There is a new way to get the most out of your raw files and that is called DxO Pure Raw. It uses “AI” aka. machine learning to give you a more clean and more detailed interpretation of your raw file. There is a a free 30 day trial you can try, so I’m not gonna make a huge comparison here, just go and test it out yourself.
But in short this is my conclusion from playing around with it:
- This will improve all raw files, but mostly files that suffers from high iso noise or low details.
- A lot of people mentioned that this is very good for Fujifilm X raw files, and that is true, but I found it even better for more low end cameras i.e. older Canon or Nikon crop sensor cameras I have used.
- This was a bit surprising to me, but it also sharpens the image and it does it better the more low quality lens you used. Some photos I have shot with old cheap tele zoom lenses that before almost looked out of focus was now tack sharp.
- Dxo Pure Raw can not save those images that are shoot with too high iso (it will make them look too fake), but it can save those photo where the iso noise was just a bit too much. On my Fujifilm Iso 800 is very nice, but I normally don’t use an iso above that, but with Dxo Pure Raw now I can. That’s 1-2 extra stops you get just by using this.
- Another thing is that often you shoot a photo with a higher iso but you on purpose keep the image dark when editing it because you know raising shadows too much will give too much noise. Now you can brighten up those photos in edit with Dxo Pure Raw.
- Remember all of this is not magic, before with i.e. Lightroom there was interpretation going on when reading the red, green, blue sensors and transforming them into a color pixel, and that interpretation was not very smart. Adobe Lightroom got a bit better over the years, and Capture One is even better in my opinion, but this is a huge step up and great use of machine learning.
So should you always use Dxo Pure Raw in every scenario? No, i.e. on Fujifilm X the iso noise can actually look good, if it’s not too high iso, and it can actually add a bit of atmosphere. But it depend. I really like the colors on the Canon EOS M6 camera (the greens for spring photos are nice) but the images was always a bit soft, now with Dxo Pure Raw they get that pop that the photos was missing. And I can now shoot my Fujifilm X cameras at 2 stops higher iso and get away with it. I would say, try it. You will probably end up buying it.
I put together a zip file you can download here with some comparison photos processed with and without Dxo Pure Raw. Notice that Dxo Pure Raw also does some lens correction and vignetting correction, so the files are not 100% one to one.