Touched for the very first time…
DxO PureRAW 3 review + First Impression
This is the first and a series of initial reviews for the DxO photo editing apps. And in this video, I will do an initial assessment of the DxO PureRAW photo editing app.
That being said, if you have yet to watch the intro to this playlist of DxO reviews, I recommend watching that first since it will answer some questions about the format of these video reviews since I’m doing something I’ve never done before.
It will explain why I’m using Madonna on my thumbnails.
It’s a short two-minute video, and you can click somewhere up here to watch that first.
Install DxO PureRAW
First, I must first install PureRAW, and it’s like installing any other app.
So I will fast-forward this part of the video so I won’t bore you to death.
It looks like DxO PureRAW was installed, and it’s starting to open up.
So let’s take a look at the five images that I’m going to use with PureRAW.
So this first image here is an image that I shot back in, I think, 2013.
And this image was shot with a Nikon D 200 with an ISO of 1600.
This next portrait of my daughter was shot with an ISO of 100 with a Nikon Z6.
This stray cat was shot at an ISO of ISO 28, also with a Z6. And then this Beaver here.
Shot with a Nikon d500, but check out the ISO 16,000. That’s unreal.
Now this next image is one of my favorites from this year. She looks like Morela from the never-ending story, and this was shot with a Nikon Z8.
So I just got that, and it was shot with an ISO of 8,000.
DxO PureRAW Noise Reduction?
So we’re going to see if DxO PureRAW can clean up these images and make them sharper because, according to DxO, if we look at their website.
So I’ve never touched or used DxO PureRAW.
I’ve never watched a video tutorial on how to use it. I’ve never read a blog post.
DxO PureRAW Website
Everything I know about PureRAW is from their website. So let’s look quickly and see what they say about PureRAW.
It starts with sharper, cleaner, raw files without upgrading your camera.
That’s a pretty tall order.
Will they be able to do that while we find out?
It goes on to say; small software that makes a big difference to raw photo quality without changing your Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop workflow, which is pretty cool.
I use Lightroom for 90% of my images, and it says it does the following.
So noise-free photos, well, PureRAW, we wanted to do that.
We want to remove that digital noise, but is it better than Denoise AI, already built into Lightroom or even Topaz Photo AI’s noise reduction?
Well, we’re going to find out.
It also says it will enhance the details and improve colors’ stunning results in just a few clicks. Hmm, that’s pretty interesting. Is that going to be true? Is it going to be that easy?
We’re going to find out because, like I said, I’ve never used it. Is it going to be easy to use? We’ll find out.
All right, so unrivaled sharpening. So they’re going to sharpen the images too.
So how are they going to do that?
Well, they’re going to recognize, or I should say PureRAW will recognize, the lens you used based on the metadata for that file.
So when you create an image, metadata about the camera make and model, lens type, and other information is stored inside a metadata file.
Then the software can read that information and know, okay, you used a 50mm lens, a Zoom lens, or whatever lens.
It could be a Sigma, Tamaron, Nikon, Canon, or whatever lens you use; it knows.
And then, they created a profile based on that lens to fix lens distortions because all lenses create some optical issues, pin cushion, barrel cushion, vignetting, and more.
And then, based on that information, they’re going to create this algorithm or this profile that will fix it.
So this is pretty standard stuff for pretty much all photo editing apps.
But according to DxO, there’s this better.
So they will automatically eliminate lens falls like I mentioned, including vignettes in chromatic aberration and distortions.
All right, so perfect for Lightroom Companion because it’s a plugin.
You can use it as a plugin, but we will use it as a standalone today. All right?
Then we have some before and after images here, comparing Adobe Camera Raw to PRIME XD.
But there’s actually, according to this, I’m gathering, there are two different algorithms for removing digital noise.
And one is more aggressive than the other.
So we have DeepPRIME here on the right; we can see that there’s still some grain in here, a little bit of noise, luminance noise, I would imagine that is.
And then, on the other side, that luminance noise is gone or cleaner than with DeepPRIME.
So PRIME XD is a little bit more aggressive than DeepPRIME.
All right? And then it says right here that DeepPRIME XD is new and will create cleaner images and provide more detail.
Now we’re going to do; we’re not going to do an in-depth review with side-by-side images to peak or pixel peak to or pixel peak, yes, pixel peak to see the differences between one versus the other.
This is just my initial review to see if PureRAW does what it says it does on the surface.
And then, I’ll dig deeper with another review that’ll be more in-depth than this one.
So I just want to see if it does some of the things it says and whether or not it’s easy to use.
All right, so sharper images.
Okay, so according to DxO, PureRAW will create sharper images. Who doesn’t love a sharper image?
We all do, right? So we want a sharper image.
So is this just marketing jargon, or will they make our images sharper?
Well, according to this, before and after, that’s pretty impressive if that’s what it does.
So again, it’s doing this based on the lens profile they’ve created, and they’re going to apply sharpening just to fix the issues caused by your lens.
So again, all lenses create optical distortions. Still, they also create different levels of softness throughout the different parts of the image.
More so in the corners, some more, or some can get softer towards the center of the image, depending on the lens.
So according to DxO, they will consider that as part of that profile and sharpen those parts of the image versus the entire image according to their content here on their website.
So again, we’re probably not going to delve into that in this particular review, but that’s pretty awesome if that’s what it can do.
And it’s definitely showing it right here with the before and after that. It’s able to fix that softness created by the lens.
So hopefully, we can cover that in a future review. So it goes on to talk about freedom from distortions.
Again, correct lens distortions eliminate defects, so it’s going to meticulously analyze lenses to be able to remove lateral and longitudinal love.
Uh, okay, I will skip that: Chromatic Aberrations and correct vignetting.
All right, so there is lots of marketing jargon here.
Again, 20 years of pioneering camera and lens corrections.
All right, there is lots of marketing jargon, but does it really do what it says it will do?
And the basic lens correction and noise reduction sharpening is pretty awesome. Still, we’re going to focus on the first two today.
So the first thing I need to do before I can actually use it is I already installed it.
DxO PureRAW Initial Review
So let’s jump into PureRAW here. And I need to activate it.
So I will click on try demo because I don’t know what activation code they sent me.
I’m going to click on try demo. It’s going to load up here.
And where is it?
Alright, let’s, all right, there it is.
All right, so we have a DxO hub. So what’s new 3.3 update is available.
I’m going to wait to update this. We’re just going to Use what I have. We have help and support.
So we have some quick access to some links for customer support, a user guide, and a forum, and then we can purchase other products.
So after I activate this, after the free trial, there’s an option to disable the screen because it’s not something I want to see every time, but who knows?
We’ll go ahead and close that out for now.
And here’s the initial window where I need to add my images, which I can do by dragging and dropping.
And we can add photos from up here via the menu keyboard shortcut commander control plus the letter O.
That’s the same keyboard shortcut to open files in Photoshop and probably other software.
If we are new to DxO PureRAW, we can click here to download sample files.
We don’t need to do that. We’re going to test it out with our own images.
And let’s see, I’m going to go into Lightroom here because I want to grab these files from here and drag and drop them into DxO.
After all, each one of these files is in a separate folder on my hard drive.
Finding them will take me forever because I didn’t do that beforehand.
I didn’t think about that ahead of time.
So let’s go ahead and click and drag these into DxO and Perfect.
It’s loading them all up, but I have a new window here, which is stopping me from doing anything else.
Let’s see, DxO optics modules.
All right, these are the lenses they found in the metadata, and I have to download these profiles for those lens corrections to be applied.
So I will click save here, and it will download each one; it looks pretty quick. And now we are ready to go.
So there needs to be a clear indication of how to remove the digital noise.
Let’s click on an image here. I just deselected that.
So they’re all selected by default.
We could probably click on one of these buttons down here to get started.
We have a filter here, processed, awaiting unprocessed.
All right, so we’ll talk more about these other options and an in-depth review in the future.
Let’s go ahead and click on the process now and see what we get.
All right, so there we go.
So here’s the window to begin applying the different algorithms and other options.
So let’s take a quick peek at these.
We have DeepPRIME XD, so that’s the more aggressive noise reduction algorithm. And then we have DeepPRIME.
Okay, so optical corrections.
All right, lens softness.
So we have four different options for improving the sharp ring sharpening.
So I’m going to select strongly for now.
AgaI’ll have to test each one of these side by side later on.
And then, the lens corrections and distortions here are turned on automatically.
Image crop to original ratio; not sure what that is. Output format, DNG JPEG and TIF file.
So I will go with DNG to bring those back into Lightroom because DNG files are another type of raw file format.
Suppose you’re not familiar with DNG files. In that case, I have a video tutorial explaining what they are and that they are indeed RAW files.
And I do want that raw file so that I can continue working on these images.
Non-destructively in Lightroom. All right, so more on that later.
So original images folder is in the sub-folder. Let’s see if we turn this on. I’m going to put them in a custom folder.
So all right, I will select the custom folder here and browse two, the DxO PureRAW, actual test images.
I want to use test images. All right, file renaming.
We can append it to the file name DxO_DeepPRIME.
That’s cool because it’ll make it easier to distinguish between those that have been processed with DxO and those that have not.
So we can use the raw processing method or custom text here.
I’m going to leave everything at the default for now.
And then export to Adobe Lightroom classic pre-release and Adobe Lightroom.
So this is the mobile version.
This is the desktop version. So the two different ones, we have Lightroom Classic and then the newer Lightroom.
It’s still kind of confusing, but this is pre-pre-release.
I do have the beta version of Lightroom Classic.
I participate in the Lightroom Classic beta program, so I don’t want it to export there.
So hopefully, these will be exported into Lightroom Classic, and hopefully, those files will be in the same folder.
So we’ll test that out.
I don’t think it will because I selected my custom folder here of DxO test images.
So these files will be placed here versus in the same folder where these images came from, which is what happens when you use Denoise AI and Lightroom.
Those files are saved in the same location.
So there’s going to be a little bit of a workflow issue, I think, with that.
So we will have to check that out in the future and figure out a workflow for that.
So we’re going to go with DeepPRIME. I’m going to go ahead and click start processing.
If it looks like this will take a while to process, I will fast-forward through this part of the video.
All right, so we have our progress bar down here.
It says about 46 seconds remaining, and there’s a message here.
Did you know with DxO and PureRAW three extensions enabled, you can start processing images directly from the finder? Here’s how to do it.
If I’m reading this right, it will allow us to process these files via the finder window or your operating system window without entering the application itself.
And it’s probably going to use your last settings.
So that’s something else I will have to test out. So I’m going to go ahead and click. Got it.
We only have 10 seconds remaining, and it’s working on the last file.
Your pictures have been processed and exported to Adobe Lightroom Classic.
All right, so let’s click on view results.
All right, so it didn’t bring up Lightroom Classic, but we are in pure roll three still, and we have a preview window here of the before and the after, which looks pretty good.
Now how do I zoom in? I can’t zoom in with my mouse button or my screw wheel button.
So let’s see, 1:1. Let’s click on that.
All right, so the language here to me is kind of off. I’d rather see 100%, 200%, 300%, et cetera, but the same difference 3:1 is 300%.
So I would never zoom in to a photo at this much at 300% or even 200% because nobody’s going to zoom in and look at your images at those zoom percentages.
You’re definitely going to see imperfections at 200% or higher.
But just for the purposes of this video, we can see how much noise was removed. And there’s a lot of color noise in here.
Remember, this was ISO 8,000, so there’s a lot of noise here.
So it’s removing that color noise, but there’s still some luminance noise.
So I would imagine the prime xd, because it’s more aggressive, will make the images much cleaner than the version I used.
Okay, so let’s take a look at our Beaver here. Let’s go to 1:1 again. ISO 16,000 has lots of color noise, and that color noise is gone.
And we’re not seeing as much grain in this image because of the tonal values here. It’s kind of blending in.
But overall, I see that the lens corrections being applied to this image are fixing some of that.
I think it’s lens barrel distortion, and it’s also, check this out, it’s making the images sharper or this image sharper.
It was harder to tell on the other one, but this one, for sure, is a lot sharper.
Check out the eye hair. You can see how the eye is moving, and that’s due to the distortion created by that lens.
And PureRAW is fixing it, and it’s making it sharper. I can see individual hair or fur nails that I couldn’t see before when all that noise was there.
So it’s definitely showing more detail. The colors are more vibrant, so it does exactly what it promised on its website.
So all that marketing jargon is true. I’m definitely seeing an improvement in this image.
Let’s peek at Lightroom Classic to see what’s happening inside.
And I need to import these files since they weren’t imported into Lightroom Classic automagically.
So I will select all these files here, and you can see DNG files were created to process these images.
PureRAW, Topaz Photo AI, and even Lightroom’s Denoise AI have to convert these images to DNG, and we’ll talk about that later in a future tutorial.
I have a tutorial on that, but that’s for another day.
So let’s go ahead and import these files and see if we have the same results inside here. I would expect we do.
Let’s go into the Develop Module here. Oh, that’s cool. I’d like that.
Did you see that?
So as soon as they were imported, the edits I applied in Lightroom Classic were converted or added to the DNG file.
Because if we go back to PureRAW, we can see this is the raw version of this file.
Okay, so no edits are being applied to this image. Let’s go back to one-to-one here.
And yes, this image has not been edited, and it can’t be edited because the edits are stored in the metadata, and PureRAW can’t read that information because it’s a different program versus Lightroom Classic.
But check that out once it’s converted back.
Let’s go to the collection here. DxO PureRAW.
So here is my original raw file and the before and after, so unedited here. However, once the that information is read, my editing information saved in the RAW file is applied to the DNG.
That will save me a ton of time having to copy that information from the original raw file to the DNG, which I have to do with Topaz Photo AI.
Even though they say that it can be done without copying it at this point, it’s not possible.
So I had to spend much time transferring information from the RAW file to the DNG when using Topaz Photo AI.
And I’ve been looking for a raw workflow to apply Denoise, Lens Correction, and Sharpen the image all in one go without doing extra steps.
All right, so let’s go ahead and zoom in.
I’m really excited about this. All right, so let’s zoom in here.
And yes, that noise is gone and looks a little sharper. It’s kind of hard to say.
I have to view these side by side, and we’ll do that again in a future tutorial.
And here is the Beaver, again and again; it’s much sharper than it was before.
Now here’s another test that I’ve had a problem with.
Other software, Topaz Photo AI in particular, regarding raw to DNG conversion workflows.
And that is, the masks are not always applied to the DNG file once it’s brought back into Lightroom.
As you can see, I have some masks applied to this image.
So let’s see, let’s take a look. Look at that. There are four of Masks.
I know there are four in the original raw file, but in Topaz Photo AI, it would only transfer three out of four masks.
The same with my daughter here, 5 masks.
Again in Topaz Photo AI, zero masks were applied.
So for some reason, Topaz Photo AI can’t do what PureRAW can.
And I’ve gotten messages from the developers because I’m part of their beta program, and they say it’s not possible.
Well, it is possible because DxO figured it out.
Not only that, but it cropped the image. Again, Topaz Photo AI can’t do that.
We can see that I’ve cropped this image.
This is, you can see right here, DeepPRIME XD. Okay, so this is pretty awesome.
DxO PureRAW Initial Review is…
So my initial review is very positive on what I’ve seen so far.
I need to go in-depth further, and I need to run hundreds of raw files through here to see if there’s anything that is concerning or anything that should be a problem for us when it comes to working with PureRAW. I need to develop a workflow.
I need to see how this compares to Lightroom Denoise AI.
Which one is better, Topaz Photo AI? Which one is better, pure, raw, or that one?
So I will do an in-depth review in the future once I’ve gone through and processed more images than I have today.
Until then, I will do more initial reviews of the other DxO editing software to see if I can include them in my editing workflow.
Check out this playlist to continue learning more about DxO and see me touch them for the first time.