DxO Labs has announced DxO Optics Pro v5, the latest version of its software for automatic image quality enhancement for Digital SLR camera users.

Due to be released later this year, DxO Optics Pro v5 includes a new RAW conversion engine. All purchasers of DxO Optics Pro v4.5 on or after August 1st, 2007 are eligible for a free upgrade to DxO Optics Pro v5.

DxO Optics Pro v5’s RAW conversion engine includes a completely new demosaicing algorithm which produces images with much more detail and fewer artifacts.

Demosaicing is the crucial step of RAW conversion during which the camera’s image sensor pattern is reconstructed as a visible image for the human eye. Inherently, demosaicing involves trade-offs between image sharpness, details, noise, processing time and conversion artifacts.

The quality of demosaicing determines the amount of detail and artifacts in the final image. These artifacts, particularly visible and unsightly, are compounded at high ISO settings and are in large part responsible for what is deemed the unnatural look of digital images.

The other key characteristic of DxO Optics Pro’s new RAW Engine is that instead of applying noise reduction techniques after demosaicing, a newly-developed noise reduction is performed upfront, before noise has a chance to be amplified by the RAW conversion process and absorb important fine details.

Combined with other proprietary techniques, DxO Optics Pro v5’s new RAW Engine claims to produce both the most detailed and most natural looking images yet – its very fine and homogenous grain translating into subtle shades and textures.

DxO Optics Pro v5’s new RAW conversion engine has been fine-tuned and optimized with the rest of the software’s automated image enhancement features (optical corrections, color rendering, exposure optimization, highlight recovery, etc.) to produce best-in class results.

DxO Optics Pro v5 now incorporates a new tool to remove dust and blemishes from any digital image. Once dust and blemishes have been marked by the user, DxO Optics Pro v5 can automatically process any number of images with this particular dust/blemish template.

Based on extensive research and communications with photographers, DxO Optics Pro’s user interface has been reorganized to improve workflow and ease of use. In particular, tools are now organized into four main sections that match the photographer’s approach: Light, Color, Geometry, Details.

Users of DxO Optics Pro v5 can also customize their workspace to their particular way of working or choose to keep the tool organization of the previous version. DxO Optics Pro’s powerful project and preset functions have also been overhauled for increased ease of use and functionality.

Benefiting from an entire rewrite using Microsoft’s .NET and Apple’s ObjC-Cocoa technologies, DxO Optics Pro v5 is up to four times faster than version 4.0. This is due in particular to the use of GPU processing – where the power of dedicated video card chips is used to accelerate an application.

DxO Optics Pro v5 will also support the latest Canon and Nikon Digital SLR camera bodies. Support for the Canon 40D, Canon 1Ds MKIII, Nikon D300 and Nikon D3 will be included in DxO Optics Pro v5 over the next few months following the availability of these cameras.

DxO Optics Pro v5 for Windows is planned to be available at the end of October 2007. DxO Optics Pro v5 for Macintosh is planned to be available approximately one month after the Windows version.

DxO Optics Pro v5 will be available in Standard and Elite versions at pricing unchanged from version 4.5: DxO Optics Pro v5 Standard will be £99, DxO Optics Pro v5 Elite will be £199.