process for easier comparing of effects, and batch processing for faster editing of numerous files.

The Essential Edition holds the same core functionality as the Elite Edition, but includes a smaller sampling of film types: 19 black-and-white options, 17 color positive films, and eight color negative choices, as well as 12 Designer Renderings. This edition is also only compatible with JPEG files, and does not afford quite the same number of customizable options as the Elite Edition. Eight color filters can be applied for contrast effects, and six toning settings can be used, too, with the ability to split toning effects for highlight and shadow regions. Regardless, if using the Elite or Essential Edition, both versions can function as stand-alone applications or as plug-ins with Adobe Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Photoshop Lightroom, Apple Aperture, and DxO OpticsPro applications.