DxO Optics Pro v4.2 - Mac

If you take digital pictures chances are you've been in that position where the shot looks great on the digital camera, but then you've loaded it into the computer and it looks appalling.

Unless you are the perfect photographer most shots could do with a little touch up, but for those who don't know the ins and outs of photoshop making your pictures look superb rather than just average is a hard job.

In steps Optics Pro v4.2 from DxO that promises to take all the fuss out of getting your pictures looking good.

Aimed at the Digital SLR photographer the package, which comes in three different variants; Elite, Standard and Starter.

Depending on your camera will depend on which package is best suited. Basically if you have a Canon or a Nikon with a standard lens set the Standard package is best option although be warned you will need to download the 185Mb installation pack even though you've got a disk in the box.

Installation is simple and requires you to enter which camera you are going to be using with the software - it works for both Mac and PC - and the package gets to task of fixing images with just a couple of clicks.

Rather than just apply a bit of auto-levels here and boost contrast there, Pro Optics does a number of tweaks, all of which are fully customisable including removing distortion, vignetting, and chromatic aberrations including purple fringing.

But, without wanting to sound like an infomerical, the software also fixes geometry issues if you're shooting with a wide-angle lens and lighting corrections to as it says "give more pop to your photos".

Then, just when you thought it was all over, the software sets about improving the colour of the image either fixing white balance, hue, saturation and luminance problems, but by if you choose transferring the picture effectively into black and white, sepia or other colour setups you've chosen. Finally it looks at sharpness, noise and exposure.

In practice and the software is incredibly easy to use with the option to press and let the software do its work, or to go in and manually change the setting depending on the picture to suit your needs.

Depending on the speed of your computer will depend on the time it takes. We tested Optics Pro on a 2.16GHz MacBook Pro with 1GB of memory and a 10 megapixel JPEG file took around 20-30 seconds to fix.

Once fixed - you can only optimise RAW or JPEG files that have previously been untouched - images are saved on your desktop without affecting the original.

In our tests results varied, but always for the better. Depending on how bad the source image was depended on how much needed to be fixed (see images) but in every case the result was a better picture that made us actually look like a half decent photographer. We also found that RAW images were more easily manipulated over there JPEG counterparts.

Verdict

Pro Optics v4.2 is an essential piece of software if you are starting out in the world of Digital SLR photography and want that little extra help in getting the best out of your images.

If you find that you've taken a picture that could do with a bit of a boost, then this is the package that will help do that without you having to become a whiz at Photoshop overnight.

In the month that we've been testing Pro Optics v4 we've been really impressed.

Top Marks.