DxO PureRAW 2.1

by Aug 2, 2022Photography Blog

Robin Whalley Landscape Photographer

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The “Essential” Lightroom Accessory From DxO

A few days ago, DxO released DxO PureRAW 2.1. This is a free upgrade for owners of PureRAW 2 which was released in March 2022. The headline improvements in this new release are:

  • It’s fully compliant with Apple’s Silicon architecture. DxO PureRAW Version 2.1 uses the neural processor architecture and works with both the Apple M1 and M2 chips.
  • Support for new camera models including extended coverage of the Canon EOS R5 C and the Leica M11 models. To achieve the best results with DxO Pure RAW your cameras and lenses need to be supported. You can check this on the DxO website (https://tidd.ly/3SdSIYJ).
  • Workflow enhancements, including improved renaming options when generating files.

If you haven’t seen DxO PureRAW 2 before, watch my video review from March 2022.

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What I really like about DxO PureRAW 2 is how well it integrates with my computer operating system and Lightroom. It isn’t intrusive and doesn’t overcomplicate the workflow. Instead, it simply works and doesn’t require a great deal of thought. That’s just how good software should be.

Why PureRAW 2 is THE ESSENTIAL Lightroom Accessory

But let me explain why I think PureRAW 2 is the essential Lightroom accessory.

Whilst I like working in the Lightroom Develop module to edit RAW files, the quality of the results isn’t always great. The optical corrections usually leave me needing to do more work. The sharpening tools are fiddly to achieve the best results and even then, don’t match many competitors. The noise reduction is crude and often leaves traces of noise which needs cleaning up. How serious these problems are, also varies between camera and lens combinations.

By pre-processing my RAW files using DxO PureRAW I can automatically produce a DNG file which fixes these problems. When I then process the DNG file in Lightroom, I achieve a much better result than starting with the RAW file in Lightroom. Possibly the most noticeable improvement is how the software strips away noise from my micro four thirds RAW files as in this example.

DxO PureRAW 2.1 compared with Lightroom processed RAW

This image was shot in dark conditions at ISO800 using a Panasonic G9 camera. Even before we look at a magnified comparison you can see the improvement DxO PureRAW 2.1 has made.

Now let’s zoom in to 200% magnification to compare the detail in the two images.

DxO PureRAW 2.1 compared to Lightroom processed RAW at 200% magnification

Click the image above to enlarge.

The image section on the left is the RAW file processed in Lightroom using the default sharpening and noise reduction. The section on the right is from the DNG file produced automatically by DxO PureRAW 2.1, with the Lightroom sharpening and noise reduction turned off.

And look at the improvement DxO PureRAW 2.1 makes to the image noise.

Comparing image noise from Lightroom with DxO PureRAW 2.1

Please click the image to enlarge.

The image sample on the left shows the RAW file processed with default sharpening and noise reduction in Lightroom. The shadow slider was then increased to +100% to reveal any noise in the shadows. The sample on the right shows the improvement when processing the RAW file first using DxO  PureRAW 2.

With results like this I’m free to ignore the ISO setting. I don’t need to worry about creating too much noise in the shadows. It also frees to use whatever adjustments I like when I come to process my images later. I’m not worried about revealing excessive shadow noise.

Do I Need DxO PureRAW?

This is a good question, and the simple answer is, no you don’t need DxO PureRAW. But if you want to achieve the best quality results when editing your RAW files, it’s extremely valuable. I would therefore urge you to download a trial version to test the improvements with your camera and lens combinations.

The only EXCEPTION to this is if you are a DxO PhotoLab user. If you are already using PhotoLab 4 Elite or later, you already have access to the same quality results. There’s no need to invest in PureRAW 2 as well. You can learn how to achieve this in my article comparing DxO PhotoLab with PureRAW.

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