DxO ONE Review
|Full model name:||DxO ONE|
|Sensor size:||1 inch
(13.2mm x 8.8mm)
|Viewfinder:||No / No LCD|
|Native ISO:||100 - 12,800|
|Extended ISO:||100 - 51,200|
|Shutter:||1/20000 - 30 seconds|
1.0 x 2.7 x 1.9 in.
(26 x 68 x 49 mm)
|Full specs:||DxO ONE specifications|
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DxO One Review -- Now Shooting!
by William Brawley
Preview posted: 06/18/2015
Renowned imaging software maker DxO Labs have taken a giant leap from the world of software into the world of hardware with the announcement of the DxO One. Yes, the makers of DxO OpticsPro and the famous DxOMark image quality testing system have produced their very own camera. And quite a unique one at that, as it's far from traditional: it connects directly to your iPhone or iPad.
At the heart of this small, palm-sized, aluminum-cased camera is a Sony 1-inch 20.2MP back-side illuminated CMOS sensor (the same as in the highly-regarded Sony RX100 III) coupled to a 32mm-equivalent f/1.8 aspherical lens with a 6-bladed aperture diaphragm. The device weighs only 3.8 oz. (108g) and sits just 2.65 inches (67.5mm) tall, making the DxO One the world's smallest 1-inch sensor camera.
The DxO One was designed and built in close collaboration with Apple and their Made for iPhone team, and as such, the One includes an officially-supported, integrated Lightning connector for quick and easy direct attachment to your iPhone or other Lightning-based iOS devices. Upon first connection, the iPhone will automatically launch the App Store to download the companion DxO One app, thus transforming your iOS device's display into the camera's viewfinder, as well as providing a full suite of shooting modes (including PASM modes), controls and settings adjustments. (Once the app is installed, the camera will subsequently launch the companion app automatically whenever it's plugged in.)
The Lightning connector attachment also allows the camera to swivel +/- 60 degrees, which makes it easy to shoot at low or high angles. Plus, thanks to the reversibility of the Lightning connector's design, the DxO One can be flipped around and used for self-portraits. The One has a built-in accelerometer and gyroscope, and will detect when it's in "selfie" mode. You can then also use the glow of the iPhone's screen as a pseudo softbox light to illuminate faces.
The DxO One shown here attached to an Apple iPhone 6.
Naturally, the DxO One is not all about the hardware -- DxO knows its way around software after all -- and the One makes some rather impressive claims when it comes to image quality and capture specs. One of the major features of the DxO One is that it captures both RAW and JPEG files, as well as a special, proprietary, multi-shot SuperRAW file.
In addition to capturing standard JPEG images as well as fully cross-compatible DNGs in normal "RAW" mode, the One's unique .DXO SuperRAW file format is created out of four individual RAW frames captured in quick succession. What's the purpose of this multi-shot RAW format? Enhanced noise reduction and high ISO performance. Indeed, DxO is confident enough to give the little DxO One an ISO range from 100 up to a whopping 51,200 (which outdoes the Sony RX100 III's maximum expanded ISO of 25,600 with multi-frame NR).
The DxO One's pop-out Lightning connect allows for direct connection to supported iOS devices.
Primarily used with ISOs 6400 and above, the DxO One's SuperRAW mode captures four individual RAW images, and then once the One is connected to a Mac or PC computer -- using the built-in Micro USB 2.0 port -- the DxO Connect companion app automatically off-loads these multi-shot RAWs and combines them into one image using DxO's latest temporal and spatial noise reduction algorithms. (The DxO Connect also allows for the direct importation of images into various third-party image-processing applications like Adobe Lightroom and OS X Photos, as well as DxO's own OpticsPro software.) Given the camera's claimed amazing high ISO performance, plus the lens' bright f/1.8 aperture, the DxO One is shaping up to be an impressive and versatile camera for low-light shooting, especially when compared to the built-in cameras on smartphones.
Of course, we can't talk about DxO without mentioning their DxOMark Sensor Scores, and naturally the DxO One has been put to the test here using their standard test procedures and metrics. Using the standard DNG RAW file, the One earns a DxOMark score of 70 while the SuperRAW file gives the One a big boost with a score of 85. This score, according to DxO, puts the One on par with full-frame DSLRs, and certainly out-scores all current point & shoot cameras and smartphones.
In addition to impressive still image quality, the DxO One also records high-definition video with mono audio, in both 1080p30 resolution and a convenient slow-mo-friendly 720p120 option.
For storage media, the DxO One has a built-in microSD slot, which is UHS-I U3 compatible. While connected to the iPhone, JPEG images can be saved directly onto the Apple device itself. Conveniently, though, if you want to capture RAW, or better yet RAW+JPEG, RAW files will be stored on the microSD card while JPEGs can be saved over to the attached iOS device.
Thanks to the Lightning connector's reversible design, the One can be plugged-in "backwards" for easy selfies.
Like an iPhone, the DxO One's battery is built into the device and is not user-swappable, and thus charges via the included USB cable. According to DxO, the battery provides enough juice for approximately 200 shots per charge.
With all this talk of iPhones, Lightning connectors, and iOS apps, there's undoubtedly a large contingency of readers thinking the obvious question: what about Android support? Sadly, with this launch and this version of the device, the DxO One is compatible with Apple Lightning-equipped devices only. The DxO One does not have built-in Wi-Fi or other wireless connectivity, nor is there, say, a USB version, which could enable its use with other platforms. When asked about any future plans for Android device support, DxO responded saying plans are "not imminent," however they obviously understand that Android is a very important market. Who knows, perhaps other mobile devices and platforms will appear in the future?
The DxO One will be sold for a retail price of US$599, and for a limited time includes a suite of DxO desktop image processing software, including DxO OpticsPro ELITE Edition and DxO FilmPack -- which together retail for over US$300. For US customers, the DxO One is currently available now for pre-order directly from DxO, with shipments set to begin in September. For other countries' pre-order and shipment availability, please see DxO's International website.
We were able to get our hands on a pre-production, cosmetically-final sample of the new DxO One, so let's take a tour of this unique, large-sensor, mobile-connected camera...
DxO One Field Test Part I
This small wonder picks up where smartphones fall short
Like it or not, smartphone-based photography is more than just a passing phase, it seems. Cameras on smartphones keep getting better and better, the apps for editing and tweaking more complex and sophisticated, and the resulting images themselves more impressive and higher in quality. Of course, there's certainly a time and a place for a dedicated camera, interchangeable lenses, add-on flashes and strobes and all sorts of other gear, but the beauty of smartphone photography is its simplicity.
That being said, there are times when the simple, built-in camera is perfectly adequate for your needs -- quick snapshots here and there, daytime shooting for small-res prints or sharing on Instagram. But, then there are times when that simple, very small-sensor camera just won't cut it -- whether for extra detail and resolution for larger prints, added editing flexibility of RAW images for better post-processing and, perhaps most importantly, much better low-light and high-ISO performance. This is where the DxO One connected camera comes in.
DxO One Walkaround
Hands-on tour of this iPhone connected-camera
Being such a small device, it's no wonder there's hardly any external controls. However, on the "top" deck of the camera, as I'm calling it, the One does have a large, two-stage shutter release button. Like a typical camera, a half-press will autofocus and a full-press will capture the image.