Publicity Software program Publicity X6
$129-149 | program

Again in 2020, I reviewed Publicity Software program’s Publicity X5 and found a lot to like. A rival to the likes of Lightroom and Seize One, I discovered Publicity X5 to be blazingly quick and fairly succesful.

With a fairly inexpensive price ticket and no subscription charges, it made for a really credible different to its extra established rivals, particularly for photographers on a finances. Now the follow-up, Publicity X6, is right here, and I’ve examined all of its new options to see how they stack up.

Key takeaways:

  • Presents an equal to most of Lightroom’s core options with no subscription and an inexpensive price ticket
  • Even higher efficiency than its already-swift predecessor
  • A great deal of controls and a ton of quick-and-easy presets
  • Extra auto controls get you within the ballpark rapidly
  • Noise discount is now tuned to your digicam mannequin
  • Much less broad Uncooked help than its Adobe rival

Obtainable instantly, Publicity X6 may be bought from Publicity Software program for $129, which is a rise of $10 over the earlier model. A free 30-day trial model may be obtained right here. Those that bought Publicity X5 after July 15, 2020 can improve at no cost, whereas earlier clients can improve for $89. A bundle together with Publicity Software program’s Blow Up and Snap Artwork instruments is priced at $149

A well-recognized interface with some worthwhile enhancements

In case you’ve used the earlier model, you may really feel proper at house with Publicity X6. Whereas some updating has taken place, its non-modal design and structure are a lot the identical as these of Publicity X5, and many of the instruments are nonetheless in the identical places, together with some new additions.

So what’s modified? The styling has been subtly improved with no extra pseudo-3D buttons, icons and dividers. Borders and gaps between panels have additionally disappeared, and the result’s a cleaner aesthetic. On the similar time, the accent shade has modified from an attention-grabbing orange to a much less distracting blue.

Publicity X6’s consumer interface is much like that of its predecessor, however with a subtly extra fashionable look that does away with frills like 3D results and pointless borders.
Click on or faucet right here to obtain the full-size picture of Publicity X5’s interface; click on or faucet right here for Publicity X6.

Pen and contact management additionally appear to have improved since I reviewed the earlier model, though I nonetheless discover sliders can take a few tries to ‘seize maintain of’ on a touch-screen. (And it appears as if X5 may have improved on this respect since my evaluation, as evaluating it side-by-side with X6 I did not word a major distinction.)

Publicity X6 now helps GPU processing

After I reviewed the X5 launch, I discovered myself deeply impressed by its efficiency, however Publicity X6 is even higher. It may possibly now offload many duties to your pc’s graphics processor, and Publicity Software program says that many enhancing operations have tripled in pace.

Publicity X6’s new haze stage slider is a helpful addition, however blocks up foreground shadows excess of Adobe’s dehaze filter. Right here, the bow of the ship is buried in deep shadow in Publicity’s model (left), which goals for a similar stage of dehazing within the distant skyscrapers because the Adobe Digicam Uncooked model (proper).

Clearly, the efficiency acquire will differ considerably relying in your GPU. These of you with high-end graphics playing cards can count on to see a a lot greater step forwards than readers with onboard graphics. And with efficiency throttling extra of a difficulty in laptops attributable to warmth issues, desktop customers may even have an edge.

An enormous step forwards in processing pace

With that mentioned, I in contrast Publicity X6 with its predecessor on my 2018-vintage Dell XPS 15 9570 laptop computer operating Home windows 10 model 1909, processing the identical 40-image, 1.3GB batch of Raws from 18 completely different digicam fashions.

Some extra advanced changes like bokeh simulation felt slightly quicker, however not radically so

Publicity X5 required at the least 101 seconds to course of the batch when relying solely on my laptop computer’s Eighth-gen Core i7-8750H processor. By including my Nvidia GTX 1050Ti GPU into the combination, the newer X6 model slashed this by 36% to simply 65 seconds. And that is regardless of processing modifications within the newer model leading to a 14% enhance in output file measurement to 565MB.

As for previews, I could not detect any distinction in efficiency for most simple changes as X5 was already fairly snappy, functioning in near-real time. Previews for some extra advanced changes like bokeh simulation felt slightly quicker, however not radically so.

Noise discount that is tuned to your digicam

One particular preview, although, felt considerably slower than earlier than. The place noise discount previews solely took a second or so in X5, Publicity X6 can take a number of seconds after slider changes to show an NR preview on my {hardware}.

Publicity X6’s noise discount is now tailor-made to your digicam mannequin and sensitivity. At left above is a Sony A7 picture at ISO 10,000 with noise discount disabled. At proper is identical shot with profiled shade and luminance noise discount plus smoothing enabled, aiming to attenuate noise whereas not sacrificing any high quality element.
Click on or faucet right here to obtain the full-size picture with out noise discount. Click on or faucet right here to see the full-size picture with noise discount enabled.

That is probably as a result of its underlying algorithms have grown way more advanced. Publicity X6’s noise discount is now tuned to the precise digicam mannequin and sensitivity, and the checklist of supported cameras could be very prolonged. In all, 650+ cameras and digicam backs are included, even outdated and comparatively obscure fashions just like the Contax N Digital, Epson R-D1 and Ricoh GXR.

Publicity X6’s new profiled noise discount helps a whopping 650+ cameras and digicam backs.

NR is improved, however not but in DxO’s league

If a digicam is profiled, you possibly can management shade and luminance noise ranges individually, and likewise individually modify smoothing. (The smoothing slider can introduce some bizarre artifacts if pushed too far, so a smooth contact is really helpful.) In case your digicam is not profiled otherwise you select to disable its profile, you may get the identical 4 brightness, element, shade and easy sliders as in X5.

In follow, I discovered Publicity’s noise discount a noticeable enchancment when it comes to management and picture high quality, albeit at the price of efficiency. It isn’t but in the identical league as DxO Labs’ spectacular PRIME / DeepPRIME NR – which admittedly is even slower – but it surely has very almost caught as much as Adobe.

One other crop from the above picture reveals that pushing the smoothing slider too far can lead not simply to lack of element, but in addition to some funky artifacts. Notice the ugly line that is appeared simply inside singer Ben Folds’ higher lip, chin and the underside of his nostril, which begins showing from past about 2/three the utmost smoothing stage.

Partially, that is as a result of its grain sample is finer and fewer mottled-looking than that from Publicity X6, however much more so it is as a result of Lightroom’s preview is a lot quicker, making it simpler and faster to fine-tune your outcomes. I would wish to see Publicity Software program work on their preview pace, or maybe take a leaf out of DxO’s guide and allow you to preview NR on only a small part of the picture.

Improved shadow/spotlight sliders and added haze management

Additionally new for Publicity X6’s 2020(v3) course of model are up to date algorithms underlying the spotlight/shadow sliders and a brand new haze stage slider. The up to date spotlight/shadow sliders do not differ radically from their predecessors, however work properly and purpose for extra consistency and accuracy whereas minimizing shade casts and hue shifts.

In comparison with Lightroom’s equal management, although, the brand new haze slider appears extra susceptible to concurrently blocking up deeper shadows in an already-contrasty foreground similtaneously it improves the distinction of extra distant topics obscured by haze. So whereas there’s positively scope for enchancment, I believe it is a worthwhile addition.

Extra auto controls assist put you within the ballpark

One other welcome change is the addition of extra auto controls that assist to place you within the ballpark with a minimal of fuss. Now you can routinely set publicity, white steadiness, tone, dynamic distinction and haze stage, both for single photos or batches.

Publicity X6’s primary panel sports activities new dynamic distinction and haze stage sliders. Up high, the Auto button will modify 5 completely different features of your picture routinely — white steadiness, publicity, tone, dynamic distinction and haze stage. The hamburger menu to its proper (discovered by clicking the strains subsequent to ‘Auto’) will let you choose which of these features ought to apply.

Like Lightroom, a single click on is sufficient to let the algorithms do their factor. However not like Adobe’s app, you may as well select to allow or disable every of those 5 auto controls individually, and in case you subsequently click on the Auto button, solely your chosen auto controls will likely be utilized.

Publicity X6’s auto improve controls assist get you within the ballpark with a minimal of fuss. At left is the results of auto publicity, white steadiness, tone, dynamic distinction and haze stage changes. At proper is the unique, uncorrected picture.

Extra lifelike Auto outcomes than Lightroom

I discovered the auto controls to be fairly efficient. In comparison with their Lightroom equivalents, which default to a moderately punchy, consumer-friendly look, Publicity X6 tended to have a softer contact that yields extra reasonable, lifelike outcomes.

In comparison with an out-of-camera JPEG from the Canon 1DX II, Publicity X6’s auto improve algorithms (high) use a softer contact than these of ACR (backside), which defaults to a consumer-friendly, punchy look with larger distinction and saturation.

My solely actual criticism is that whereas there’s additionally a brand new publicity bias slider that may allow you to bias the auto algorithms as much as two stops in both route, there is not any preview of what the impact will likely be as you make your adjustment. That may end up in some pointless trial and error as you fine-tune your settings.

The up to date Superior Shade Editor is much more highly effective

One final vital change in Publicity X6 makes a characteristic that was launched within the previous model much more highly effective than ever. The brand new Superior Shade Editor is a bit intimidating initially, because it appears much more advanced than X5’s equal 3D Shade Masking instrument. However the quantity of management it provides you could be very spectacular.

The brand new Superior Shade Editor could make fairly radical modifications with minimal effort. Within the model at proper, I modified the blue automobile to inexperienced, and the Chevy logos from gold to blue inside maybe 15-20 seconds. It isn’t excellent — traces of the unique colours stay at their edges — however this might probably be mounted with a couple of minutes extra work.

With only a few clicks, you possibly can pattern each your supply and goal hue, saturation and luminance values from the picture with eye-droppers or set your chosen values instantly. And you are able to do so a number of occasions without delay for various shade ranges, then brush the impact out of particular areas of the picture which you do not need altered.

The flexibility to utterly change the colour of a topic with only a few seconds work — turning a blue automobile right into a inexperienced one, for instance — is fairly cool. However actually, I believe this instrument is much more helpful for finer, extra granular changes, making it simple to hone reminiscence colours in your picture to match their real-world equivalents.

Loads of minor tweaks too, together with on-import DNG conversion

Publicity Software program has additionally made a number of extra minor tweaks for model X6. Of those, I believe the most convenient is the power to transform your Uncooked photos to DNG with out leaving the app.

It would look a bit intimidating, however Publicity X6’s Superior Shade Picker is an especially highly effective instrument, whether or not for delicate changes to particular shade ranges or way more radical changes.

You may nonetheless want Adobe’s DNG converter software program put in, as Publicity X6 depends on this to do the grunt work on its behalf. However now you can both convert particular person photos from the right-click menu of their thumbnail, or batch-convert all of your photos as you are importing them to Publicity, saving you effort and time. And you may nonetheless select the JPEG preview measurement, whether or not or to not embed the unique Uncooked file or quick load knowledge, and whether or not or to not compress transformed DNGs.

A fair higher Lightroom different, and a worthwhile improve for present customers

As soon as once more, I discover myself impressed by Publicity X6, simply as I used to be by its predecessor. At a comparatively low price and with a perpetual license which frees you from being nickel-and-dimed to demise by subscription charges, it presents nice picture high quality and a really beneficiant characteristic set. And it does so whereas largely matching and even exceeding its Adobe rival when it comes to efficiency.

Publicity X6 presents fairly respectable picture high quality proper out of the gate. The one enhancing right here was a click on of the “Auto” button, and Publicity has performed a pleasant job extracting plenty of high quality element.

Are there some issues I would nonetheless wish to see modified? Positive, specifically I would wish to see higher preview efficiency for noise discount. Plus, Adobe nonetheless leads the way in which when it comes to the sheer variety of cameras and Uncooked codecs it helps.

I am actually moderately impressed by Publicity X6. It comes fairly near Lightroom’s picture high quality and efficiency, but will begin saving you cash inside a yr or so of buy.

And I nonetheless discover Publicity’s non-modal interface leaves me doing much more scrolling than I would like. However even as-is, I see this as a really credible rival for Lightroom, particularly for the photographer on a finances.

In case you’re searching for a approach to cut back your bills, and your digicam is supported – which you possibly can examine right here – I extremely advocate downloading the preview and giving it a attempt your self.

What we like:

  • Complete, photographer-centric picture enhancing with help for layers and native changes
  • Higher efficiency than ever
  • Extra auto controls and a beneficiant raft of preset appears
  • Now boasts haze management and camera-tuned noise discount
  • Very inexpensive and no subscription crucial

What we do not:

  • Heavy non-modal interface means plenty of scrolling
  • Narrower help for cameras and lenses, particularly smaller manufacturers
  • Noise discount preview is a bit on the sluggish aspect
  • Haze management blocks up deeper foreground shadows
  • Noise discount smoothing can introduce ugly artifacts
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