DXO, Nikon D300 and NEF/JPG files
- 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
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...
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.