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DxO PhotoLab 1.2 Software Review

There's a new version of DxO PhotoLab now available so we thought we'd take a look to see what's new in this popular photo editing software.

| DxO PhotoLab 1.2 in Other Software
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DxO PhotoLab 1.2 Software Review :

Quick Verdict

DxO PhotoLab 1.2 is a doddle to use, produces excellent results and when you consider there's just a one-off fee to own it, the software isn't bad value either. Recommended.  

+ Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Quick in response 
  • Live edits 
  • Excellent local adjustment tools 
  • Easy to use masking 
  • Good selection of presets 
  • No subscription 

- Cons

  • It would be nice to be able to move the local adjustment tools when in use 
  • No history panel (but you can undo) 
  • Can't rename images on export 


DxO PhotoLab 1.2 Software Review : DxO PhotoLab 1.2

DxO PhotoLab is branded as a 'RAW photo editor' and with great local adjustment tools, useful presets, excellent optical correction tools, non-destructive editing and more, it's easy to see why it's become a firm favourite among photographers who are looking for an alternative to the now subscription-based Adobe platform. In fact, some rate its RAW image editing powers much higher than those offered by competitors, simply because it's quick to use and produces sharp images with low noise. 

As the software is so popular, we couldn't really overlook the latest update, DxO PhotoLab 1.2, so we've installed it on our office PC (Mac version also available) and have put it to the test to see if the small changes make a big difference to our photo editing workflow.  


DxO PhotoLab 1.2 Features

If you've not used DxO Photo Lab before, you can use it to organise your image files as well as edit them and as such, it's split into two sections: Organize and Customize. 

The Organize tab is very similar to how Lightroom's Libary section works so if you're familiar with this, it won't take you long to get to grips with DxO's version. You can navigate through files, browse multiple images found in one folder/project, add ratings... you get the picture. There's nothing new in the Organize tab so it's not something we'll be looking at under a microscope but it does make it really easy to find the images you want to edit in the Customize tab which, really, is the star of the show. 

The Customize tab is where you'll find all of the correction tools and it's also where the software performs its magic, analysing images to apply automatic fixes before you apply your own tweaks and adjustments. There are a lot of tools on offer along with all of the data a photographer will probably use when applying edits to images. Plus, the software is pretty intuitive and really easy to get to grips with if it's not something you've used before. 

You'll notice us mention U Point technology further down so we'll explain what this is before moving on and confusing you. Basically, it's something that was previously introduced so users can make selections and edit specific areas of an image (local adjustments) rather than changing the look of the whole photo. It's a feature that came from Nik software and is definitely a tool that makes life easier. 


So What's New?

There's not actually that many new features in version 1.2 of DxO PhotoLab, but they are useful none-the-less. A new Hue (HSL) tool and Selective Tone settings have been added to the local adjustment tools so it's easier to recover over/underexposed areas of an image. The equaliser system that's used when working with local adjustments has had a slight redesign (new categories) and a new keyboard shortcut has been added that displays the U Point mask in grayscale (something DxO fans requested so the company listened). The only other new feature is the support for several new cameras (take a look at our news item to find out which new cameras are supported) so images captured with them are automatically corrected for optical defects. 


DxO PhotoLab 1.2 Software Review : DxO PhotoLab 1.2

Key Features

  • RAW editing
  • Automatic adjustments
  • Local adjustments & Global adjustments
  • Simple masking tools 
  • 1-click presets 
  • Smart Lighting - automatic fix of an image's dynamic range
  • Denoising - automatically removes noise 
  • Clearview - removes haze and increases contrast 


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johndclark Avatar
7 Jun 2018 1:40PM
Great review on DxO PhotoLab, have used DxO for years, this is the best one yet.
Have tried a dozen other software brands, nothing compares. Give it a try, you will
Alan_Baseley Avatar
7 Jun 2018 11:07PM
A couple of points about your review.
1. No mention in the CONS about the lack of keywording facility.
2. No mention among the alternatives of Affinity photo, cheaper than all those mentioned, easy to use and an excellent product. Shouldn't a UK based site i.e, EPZ be at least mentioning British alternatives?
Frankster69 Avatar
16 Jun 2018 2:33AM
While I fully agree it would be nice (and of this age) to be able to move the equaliser, I should note it is possible to show/hide it by pressing 'E'. For me that's fast enough to be able to check results in a hurry and come back to refine.

Great review. I've owned OpticsPro and own Photolab. The 1.2 upgrade really makes a huge difference to me. The ability to tone up/down the highlights/midtones/shadows/blacks individually is invaluable. Before I had to make do with exposure corrections, and that's more crude. This makes very detailed adjustments a breeze, very nice.

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