DxO Labs has updated its award-winning flagship software application, DxO Optics Pro.

Version 5.2 of the software, which offers automatic image quality enhancement for digital SLR camera users, features improvements in RAW conversion for images shot at ultra-high ISOs.

In fact, noise removal can be done on RAW images shot at ISOs as high as 25,600, while improving the levels of details and coour fidelity in the photo.

"We are facing a paradox", says Cyrille de La Chesnais, director of the photography business at DxO Labs, "as technology evolves the number of pixels and the amount of noise simultaneously increase so that RAW conversion becomes more challenging".

Frédéric Guichard, chief scientist at DxO Labs adds: "Reduction of the pixel size of roughly 30% from 2003 to 2008 and the naturally increasing demand from photographers to shoot at very high ISO reveals new problems with noise related to both the manufacturing of the sensor and the quantity of light hitting it".

"This means that RAW converters have to cope with higher photonics noise as well as with new sources of noise due to electronic imperfections. The ability of RAW converters to reduce noise while keeping good detail rendition is clearly the key for high ISO shooting."

The release of the new version is also accompanied by support for three new camera bodies - the Pentax K20D, Sony-A350 and Sony-A700 DSLR - and an initial library of lens correction modules, bug fixes and improvements a ful list of which can be found on the DxO website.

The DxO Optics Pro Import plug-in for Adobe Photoshop is also included in DxO Optics Pro v5.2, which allows users to import images (RAW or JPEG) into Photoshop via the DxO Optics Pro plug-in and thus benefit from DxO Optics Pro RAW conversion, and optical and lighting corrections. The new version has fixed a number of bugs and stability problems reported in version 5.1.

And if all that wasn't enough, DxO has extended its free DxO FilmPack offer for customers who purchase or upgrade the new Optics Pro software and activate it before 1 August.

DxO FilmPack exists as a plug-in for Photoshop or DxO Optics Pro, or a stand-alone application, accurately reproducing the color and grain of traditional films onto digital images.

DxO Optics Pro v5.2 is available now, and starts from £99 or £59 for upgraders. Those who purchased the software after 1 August 2007 are untitled to a free upgrade, as well as all the extras mentioned above. Log on to the DxO website for full details.