DxO Optics Pro 9 review: will this software make your camera perform better?

DxO Optics Pro 9 review: can this software make your camera perform better than you thought possible?

Can DxO Optics Pro 9 make your camera and lenses perform better than you thought possible? Find out in our DxO Optics Pro 9 review.

UPDATE: We’ve updated this post to include our DxO Optics Pro 8 review at the end.

DxO Optics Pro 9 review: can this software make your camera perform better than you thought possible?

A closer look at the DxO Optics Pro 9 interface.

DxO Labs specialises in lens testing, image assessment and optical corrections. DxO Optics Pro is the fruit of all this work.

It uses unique correction profiles, created for specific camera and lens combinations, to correct a whole range of optical bugbears, including distortion, edge softness, chromatic aberration and corner shading (vignetting).

These optical defects are a fact of life for most of us: it’s next to impossible for lens manufacturers to produce lenses that don’t have at least some of these flaws and yet provide the zoom ranges we want.

But DxO Optics Pro doesn’t just correct lens defects. It also converts raw files, and has some tricks up its sleeve here, too, using DxO’s Smart Lighting technology to open up shadow details and recover the maximum possible dynamic range from your images.

There are some restrictions to be aware of, though. First, Optics Pro can only work with your original files straight from the camera.

Second, if you use a high-end or pro SLR, you will need the more expensive Elite edition. The DxO website lists the cameras supported by each version.

DxO is constantly releasing profiles for new lenses and cameras, so the new features in version 9 centre around raw conversion and image-processing tools.

Its tools are also quite complex, even intimidating, so when you take all these factors into account, it’s clear that DxO Optics Pro is designed for enthusiasts and experts rather than beginners.

SEE MORE: Best photo editing software: 6 Photoshop alternatives tested and rated

DxO Optics Pro 9 review: is this the Photoshop alternative you've been waiting for?

Noise removal in DxO Optics Pro 9

One of the headline features in Optics Pro 9 is DxO’s Prime noise reduction option, which analyses over 1,000 surrounding pixels for each pixel in the image. It sounds processor-intensive, and it is.

It can take several minutes to apply the Prime process to a single image, although you can get on with other jobs while it runs in the background. The results are impressive, although most high-ISO shots have issues other than noise.

DxO’s High noise-reduction process, improved in version 9, is effective too, and almost instant by comparison.

If you put the two side by side, the Prime version is certainly smoother, but doesn’t look as sharp.

The High version has a little more noise, but looks a fraction crisper.

PAGE 1: New features in DxO Optics Pro 9
PAGE 2: Using DxO’s Smart Lighting and visual presets
PAGE 3: DxO Optics Pro 9 Review: the verdict
PAGE 4: Our original DxO Optics Pro 8 review

READ MORE

6 portrait editing tricks for timeless, on-trend images
7 Photoshop solutions to common image problems
Unsharp Mask: how to ensure the sharpest images possible every time
The ideal Photoshop Elements workflow: how to streamline your photo editing