For years I’ve read about this mythical software called DxO and its magical ability to create superbly detailed, best-in-class photos from your camera raw files. Like most people I know, I’m a happy Lightroom user and love its workflow, and have an intimate knowledge of what every slider does, so was never looking for something to replace it.

The Problem(s) With Lightroom

I may be accused of heresy here, but sometimes I despair at what Lightroom sharpening does when I want to pull detail out of shadow areas (and sometimes even in those bright areas).

Also, the noise reduction can get a little bit mushy, so in a shadow region, if you apply my Luminosity noise reduction, all the detail disappears and you get a block of pastel colour – rather than detail in those pixels.

I’ve used most raw editors and never really found a workflow that would fit into my Lightroom world…. But now with dxo maybe, just maybe, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

What a lightroom add-on would do – in a perfect world

What I want is something to take care of the noise reduction, lens optic corrections and sharpening, so I can switch those off in Lightroom. That is exactly what the DXO have created. PureRAW and photolab can both create enhanced raw files from your cameras raw file.

So what?

Well, it means you can import those into Lightroom as raw files and edit them in any way you can tweak a normal raw file but the best-in-class noise reduction and sharpening has already been applied so you can switch those off in Lightroom.

Here is a very short video where I talk about it and show an example

I’ll do a future video showing my new workflow

Save it for “best” photos only

I will add that although this is a fantastic way to pull out detail, there are two things that mean that I won’t be using it for absolutely everything

Processing Time

First is is the time it takes to generate these files. I do have a pretty powerful computer and each 5D Mark 4 file takes around a minute to process. This is not such a big issue if you are editing maybe 10 photos from a landscape day, but I unknowingly started a batch going from an event I photographed with 700 photos in and it took all day to chew through them! That is with its best noise reduction setting I will hasten to add – lower settings are far quicker.

File size

Secondly, the enhancer of files are significantly bigger – 3 times bigger in my experience, so the same size as a TIFF file of the same photo. You can pretty quickly fill your hard drive with duplicate raw files if you decide absolutely everything through this program. So be selective