DxO just released a new version of PureRAW. Using plenty of imagination, they called it PureRAW2.

I purchased it pretty quickly. Read on to find out why

What is DxO PureRAW 2?

If I told you that PureRAW is a RAW processor – you’d probably imagine it looks a little like Lightroom with sliders, dials and other tools that will turn your RAW files into beautiful, polished photos.

You’d be wrong.

The DxO PureRAW 2 Interface

DxO PureRAW is a RAW pre-processor. It will take your RAW files and do a couple of things to them (and do it VERY well). It will:

Apply optical corrections, including sharpening if you choose

Remove noise (where applicable)

Demosaic the file (really well)

What’s New in PureRAW 2?

The last version of PureRAW was 1.5. So what has changed?

Well… not much:

  • Fujifilm X-Trans support,
  • Workflow improvements for Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop users,
  • Speed improvements.

Not a very impressive list for a major version update (more on that later) – but the second item was enough for me to buy the upgrade.

X-Trans Support

This will be exciting for FujiFilm users who own a compatible camera with an X-Trans sensor. Traditionally RAW processors have struggled with the X-Trans files from these cameras and it will certainly be good to now have PureRAW denosing available.

Workflow Improvements

One of my biggest gripes with PureRAW was that files couldn’t be sent directly from Lightroom.

DxO Photolab (a full-blown Lightroom replacement) can be invoked from Lightroom, but PureRAW couldn’t (until now). It didn’t make much sense to me and was a major oversight of version 1. That has now been fixed.

Speed Improvements

DxO claims an ‘up to 4x’ speed improvement on M1 Hardware, or 1.5x on ‘the best windows Computers’.

I don’t have the ability to test these claims as I don’t have any M1 hardware – but on my decent Windows machine, it doesn’t feel a great deal faster.

Reports from others on the internet also suggest any speed increases are pretty minimal.

Image Quality?

From my testing, there is very little, if any, image quality improvements between v1.5 and the new version.

That’s not to saw that image quality isn’t good. In my opinion PureRAW is class leading in the files it produces. Just that v2 won’t get you any better results than v1.5

What I Don’t Like

OK, so I’ve sung the praises of PureRAW 2 pretty highly here, and I have purchased the software and will use it extensively in my photography workflow. However, there is something that doesn’t sit right with me:

DxO have called this PureRAW 2 – in my opinion this shouldn’t have been released as a major version. It is version 1.6 at best (the last version 1 release was 1.5).

For US$80 for the upgrade (US$99) you are getting:

  • Additional camera support
  • Workflow improvements
  • Minor speed enhancements

To call that meagre list a jump from v1.x to v2.0 is a REAL stretch in my books, and screams ‘money grab’.

Don’t get me wrong – I understand and support that software developers need to get paid, but for a ‘major’ upgrade this one comes up pretty short. It isn’t the first time that DxO have done this either.

I would have expected at least an upgrade in image quality to come with it.

Do I Recommend It?

Well, despite the bad mojo with the meagre upgrade from v1.5:

If you don’t already own the software, you’re buying from scratch and you have a compatible camera and/or lens then I wholeheartedly recommend DxO PureRAW 2. The image quality and noise reduction is top-notch

If you purchased v1.x and you work primarily in Lightroom (and have a compatible camera and/or lens) then it is a begrudging yes. The workflow updates, although not worthy of a major release, are enough for me to recommend it.

If you’re on version 1.x and won’t benefit from the workflow upgrade then it would be a firm ‘no’. There are no real advantages to the new version.

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