DxO PureRAW review

DxO announced PureRAW, its newest application, to the press on March 29, 2021. DxO AI-based PureRAW removes noise, chromatic aberrations, unwanted vignetting, distortion, and insufficient sharpness with an unprecedented level of quality. When a company tells the press its new product can turn any RAW image into a perfect linear DNG that can be further processed in any linear DNG aware image editor, reviewers become suspicious, so I it was with some devilish pleasure I took a pre-release version of PureRAW to the test.

The first test I ran was with four shots from a Sony A700 at ISO 100 mounted on a tripod in a scarcely lit living room, requiring me to use a 3-seconds+ exposure time. Despite this exposure being relatively long, no noise was present in the original. There was, however, a slight lens fuzziness. Processing with PureRAW seemed to take 46sec only, but because I had selected a clean up with DeepPRIME, the progress bar got stuck on “1 sec” that ultimately took about 5 minutes before the DNGs were ready.

The results showed slightly sharper images. I then sharpened these images in Capture One Pro 21, and PureRAW’s results were slightly better.

My second test involved taking a shot in the same slightly lit room but this time with ISO set to 3200, which is the highest my camera will actually support (6400 ISO is a forced setting that is not really 6400 ISO). As I expected, the noise this time was unbearable. I processed this image through Capture One Pro 21 again, using its automatic features. The results were quite good. The question was what would PureRAW’s result look like.

Well, Pure RAW did an excellent job of removing noise and actually restoring lost detail, sharpening the image with no artefacts at all, removing a slight distortion and outputting as perfect a DNG file as it would be in an ideal world. The whole batch of 12MP files did take some 15 minutes processing time from start to finish. After the processing with PureRAW, I tried to fine tune the results of my original file in Capture One Pro 21, using its sharpness and noise modules. Neither could stand up to the quality I got out of DxO’s PureRAW. Although the final result came very close, it was not as perfect as PureRAW’s.

An observation to make that is very important from a productivity point of view is that processing with PureRAW involves one user intervention — a one-button click. That means you can be doing other things while PureRAW goes through your entire batch, whereas the cleaning up in Capture One Pro 21 took almost half an hour trying different things to tweak the image to almost the same level of perfection.

The conclusion is that PureRAW allows you to keep on using whatever image editor that supports linear DNG’s you may already have and enjoy a better starting file to edit. And that, the product manager and press officer said in their presentation, was exactly what DxO had in mind when it released this new app.

DxO PureRAW retails at $129. From April 14 to May 31, DxO PureRAW can be yours for $89.99 only.

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