DXO Optics Pro 10 vs Lightroom 5

When the DxO first introduce the Prime noise reduction in its DxO Optics Pro 9 it catch my attention immediately. Although I’m satisfied with the Lightroom 5 noise reduction but I’m still interested in how much better the Prime NR can be. However, the processing and loading time in DxO Optics Pro 9 was significantly slower compare to Lightroom 5.

Soon, DxO released the DxO Optics Pro 10 which claims that the Prime NR performance and loading time in DxO Optics Pro 10 had been boosted up to 4 times and 10 times faster respectively than it was in DxO Optics Pro 9. So I grabbed a copy and give it a try, wow! Impressive! The Prime NR only takes between 1 minute to 1 minute 20 seconds to render my photos on my MBP 13 late 2013, and the loading time for images is significantly improved!

I spent some time to search online but there is not much comparison between DxO Optics Pro 10 vs Lightroom 5. Therefore, I decided to do the comparison myself and share with you all because the DxO Optics Pro 10 is definitely worth the try.

1. Landscape Rendering and Adjustment

First of all, we will look at the comparison of rendering capability of both application. Besides the standard shadow and highlight recovery, DxO Optics Pro 10 also introduce the Smart Lighting optimisation which brings out the details from both underexposed and overexposed areas.

No Correction

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The default rendering for both application seems not much different.

Auto Adjustment

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When apply the auto adjustment, Lightroom 5 opens up more than the DxO Optics Pro 10 due to the different default settings. Lightroom 5 increase exposure and do the highlight and shadow recovery while the DxO Optics Pro 10 only do the lens correction and apply DxO’s Smart Lighting in slight intensity as default.

Fine Tune

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After applied some quick adjustment, both results looked pretty good and  very similar to each other.

However, DxO Optics Pro 10 tends to be more vibrant and saturated than Lightroom even though I set the vibrancy and saturated of DxO to 0 while Lightroom 5 vibrancy is set to +65 and saturated 0.

The highlight and shadow recovery tools in DxO Optics Pro performs more subtle than the Lightroom 5, which means without the DxO’s Smart Lighting optimization, its highlight and shadow recovery tools does not perform as effective as the Lightroom 5’s recovery capability.

Well, both applications utilize their own technology to render the images and the results are decent and pretty close to each other.

Winner: Tie

2. Noise Reduction

DxO Optics Pro 10 provides two different NR technologies – high quality and the Prime. The Prime NR calculates 1000 surrounding pixels to perform NR, and it is only available in Elite version.

Both comparison shots below were shot at ISO 1600 with Sony NEX 6 and show in 100% cropped.

Comparison Set 1

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Lightroom 5 NR does a decent job, DxO high quality NR has slightly better performance (look at the blue light surrounding), while the DxO Prime NR gives a cleaner and sharper image than other two NR.

Comparison Set 2

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In the second comparison, it is more obvious to see the difference between DxO’s Prime NR and the other two NRs. DxO’s Prime NR gives cleaner results and retrieve more details in this comparison.

In general, both DxO’s high quality NR and Prime NR give cleaner results and more details in high ISO shots than Lightroom 5’s NR. The difference between DxO’s high quality NR and Lightroom 5’s NR is not that far but both of them are certainly outperformed by the DxO’s Prime NR.

Winner: DxO’s Prime NR (only available in Elite version)

3.  Perspective Correction

Adobe had introduced the Upright tools in Lightroom 5 to perform perspective correction, while the DxO Optics Pro 10 has to install the DxO Viewpoint 2  plugin (sell at USD 79 as standalone with plugin) to do the same job.

Lightroom 5’s Upright tools has both auto and manual adjustment mode but the DxO’s perspective correction is available in semi-auto and manual adjustment. Semi-auto? Yes, we have to place the alignment tools ourselves instead of one-click button in Lightroom 5 to perform the correction. Although it is troublesome but it provides the flexibility to correct the perspective.

Comparison 1

Default View
Default View

Vertical Correction

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Both results are similar to each other but Lightroom 5 only requires one click.

Full Correction

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I used the DxO’s 4 points tools to do the full correction while the Lightroom 5 only require one-click.

Auto Adjustment (Only Lightroom 5)

Lightroom 5 Auto Correction
Lightroom 5 Auto Correction

Lightroom 5 provides Auto adjustment, it does a decent job to correct the vertical perspective and horizon.

Comparison 2

Second comparison compares the DxO’s 8 points correction and Lightroom 5 Auto correction.

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Correction

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Both applications give decent correction to the perspective but the Lightroom 5 only require one-click rather than self-selective adjustment.

Winner: Lightroom 5

4. Volume Deformation

Besides the perspective correction, the DxO Viewpoint plugin also provides the volume deformation correction which is used to correct the distortion caused by wide-angle shots. Finally, this action is an Auto adjustment in DxO Viewpoint plugin, so does the Lightroom 5 Auto adjustment manage to do the same job with one click?

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Correction

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Well, both applications do a good job to correct the wide-angle distortion but this time Lightroom 5 need to perform manual adjustment because none of the auto adjustment works in this case.

Winner: DxO Optics Pro 10

5. Distortion Correction

DxO is well known for its lens distortion correction, especially the wide-angle and fish eye lens. I use the sample shots from DxO that shot by Canon Fish-eye 15mm for the comparison below.

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Correction

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Neither Lightroom 5’s Upright tool Auto adjustment nor the combination of the Auto adjustment with the manual distortion correction (+100) gives acceptable correction.

Interestingly, the DxO Optics Pro 10 does not recognize this image’s camera and lens combination while the DxO Viewpoint 2 recognize it and prompt for the DxO module download. Although one-click in DxO Viewpoint 2 fix the distortion perfectly, but I still choose to manual correct it in DxO Optics Pro 10 for fair comparison.

Manually choose the correction type as fisheye and set the intensity to +77, bang! The correction is as perfect as the it does in the DxO Viewpoint 2.

Winner: DxO Optics Pro 10

6. Portrait Rendering

When processing portrait shots, I was frustrated by cooling down the skin tones in warm shot initially. Lightroom 5 provides red, orange, and yellow tones while DxO Optics Pro 10 provides only red and yellow tones. It takes me awhile to figure out the balance to cool down the skin tones without desaturate too much red color in the shots.

Let’s see what’s the results after some fine tune with both applications.

Auto Adjustment

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I applied DxO’s portrait preset but the lady’s skin tone still reddish than the Lightroom 5’s Auto adjustment.

Fine Tune

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After some trials and errors, I managed to cool down the skin tone and preserve the red color of the dress in both Lightroom 5 and DxO Optics Pro 10.

One thing I prefer the DxO when processing portrait shots is its micro contrast adjustment and the vignetting blur effect (has to install DxO Film Pack Elite 5). Lightroom 5’s clarity tool works similarly as DxO’s micro contrast adjustment and the radial filter may simulate the DxO’s vignetting blur effect but DxO manages to provide an unique soft and dreamy look, and it renders the skin more naturally than Lightroom 5.

However, Lightroom 5 provides local adjustment tools so I can enhance the iris, brighten the teeth, and etc. but I cannot do so in DxO Optics Pro 10 because DxO has not introduced these masking tools yet.

Winner: Tie

7. Dust Removal Tool

Lightroom 5 provides heal tool and clone tool while the DxO Optics Pro 10 only provides dust removal tool. Both Lightroom 5’s heal tool and DxO’s dust removal tool do a decent job to remove simple dust spot or branches by blending in the color. What if the object to be removed is a little bit more complicated, like a human being in the shot below?

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Comparison

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Well, both applications manage to remove the people in the shot, but the Lightroom 5 outperforms DxO Optics Pro 10 here. Lightroom 5 let us choose the healing source, which means we can choose any part of the image to be blended in the place we want to remove.

Winner: Lightroom 5

8. Remove Haze

DxO Optics Pro 10 introduce the DxO Clear View which gives the image clearer  and more vibrant view. Although Lightroom 5 does not have this specific function, but it is good to see whether the DxO Clear View has some outstanding performance that Lightroom 5 cannot match.

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Comparison

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With a single click, DxO Clear View gives the image more vibrant view and preserve the white color nicely. Using Lightroom 5 auto tone, I have to increase the vibrancy  to get the vibrant blue sky and do some HSL adjustment to keep the building as white color.

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Let’s compare the night shots and see what’s the difference between both application outputs.

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Comparison 2

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Again, Lightroom 5 needs few quick adjustment to achieve the similar result as DxO’s Clear View one-click adjustment.

Well, both applications mange to produce similar “clearer view”. DxO Clear View definitely provides an easier way to clear the “haze” while it is great that the Lightroom 5 also manage to give similar results with some adjustment.

Winner: Tie

Special in Lightroom 5

+ Digital Assest Management (with Keywords and Color Tagging)

+ Graduated Filter

+ Local Adjustment Brush

+ Healing and Cloning Tool

+ Radial Filter

+ Red Eyes Removal

+ Simpler User Interface

+ Flag Label for Accept/Reject

+ Watermark Output

+ Various Supported Plugin from Different Application (DxO Viewpoint, DxO Filmpack, Photomatix, Photoshop, Google Nik Collection, etc.)

+ Cheaper (USD 149 compare to DxO Optics Pro 10 Elite USD 199, DxO Viewpoint 2 USD 79 for perspective correction, if you need the split toning, vignetting effect, vignetting blur/soft focus effect and etc you will need to purchase DxO Film Pack 5 Elite at USD129)

+ Smaller File Size when Export at 99% and 100% Quality

Special in DxO Optics Pro 10

+ Local File Management

+ Great Micro-contrast Adjustment

+ Specific Contrast Adjustment for Fine-contrast, Highlight, Midtones, and Shadow (need the DxO Film Pack Elite 5, sell at USD 129 separately as standalone and plugin)

+ Excellent Prime Noise Reduction (only available in DxO Optics Pro Elite 10)

+ DxO Smart Lighting

+ DxO Clear View (only available in DxO Optics Pro Elite 10)

+ DxO Anti Moire (only available in DxO Optics Pro Elite 10)

+ DxO Lens Softness

+ Excellent Distortion and Perspective Correction

+ Specified Lens and Camera Professional Adjustment

+ Well Integration with DxO Viewpoint (sell separately in USD 79 as standalone application and plugin) for Perspective Correction and Volume Deformation Correction

+ Fully Integrated DxO Filmpack (sell separately in USD 79 for Essential and USD 129 for Elite, both are sell as standalone application and plugin) for Professional and Legendary Film Grain, Blur Effect, Advanced Contrast Adjustment (Fine, Highlight, Shadow, Midtown), Channel Mixer, etc.

+ Smaller File Size when Export at 98% Quality and Below

+ Expendable Function Description/Explanation at Top-right Corner

Verdict

Honestly speaking, DxO Optics Pro 10 is slightly complicated than Lightroom 5 because it provides more controls for fine tune and adjustment. However, DxO provides the expandable function description/explanation within the application itself so it does make the learning easier.

Once I familiar with the DxO Optics Pro 10, I find out that it is pretty easy and capable to produce decent/great results without using the local adjustment brush (it does not have it yet). Its Prime noise reduction technology is the best in the market currently, and it offers supreme distortion and perspective correction especially for wide-angle and fisheye lenses. I love the way it renders the skin and capability of producing unique silky smooth and dreamy look and feel portraits.

Lightroom 5 is more refined and providing simpler user interface. Its graduated filter, healing/cloning tool, local adjustment brush, and radial filter are pretty solid and powerful. Lightroom 5 provides more complete function such as split toning, vignetting effect, out of focus effect (using the radial filter), auto and manual perspective correction. Its capability of using plugin such as Google Nik Collection, Photomatix, DxO Viewpoint, DxO Film Pack, and etc. provides greater flexibility in workflow and its digital asset management is very efficient to handle  large amount of photo gallery using keywords and color tagging.

Both Lightroom 5 and DxO Optics Pro 10 are able to work together now, you may use the Lightroom 5’s DAM to manage the images, pass it to DxO for adjustment and raw converting, send the image embedded with DxO adjustment back to Lightroom 5 again (only in tiff format) for brush adjustment or fine tune. I don’t see the need to do so for myself but it might be great for some of you.

Lightroom 5 gives 30 days trial and all DxO applications give 31 days trial. It is good to try them out yourself before you buy them. If you prefer the DxO products, I would suggest you to purchase the DxO Optics Pro Elite (USD 199) with DxO Viewpoint 2 (USD 79) as minimum bundle to cover 95% of the need. If you prefer Lightroom 5, it is selling at USD 149 as standalone application which I prefer it over the Adobe cloud subscription package.

Any of them will give you decent/great results, it is only the matter of personal taste and choice. Once again, I share the comparison between DxO Optics Pro 10 and Lightroom 5 all on my personal interest and motivation, so please feel free to let me know what RAW processing software you are using currently and whether you get the help from this post 😉

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Contact me by email: jamesphotography2013@gmail.com

28 thoughts on “DXO Optics Pro 10 vs Lightroom 5

  1. With the ILCA 77M2 RAW Images I try all kind of software, Lightroom 5.7, Ps CC, Capture One, Neat image, Raw therapee and even SONY IDC and non of the mentioned give me a satisfactory results. I been working with Lightroom since the first release of the program, but with this camera the A77 M2 the only software capable to give amazing results is DXO. I call many times to SONY support thinking that the camera was deffective, and they do not have a clue… Browsing the internet I found a guy who is using the A77 M2 with amazing quality results, I run one of his images through a EXIF data viewer and saw that he was using the DXO, so I download the software and my nightmare was over.

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    1. It is great that the DXO manage to produce amazing results from your 77M2. For raw processing/converting software, I have been using the Capture One Pro 8 for Sony since Sony has cooperated with Phase One. The free Capture One Express is available to all the Sony users, and the Pro version (for Sony only) is available at USD 29/Euro 23 too, I’m quite satisfied with the results produced by the COP 8. If you solely use Sony camera, perhaps you can give the COP 8 a try again on your 77M2 raw files since it is free (Express version)/much cheaper (the Pro version) than LR 5 and DXO 10.

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  2. I’m very surprised that there are not more people writing about DxO OpticsPro 10 and Viewpoint. The only extensive experience I have using processing software is LR. I only have used OpticsPro for about a month and I am so head over heels over the ease, accuracy and pleasure I get from the results.
    LR raw imports need a good amount of processing from the start and I never get the results I get with OpticsPro with just a few tweeks. My only criticism is that they need to accelerate their analysis of lenses. I can be patient but I thoroughly appreciate the work they do behind the scenes so that I don’t have to work so hard in processing raw files.
    I use a Sony A6000 and love it so much more now that I’m getting the results I expect.
    I will use LR to import, organize files then process them in DxO OpticsPro 10 and export them back into LR if burning/dodging (or other local) modifications are needed.
    Thanks for your comparison.

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    1. You’re welcome. Although the analysis of new lenses is released slower than other raw processing software, but the DxO Optics Pro 10 provides a better result at the beginning which requires fewer tweak to get the similar result from LR 5. I do love the result from DxO Optics pro 10 more than LR 5 😉

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      1. What you say interests me. Do you believe other raw processing software companies are actually analyzing lenses for their adjustments or are they approximations?

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      2. Hahaha, although I don’t know how does each raw processing software company analyze and create the lens profile, but as long the result is good, who cares 😉

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  3. You’re right, James: direct comparisons DxO Optics Pro 10 vs. LR5 are not exactly legion on the Web. Read yours with great interest. Have only recently installed the DxO Demo and am quite impressed with both its results and its plug-in capabilities with LR. Shoot a Pentax K-3, whose DNGs are handled so beautifully that I’m going to get an activation code for the Elite version as soon as possible. That way I can hareness the best of both worlds. These are definitely exciting times!

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  4. I don’t understand the whole of this review. Every time Tan makes a comment I shake my head. I don’t understand what he is seeing. He compared Clear View feature for Optics Pro and Lightroom. Then he actually put a picture from both softwares for comparison. The sample picture for Lightroom clearly has a haze on it while the haze is completely gone from DxO Optics. He says the results are similar, gives it a tie. What? The result clearly shows DxO did better job.

    The Clear View feature is one that removes haze in case you didn’t know. I don’t know how many clicks it took and I don’t care either. All I know is the sample pic above shows Lightroom with haze and the DxO pic doesn’t. I don’t understand what this guy is seeing.

    Throughout the review he says Lightroom was easier to implement with 1 click, therefore score goes to Lightroom. Ease of use is important, but to me, I am mainly interested in final result. I already know Lightroom is faster than DxO for all purpose use. But the reason I use DxO is because their algorithms are superior. All you have to do is look at the results above for yourself. Proof is in the pudding.

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    1. Thank you for your comment.
      Well, the view of point is very simple. When compare two same functions, the one with better result/same result but easier to implement will get the credit.
      As stated in the review, it’s just curious to compare the result of DXO’s haze removal (Clear View) with LR 5 standard adjustment. I had review my comparison results carefully again, DXO outperformed LR 5 in the comparison 2 but not in the comparison 1. Give them a tie in haze removal function is because LR5 does not have haze removal function but it still managed to produce similar result as DXO in the comparison 1.
      I appreciated for your comment and feedback again and wish you happy shooting, cheers!

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  5. Thanks for the comparison between the 2 packages. I am currently looking for a raw file processor, especial to correct lens faults for a canon 1200D+ std lens, any thoughts would be most welcome. The DXO software does a good job but as I use on1 software to make other image adjustments, it seem rather expensive option for only correctly lens faults.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I have gone back to using Canon Raw software (its free) and does a reasonable job when compared to DXO and Lightroom and then use ON! photo 10 and occasionally Topaz software.

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  7. So glad to see another person do the same comparison. DXO is offering 50% off its software through December 25, 2015. I currently use Lightroom 5 as my RAW converter and front-end post processor, with ON1 Photo 10 as my back-end post processor (and occasionally Photoshop with Topaz plug-ins). My hope was that I could dump my subscription service with Adobe and use DXO as my RAW converter and front-end post processor. That is completely do-able with DXO and I was able to get really good photost; however, I personally find that I was much happier with the Lightroom RAW conversion over DXO. Your above images show EXACTLY what I was experiencing. I personally find the DXO images to be over-saturated by default. Objects that I thought should be more neutral in color always has a colored tint to it that I didn’t find attractive. Additionally, I find that Lightroom has more contrast in its images. Blacks seem blacker and lights seem lighter. Finally, Lightroom has so many more adjustments available, and the ability to apply local adjustments is something DXO couldn’t do (although I do most of my local adjustments in my back-end software). While I did find that DXO did a much better job at removing noise, not surprisingly, the images also came out softer. I was hoping DXO found that magic elixir that could remove noise and keep the image sharp, alas, I’m afraid I’m still looking. If I were a portrait photographer, I think DXO could sway me as the images have a nice saturation and glow about them, but I’m a landscape photographer and detail, contrast and true color tones are very important to me. DXO made elegant, simple and intuitive software that is a great alternative to Lightroom, just not my cup of tea. Perhaps Capture One?

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    1. I have also tried Lightroom and DXO and Photo Ninja and all produce good results. There is not much to choose between them re image quality exceptLlightroom has more local adjustment tools and integrates with photoshop plus its cataloging system, so I may try the Photoshop/Lightroom monthly subscription and use ON1 Photo 10 /Topaz for effects.

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  8. Great write-up! As Clint noted, DXO is 1/2 off right now and is a tempting purchase for the features in which it excels. I have Lightroom 5 and was considering the Adobe CC subscription going forward. The one question I am wondering is with Adobe CC being Lightroom and Photoshop for $10 per month, does the addition of Photoshop to the toolkit improve upon any weaknesses of Lightroom and make it a winner in categories that DXO had excelled in? Any thoughts appreciated.

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    1. Hi Al Hannan, the photoshop is different than what Lightroom and DxO do. Photoshop does heavy editing like cloning, object remove, layering and etc for the few ‘best shot’. Lightroom and DxO are more for batch processing and retouching.

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      1. Thanks for the input. I went ahead and picked up the Elite version with Viewpoint 2. I skipped the Film Pack. The Elite version of the Film Pack seemed overpriced at even half price and seemed more for suited for portraiture.

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  9. Have looked at DXO and Lightroom I a interested in your commnets re weakness in Lightroom – can you provide some examples where you consider Lightroom fails to provide a solution to your needs.

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    1. Hi Mar, every raw processing software has its pros and cons, it’s personal preference and based on your workflow. For example, I prefer portrait and the film pack in DxO than Lightroom.

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