My love affair with DxO is over. It reached a passionate crescendo then came to an abrupt end. There is no going back. My hopes have been dashed and my heart broken.
Last weekend I had an opportunity to put the newly released DxO Optics Pro 6 through its paces at my son’s graduation in Oxford. No use of flash allowed in the Sheldonian Theatre, but no need to worry because I could just ramp up the ISO (even on my trusty Sony Alpha A100) to say 800 and DxO would magically make it look like ISO 100 at noon on a summer’s day.
Except it did no such thing. It dealt admirably with the noise but threw in some ugly random artifacts and produced some unnatural “watercolour” effects, particularly on fine detail of faces and hair. I had previously experimented with DxO on pictures of things, not people. It may be alright with things, but definitely not with people.
Here is a 100% crop of an example produced with Lightroom:
And the same crop with DxO:
I wondered whether it might just be teething problems with the new version, so uninstalled the DxO 6 trial and reinstalled the older DxO 5.3.5. No better, I’m afraid.
In the end I went back to Lightroom 2.2. It isn’t quite as good as DxO at banishing noise but produces a far more natural and artifact-free result. Lightroom wins hands down.
Pass me a handkerchief, someone. Sob.