PureRAW seems like a smart product to me. Even if Photo Lab were to become the most popular of the non-Adobe photo editors, it would still have a relatively small fraction of the overall market between the complete dominance by Adobe that shows no signs changing anytime soon combined with so many other options out there. I just hope there are big things planned for PL5 and that their focus doesn’t shift too much towards making software designed to be an add-on piece to other software.

I tried the trial of ON1 Photo RAW 2021 last year when trying to decide what software to move on to from Luminar. It seemed decent enough and had some cool features I wish Photo Lab had but the RAW conversion and noise reduction were so far behind Photo Lab that PL4 ended up being my choice. But recently I’ve watched several videos on Youtube by Jim Nix that were really great edits and have made me at least want give it another go when they inevitably release Photo RAW 2022.

Regarding Luminar, I jumped in back when Luminar 2018 was still out and they were promising Luminar 3 to be this great alternative to Lightroom and their new subscription model. Luminar 3 was a disaster when it released, eventually became usable but still full of bugs, and never got all of the features promised before it was released. Never upgraded to Luminar 4 but it seemed like the story was more of the same with Skylum openly admitting that they prioritized flashy new features and launched the software full of bugs with mediocre performance. I eventually tried the demo of Luminar 4 and while it had some nice features, it also had some of the same unfixed bugs that had been annoying me since Luminar 3 was released. Since they seem unable to live up to their promises with their software and seem to have no problem alienating customers, I moved on and don’t plan to ever go back. But Aurora HDR is pretty good at what it does.

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I gave Luminar AI a go too, also based on demos I’d seen of its sky-replacement AI … and, for that function, it’s absolutely amazing; there’s no effort in replacing a sky with a “complicated” horizon and the result is very impressive.

I was considering using it in a similar way in which I use the Nik tools - that is, as a step following processing with PhotoLab - but, a total negative for me is that Luminar AI does not produce a sidecar file containing the corrections/edits applied to an image … the details are held, but not in a way that one can easily identify/locate at a file-system level.

John M


The introduction of DxO PureRAW is a clever move to attract users of other software to DxO. I don’t see any waste of time here. On the contrary, the basic procedures such as denoising, importing, exporting, rendering, etc. are already available. Programming a customized user interface is trivial and not a waste of time. The proceeds from the sale of PureRAW will be used to develop new processes for Photolab.


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Completely agreed. I too trialed Luminar 4 a couple of years ago and it definitely did have layers and masks(not sure about local adjustments). Theoretically, one could make adjustments on a layer and mask out the areas where the adjustments should not be applied then blend the layer in with an appropriate blending mode. I have taken a more thorough(though not comprehensive) look at Luminar AI and it definitely does not have layers. I did find a local masking brush though, so apparently at least some adjustments can be masked out of some areas. That’s an improvement.

With regards to OnOne becoming viable in the future, maybe so but they are going to have to start from the ground up and completely revamp their RAW conversion engine. They have made no improvements to it since it first appeared in 2017. I keep hoping they will improve it but year after year they just keep adding new features and neglecting their core, so I wonder if they will ever improve it. I trial it every year and keep saying: “Nope, no improvement.”. I hope they eventually will, but I’m not holding my breath.


But John, NIK doesn’t produce sidecars either. Maybe it adds something to the DOP files but I don’t think so. Ahh, but NIK will save the edits to a two-page Tiff file though! I get it.

Yes, it can, Mike - - It’s not automatic … but, this is the practice I follow … and this feature is included in the new version of SEP too.

I end up with the following files, which allow me to revert to any point in my workflow;

  • Source image - a RAW file, in my case
  • PL sidecar/.dop
  • Nik sidecar/.np

I don’t need to keep the TIFF file that I pass from PL to, say, CEP, 'cos it’s reproduceable.

  • I generate this TIFF at full-size, without resizing, so that no interpolation is applied at this step.
    –I can use the sidecar/.np file to recall all steps applied in, say CEP, including any Control Points.

  • I export a TIFF at full-size from CEP - and then resize that using PL, as it’s easier doing so than using Nik Sharpening. Again, I don’t need to keep that TIFF, 'cos it’s reproduceable.

Note: I don’t use Nik with every image - but it’s great to add “something extra” to those that warrant the extra effort (which, in my case, is fewer than I’d like ! )


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Here’s my 1 cent. As soon as this was announced I saw this could be done exactly the same in PL4, indeed I’m the second post on dpreview. PL4 owners do not need to purchase PureRaw.

I have used DXO for 10 years, paying for every update at Elite level. However I regularly use ACR and Photoshop. I much prefer the Adobe tools for global and local adjustments to those in PL, also PS’s pixel level edits and layers are often part of my workflow. That’s my choice of course. Demosaicing, optical corrections, denoise and perspective correction (I still have Viewpoint 2.5) are done in PL4 and output as tiff or DNG. I use DNG less often because the files are huge, much bigger than the original RAWs.

But I can see the advantage of having just the part of PL4 that does what PureRaw does. We have already paid for those functions, with the exception of the before/after slider which is trivial. So, DXO, please give PL4 Elite owners the PureRaw front end for no charge, or a minimal charge. We as loyal DXO users have already paid for those functions, we are unlikely to buy PureRaw so it wouldn’t be lost business, and it would help consolidate your user base.

Please consider this - it’s a serious suggestion.

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Maybe a simple preset will do?

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Either there are advantages which are significantly enough to make you buy PureRaw or you don’t need it.

Sure, if you are processing hundreds or thousands of images regularly in ACR then PureRaw may be something for you. But then you are likely a professional and would have no issue to pay for it.

On the other hand, if you process thousands of images regularly you probably don’t care about the differences between Adobe and DXO raw engines anyways since none of your customers would ever care about this level of detail.

Platypus - That’s what I’m doing, and is why I say “we already have those functions”. But there are advantages to the simple front end of PureRaw such as drag and drop, which can be done direct from a card or folder, without having to wait for PL to generate a catalogue for the folder which takes time.

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Well, Calle, I’m not a professional, but to suggest that a professional’s customers don’t care about image quality is “interesting”. Some may not, but many do. It depends on what they are using images for - web vs large print for example.

The price of PureRaw is non-trivial for me. I don’t need or want to buy it. But I can see the point of the simplified interface in many situations. As we have already paid for these functions, it would be reasonable to make it available to PL4 Elite owners at zero or marginal cost. You may not agree. But it’s a reasonable proposal.

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The RAW engine is sub par as discussed already, and can be addressed with PureRAW/PhotoLab preprocessing, but I found the interface to be obtuse as well. I wish I’d given it more of a go before getting too excited about a new tool.

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I see this logic well from the DXO team. Unfortunately, the reality may be different.
Although the basic program code has already been written, assembling, testing, and maintaining new software takes time. It certainly took more than 1 month. If we assume that in the summer we will see the traditional facelift of the NIK collection, then there is no chance to see significant progress in PhotoLab 5.
As for the hypothetical PureRAW market, it is limited to enthusiasts. This software is unlikely to impress amateurs and professionals. Simply because it does not meet their requirements. The amateur market is moving fast towards smartphones, and professionals would not want to complicate their workflow.
Remember that some of us here are impressed by the possibilities of PhotoLab, which will be offered by PureRAW. Will DXO at some stage not cannibalize their sales of Photolab, especially if its painfully slow development continues?

I don’t understand the remarks made about the validity of DxO’s policy. As what DxO should put all its skills and efforts to improve a software which does not seem to give satisfaction and not to produce a new software.
Personally I will not use the new software because I find the results of DxOPL quite satisfactory and the improvements made during the different versions are a plus (a gift) that I appreciate. But I don’t see why I should judge the commercial policy of DxO.


Possible. But certainly not the entire DxO team was involved.

We have several teams working on the distinct products so you don’t need to worry about PL5 being affected. In fact more and more DxO products rely on the same engine, so efforts done for one are likely to benefit to other products at no additional cost. Of course the user interface of each product remains an effort per product.


“Of course” might take DxO off course. Better rethink the UI to make it usable for all products. Why invent powder over and over again?

I am very limited in use of applications by choice.
Why use lots of applications if the gain is little when you learn the main apps to use as good as possible?

That said, pure raw is like standalone viewpoint and filmpack in my opinion.
A “handout” or teaser to people who don’t need/want DxOPL eltite in full aspect.

Of of dxo perspective i wouldn’t set pure raw’s deepprime on par with PL.
Very close but not exactly the same in outcome and experience.

Why? Lot of people who buy dxopl just for deepprime and opticmodule and export as soon as possible to there editor of choice are easier to persuade to buy pureraw then full package.
There loss is then that they don’t get the other tools and therefore don’t be tickled to change opinion about the full package.
So to have some extra motivation to buy the full package make the full package just a bit better, in exported denoising , in advanged settings, in export types (dng) and formats (crops/resizing).

I am not familiar with the ACR module standalone and build in in LR but i guess they do the same.

I suspect the buyers are only interested in batchlike fairly straightforward exporting from raw to tiff or dng.

If dxo wants to make a Photolab elite mobile they need to scap the library function and search functions.
Ingest, select, edit, export, forget. Only dopfiles. Maybe a copyright iptc tamplet so you can instant stamp your id on all images.
Build for low impact on tablets and laptops. No designated folders as in you need to copy first to hd ssd, just directly from sd and export to external drive.

You could easy make a setup choice so you can install as normal or mobile , because you have 3 installs.

You can do that w/ PL also. I routinely use that to process groups of images that I’ve identified using IMatch as my DAM. Saves lots of clutter in PL.

I don’t understand your point. Do you expect different products to look exactly the same yet provide different features? And if you were thinking of a common base for the UI then customization per product, in theory… yes. In practice a lot is different between products so no so much to share.