DXO PhotoLab Finally Supports Lumix G9
DxO PhotoLab, my preferred RAW converter software, has finally added support for my favorite camera, the Lumix G9. Oringally support for the G9 was supposed to be out in February 2018. It’s taken until now to finally get it.
I must admit, I’m no fan of DxO taking so long to support new cameras. But… if you understand their unique software model, you begin to appreciate the reasons they’re always behind Adobe and others. I have no insider information, but from DxO’s marketing materials here is what they’re up against when trying to get an update out.
The “Thing” that makes DxO products so unique, particularly DxO PhotoLab, is the individual testing of EVERY lens, for any camera they decide to support. It’s possible that they may skip some lenses, but from my experience I’ve not found any I use that they don’t support. They put each lens model through their own in-house scientific analysis, checking for color issues, chromatic aberrations, soft edges, and who knows what else. They then program their findings into the software, making fixes for any problems found with additional fixes for aberrations found on the camera’s sensor. In the end, the software makes corrections to produce a superior image, eliminating—or at least removing as much as possible—the physical limitations of glass and hardware. Scientifically documenting and programing fixes for all the lenses of a particular system must be daunting. And it’s my guess the reason the process of updates can take quite some time.
Keep in mind that Adobe claims to have the same ability to fix lens and cameras issues with their so-called ‘Lens Profile.’ And they did it specifically to compete with the quality DxO was producing. But based on what I’ve seen in Lightroom, there’s a lot of manual, do-it-yourself options I know nothing about. You can even make your own custom adjustment for a particular lens and camera, but for goodness sakes, what the heck do I know about analyzing a lens from an optics performance standpoint? Not to mention where am I going to get the equipment to do a professional job? I think you get my point. Adobe suggests they do something similar, but from what I can tell and I may be wrong, Adobe doesn’t do the in-depth testing DxO PhotoLab does. Maybe the folks from Adobe refute this in the comments below?
DxO PhotoLab is the software portion of the Micro Four Thirds Triad I often talk to my students about. The Micro Four Thirds Triad consists of 1) the most up to date and current camera (G9 or equivalent) combined with 2) the highest quality lenses (think Leica 200mm F/2.8 and Leica 12-60mm) processed with 3) the best quality RAW converter you can get (DxO PhotoLab). Combine these three things and Micro Four Thirds has no problem competing head on with the traditional full frame DSLRs.
To be completely fair, not all is well within the DxO community. Just last April, 2018 DxO Labs announced the French version of bankruptcy proceedings. Not great news unfortunately. DxO is proud to promote their heritage of being founded by world-class engineers which they claim makes them different and better than the competition. However, I’ve seen other amazing products–the early days of Drobo for example–where engineers founded and ran the company and nearly destroyed it. Thankfully, Drobo is alive and well due to new management. Let’s hope the amazing image engineers at DxO can find new success and marketing management to do the same for DxO PhotoLab. I absolutely love this software and I’m rooting for them.
Finally, DxO recently purchased Nik software from Google. Nik’s always had a cult-like following, and it’s great news that DxO has brought it back from the ashes. Interestingly, DxO PhotoLab has many, if not all, the Nik tools built within the PhotoLab infrastructure, but from what I understand you can download the Nik modules independently. Apparently the Nik tools are downloaded as plugins to Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop CC which then gives you similar options that I’m using with DxO PhotoLab. I’m not completely familiar with how Nik works with Lightroom or Photoshop since I’ve completely switched over to Mylio as my database tool and DxO PhotoLab for processing my pictures.
However you’re working with your pictures now, you owe it to yourself to give these DxO software tools a try. Especially if you’re following the mantra of the Micro Four Thirds Triad. This is the third leg that can get you the quality to compete with full-frame cameras.