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DXO, Nikon D300 and NEF/JPG files

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  • Roger D. Williams
    Last week I said I would compare what the D300 s firmware did in producing a JPEG from its raw (NEF) image with what DXO does for the same camera and lens
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 15 10:41 PM
      Last week I said I would compare what the D300's firmware did in producing
      a JPEG from its raw (NEF) image with what DXO does for the same camera and
      lens combination (in my case with a Nikon 10.5mm full-frame fisheye).

      First comment: the D300 does a very good job of creating a JPEG and for
      some users it may not even be worth the fuss and bother of shooting RAW

      Second comment: DXO has a very well selected set of default options for
      converting NEF (raw) images to JPEGs. The result is generally a little
      darker than the corresponding Nikon "internal" imaging processes, and
      the hue and saturation are a little different. But the built-in DXO
      dynamic lighting adjustment is far superior to the Nikon's, particularly
      in ease and precision of operation and the end result. Nikon's I would
      rate "not awful" and "usable." DXO blows it away.

      Differences: The DXO by default completely defishes the image! That won't
      do at at all if you want to take panoramas! Fortunately it only involves
      setting a slider back from 100% correction to 0%, and this can be
      selected as a personal "default" so it doesn't need to be done every time.

      I quite liked this function, as I usually want to shoot either wide or
      very wide but I don't always want the fisheye effect.

      Chromatic aberration is removed VERY well. Lateral CA is corrected by
      default, but I needed to check the box for purple fringeing to remove the
      last trace of this with DXO. With this done, DXO was clearly superior
      to the Nikon internal function, except that I did detect what looked
      like slight green fringeing with DXO that wasn't visible with the D300's

      Vignetting was completely and automatically removed by DXO, but not by
      the D300. Impressive.

      The built-in DXO function for correcting lens softening was remarkably
      good at reducing the fall-off in sharpness around the edges of the
      image. This was particularly obvious for lettering near the edges.
      With DXO I could read text that was too blurred in the Nikon JPEG.
      This effect can be emphasized for a very sharp look without significant
      degradation of the image. I shall definitely be using this function!

      A really detailed comparison would take more time and effort than I am
      prepared to give but I must say I was very impressed with DXO,
      especially as most of the more subtle (and for me, time-consuming)
      adjustments have well-chosen defaults that make it easy for me to add
      any final tweaking. I am also encouraged that the disadvantages I
      have found in Nikon's dynamic lighting function seem not to apply to
      DXO's, which I shall attempt to use in panoramas to avoid having to
      use HDR.

      Oh yes, the suppression of noise is also very well done in DXO! The
      internal Nikon dynamic lighting adjustment produces quite ugly noise
      which I completely failed to detect with the corresponding DXO
      function. However, my check was far from exhaustive.

      I intend to purchase DXO as soon as they have a module for the Sigma
      8mm f/3.5 fisheye.

      I have no connection whatever with DXO. I'm not even a satisfied
      customer--yet. <grin> That's coming, though, I'm sure...

      Roger W.

      Perhaps I should mention that although screen redraws when parameters
      were changed were almost instantaneous, the actual image processing
      seemed rather slow on my dual processor XP-Pro machine. However, it
      was a LOT faster than the sum of all the processing times for similar
      functions performed one at a time in other programs, like my PS-CS2
      plugins, for instance.

      Work: www.adex-japan.com
      Play: www.usefilm.com/member/roger
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