DxO’s brand-new ViewPoint plug-in and stand-alone app is meant to fix distorted images as a result of lens flaws or the lack of a tilt-shift lens. It’s a great tool when used intelligently.
DxO’s ViewPoint tries to fix keystoning, anamorphosis and horizon problems. Keystoning is the well-known effect that occurs when you shoot architecture from ground level, without using a tilt-shift lens. It’s fixed by straightening the lines so they run parallel where they’re supposed to. DxO Optics Pro 7 and Capture One Pro 6 have identical tools as those offered by ViewPoint, so I could easily compare. Fixing keystoning and anamorphosis seems to be done by warping the image in both apps.
Both apps work great with an identical interface and identical results. Of course there are a couple of conditions that should be met before you can use this tool successfully. If you shot your image very close to the subject, it will not work and it also won’t straighten lines if you take a photo at the bottom of a skyscraper looking upwards in the sky. Your subject should be at a comfortable distance, preferably facing you straight in the lens.
Anamorphosis is a different matter. It’s a deformation that occurs with cheap lenses, or as a result of a subject being close to the edge of the frame. It can strike horizontally and vertically. Anamorphosis is also a tool — an automatic one — in DxO Optics Pro 7.5. It fixes a distorted face and other distorted subjects both horizontally and vertically. In DxO Optics Pro anamorphosis is fixed as part of the lens analysis/module. In ViewPoint, you need to fix by manipulating sliders. This works well, but if your monitor is off itself (a dirt cheap monitor will slightly warp the entire screen) you can’t judge the results. That’s not a problem with DxO Optics Pro as here the correction should be spot-on, as it is based on a lens module. It could be a problem with ViewPoint.
On the other hand, if you’re going to correct images, you might consider buying a decent monitor.
Last but not least is Horizon. It’s the most common of the three tools. It fixes the horizon by letting you straighten it with the help of a grid. There is also a Cropping tab, but that one is automatically used when applying any of the three fixes. With each additional fix, the crop factor becomes bigger, i.e. more of the image is cut off.
ViewPoint is a great tool to have, but if you can afford it, DxO’s Optics Pro is better. The bottom line of all of this is that it’s better to use a tilt-shift lens or a high quality prime lens with which the most perceivable distortions can be avoided.