DxO Optics: Adding back the lost beauty of film to your digital photos

Digital photography has delivered amazing convenience and results to our hobby and profession.  These include not worrying about carrying and using rolls of film, the ability to instantly check our work, and processing our own images for final output.  However, what is gained in convenience has been lost in the absence of the unique qualities that film brings to our images. DxO Lab’s FilmPack brings the beauty and elegance of film back while not sacrificing the features and flexibility of digital photography.  By using DxO FilmPack, the characteristics and grain of a traditional silver-based film can be easily applied to any digital image.  And, there is the added ability to combine the color tones of one brand and type of film with the grain characteristics of another.

Kodachrome 25 ™ color and Kodak Tri-X ™ grain -  Photo: Jean-Marie SEPULCHRE


In order to develop the features in DxO FilmPack, the DxO Labs engineering team produced a series of conventional photographs of both calibrated test charts and real subjects including still lifes, objects of varying colors and textures, etc. Moreover, these images were taken using precise control of the lighting conditions.

The team then needed to ensure that the processing stage for the negatives and transparencies would not introduce unexpected variables into the results.  To achieve this, the help of two highly regarded professional laboratories was enlisted. Multiple sets of films were developed separately, one by Picto in Paris, and the other by Duggal in New York. The only exception to this was the Kodachrome films, which were developed by Kodak’s own professional laboratory. Once the films were developed, they needed to be digitized utilizing a professional color scanner.

First, the color rendering was calibrated based on colorimetric measurements taken from all the scans.  Then, the unique grain patterns in each film were precisely determined.  This involved an innovative procedure.  When it comes to “re-creating” the grain of conventional photography, past software solutions confined themselves to artificially generating Gaussian noise, which renders results that are, upon close inspection, not realistic. By contrast, the DxO Labs mathematically derived “grain matrices” from the test images, and then applied these results directly to digital images.

The results speak for themselves by being able to recreate digital film grain that is virtually indistinguishable from the original film.

Color rendering is another important aspect in the recreation of the subtleties of film.  And, color rendition profiles for different types of film stock can be easily applied in DxO FilmPack.

B-17 Memorial at the United States Air Force Academy – Original image -  Photo: J.J.  Weinberg


Color Negative Film – Fuji Superia RealaTM 100 (5 films to choose from)


Color Positive Film – Kodak EktachromeTM 100VS (12 films to choose from)


One of the hardest effects to reliably reproduce in digital photography is creating realistic Black & White images from color originals.  DxO FilmPack has simplified this process.  Use the Black & White color rendering option and the film stock needed will accurately produce the desired effect.

Black & White Film – Kodak Tri-XTM 400 (9 films to choose from)


Contrast, saturation and color modes can also be easily recreated, including sepia tone images.


DxO FilmPack includes three ways to incorporate these new capabilities into post-production workflow, including:

  • Stand-alone program
  • Photoshop® plug-in
  • DxO Optics Pro plug-in

The stand-alone program gives the ability to process any JPEG or TIFF image and apply the effects of film through an easy-to-use, floating toolbar. The Photoshop plug-in is applied as a Filter adding film effects to the image processing flexibility of Photoshop. And, the DxO Optics Pro plug-in combines the features of DxO FilmPack with the industry leading optical and image correction capabilities found in DxO Optics Pro.

DxO Optics Pro using the Kodak Portra 160NC film profile applied by DxO FilmPack -  Photo: J.J. Weinberg


By using DxO FilmPack with DxO Optics Pro, the optical correction capabilities of DxO Optics Pro can be utilized to enhance the film effects applied through the DxO FilmPack plug-in.  This results in the ability to apply generalized and specific image adjustments, as needed.

For instance, lens softness correction is particularly important since this is one aspect of digital photography that does not affect traditional film photography.  Because of the optical variances introduced by the design of modern digital camera manufacturing, a degree of softness is introduced into each digital image taken.  DxO Optics Pro solves this problem by using extensive camera and lens measurements and analysis.  Additional corrections applied by DxO Optics Pro are distortion, chromatic aberration, vignetting, volume anamorphosis correction, and keystoning.  Together this produces an effective combination to render the best possible image for printing, publishing, or general distribution.

DxO FilmPack v1.1 offers today’s digital photographer one more impressive tool to improve the effectiveness of today’s modern photographic workflow.


until May 31st 2007!


DxO FilmPack is being offered at the exceptionally low price of $69 / 58€  until May 31st 2007 and is available either through DxO Lab’s online store or from selected resellers (a complete list is available on the DxO Labs website).

FilmPack version 1.1 is a FREE upgrade for all customers having purchased DxO FilmPack after January 7, 2007. If you purchased DxO FilmPack before January 8 2007, an optional upgrade is available for $49 / 39 €.  The standalone application (works with any image without additional software) is now available as a FREE download for all DxO FilmPack v1.1 customers.

Additional information regarding DxO Lab’s FilmPack and Optics Pro can be found at the following website: www.dxo.com


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