DxO Op­tics Pro 11 Elite £159/$199

Op­ti­cal per­fec­tion, but at a price

NPhoto - - Gear Zone | The Big Test -

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.

Per­for­mance

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.

Specs

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

Ver­dict

Fea­tures Ease of use: Per­for­mance Value for money

Over­all

Bril­liant but spe­cialised, it re­ally needs View­Point 2 to achieve its full po­ten­tial.

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