Fstoppers Review DxO PhotoLab 4 With DeepPRIME AI and a Host of Compelling Features

Today, DxO is taking the wraps off their latest update to their PhotoLab series, PhotoLab 4. It’s a major update of its multiple award-winning photo-editing software. This latest version features DxO DeepPRIME, a revolutionary demosaicing and denoising technology based on artificial intelligence and trained with deep learning.

DxO PhotoLab 4 has also added a new dynamic interface system called DxO Smart Workspace, enriched its photo library with a batch renaming feature, and created an even simpler workflow by adding a new and exclusive editing history tool called DxO Advanced History and the ability to selectively copy and paste specific settings. Lastly, the new DxO Instant Watermarking feature lets users sign their photos by adding a watermark directly to the image.

Trained using the millions of photos DxO’s laboratories have analyzed for more than 15 years, DxO DeepPRIME employs artificial intelligence and drastically improves digital noise reduction while also delivering more effective demosaicing. The resulting photo quality is much improved over conventional methods, especially for photos taken in low-light conditions that require brightening certain areas, photos with small pixels, and photos taken with early-generation cameras. 

To reduce noise and demosaic RAW images, DxO DeepPRIME was trained using several billion samples. Since its founding in 2003, DxO has earned an international reputation for calibrating hundreds of cameras and thousands of lenses using a protocol that is more extensive than any other in the industry. DxO has measured the distortion, vignetting, chromatic aberrations, loss of sharpness, and digital noise generated by each equipment combination and in every situation with an extraordinary level of precision. That technology is now built into PhotoLab 4.

DxO Smart Workspace

This latest version also includes what the company calls a Smart Workspace. It’s based on a unique system of filters that can be accessed directly from the toolbar. It allows users to show tool palettes by correction type, only display their pre-selected favorite palettes, or only show palettes with activated corrections. In addition, DxO Smart Workspace can also instantly open the desired palette when users search for a tool in a dedicated search field.

DxO PhotoLab 4 also includes an advanced batch renaming and an advanced history feature, something previous versions lacked. There is also an advanced watermarking module, something pros will appreciate. Most photo-editing programs let users add a watermark but do not let them directly preview the final version. They also don’t allow users to manage blend modes. The powerful and flexible DxO Instant Watermarking tool lets users embed a text and/or image in the background of one or several photos at the same time and then instantly view the result. The placement, orientation, scale, margins, and opacity of the watermark are fully configurable. 

New Camera Support

DxO PhotoLab 4 continues to add the latest cameras to the list of equipment it supports. It has added support for the Canon EOS R5, EOS R6, and EOS 850D, the Nikon D6, and Z5, the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV, and the Panasonic Lumix S5 cameras. More than 60,000 cameras and lens combinations are now available.


The ESSENTIAL and ELITE editions of DxO PhotoLab 4 (PC and Mac) are now available for download on DxO’s website for the following launch prices until November 19, 2020:

DxO PhotoLab 4 ESSENTIAL Edition: $99.99 instead of $129
DxO PhotoLab 4 ELITE Edition: $149.99 instead of $199 

You can install the program on two computers with the DxO PhotoLab 4 ESSENTIAL Edition or on three computers with the DxO PhotoLab 4 ELITE Edition. Photographers with a license for DxO OpticsPro or PhotoLab 3 can purchase an upgrade license for DxO PhotoLab 4 by signing into their customer account. There are more details on the differences between the two editions on the DXO website.

My Thoughts

It’s been a busy couple of weeks in the photo-editing world. Skylum is touting a new AI-based editor coming around Christmas. Adobe has rocked the photo world by embracing AI editing after a few years of sitting on the sidelines. And now, DXO is offering a solid raw editor with much to recommend it. 

I took PhotoLab 4 out for a dry run a couple of weeks ago with a pre-release version of the software. It’s impressive, and it can quickly and easily bring new life to old photos taken on less than the state of the art cameras. It does fine with my current Sony mirrorless camera as well. I like the fact that you can open a photo and the default editing steps you have set up immediately work on your image. For architects, for example, your photos can instantly and automatically straighten some of the inherent distortions in wide-angle lenses.

For low-light images, the excellent DXO noise reduction does its work and does so impressively. It worked well on some of my Milky Way images, reducing the noise without needing to fiddle with sliders.

I think we are well past the day when one raw editor fits all. With my current workflow, I start in Lightroom but dip into Luminar for some of their special AI features. I’m doing the same with DXO PhotoLab 4. I then usually finish in Photoshop.

With each company offering editors wants theirs to be the one you use, my take is I’ll mix and match depending on the task at hand. Competition is great. AI is not without controversy. Some editors can get a photo that is simply not realistic, but realism may not be the goal. For others, it can cut time spent editing, and that is very valuable. AI should not be a dirty word. It should be under the control of the photographer to use sparingly or not at all. 

DxO has a worthy and compelling offering for pro and semi-pro editors. You can download a full-featured version of PhotoLab 4 and use it for a month to see if it works for you. I’m impressed with what they have done.


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