DxO and their completely ridiculous licensing

I’m using Previously I used DxO Optics pro to adjust and correct some of my images. But because of their stupid licensing system I’ve been forced to use other solutions lately.

And my conclusion is that you probably don’t need DxO.

The licensing

I’m using several professional software packages. Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop, Final Cut Pro, iStopMotion Pro. Elgato Turbo HD, Apple Keynote etc. Pretty expensive and professional software.

I’m working on several different computers. But my main workstations are:
1. My MacBook Pro (on the road)
2. My 24″ iMac (at home)
3. My MacMini (for time consuming batch jobs)

I would guess that laptop + desktop machine is pretty usual. But because I’m working on huge amounts of large files I also use my MacMini from time to time. Simply because that’s the computer that is running 24/7.

And all my professional software is installed on all these computers. I use the same license key on all of them because I never use the computers at the same time.

But this won’t work for DxO. When you buy their 299 Euro Elite license you’re only allowed to install the software on two computers.

I’ve run into trouble several times because of this.

Here is one scenario: installed on iMac and MacBook pro. Then my MacBook pro died. I get a new machine and get a message that I’m not allowed to install on an extra computer. My two installs are already used.

The result is that I have to send an email to DxO and wait for an answer and then after explaining the problem I’m granted access to another install.

Currently I’m running DxO on my laptop and my iMac. A couple of days ago I returned from a holliday and wanted to start a huge batch job of DxO processing on my MacMini. When I tried to install it I got the usual message: not allowed.

I email DxO and explain the problem. I’ve paid for the license. I don’t want to run it on several computers at the same time, but I want to be able to run it on the computer in my house that is running 24/7 so it can do the processing while I’m sleeping. Yes, I could set my iMac to run all night, but that wouldn’t be very environmentally friendly, and it is the MacMini that is placed in our home in a way where it can run all night without disturbing us with noise etc.

In total I had to wait for more than a week for this answer from DxO.:

“Hello Eirik,
Thank you. The license agreement limits installation and activation to two systems at the same time. If you do need a third activation, that will require the purchase of an additional license.

DxO Support Team
DxO Labs”

Well, I don’t have to buy several licenses of Lightroom, Photoshop, Keynote, iStopMotion and all the other packages I use just because I want to install them on the three computers I use.

Fortunately the latest version of Lightroom have included lens correction. And my quick tests show that for me, I really don’t need DxO anymore. This is not a scientific test and I really, really hope that the DxO correction is way better than the Lightroom correction. Or, at least 299 Euro worth of pure quality… But for me, the benefits of using Lightroom exceeds the extra hassle and probably slightly better quality of DxO:

– Lightroom doesn’t have that stupid licensing system
– Lightroom is much faster
– Keeping all my work inside of Lightroom gives a much simpler workflow
– For me, the quality is good enough

Here is my quick test. Using a fisheye image shot with my Canon 5D Mark II and my Canon 15mm f2.8 fisheye:

Original image:

Defished with Lightroom:

Defished with DxO:

Comparison from a corner of the image. No defish but all lens corrections (click the image for full size):

DxO and their completely ridiculous licensing

Test images from my current cameras

My available cameras today (shot with my 5D2, so it's not in the image)

As part of some experiments I’m running I snapped more or less the same image with all the cameras available to me today. The devices you see in the image above in addition to my 5D Mark II (that I used to snap that image…). Simply because I wanted to be able to compare some details.

And my conclusion? Once you go full frame you never go back. If I’m shooting anything even remotely serious I’ll bring my 5D2. Now if someone could give me a full frame digital compact with the size and weight of my old analog (and indeed full frame) Olympus XA

By clicking on the image you get through to flickr where you can have a look at the original full size image.

Canon 5D Mark II
Test - Canon 5D MkII

Canon SX200 IS
Test - Canon SX200 IS

Nokia N95
Test - Nokia N95

Canon 400D
Test - Canon 400D

Canon Powershot S50
Test - Canon Powershot S50

Apple iPhone 3G
Test - iPhone

Test images from my current cameras

What lenses should I buy?

When upgrading to the 5D Mark II some of my EF-S lenses had to follow my old 400D (EF-S won’t work on the full frame 5D). So I need to buy some new lenses to cover my needs. But I can’t decide. This is what I currently own:

What I've got

Canon 70-200 f4L IS
Canon 50 mm f1.4 USM
Canon 15 mm f2.8 fisheye

And after posting the following question on Twitter:

If you could choose three Canon lenses. Regardless of price. What would you choose?

Here are the results so far:


Seems like the 70-200 f2.8L IS is a favorite. I already have the f4L version of that lens. Mostly because it’s half the weight and half the size of the f2.8L. I like to travel light. And the f4L is razor sharp and very high quality. Here’s a set of favorites shot with that lens. So I’ll keep that one. The next is the fantastic 85 mm 1.2L. Is it worth the weight and the price? Anyone out there owning one?

Still the problem is that I don’t know if I want to go for a zoom or some primes. I need something wide that’s not as extreme as the 15mm. And probably something for portraits that is faster and hopefully smaller than the 70-200 f4L IS. A couple of alternatives:

1. Convenience:
The 24-70 f2.8L

2. Pure quality and speed:
24mm f1.4L II + 85mm f1.2L

3. Travel light + reasonable quality:
28mm f1.8 USM + 85mm f1.8 USM

I’m also considering the legendary 135 mm f2L when I need more speed than the 70-200 f4L can give me. Or how about the very versatile and razor sharp 100mm f2.8 Macro?

What do you think? I need some advice. And at this point I don’t want to spoil the party by talking price. I want advice on the best solution. Your favorites. Regardless of price. Links to reviews. Etc…

I’m carrying my camera in my bag more or less every day. I shoot lots of stuff in natural and low light. Don’t like using a flash. Currently I use the 50 mm 1.4 a lot because of the combination of speed and light weight.

What lenses should I buy?

How wide is wide?

About as wide as this:

Wide angle test
Link to a bigger version of the image.

I snapped the same image with the following lenses:
Canon 15 mm f2.8 fisheye
Canon 16-35 mm f2.8 L USM II @16mm
Canon 24 mm f1.4 L USM II

And marked the reach of the different lenses on the 15 mm image. But I also wanted to see how a Sigma 8 mm circular fisheye did:

Link to a bigger version of the image.

So now you know. That’s the difference between these different lenses on a Canon 5D MkII fullframe camera. And if you don’t like the distortion of the fisheye you can remove it.

How wide is wide?

Quick ISO test of the Canon 5D Mk II


People keeps asking about test images to show the low light performance of my new Canon 5D Mark II. So far I find it pretty amazing. The image above is a comparison of my old 400D at iso 1600 and the new 5D at iso 1600. Both images shot in RAW and converted with Canon DPP.

Because the 5D looks so good at iso 1600 I also did the same with the 5D at iso 6400.


In addition to this I have put together a flash animation that shows you the same image at different ISO values. You can click the image to browse through the different values, or choose directly with the buttons.

[kml_flashembed movie=”http://eirikso.com/flash/ISOtest2-500.swf” height=”375″ width=”500″ /]

The example embedded here is small and doesn’t really show the images very well. If you have some patience and wait for the loading, I have also published a bigger version. And no, I’ve not made any fancy “loading-animation”. You just have to wait for the page to finish. And I know: Not very smart to let the camera change the aperture. Apart from the fact that it gives a nice demonstration of how the depth of field change…

Quick ISO test of the Canon 5D Mk II

How to quickly compare two directories

I am in a process of organizing some of the data on my hard drives around the house. And during that boring task I needed to compare the contents of two directories. There are several ways to do that, but I liked a small program called KDiff3 enough to mention it here.

It’s free and multi platform. Download for your operating system here.

It can compare files or directories and help you merge the results if you want to.

“$RE..” is only available in directory B. “.DS_…” is only available in directory A. Everything else is available in both…

How to quickly compare two directories