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?

Using DxO Smart Lighting

Using DxO Optics Pro 9's Smart Lighting

The new Smart Lighting system can be amazingly effective at recovering shadow detail.

DxO says its Smart Lighting technology is improved too, claiming improved highlight and shadow recovery with fewer colour errors.

It’s certainly among the best for highlight recovery – although there are limits to what any raw converter can do with overexposed areas, so the advances here are subtle rather than obvious.

It can also recover an extraordinary level of shadow detail without badly affecting midtones and highlights.

This kind of heavy tonal compression can leave some shots looking a little flat, but the results are impressive in most instances.

SEE MORE: 13 photo editing mistakes every photographer makes (and how to avoid them)

DxO Optics Pro 9's visual presets

DxO Optics Pro 9’s visual presets

The other main changes relate to the interface and the workflow. DxO Optics Pro 9 can now display preset previews, allowing you to see the effect a preset will have on your image before you apply it.

The interface is both simpler and more efficient, and DxO has reorganised the tools palettes in the right sidebar.

If you’re familiar with previous versions, you’ll notice there’s no longer an Export tab.

Instead, you export images via a button in the bottom-right corner.

This does feel more intuitive, but if you are used to the older versions, you might feel as if it’s change for change’s sake.

Finally, DxO says Optics Pro 9 has been made faster, and it certainly does seem a little more responsive than previous versions.

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

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  • Gerry Long

    EERrrm didn’t you know about ACDSee, an excellent user friendly comprehensive editing tool with raw processing. I had trial versions of all the Adobe editors etc, and uninstalled them after 2 frustrating weeks! Found dozens had encountered the same problem as me and in spite of reference to multiple internet entries could not resolve the problem. The loaded photo bore no resemblance to the pic on my camera or on any other of the viewing software I use (at least 1 stop underexposed) ! Attempting to get assistance from Adobe was the ultimate in frustration! Adobe….no thanks!