DxO Optics Pro 11 Elite £159/$199
Optical perfection, but at a price
DxO Optics Pro uses labdeveloped correction profiles for a vast and ever-increasing number of camera-lens combinations. The software reads the equipment used from an image’s EXIF data and then automatically looks up a profile that corrects lens distortion, vignetting, chromatic aberration and even edge softness. If it doesn’t have the necessary correction profile already, it checks the DxO site and prompts you to download it, which takes just a few moments.
It works on both JPEG and RAW files straight from the camera, and its RAW conversion quality is every bit as impressive as its optical corrections. The default noise control is already better than Adobe Camera Raw’s, and the slower, PRIME noise reduction mode delivers even better quality.
Earlier versions of Optics Pro had perspective correction controls built in, but these have now been spun out into the separate ViewPoint 2 software. Analogue film effects are available in FilmPack 5. Both integrate fully with Optics Pro.
Optics Pro’s default conversions are accurate rather than overintensified, though there are a whole range of preset effects you can choose from if you’re after a particular ‘look’.
For sheer RAW image quality, it’s a close-run thing between this and Capture One Pro, though if you like your images rich and intense, then Capture One has the edge.
DxO’s Smart Lighting controls for balancing highlights and shadows are effective but complicated, and you have to pay extra for ViewPoint 2 where rival programs offer perspective correction built in. Its biggest drawback, though, is the lack of localised adjustments. For this you’ll still need Photoshop, or a program like it.
Platform: PC and Mac Requirements: Windows 7 or later, Mac OS X 10.10 or later, 4GB RAM, 2GB hard disk space Browsing: Yes Cataloguing: No RA W processing: Yes Lens corrections: Yes Localised adjustments: No Layers and masks: No Preset effects: Yes Plug-ins: No
Features Ease of use: Performance Value for money
Brilliant but specialised, it really needs ViewPoint 2 to achieve its full potential.