John Lehet at his most recent solo photo show in
New Hampshire, October 2015
Written by John Lehet
When you and I last spoke in person, Mike, at my last show in New Hampshire, you expressed surprise that I used DxO. I use it mostly for the reasons you point out in Tuesday's post, "Ah, the Night Sky (Old FF Dynamic Range)." While sensors have certainly improved a good bit, demosaicing and noise reduction algorithms have improved more quickly. So if you shot RAW in the past, your images can have an improved second life. Some of the images of mine that you saw hanging were made with older, lesser sensors and lenses, but I was able to coax some quality out of them.
I know that the other premium raw processors have their adherents, and probably for a reason, but I settled on DxO as soon as I tried it. It was the first time I could reduce noise without degrading image quality. Also, DxO's deconvolution-based approach to lens correction corrects for lens flaws in lesser lenses of my relative youth.
Not only are my older RAW images from 2004–20xx getting essentially better sensors; it is also as if they are getting re-exposed with better lenses. I have to admit that I was ignorant in settling for some pretty mediocre Nikon zoom glass early on, especially on some trips where I made some good images. DxO doesn't help the bad bokeh, but it improves the sharpness and microcontrast as well as the noise so much that I have taken the time to re-process all the images on my site (over 250 of them!) since I started using DxO about a year and a half ago. This has taken a ridiculous amount of time, but it has made some much better images.
When I go to rework an image, I'm often quite startled at how much better the modern version is, to the extent that I'm embarrassed to have my old ones still on the site. They are mostly gone now. The benefit of using DxO is far less dramatic on the files from the D800e with primes than on 2007 files from the D200 with a zoom. The DxO difference does show up in the Micro 4/3 files even with good modern lenses, and it's possible those files will get even better in the future as software improves.
Robert Harshman said in the Comments yesterday that DxO, PhotoNinja, and ACR can each "do things the others cannot, and based on needs one may be much better than the other." I'll second Robert's comment: try DxO on older images.
©2015 by John Lehet, all rights reserved
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