Phase One, DxO Labs revamp raw photo software

New features in the higher-end image editing programs are designed keep DxO Optics Pro 8 and Capture One Pro 7 competitive with alternatives from bigger rivals.

Capture One Pro 7 lets photographers edit the properties of specific colors.
Capture One Pro 7 lets photographers edit the properties of specific colors. Phase One

DxO Labs and Phase One updated their image-editing programs this week, aiming to improve image quality and editing controls in an attempt to fend off market heavyweights Adobe Systems and Apple.

DxO Optics Pro 8 and Phase One Capture One Pro 7, like Adobe's Lightroom and Apple's Aperture, are designed in particular to handle raw photos from higher-end cameras, photos taken directly from the image sensor for higher quality, greater flexibility, but more hassle.

Among DxO Optics Pro's new features announced during the PhotoPlus Expo show in New York:

• A "Smart Lighting" control designed to automate exposure adjustment while improving details in highlight and shadow areas.

• Selective tone controls for applying changes only to shadows, highlights, or midtones.

• Technology to protect details in areas where color is highly saturated.

• Support for Apple's Retina displays, a user interface revamped to be more efficient, and faster display of thumbnail and full-size images.

DxO Optics Pro 8 adds a "smart lighting" feature designed to simplify exposure changes with a single slider to change the light levels of a photo.
DxO Optics Pro 8 adds a "smart lighting" feature designed to simplify exposure changes with a single slider to change the light levels of a photo. DxO Labs

France-based DxO Labs carefully tests combinations of lenses and cameras for precise correction of optical problems including distortion, vignetting, chromatic aberration, and lens softness. The latter property means DxO's software can selectively sharpen an image where it needs sharpening most. The new software can handle nearly 10,000 combinations of cameras and lenses, and with a new lab opened in Seattle, it plans to increase that number to 20,000 by the end of 2013.

Phase One, meanwhile, has updated Capture One Pro significantly. Version 7 comes with a new engine for processing raw image data that produces "vastly more accurate rendition of details and colors," the company said.

Capture One Pro 7 also improves noise reduction for high-ISO photos and has new tools to adjust exposure that are sensitive to details in highlight and shadow areas. In addition, controls can adjust local contrast and saturation so particular areas of a photo can be modified.

Another notable change is a shift toward the cataloging approach of Aperture and Lightroom, in which photos can be organized, tagged with titles and keywords, and sorted by metadata.

Performance is always a challenge with raw photo processing. The software uses the OpenCL interface that lets computers' graphics chips give a processing boost to the CPU.

Capture One Pro 7 is available now for $299 or an upgrade price of $99.

DxO Optics Pro 8 will be available Monday with introductory pricing that will last through November 15. The Standard Edition costs $99 but will jump to $169, while the Elite Edition, which supports high-end cameras, costs $199 but will jump to $299. The pricier Elite Edition is required for higher-end cameras such as Canon's 5D Mark II and III, Nikon's D700 and D800, and medium-format cameras from Phase One and Hasselblad.

DxO Optics Pro 8 lets people edit photos with a filmstrip across the bottom and adjustment panels floating on top.
DxO Optics Pro 8 lets people edit photos with a filmstrip across the bottom and adjustment panels floating on top. DxO Labs
About the author

Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and covers browsers, Web development, digital photography and new technology. In the past he has been CNET's beat reporter for Google, Yahoo, Linux, open-source software, servers and supercomputers. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces.

 

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