DxO PhotoLab 6 First Looks

Today my favourite RAW converter, DxO PhotoLab, got an update to version 6

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Let’s see what’s new

I will be doing a deep-dive into the new features soon – so make sure you keep your eye out for that 🙂

Before we start – if you want to download a copy of PhotoLab 6 to try it out for free for 30 days (no credit-card required), you can download it by clicking on the banner below:

DxO DeepPrime XD

DeepPRIME XD requires PhotoLab 6 Elite and isn’t available in the Essentials version

One of standout features of PhotoLab has always been the DxO DeepPRIME noise reduction. In PhotoLab 6 this has been extended even further with a new ‘XD’ mode.

DeepPRIME XD (eXtreme Details) pushes uses AI modeling to pull out details in high ISO images that would previously have been lost in the DeNoise process.

It also uses it’s smarts to restore colour depth, vibrancy and dynamic range that can be lost in high ISO photos.

The new DeepPRIME XD is an additional algorithm to the standard DeepPRIME found in previous versions of PhotoLab. Because of the additional processing requirements of DeepPRIME XD it can take longer to apply to an image. If you don’t need the extra features (for example on less extreme ISO shots) then you can use the standard DeepPRIME processing to save some time.

New ‘ReTouch’ tool

DxO have added a new ReTouch tool that improves the healing and cloning process.

The new ReTouch tool allows much more control over the source of the clone and allows for mirroring, rotating and scaling to help with the trickiest of healing jobs.

It also introduces brushes to fine-tune the area and ensure that the shape being cloned from and to is more accurate.

The idea is that more complex cloning and healing can be done within PhotoLab itself instead of having to send the file out to PhotoShop or other external pixel editors. It also ensures that any healing/cloning is non-destructive and can be edited/changed/removed later. Nice!

The workflow enhancement is greatly appreciated here!

Library Improvements

I don’t tend to use the PhotoLibrary within DxO (Lightroom does the heavy lifting for me there), but PhotoLab 6 does see some welcome improvements here.

It expands the range of EXIF & IPTC tags available for a photographer to use.

It also adds nesting for projects so you can now have sub-projects within a project. This would be a very welcome feature for anyone who uses the PhotoLibrary and will greatly help with organising large image collections.

PhotoLab 6 also introduces colour labels for easier visual organisation of files.

For anyone who hates using the Lightroom catalogue system and prefers to use a file-browser type system, these improvements offer a decent upgrade in organisation and usability.

Better Colour Accuracy

DxO PhotoLab 6 has introduced new colour processing algorithms that allows for a wider gammut of colours. With it comes a new, extended working colour space.

These upgrades ensure that even the most saturated colours can be faithfully reproduced on the latest wide-gamut monitors and printers.

I doubt many photographers will notice the differences when working with most files, but improvements to colour processing and accuracy are never a bad thing!

Other Features

Of course, the above features are in addition to the things that have always made PhotoLab so great. Included in PhotoLab are:

  • Class leading RAW demosaicing and optical corrections. This is what brought me to PhotoLab in the first place and in my opinion is still second to none.
  • U-Point Technology. A really easy way to do local adjustments and enhancements.
  • Advanced History. Allowing you to see and go back to every adjustment you’ve made to each RAW file in a non-destructive way.
  • … and much more. Download the trial to see everything PhotoLab can offer

PhotoLab Essential vs PhotoLab Elite

I always recommend the Elite version of PhotoLab Elite over the Essential verion.

With Essentials you are missing out on:

  • DxO DeepPRIME and DeepPRIME XD – the best RAW noise reduction
  • DxO ClearView Plus
  • Anti-moire tool
  • Customisable pallettes to customise the interface to your workflow needs
  • Colour rendering profiles
  • Presets Editor
  • … and a few other features that made PhotoLab easier to use

Price & Availability

So how much will PhotoLab 6 cost as either a new purchase or an upgrade?

If you don’t own any previous version of PhotoLab you will need to pay the full price:

For anyone who already owns PhotoLab 4 or 5, the upgrade price is:

Yes… the price is fairly high. But when you consider that you’re getting the best noise reduction, optical correction and raw file conversion packages out there… and how many images you put through it in a year… in my opinion it is well worth the price.

Should I Buy PhotoLab 6

Well – I guess that is ultimately up to you.

For me… it was a day one purchase. Putting DeepPRIME XD through its paces has already proven (to me) that the upgrade was worth it.

If you want to try it out for 30 days before you purchase, you can download the free trial (no credit-card required!) and test it out by clicking on the banner below.

PhotoLab Elite vs Essentials

The table below outlines the differences between the PhotoLab Elite and PhotoLab Essentials versions

DxO PhotolabElite vs Essentials




Raw ConversionBest in Class RAW Convesion
DxO Smart LightingBoost dynamic range
DxO Photo LibraryPhoto Organisation
Local AdjustmentsEnhance selective areas
Control PointsEasy masking & adjustments
Control LinesEasy masking & adjustments
Selective Adjustments of Control Points/LinesRefine control points & lines
Local Adjustment MasksMask in/out adjustments
Optical CorrectionsFix lens distortion
DxO Lens SharpnessEnhance lens sharpness
Selective ToneEdit only select tones
Keywords ManagementKeyword Tagging
Keywords TreeOrganise Keywords
EXIF DisplayView photo details
Selective Metadata ExportChoose metadata to export
Metadata Copy/PasteEasy copy between photos
Lightroom IntegrationEasy workflow from Lightroom
DxO PRIMENoise Reduction
DxO DeepPRIMEAI Powered Noise Reduction
DxO DeepPRIME XDNoise Reduction and detail extraction
FujiFilm X-Trans Raw ConversionFujiFilm X-Trans files
DxO Clearview PlusRemove haze and fog
DxO Instant WatermarkingEasy add watermarks
Batch RenamingMany files at once
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