DxO PureRaw 3: benefits and limitations of DeepPrime XD at very high ISOs


DxO PureRAW is software for processing RAW files. You can use it alongside your favorite photo editing software to pre-process images.

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PureRaw, an interesting solution for digital noise

DxO has been offering a more accessible demosaicing and noise processing tool for several years now with its PureRaw solution. The program therefore uses Prime and DeepPrime processing extracted from the firm’s most complete software, PhotoLab. Since the latest version of the latter, PhotoLab 6, we also have DeepPrime XD processing. More powerful, it adds to the advanced noise correction a drastic improvement in sharpness and promises “increased detail reproduction“.

This option has therefore also been integrated into PureRaw 3, announced on March 15, 2023. We wanted to try it out, and compare it with the more familiar processing provided by the classic DeepPrime. And the least we can say is that the XD version offers sometimes disconcerting results.

Rather relevant up to ISO 12,800

We tried to correct very high ISO raw files from the Canon EOS R6 Mark II: 12,800, 51,200 and 204,800 ISO. At the lowest value, the differences in treatment are small. PureRaw 3 corrects noise well and the level of detail seems fairly equivalent. By observing the image closely, we note, here and there, that certain textures passed through the mill of DeepPrime XD are a little forced. But nothing that really catches the eye.

DeepPrime XD – ISO 12800
DeepPrime – ISO 12800

Too aggressive DeepPrime XD processing at very high ISOs

On the other hand, when we process the shots of our scene captured at more extreme ISO values, the processing of DeepPrime XD is much more striking. The original photo being drowned in the noise, we can recognize that the “software” does a hell of a job to limit the digital grain and tries to recover the maximum of data. However, this is done quite brutally. Artifacts appear everywhere, reminiscent of cracked oil paint. The photo processed “simply” by the classic DeepPrime certainly loses a little detail, but offers a more natural rendering.

DeepPrime XD – ISO 204,800
DeepPrime – ISO 204,800

We recognize that PureRaw 3 and DeepPrime are still as effective and relevant as ever; however, as far as the DeepPrime XD option is concerned, it should not be applied to files that are too degraded from the start, otherwise you will end up with an even more damaged image.

DeepPrime XD – ISO 12800
DeepPrime – ISO 12800

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