With version 3.5 DxO has announced simplified Optics Pro licensing, improved its already impressive core technology and introduced support for selected non-DSLR camera models. It’s a free upgrade for version 3.0 users too.
Official press releases: DxO Optics Pro V3.5 Announced With Enhanced DxO Optics Engine
DxO Labs Announces Unrestricted Access To All DxO Lens Modules For Users Of DxO Optics Pro Software
DxO Labs Announces DxO Optics Pro Starter Edition For High-End Digital Cameras
DxO Labs, the Paris-based software developer, has announced a raft of improvements to its interesting Optics Pro digital camera and lens optimiser suite. Optics Pro is an automated image file optimiser that fundamentally relies on specific camera and lens profiling to correct optical geometric and chromatic distortions, reduce image noise, tune up sharpness and optimise dynamic range. Its most powerful features rely on camera-specific knowledge of imaging sensor characteristics used while converting RAW image files.
DxO Optics Pro can remove purple fringing (above: before and after) and lateral chromatic aberration
Originally aimed almost exclusively at users of digital SLRs, a new cut-price Optics Pro 3.5 Standard Edition has been released with support for selected non-DSLR cameras, though some of Optics Pro’s best features, that require low level processing of RAW image files, are left out. Meanwhile, a very sensible decision to do away with Optics Pro’s old lens-specific module licensing system has been revealed. New and existing DSLR Optics Pro users can now use any of the available lens modules without having to pay extra for them. Finally, DxO version 3.5 benefits from an Optics Engine technical upgrade, improving processing speed, chromatic aberration correction, image detail and image margin retention after geometric distortion correction.
This shot demonstrates under exposure in the shadows, over-exposed highlights and distinct barrelling caused by the use of a fisheye lens
Here is the same scene after DxO Optics Pro 3.5 correction. The blue lines indicate where the frame boundary would have been prior to version 3.5
Optics Pro Starter Edition
One of the first cameras to be supported by Optics Pro was the Sony DSC-F828, a high-end digital camera with a permanently fixed zoom lens. But since then DxO has concentrated on profiling DSLR camera bodies and compatible lenses. Acknowledging that there is a huge market for Optics Pro outside of the DSLR sphere, DxO has introduced Optics Pro Starter Edition for a selection of so-called ‘bridge or prosumer digital cameras that don’t feature interchangeable lenses. Like the full version of Optics Pro, the Starter Edition incorporates DxO’s Lighting Engine for exposure and dynamic range optimisations, DxO Noise Engine claimed to be worth a gain of up to two stops in low light and shadow noise improvement and, finally, Optics Engine, for correcting lens vignetting, chromatic aberrations – including purple fringing – and geometric distortions, like barrel and pincushion effects.
Like earlier versions of Optics Pro, you need to ensure that your particular camera is supported. Optics Pro is not a generic solution. Most of its functions are specifically profiled to address the characteristics of a particular camera model. Other Optics Pro versions can convert RAW images, indeed some optimisation features work best from RAW image sources and while a number of cameras supported by Optics Pro Starter Edition do feature RAW file output, this entry level version of Optics Pro doesn’t include RAW conversion capability.
For a full list of cameras supported in Optics Pro Starter Edition see DxO’s detailed press release.
Unrestricted Optics Pro lens module licensing
From today, users of Optics Pro 3.0 and later will be able to use any lens module for their camera without additional charge. DxO says it has changed its pricing and licensing policy to reflect the fact that the DSLR market is no longer a niche one, though the complicated nature of old policy has not endeared itself to everyone, especially those who use several lenses.
Existing users of Optics Pro 3.0 who have bought additional lens modules to the single licence included with the software at the time of purchase will get a free upgrade to the next version of Optics Pro after 3.5 – version 3.5, itself, is a free upgrade for all version 3.0 custiomers. Users of versions prior to 3.0 must pay for their upgrade.
Technical improvements in Optics Pro 3.5
Apart from the addition of the Starter Edition and the change in lens module licensing, there is a new Optics Engine component. This no longer crops processed images to maintain the aspect ratio of the original image, so preserving more of the original scene. Requested by many, a crop tool has now been implemented for the first time. Processing times are slightly faster and now there is support for dual processors or dual core processors, which can halve the processing time. Detail retrieval has been improved in the lens softness correction algorithms as well.
What about Olympus and Pentax DSLR users?
Currently, DxO supports selected Nikon, Canon and Konica Minolta DSLR camera bodies and lenses, but there is no support at all for Olympus and Pentax DSLR camera bodies or lenses, not even in the Standard Edition. DxO explains that it is a relatively small company and the work that goes into the building of a camera body profile module, plus each lens profile module, is very time consuming. These brands sell in smaller numbers than, especially, Canon and Nikon, so they must devote their limited resources to the bigger market players. That said, DxO say they regularly communicate with all the camera manufacturers and in an ideal world they would support more cameras than they do at present.
DxO Optics Pro 3.5 will be available for both Windows and Mac platforms from early November.