DxO Optics Pro 9 debuts radically more powerful denoising engine
posted Wednesday, October 23, 2013 at 3:29 PM EDT
If you're anything like us, your photo library contains two kinds of photos: the great shots, and those which could have been great, but for some defect or other. We hang onto the latter in the hopes that one day we'll find a way to salvage them, but until then, they don't get much love. With the debut of DxO Optics Pro 9 and its brand-new PRIME denoising engine, it may be time to revisit those neglected photos, and bring some back into the fold.
The PRIME engine isn't the only change in Optics Pro 9, but boy, is it ever an attention-grabber. After years of gradually smaller improvements in noise processing performance, DxO looked at the problem from a different angle. Noise processing is pretty well understood, and there's no way around the fact that improving NR quality involves a radical increase in its demands on processing power. DxO realized that to make a major step forwards, it needed to remove the cap on processor time, and simply let its algorithms have as long as was needed to do the job.
That's just what it has done with PRIME, and the results are truly impressive. Sure, it may take several minutes to remove noise from a single image, but that's a pretty small price to pay to move it from the reject pile to being a genuine keeper. And you only need to expend that time when performing final processing: While tweaking your setup, you can preview the noise reduction settings on just a small portion of the image courtesy of a handy preview loupe.
As well as the PRIME NR engine, DxO Optics Pro 9 features improved highlight detail recovery, and a new rendering mode aimed specifically at portraiture, which yields more natural skin tones. The new release also brings a redesigned presets library, with 30 presets split into logical categories such as Portrait, Landscape, Black & White, Atmospheres, and High Dynamic Range. And Optics Pro's user interface has been reworked too, making it easier and quicker to use.
Available immediately, DxO Optics Pro 9 is priced at US$170 for the Standard edition, or US$300 for the Elite edition. Special launch pricing of US$100 for Optics Pro 9 Standard or US$200 for Optics Pro Elite is available through November 20, 2013.
Customers who've purchased Optics Pro 8 since September 1st, 2013 are eligible for a free upgrade. Those who purchased before that date will find upgrade pricing detailed in the DxO Labs customer center. A one-month time-limited trial is also available.