Does the DxO One turn the iPhone into a DSLR? Are we seeing the future?

by Karin GottschalkLeave a Comment

planetMitch note: Seems like a brilliant idea in the making – aimed mainly at photographers, but it includes video… but only shoots 30fps?

DxO, the photo software and photographic hardware rating company best known for DxO PhotoOptics Pro, DxO FilmPack, DxO ViewPoint and DxOMark, has released its very first consumer hardware product, DxO ONE.

The French headquartered company has brought image quality previously only known in high-end DSLR and mirrorless cameras to the not-so-humble iPhone via a clip-on lens, sensor and image storage device that connects to your iPhone via its Lightning connector port. The DxO ONE features a 20.2MP sensor and scores 70 in DxO’s own DxOMark sensor test.

Three things the DxO ONE does’t have are a screen, a processor and wireless connectability and that is where your iPhone comes in so long as it’s a more recent model equipped with a Lighting connector.

Creating what is essentially an iPhone hardware add-on — or plug-in — to radically boost your mobile device’s photographic capability to mirrorless system camera image quality or beyond is a canny move by DxO. And it creates a whole new territory to conquer, or at least try to.

I have been a DxO customer for more than a few years now, almost from the start of my investment in digital stills camera hardware. I am still heavily reliant on DxO PhotoOptics Pro in close conjunction with Dx0 FilmPack. I use both as well as DxO ViewPoint, when called for, to process images shot on almost all my digital cameras and iPhones. The only exception are cameras equipped with Fujilm’s X-Trans CMOS II sensor due to DxO OpticsPro’s codebase being built on Bayer filter sensors.

DxO ONE image 4

DxO introduced support for the iPhone several years ago when I relied on 645 PRO and PureShot as my preferred mobile photography apps. Both produce big, high-quality TIFF files that can be processed in DxO software to rival the look and quality of images made with dedicated photographic hardware.

Following that route means I am always confident of producing great photographs even when I am not carrying any of my mirrorless cameras. Great, but not starting off with quite the same fat, juicy raw files as them. A TIFF file created in-camera may never offer the same image processing possibilities as a raw file.

And that is where the DxO ONE tunes in, roaring along at the top of its voice despite being contained with a pleasantly small package about as tall as your iPhone. The DxO ONE records stills in two types of raw files in the industry-standard DNG format.

One is a conventionally-generated raw file and the other is DxO’s proprietary SuperRAW. SuperRAW and SuperRAW Plus combine four raw files, in the case of SuperRAW, and five raw files in SuperRAW Plus, into one large, rich and very promising file that DxO’s OpticsPro and FilmPack software will leverage to produce images approaching if not rivalling those from top-end DSLR and DSLM cameras. DxO SuperRAW Plus produced a score of 85 during its DxOMark testing session.

I won’t bore you with the technical details here but there is plenty of further reading in DxOMark’s own article, ‘DxO ONE review: The Science Behind the Score’, and the product pages at the DxO website.

Plenty of questions that cannot be answered by those pages remain and only a hands-on tryout will do. I don’t expect to have a DxO ONE in my hands any time soon — its $US599 pre-order price is beyond my current budget.

But should I manage to encounter one I would strongly consider mating it up with some iPhone rigging gear to make the most of those 20.2 megapixels.

There are quite a few great iPhone grip devices on the market nowadays but my favorite for strength of grip and stability is a MeFoto SideKick360 or MeFoto SideKick360 Plus attached to a Manfrotto Pixi table tripod serving as a handle or tripod as needed, or to a MeFoto travel tripod like the RoadTrip or GlobeTrotter.

Meanwhile I am looking forward to reading hands-on reviews of the DxO ONE in combo with the DxO Connect, DxO OpticsPro and DxO FilmPack software. Let’s hope it won’t take too long for a DxO ONE to come into the hands of a capable reviewer especially experienced in the latter two products.

I suspect the real power of the DxO ONE lies within that software and hardware ecosphere. [bctt tweet=”DxO redefines the shape of photography with DxO ONE solution, granting iPhones the power of DSLRs.”]

About DxO ONE

Via DxO:

DxO ONE. The pocket-size camera that pairs perfectly with your iPhone, so you can take amazing photos anywhere.

The power of a DSLR

DxO ONE packs the power of a high-end camera into a size that’s by your side and ready when you are. Our advanced image processing automatically enhances every photo you take.

DxO ONE image 3

iPhone, meet DxO ONE

Connect DxO ONE to your iPhone to turn that big, beautiful screen into a big, beautiful viewfinder. Swivel and shoot to take great photos in any condition, at any angle. Plus, it has its own memory card and battery so it won’t drain your phone or steal its storage. Share your shots instantly, right from your phone.

The mobile app makes everything easy

Everything is controlled by a simple iPhone and iPad app you download for free in the App Store. Browse your photos, change shooting modes, adjust shutter speeds, and access all the camera’s features from the iOS interface.

The world’s smallest 1″ sensor camera

Weighing less than 4 ounces and well under 3 inches tall, DxO ONE is built to fit in your pocket, so you can capture life’s magic without lugging around your DSLR.

DxO ONE image 2

Smart design inside & out

Durable materials, including forged aluminum, blend modern design (and good looks) with a premium feel.

DxO ONE image 1

Learn more about the DxO ONE Here.

DxO ONE review: The Science Behind the Score

DxO ONE review

Via DxO:

As with any other camera, the DxOMark team has fully evaluated the ONE in objective laboratory tests and will be as transparent as possible regarding the science and implementation that enable DxO ONE to achieve a score of 85, one stop better than the best one-inch sensor so far.

The DxO ONE outputs two different sets of RAW files, which is why there are two different DxOMark sensor results. The first “standard” RAW score of 70 is just above the extremely popular Sony Cyber-shot DSC RX100 III, which achieves a score of 67. The second DxOMark sensor score up to 85 is the result of what DxO refers to as SuperRAW Plus™, which is actually the result of four RAW frames captured in quick succession. DxO Connect software for Mac and PC utilizes Temporal Noise Reduction (TNR) to combine the four RAW files into one new SuperRAW Plus file that DxOMark analyzed.

This article will explain in detail how the use of SuperRAW Plus impacts the DxOMark sensor score of the DxO ONE camera, and how it compares to other cameras, including those with far larger sensors.

DxO ONE: RAW and SuperRAW Plus
The DxO ONE camera is configured to capture images in the RAW+JPEG format in Standard mode. Standard RAW files are recorded as DNG files, which ensures maximum compatibility with popular photo applications such as Adobe Lightroom, DxO OpticsPro, and OS X Photos. In our tests, the default mode achieved a very respectable DxOMark sensor score of 70. This score is just above that of the very popular Sony RX100 III, purported to be the best one-inch sensor on the market today.

The DxO ONE achieves very close, slightly higher DxOMark scores

The DxO ONE achieves very close, slightly higher DxOMark scores

The ONE iOS app also allows the photographer to utilize a special SuperRAW capture mode. Designed specifically for extreme low-light photography, the SuperRAW mode records four RAW images in quick succession and instantly combines them into a single new RAW file, the SuperRAW. Today this SuperRAW file can be read only by DxO photo software (Connect, OpticsPro, and FilmPack), each of which is able to further optimize and enhance the original RAW image. DxO Connect is also able to fuse the four RAW files into a 5th image in the same file, the SuperRAW Plus™. This SuperRAW Plus file was tested and analyzed using our standard DxOMark Sensor protocols, the very same protocols used to test all other camera sensors.

Read full article at DxO “DxO ONE review: The Science Behind the Score”

(cover photo credit: snap from DxO)

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