How to export file from DXO Photolab to darktable

Hi all.
I recently got my hands on DXO Photolab. It has its strength, but i’m used to some very powerful features from DT, like the powerful masking capabilities, plus i’m used to filmic now. That being said for now PL is much faster to use on my hardware for quick edit and sorting, and the denoising there is amazing. So i was thinking, “cool, i can use both, and switch back and forth when i need to”.

DxO photolab can export to DNG and i thought about applying some basic corrections, export to DNG, and fine tune in darktable. But i must be missing something on which data is stored in DNG, or if this workflow is supposed to work at all, because the files look widely different in both software. It is not only display, as it is roughly similar when exporting to jpeg on both side. Opening the dng file on windows 10 photo viewer is slightly different from the PL jpeg output, but it is nowhere near as different as DT.
Though as i understand it means nothing as the DNG stores some kind of jpeg preview embedded in it.

Here is an example :

DXO export to jpeg :

DT export from the dng :

What am i missing on DNG ? is there a way to make this kind of workflow work or are all file format not specified enough to have relatively similar display on different software ?


Try to export it to a TIF (16 or 32 bit). The DNG probably has Adobe tags that dt can’t read. Just be aware that you won’t be able to use modules that require raw files as input. But the DNGs that come from PL are likely TIFs wrapped in the DNG container anyway. (To be even more pedantic DNGs and TIFs are very closely related. The type of data enclosed is more important than the file type.)

Another thing to consider is colour management. If colour management isn’t turned on and configured in the OS and your apps, the colours you see won’t be consistent. An example of that is your use of the

It is a rabbit hole but once you get the colour management working properly, what you see is actually what you get from editing to final product to viewing the product.

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The DxO output dngs are pre-white-balanced and have screwed up white clipping points.

I’m not sure what might be making it dark in darktable, though.

Thanks !! I tried several images with 16 Bit TIFF with specified color profile indeed works quite well. I can’t see any visible difference.

It is a rabbit hole but once you get the colour management working properly, what you see is actually what you get from editing to final product to viewing the product.

I know i need to get to do that. I did it on my linux system but i guess i have to do everything again on this new windows system, just got a bit too lazy to get to it yet :slight_smile:

You should contact DxO with any questions about their product.

The community here should not support closed source software.

Noted, sorry about that. Althougth i must say that i think you are jumping to conclusion by pointing to dxo as the source of the issue. Fwiw the dng files render consistantly accross all closed source software i tried, but are totally different in foss.
Raw therapee displays it… green. Having heard that dng is supposed to be robust future proof format, with open specifications, that was widely unexpected, though it probably boils down to wide amount of features supported differently by different software.
So my question was mostly about finding a portable, well supported format to switch between programs.

But it is related. The difference with commercial products is they pay good money for compatibility licensing and R&D reverse engineering.

DxO products were original plugins to Adobe apps and therefore they remain “fully” compatible to Adobe because of their software base and clientele.

Part of the issue is I think some of the non-Filmulator editors disregard the DNG tagged color matrices, white and black points, and white balance when they are known camera models.

If you use the Adobe DNG converter, stuff ends up okay because the raw data isn’t changed.

But DxO does change this, so it might just be an untested case.

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I totally understand that. I’m very sold on foss, use linux and free software 99% of the time. The thing is i got dxo photolab as a birthday gift from a friend i probably didn’t talked about software enough. So now that i have it obviously has its advantage, i’m willing to play with it a bit.
Otoh, i don’t want to be locked on a proprietary format for my library (thankfully darkatble can import exif stuff edited by dxo), and i definitely don’t want to lock my partial edits on there, so i’d like to have some way to import picture back to darktable in a compatible format for future proofing, and to use the advanced feature dxo lacks anyway. I’m definitely not blaming darktable, just trying to find something that works :slight_smile:

How about going from dt → DxO? I know DxO advertises heavily on its raw processing engine (I forgot its ™ name), but at the heart of it the app is still a denoiser first and foremost. I would do most of the denoising in dt but do a final clean up in DxO. That would be my approach; yours may be different.

Denoising in raw is just better, since the denoising can work with the values that are below the black subtraction level.

I know. I am just saying that dt denoising is pretty good as well, in some cases, comparable to DxO, so I would use dt first to take advantage of the other stuff I need dt for. Hypothetically. In any case, I would rather go from a white box (open source) to a black one.

You know what, i haven’t tried that yet, but that might be a good idea

I know DxO advertises heavily on its raw processing engine

that’s basically why i went this direction, mostly marketing talk, i don’t have much experience yet to have built a good workflow. but denoizing is indeed the main reason i am trying to switch. Everything else seems relatively similar and tbh after using darktable for so long i feel constrained by the lack of flexibility of dxo, so yeah the rationale is use dxo for denoising, and from what i see the chromatic aberation works better oob (i have some sony stuff that is veryy prone to this, especially purple fringe everywhere), and darktable for most of the editing. Might as well try to put dxo at the end of the pipeline if needed.

I didn’t point to DxO as the issue, I only said if you want support for DxO, there are people who get paid to do that. Spending our limited time and resources trying to guess what DxO does or doesn’t do is a complete waste. Note that I also didn’t say “don’t use DxO” - use whatever you want, but go to the right place to get support for it.