Photolab 2.1

(Mark) #21

Can’t argue with that. The question is what does Photolab want to be when it grows up. After 12 years it’s still struggling with it’s identity and place in the scheme of things.



The million dollar question, Mark. I wish DxO would share the vision.


My interpretation of DxO activities is the following: We are moving away from a plain raw developer to a complete workflow solution, like Lightroom Classic, or like On1 Raw wants to be.

  • The DCP profiles are realized, so people, that want to achieve color fidelity, can have it now
  • The DAM part is on the way, a big missing part here are hierarchical keywords, XMP write support and the capability to organize files and folders inside the tool including creation of folders, renaming, moving, full clipboard support.
  • What is also missing for a workflow tool, is better hardware binding like direct image import from camera and tethering for the most common brands.
  • Next point also asked for by some folks is support for watermarks on exported images and the possibility to batch assign common metadata templates like copyright information to images.
  • Then some day we will hopefully get better masking capabilities like lightness masks, color range masks, better auto masks.
  • Then better color management will hopefully be implemented, like better HSL or a color manipulation panel like in C1, because this is this feature, that is mentioned as a C1 advantage over DxO in press.

What is unclear for me is still how “NIK integration” fits in all this. NIK belongs into the category layer/pixel editing, which is only at the end of a workflow tool pipeline, and is really optional.

In between they might implement “low hanging fruits” in the dot releases and keep up with the support of new cameras and lenses. To be realistic, I would see these points distributed over a 5 years plan.

I think, it is a good idea to become independent of Lightroom Classic CC, because it probably will be killed after Lightroom CC grows up.

(Svetlana G.) #24

Hello @Asser,

Some of the points you’ve mentioned will be delivered in the coming year :wink: because they were high requested by you, users.

Svetlana G.


Nice summary Assar but the issue becomes “how long”? It has taken ON1 years to get where it is and if your 5 year suggestion is right that is a long time. As for Nik, is not what ON1 and Luminar have done with filters much the same as integrating Nik functionality into PL? We know that some new goodness will be along but we do not know what or when. When is always subject to change but at least a prioritised list would help together with an indication (not a guarantee) as to when.


The problem of integrating is that NIK and PhotoLab are based on different code, written by completely different companies, without common architecture and most likely not event the same coding technology. It is a really difficult, sometimes impossible task, to bring two growing structures together, which were not intended to work together. If such big operations are started, it normally takes many years, where a substantial part of the old code has to be thrown away and rewritten from scratch. The same is true for performance. If a tool is not designed and implemented with performance in mind, it is hard to attach performance afterwards. It is like a building, where you want to replace the foundation. It would surprise me very much, if NIK would be integrated like Filmpack some day, but I do not expect it to happen any time soon. From NIK they can carry over only the filter knowhow anyway. Everything you see, the whole UI does not work well with the UI technology used by PL. Mixing two UI technologies in one tool is the worst thing, one can do.

“What” and “when” are complex things to answer, and it causes frustration, when the “what” order shifts, or the “when” takes longer than expected. I would also not communicate more than what is currently under development and what might be the next steps without a specific date. Just look at the reactions, if a lense support is announced for fall, and does not arrive in fall, but on the first week of winter. Or look at the Luminar team, that announced their DAM for a wrong date and earned the biggest shitstorm of the history.


We agree that ‘when’ is difficult but surely ‘what’ is not. I have no real feel for where DxO is going on all this and I really do believe that it is not beyond the wit of man to produce some sort of road map. Luminar was indeed a fiasco which imo was more about dodgy marketing than the development cycle. Luminar never was and still is not a viable Lr alternative and I am not so sure the new Library (watered down DAM) will match the functionality of what DPL has now. DxO want loyal users so surely a little more openness re what is coming is to be expected?

What you say re Nik is true. It does rather make me wonder why they bought it. But as they have then maybe it does become just another plugin - it works well enough now. However that still means the integrated solution is getting away. That could be costly. Luminar deserves all the flack it gets but the way that user interface works as an editor is very good indeed.


I do not think, that integration into PL was the primary target. NIK is a well known toolkit for its own, which attracts people, which would never buy PL. These are all the Lightroom/Ps and Affinity users out there. If DxO brings out HiDPI support in the near future, all the NIK lovers with 4K monitors will press the “Buy” button instantly, even for 79€.

(Rob Little) #29

As Asser says, PL is a RAW developer and Nik is a Pixel editor, I suppose equivalent to Lightroom and Photoshop though DxO and Adobe achieving their aims in different ways.

Just a thought but you have already seen the incorporation of u-point technology in PL and there maybe more Nik features that may port across into PL. If what DxO is eventually looking to do is have an end-to-end photo processing workflow there will be a lot of work to with Nik to make it a coherent whole and able to edit layers in its own right rather than a bunch of plug-ins for PS or Affinity - which it can be as well. There may also be some rationalisation of products as there is a lot of overlap e.g. Nik Analog FX and Dxo Filmpack.

PS and Affinity are great at what they do but they are much more than a photo editing solution and have many features to support publishing for instance. DxO doesn’t need to address this if their intended market focus is purely photo processing.


But Luminar has the worst Windows installer I’v met in the last twenty years. There are several posts in the forum reporting that you can’t uninstall it (I was also hit by this issue) and they don’t fix it since a long time. The clueless support suggests CCleaner. Incredible!


P.S.: I agree that Luminar’s RAW developer is bad.


Luminar has loads of things that are bad, even on Mac (which I use) but the concept is great as was the very first release which was Mac only and an alternative to Nik. Greed took over with the second rate attempt to bring Windows to the party together with the attempt to milk the Adobe subscription cow. Version three is due out in a week or two. That has an incomplete DAM/Library and ì do not expect the raw development filter to have improved. Leave out the raw and the Library though and Luminar still makes a reasonably decent Lr plugin and it plays nice enough with PhotoLab…but PL has Nik, although the Luminar approach to the workflow is far easier to work with imo.

Rob, I do not see U Point as the be all and end all of masking. It is good for quick stuff but it is hard to beat decent selective masks based on luminosity or colour range. That is an area where PL does need some work. I guess with a functional dam (love it or not), updated masking capability and Nik as an integrated plugin the integrated solution is achieved. The problem is all the Nik modules, they need to be condensed somehow and as Assar says Nik is also a product that is of interest to Affinity/Ps users and the like.

(Mark) #32

Everyone has their own list of things that they feel should be addressed to get Photolab where we want it to be. There is often a lot of overlap between these lists as well as a number of one off suggestions that will likely fall to the bottom of the development pile.

There is one particular limitation that I’ve brought up before and I hope will eventually be addressed although few others have suggested it. And that is the ability to view the effects of sharpening at less than 75% zoom. I find this particularly annoying since I cannot view my complete image with sharpening applied even on my 28" 4K monitor, and often have to export it to sees its effects, sometimes over effects, on the whole image. What makes this frustrating is that most, if not all of PhotoLab’s competitors display sharpening as much smaller zoom percentages. I realize this was probably a performance decision, but even showing the effects of sharpening at 50% zoom would be a big improvement.

My point is there are probably dozens of these types of changes that would lead to a better workflow and are already part of the competition’s software. Another would be a Whites slider that virtually all of DXO’s competitors have. Seeing these limitations being carried from version to version and then getting releases with virtually nothing in them is incredibly frustrating and leaves one wondering whether PhotoLab, despite its obvious strengths, will ever be truly competitive.


Exactly. Playing catch-up is a hard thing to do and especially so given some of he competition.


Personally, I do not see any competition at the moment. If I am using Affinity instead of Photoshop and do not want to pay 140$ per year on updates for a raw tool, there is no competition. Or did I miss something? The only competition, I’ve tested in DxO’s price segment, was On1 Raw. But I would not use it in the current state, even if they would pay me for it.


That is just you, Assar. Millions do pay the subscription myself included and I am happy with what I get for it as are millions of others. Then there is C1 of course. Yes one can always get down to the basics of the price point but cheaper does not necessarily mean better value. ON1 2019 its a much improved product and many are completely happy with what it gives. Yes there are bugs but in the main it is very useable although I do not favour it myself. The pricing policy of ON1 annoys me as I see it as a subscription by stealth…as are most software houses these days as they obviously need income to keep going.


I stuck with PL1.2 and downloaded the trial version of PL2. I don’t see any reason to upgrade and your comments and Svetlana’s responses underscores that decision. I’ll wait for an upgrade that deserves the name, or move on.
One thing that really annoys me (unless I’m doing something wrong) is that I recently acquired a Panasonic GX9. The DXO module for this camera is available in PL 2.0.0 but for reasons beyond me not available in PL 1.2, especially as there is so little new in PL 2. The Nov 6 update added .jpeg support. So I’m feeling short changed.

Also, these crazy offers…Black Friday, Christmas…its hard to know what discount is coming next.

What this tame upgrade has done is start to make me experiment with other software. I’m starting to think PL 1.2 will be my last DXO investment I make, which is a shame as i’ve been with them since Optics Pro 7.



I can understand that, Ash. My difficulty is that I do like Photolab and there are times when it is the only tool that gets me the result that I want. I currently use it as an add-on to Lr whilst playing with it in stand-alone mode to see what I can get from it. My results are improving and I like this forum - it is helpful, friendly and DxO staff contribute. That means a lot. It will make a lot of difference to me if they sort the front end out and make the browser a proper file manager. I don’t really need the DAM as I use Lr but as they are on to it it would be nice to see a decent result.

I am going nowhere yet and will do all I can to help DxO come through.



Like you I don’t just sit with one piece of software. Yesterday I was working (fooling around on a wet afternoon) with a simple still life of antique bottles. Ended up doing the first piece of processing in PL 2 trial, (as they were from my GX9), moved to Affinity to add a little there, and put a frame around it and a few tweaks using CameraBag app.
Finally rendered two of the images as ‘oil paintings’ using a great little app called Sketcher.
One image, four software programs and nine very different outputs of the same subject.

I like DXO too and I’ve only recently discovered the Forum. I’ll keep using it, but where it was the only software I used for a long time I’ll use whatever it takes to get the final image the way I want it.
I suspect I’m no different to others in that respect.



I have a very simple philosophy, if software does not play nice with Lr then I will not use it. Lr has been my foundation for years and I don’t really see that changing any time soon. But never say never eh! I believe DxO are at a very important crossroads, they really have a very decent base raw editor to build on and could pull something great out of the hat.


“I believe DxO are at a very important crossroads, they really have a very decent base raw editor to build on and could pull something great out of the hat.”

Couldn’t agree more. I hope its a big hat and really good things come out (all in one go).