Monday, April 26, 2021

PureRAW: A quick look

Like many, my post processing workflow is Lightroom (Lr) based and fully integrated with Photoshop (Ps). Whilst Adobe is pretty good at handling RAW data, it is not the best, eg you will likely get more out of your image if you process it with the camera manufacturer's RAW processor, as they know the nuances of the RAW data. In my case that would be Canon's Digital Photo Professional (DPP) package: Ugh!

Another approach is to not take the RAW straight into Lightroom or process it in, say, DPP, but pre-process the RAW, to generate a new RAW starting image, eg in a DNG format. For example, Dual-ISO images from Magic Lantern do this.

DXO has just released a standalone version of its RAW 'pre-processor' and, I must say, I'm impressed and will be buying it.

You can test it yourself on a 30 Day free trial at

PureRAW is ideal for bringing high ISO images into a better state for full editing in LR and/or Ps, or in any post processor. It is also good at injecting new life into those images from older cameras that you have on your hard drive, eg modern RAWs, shot with more modern sensors, have better IQ than older RAWs shot with older sensors. 

Here is a quick insight into what PureRAW can do, with a handheld Canon APS-C M3 image shot at ISO 6400. Both images were tonally set about the same in Lr, and only PureRAW was used for noise reduction, ie to show the difference. That is neither had subsequent NR in LR.

As PureRAW uses camera lens correction, ie it automatically adds this, there is a small difference between the two test images. The top one being with no lens/camera/NR correction, the bottom one pre-processed in PureRAW.

Here is a 200% zoomed in view that shows how well PureRAW does:

The only downside is the extra time to let PureRAW do its stuff, ie a minute or so for each image. Plus Win and Macs interface to PureRAW differently, eg on a Mac you can drag an drop images from LR, but on a PC you need to go the image in Explorer, open with PureRAW, and sync the processed image back into LR. No big deal and you can batch images for PureRAW processing.

Bottom line: I believe PureRAW is well worth looking at, especially for high ISO images and those images that you wish to get the best out of, eg for printing.

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