How to eliminate noise with PureRAW 3

DXO has just released PureRAW v3 to enhance your RAW images automatically with artificial intelligence (AI). I previously posted a detailed tutorial with PureRAW v2 showing how it can be used to enhance detail and reduce noise in high ISO images. Be sure to see that previous review, as I cover several details I’m not going to rehash here.
PureRAW is one of those rare tools that can improve most images with minimal work. It helps reduce noise, enhance detail, and correct lens distortions. That might sound like a tool only for high ISO images, but as I show in the video below, it can significantly improve the quality of even ISO 64 images for print. It’s incredibly versatile.

With the v3, DXO PureRAW offers the following improvements:
  • A new DeepPrime XD method which claims to help reduce the equivalent of 2.5 stops reduction in ISO.
    • In my experience, this holds up to their claims. The noise reduction is vastly improved and this has significant benefits to not only high ISO images, but the ability to print any image. When combined with Topaz Gigapixel, you can enlarge your prints to sizes I would never have thought possible.
  • Improved fine detail.
    • Noisy shadow detail improves significantly over the already impressive results from v2.
    • I find it adds substantial fine detail on ISO 64 images. It feels like my lenses are much sharper.
  • More control over settings.
    • You can now choose from 5 levels of lens sharpening instead of 2 (I’m counting off as an option).
    • You can choose from 3 methods of lens correction instead of 1. You can keep the original aspect ratio, keep the maximum area without any blank pixels, or keep everything to let you content-aware fill missing pixels to create the largest possible corrected image.
    • And you can selectively remove vignetting and chromatic aberration.
  • New batching processing options. If you use the standalone version, you can queue up several jobs at the same time, including with different settings. However, this capability does not appear to be in the v3 LR plugin
  • Support for Fujifilm X Series cameras.
A few things to note:
  • I find that nearly every image is improved. The one exception is starry night skies, where the results are a mix of good and bad. While I find the foregrounds of those images are improved, there are artifacts in the stars and I prefer the older DeepPRIME method (which comes with v3 and you can easily use or blend it as you like). I’m more inclined to use other noise reduction techniques for the stars (such as stacking or other denoising algorithms) than v3. But they keep making huge improvements and hopefully this is an area which will benefit as well in the future.
  • PureRAW’s legacy modes (such as the original DeepPrime) are still available and work the same as they did in v2.
  • You can also integrate this tool with Lightroom’s merge to panorama / HDR tool (you just need to run DXO before the LR merge).
  • I believe this is an excellent tool for HDR output from a single RAW, as it helps you avoid shadow noise while exposing properly for the highlights in a scene.
  • Try the demo version or check the camera compatibility list if you use an unusual camera or want to use a Smart Phone. I cannot process either standard RAW or ProRAW from an iPhone (and do not see any recent iPhone in the official list, but some very old models are supported).
  • If you already have DXO PhotoLab 6 ELITE, you don’t need PureRAW3 unless you’re seeking the Lightroom integration. You also have the same DeepPRIME XD capabilities.


The Lightroom integration offers a simple workflow. Just go to File / Plugin Extras / Process with DxO PureRAW 3 in LR after you’ve installed their plugin.

  • Set the denoising technology to DeepPRIME XD. This is mandatory if you want the best noise reduction. If you see artifacts (such as in stars), you might consider falling back to the older DeepPRIME method. But in general, I’d just use XD.
  • The lens sharpness works great at “standard“. This helps enhance fine detail is helpful when you intend to print. If you see any unwanted detail or artifacts, just uncheck the option to turn it off (it will still apply some detail enhancement even when completely off).
  • Turn vignetting on or off as you like. I prefer to leave vignetting off and use the controls in LR / ACR instead since they work similarly well and you can control the amount applied.
  • Turn chromatic aberration ON. The results here are better than you’ll get with LR / ACR after the fact.
  • I generally leave lens distortion off. I get good results from LR / ACR. More importantly, you’ll lose the option to blend the output with your original RAW if you want to mix different methods (which I would certainly do for night sky shots where I would treat the stars differently from the foreground).
  • I strongly recommend updating the name every time you change settings. PureRAW doesn’t name the file to remind you which settings you use and it can get confusing to compare different options if you don’t do this yourself. Hopefully, they’ll do this for us in the future.


Who should consider PureRAW 3?

  • Anyone making large prints. The noise reduction and fine detail are very powerful and a worthwhile upgrade from v2.
  • Anyone looking to reduce high ISO noise (other than starry skies as noted above). This is a great tool for hand-held portraits, weddings, events, and sports (if you can afford 15-30 seconds per images to process the RAW).
  • Those working with RAW files from small sensors such as drones or cropped sensors, which are inherently noisy even at low ISO.
If you’re curious to learn more about what they’re doing, check out DXO’s article on linear DNG and their official list of supported cameras and lenses. PureRAW costs $129 new, or $79 if you’re upgrading.

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Greg Benz Photography