DxO Optics Pro 5.3What does DxO Optics Pro do? I think of DxO as an excellent RAW converter with lots of options—like a Swiss Army knife. What is it? It’s a tool that can be integrated very smoothly into either your Lightroom or Photoshop workflow.

But Photoshop and Lightroom have their own RAW converter, so why would you need DxO? Well, consider that DxO now performs noise removal before RAW conversion takes place and it’s actually filtered before de-mosaicing. According to DxO Labs, this approach prevents the noise effects at each pixel location from spreading to neighboring pixels. In my limited testing, I saw an improvement with low-light images shot at ISO 6400, and even greater improvement on images shot at higher ISOs when compared with the built-in Adobe noise-removal methods.

Beyond RAW conversion, DxO corrects lens distortions automatically for most camera and lens combinations. It also removes chromatic aberration (purple fringing) effectively and automatically.

DxO Optics Pro was one of the first applications to offer Lightroom plug-in support and in my tests, I used Lightroom to open and manage the images but would pop them into DxO for correction of lens distortion, chromatic aberration, and color—yes, color. Although I bring this up last, I think it’s the best feature. There’s something that the DxO software does during color correction that really makes the colors in the image look better. By fitting DxO into my Lightroom workflow after a shoot, my resulting photos are finished quicker and look better.

Download the free, fully functional, 14-day trial from the website and see for yourself. The software is available in two versions: DxO Optics Elite and Standard—Elite provides support for high-end professional cameras.—Dave Huss

PRICE: $169 (Standard); $299 (Elite)
FROM: DxO Labs

HOT Noise reduction