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Sony RX100: DXO Optics Pro vs ACR

Sony RX100

Several readers have written to say they like the results with DXO Optics Pro on Sony RX100 images.

Larry S writes:

Quick note on a subject that I never thought would interest me, but I finally succumbed to the desire to have a quality pocketable camera and went for the RX100 about 10 days ago. Got some OK results with it, nothing to shake the earth, but then, although I have no previous experience with the program, I saw an announcement that DxO Optics is already supporting the RX100, ahead of a final release by Adobe of an ACR upgrade for the camera.

Anyway, I decided to try it, and I am blown away. I thought the out of camera JPEGs were pretty good, but taking a RAW file from the same shot and running it through even the default settings of DxO leave the JPEG image in the dust, and customizing the DxO settings just a bit can improve the image even more markedly.

I can't recall the last time I have seen such an easily achievable and dramatic improvement in image quality with so little effort. Time to (excuse the blasphemy) pull out the D3s and see how that compares with the DxO processed RX100 RAW images. I know I can do better with the Nikon RAW (obviously, I should hope so) but I am curious how much work in PS that may require, or if the D3s out of camera JPEGs can outshine the DxO processed RAWs from the RX100. And can I now figure out how to put the D3s with the ZF 35/1.4 in my pocket.

Anyway, very curious if you have any experience with this DxO stuff. I had not been previously tempted to try it, but the little Sony RX100 provided enough impetus for me to take advantage of their 30 day trial. And the program is very easy to use (otherwise I never would have found what it is capable of doing).

DIGLLOYD: See the way I am doing the RAW files in Adobe Camera RAW 7.2 and see also the distortion correction bug in ACR.

With a little experimentation, I’m finding that YES, I can get better results with DXO than with ACR, so long as I apply appropriate sharpening. With DXO, the color looks a little better, the noise is better controlled and distortion can be corrected or not.

DXO copy protection and workflow issues

My main issue with DXO has been (this could have improved, I tried the demo today), an infuriating copy protection scheme that has killed every license I ever had, simply by switching boot drives, rendering the software inoperable. I cannot tolerate software licensing that will kill my workday and waste my time; this is already an enormous hassle for me with MS Office, with many hours of my time wasted. This is a particular risk in the field, where there might be no internet or phone to even deal with the issue. I have email-inquired as to whether the same customers-assumed-to-be-thieves copy protection scheme remains in place.

Second, when I consider the costs of stepping outside normal workflow along with the Windows-style all-in-one modal interface (on a Mac), I am not terribly excited about DXO from a usability perspective, but that is my take, and other users might feel that it is just fine. As it certainly is for dabbling with a few images, or for batch processing. But I fall in the middle of those two.

If DXO were a Photoshop plugin, now then we’d have something much more interesting; I really don’t want or need most of the alleged “benefits”; I like vignetting and I don’t want to correct distortion 99% of the time.

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