DxO PureRAW 4 Review

The Next Step in Noise Reduction

I didn’t expect to be writing a DxO PureRAW 4 Review only two weeks after I speculated in my article Noise Reduction in DxO PhotoLab what the future would hold for DxO and Adobe. But here we are and I have to say hats off to DxO because PureRAW 4 has just become the essential Preprocessor for all photographers.

This is what DxO have to say about the new release:

DeepPRIME XD2: Advanced Deep Learning Powered Denoising and Demosaicing

PureRAW 4 features updated denoising and demosaicing algorithms, developed through our deep learning technology and billions of sample images, helped by a real-time preview, this version also gives photographers greater control over their images, with additional settings and faster workflow features.”

Jean-Marc Alexia, VP Product Strategy DxO

DxO have dominated the noise reduction and demosaicing space for many years now. It was a USP for PhotoLab long before PureRAW was released. Recent advances from Adobe have brought them significantly closer to the standard set by DxO, but this release of PureRAW opens up the gap once again.

And it’s good news for Lightroom users because PureRAW fits right into a Lightroom workflow as a preprocessor. This is not new, but content from PureRAW can now be exported tp practically any photo processing software, including Photoshop, SilverEfex Pro, DxO ViewPoint and more.

So far as Lightroom is concerned, an image in the Lightroom library can be posted to PureRAW and returned after processing using a pair of plugins that are automatically installed with the product.

Unique and Improved Lens Softness Correction

Even the best lenses lose sharpness towards the edge of the frame, and image softness is often most obvious when budget optics or complex multi-element zoom lenses are involved. To rectify this, PureRAW offers a unique approach to optical sharpening. It is a process enabled by DxO Optics Modules whereby mathematical models are developed from observing each lens’ performance across the entire field of view and focal range. This modeling ensures that precise, incremental, levels of sharpening are applied across the image in direct response to the lens’ measured performance. This is why software that uses global sharpening cannot compete with DxO’s laboratory-based lens testing.

Advanced Settings for Denoising Processing

DxO PureRAW has always delivered excellent results without the need for guesswork and complex sliders. However, for those photographers who want to fine-tune their results, version 4 introduces a new level of control through the addition of new sliders like Luminance and Force Details.

This new version also provides real-time correction previews so that photographers can get an immediate sense of how images will be processed, and get direct feedback if they choose to make any adjustments.

Workflow Upgrades

A new widget detects when memory cards and external drives are connected, launching DxO PureRAW 4 automatically so that photographers can quickly begin ingesting and processing RAW files. The widget also acts as a hub to keep photographers updated on the status of tasks. In addition, photographers can now use advanced batch renaming. For example, mixing plain text with automated tokens to fit any naming convention.

Finally, version 4 allows users to compare different output files (DNG, TIFF, JPEG) with the original RAW file when viewing images after processing, and has a revamped processing window for greater efficiency.

DxO sent me a copy of the software to put it through its paces. I was particularly interested in the integration with Lightroom as I keep my library there and use some of the advanced processing tools after pre-processing. I used the same image that I used in the previous article, knowing it to be ruinously noisy! This is what I found…

PureRAW 4 Standalone

You can right click on an image in the file system and choose “Open with” or you can open PureRAW and either select or drag the image into the lightbox. You can also download some sample files from DxO here, but as a landscape photographer I have no shortage of noisy photos to choose from!

Once images are in the Lightbox, PureRAW will check to see if the DxO Optics Modules for the camera and lens are available. You have the option of not downloading them or saving them. These profiles are what the software uses to apply lens specific corrections, including those aimed at correcting lens softness.

Save the profiles (automatic, you don’t have to decide where to put them) and the software downloads them. Now you’re ready to go.

Select which pictures you want to process and choose Process with Preview, this is where you set up the parameters for the job – once this is done, you can press Process for subsequent jobs.

Process with Preview

Note that to see the High Quality and Prime buttons, you need to go into the Preferences menu and tick “Processing Technologies – Show Legacy Processing Methods

RAW Processing and Denoising

High Quality is the basic noise processing algorithm suited for any image photographed in decent lighting conditions, it also applies optical corrections if you select them on this page.

Prime is designed for low light images and takes a little longer to perform. How long depends on your processor.

DeepPRIME is the AI informed, neural network trained noise removal. Relies on a decent GPU to do the job quickly, otherwise it will take many minutes.

DeepPRIME XD is available for Fuji X-Trans RAW files

DeepPRIME XD2 is the improved version of XD, using advanced AI and deep learning for superior image demosaicing and noise processing. It is also faster than DeepPRIME XD and extracts more detail than the other options.

Optical Corrections

Lens Softness in 4 grades – Soft, Standard, Strong and Hard


Chromatic Aberration

Lens Distortion including options for the image to be cropped to the original ratio, maximum rectangle and complete image area.

What does this mean? When you correct lens distortion, like barrel or pin cushion distortion, it is likely that black space will be created at the sides of the image. Cropping to the original ratio will produce a cropped in version in the original ratio, Maximum Rectangle will crop to the edge of the black pixels, complete image are will leave you to do the final cropping.

Output Format

Choose from DNG, TIFF to JPG. The program will estimate the storage required for each format. If you are exporting for further processing, I’d choose DNG for Lightroom, TIFF for Silver Efex Pro, and JPG only if I don’t need to process the image any further.


Choose from Original folder, create a subfolder underneath the original folder or create a new destination.

File Renaming

Options include

  • Date-Filename
  • File Name – Sequence (001)
  • File Name – Processing Method
  • File Name – Date

This option can be turned off or you can use the Edit button to create your own protocol for renaming.


When the program is installed it inspects your system for supported programs already installed – in my case Photoshop and Lightroom. You can select other programs here and they will be added to the default list.

There is an option to export with the original RAW file(s)


Starts the processing of single images or batches. Progress is displayed at the bottom of the screen and on the original image in the Lightbox.

How Does DeepPRIME XD2 Compare with DeepPRIME XD?

Here are the images at 200%

This is the Original RAW file

Original RAW detail with 1.25 Exposure adjustment to show noise
Original RAW

This is the file after being processed last week with DeepPRIME XD, the colour and monochrome noise has been removed. There is a slight loss of detail but none of the blotchiness we usually associate with extreme noise removal.

This is the file after processing with DeepPRIME XD2

I don’t know how much you can make out on our own screen, but the difference is remarkable. More detail, slightly brighter, perfect for the picture.

I went on to complete the edit and came up with this version, which I much prefer. The colours are more realistic and more filmic, though that may be my fault! I was definitely working from a better base though and that flowed through into the processing.

DxO PureRAW 4 Review Conclusion

You may be interested in checking out the video I made about this release. I go through the same process with the same picture so you can see the extra processing in Lightroom. You can find it on my YouTube channel @chriswrightphotographs

I was impressed. Definitely worth the upgrade. I think DxO have come up with a very impressive upgrade. The ball is now in Adobe’s court!

  • DxO PureRAW 4 €/$ 119 or £109
  • DXO PureRAW 4 Upgrade €/$ 79 or £69

Try PureRAW 4 here

Buy PureRAW 4 here

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