DPP vs. third party
Here are five key settings and Canon features which will be stripped out or substituted with generic processes by third party RAW converters – choose a setting or feature from the list below to see more details or use the arrows.
Picture Style settings affect the saturation, contrast, colour tone and sharpness of the image. This is more noticeable if shooting in monochrome as the image will be returned to colour by non-Canon software. Left image has been opened in Photoshop, right image in DPP
When searching around for your current EOS camera or latest lens purchase, you might have spent some time looking to save a few pounds. And included with your EOS camera is an excellent bit of free software from Canon, called Digital Photo Professional (DPP).
You could now go and put that money you saved towards some new image processing software – after all, the Canon software is free and can't be all that good. Can it?
Think again – DPP has been designed to work seamlessly with your EOS camera and is the only software capable of utilising your camera's sophisticated built-in features – like Auto Lighting Optimizer and Picture Styles – to enhance your images. We recommend that you give it a go.
If you shoot JPEG images you are assured of the best quality from your EOS camera. Why? Because your camera contains sophisticated image processing software that will process the image in-camera and output high quality images – providing of course you get the exposure and a few other basic settings correct at the time of shooting.
If you shoot RAW the process is different. The camera saves the RAW image file without applying any corrections, but instead saves the settings as data within the image file. These settings are then applied automatically when the RAW conversion is done, but only if using DPP.
If you use third party software, there is an option to process the RAW file using the camera settings. However, the software can only apply generic settings. Much of the data saved with the file are algorithms that are patented by Canon. No great surprise there, after all Coca Cola is patented – you cannot make the same recipe – and other brands simply do not taste the same. So why, when it comes to camera algorithms, would you assume that you'd get the same result with a third-party brand imitating what the original does?
The DPP difference
Which version of DPP can I use?
Canon currently has two versions of its RAW imaging software available for photographers to download and use: versions 3 and 4. You can run both programs on your computer simultaneously. DPP version 4 is currently compatible with the following Canon cameras (correct as at May 2017):
EOS 1000D, 1100D, 1200D, 1300D, 100D, 350D, 400D, 450D, 500D, 550D, 600D, 650D, 700D, 750D, 760D, 800D, 1D C, 1D Mark II, 1D Mark II N, 1D Mark III, 1D Mark IV, 1D X, 1D X Mark II, 1Ds Mark II, 1Ds Mark III, 5D, 5D Mark II, 5D Mark III, 5D Mark IV, 5DS, 5DS R, 7D, 7D Mark II, M, M2, M3, M5, M6, M10, as well as many of the Powershot G-series models.
Where can I get DPP?
Until recently, all EOS digital cameras were supplied with an EOS Solutions disk. This disk contains Canon software and drivers for your camera, including DPP.
Nowadays, the disk isn't included in most camera boxes. Instead, you can download the software and drivers from Canon support.
There's no charge to do this – simply enter your camera model and a list of available downloads will appear. Your operating system should be automatically detected, to ensure that you download the correct version.
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Why use Digital Photo Professional?
Getting the best results from your EOS camera doesn't have to mean spending extra money on software. There's a very capable program you get for nothing when you buy your camera – all it takes is a little time to get to know it. Here's why you should use Canon's own RAW image processor Digital Photo Professional (DPP).
The in-camera setting is often replaced by a generic white balance – this can cause the image to show significant colour changes in certain situations. The top image shows the RAW file converted in Photoshop; the bottom image was converted in DPP.
HIGH ISO NOISE REDUCTION
This is relevant at all ISO settings. Noise can show up much more as it's not Canon’s noise reduction being used. (Images are very small enlarged sections). The left image has had the noise reduction settings stripped out; the image on the right was openend in DPP.
AUTO LIGHTING OPTIMIZER (ALO)
A camera setting which prevents backlit or sidelit portraits going too dark, working with available and flash light. This gets stripped out by third-party software, as demonstrated by the two images below (top, RAW image processed in Photoshop; bottom image processed in DPP).
LENS ABERRATION CORRECTIONS
Your EOS camera will automatically correct for common lens aberrations if you use Canon lenses. These corrections are applied automatically to JPEG images but they will only be used on RAW files by Canon’s DPP software. In third party software, they are discarded.
The example shown above is Peripheral illumination correction, but on the latest models there are also Chromatic aberration correction, Diffusion correction applied automatically. Distortion correction can also be turned on within the camera.
Now of course, all those settings can be put right again in other RAW converter software, but you'll have to make the corrections manually. Open the images in DPP and those corrections are done for you. And, just as usefully, those settings can be undone, or altered as needed. Did you have the wrong white balance set when shooting? No problem – just change the white balance setting in DPP and it's instantly put right.
So why use DPP 4? Well the images speak for themselves, and out of preference here at EOS magazine we would rather have the camera and computer doing all the work rather than spending hours correcting substitute settings added by non-Canon RAW converters.
Of course, the ultimate aim is to get the image right in-camera. That way, we can spend more time out with our EOS camera!