As many readers know I’ve been using DxO OpticsPro as the first step in my post processing approach for a few years now. I’ve recently had a few readers ask me about the performance of OpticsPro 11 PRIME noise reduction.
I spent some time today working with some files I captured at Bird Kingdom in May. To keep things on a level playing field I used my OpticsPro custom preset that I typically use for my bird images, and applied it to all of the photographs you’ll see in this article. I then applied the exact same adjustments to all of the files using CS6 and Nik. I used a stopwatch to assess the time that it took OpticsPro 11 and OpticsPro 10 to process a RAW file as a DNG and open it up in CS6. You’ll find the results in the EXIF data under each image.
The original photographs as well as 100% crops are shown for each image.
NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.
Now let’s look at 100% crops of the two processed images above.
Now let’s look at a selection of 3 different bird images.
Here are 100% crops from each version of the image above.
Here’s our second high-ISO bird image.
And now, 100% crops of each version.
Finally, here is our third high-ISO bird image.
As with the other photographs, here are 100% crops of each image.
Our last photograph is one of a turtle at Bird Kingdom.
And, here is our last pair of 100% crops.
It should be noted that I never do any batch processing of my
RAW files. I did this test exactly the way that I would typically process individual RAW files. I’m not a pixel peeper, nor do I spend a lot of time post processing individual RAW files. Three minutes is about the longest that I would typically spend on an image.
Is the PRIME noise reduction function in OpticsPro 11 faster than in OpticsPro 10? Absolutely… in my little test it was between 23% and 40% faster depending on the file.
Is PRIME in OpticsPro 11 ‘more powerful’ as DxO claims? I think it is a tiny bit better and this is most noticeable in some of the backgrounds where the ‘blockiness’ that OpticsPro PRIME used to exhibit is toned down a little bit. The transitions between colour shades seems a tiny bit smoother as well. Does the PRIME noise reduction in OpticsPro 11 represent a performance ‘breakthrough’? Not to my eye, but you may have a different visual experience.
I did notice that OpticsPro 11 added a touch more micro-contrast to my custom preset. The impact of that small change was barely noticeable. Current OpticsPro users who do not typically use micro-contrast with their images will likely notice more of a difference than I did.
All of the images in this article were shot with a Nikon 1 J5 and the 1 Nikon CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 zoom lens, at ISO-6400. Given the size of the CX sensor this is likely a fairly aggressive test.
I use many of the other adjustments available in OpticsPro on an infrequent basis. Some I almost never use, so I may not be representative of a typical user.
Should you buy DxO OpticsPro 11? That will be for you to decide. I would suggest downloading a trial version and trying out the software before making any purchase decision. Once you use the activation purchase code there’s no turning back and DxO will not consider any kind of a credit, so its best to make sure you like the software by using a trial version.
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