DxO ViewPoint 4 verdict
DxO ViewPoint 4 is a very powerful solution to a problem you might not have. It takes distortion and perspective correction to a new level, with Volume Deformation correction, a new ReShape local warping tool and more, but its core perspective correction tools will likely already exist in any host application you choose to launch it from. For ultimate perspective and distortion control, it’s hard to fault – as long as you do actually need what it does.
+Excellent auto/manual perspective correction
+Unique Volume Deformation correction
+Standalone and plug-in use
-No RAW support in standalone mode
-Your host application probably has perspective correction anyway
-Volume Deformation correction introduces distortion
DxO ViewPoint 4 is a program devoted specifically to lens and perspective corrections. It uses DxO’s lens correction profiles to automatically fix lens distortion, as required, but its main trick is to straighten horizons, fix converging verticals, correct horizontal convergence and – in this latest version – apply local geometric corrections with a new node-based ReShape warping tool.
ViewPoint 4 can be used as a standalone application, but also integrates with DxO PhotoLab 6 to add a whole new panel and bring its geometric corrections into PhotoLab’s non-destructive workflow.
ViewPoint 4 also works as a plug-in for Photoshop, Photoshop Elements and Lightroom Classic. It can also be used as an external application with Capture One and other photo-editors that support ‘round-tripping’ with external editors.
Hold on, though. Anyone who uses any of these programs already mentioned (apart from Elements) will already have perspective correction tools in their host software. Even DxO PhotoLab 6 now has these as standard. So why would you pay extra to get software that does a job you can do already?
There are two answers. One is that ViewPoint 4 just might do a better job. The other is that it does other things that these programs can’t do.
The perspective correction tools will be familiar from other programs, with a vertical convergence tool, a horizontal convergence tool and a square tool for correcting rectangular objects and – plus an 8-point tool for making verticals and horizontals parallel for subjects that don’t have a conveniently rectangular outline.
The first of ViewPoint’s unique features is its correction of Volume Deformation, a feature of ultra-wide ‘rectilinear’ lenses. These lenses render straight lines as straight, but artificially elongate objects near the edge of the frame, and this is especially noticeable with human faces and figures.
The next unique feature (within a set of perspective correction tools) is the digital equivalent of the ‘tilt’ function of a perspective control lens. This creates a narrow plane of sharp focus with blur above and below. It makes real world scenes look like miniature models, though your viewpoint and subject need to be right for the illusion to be complete.
There’s a third feature, which is new in ViewPoint 4 – a ReShape tool which enables you to make localized geometric corrections by moving the nodes of a mesh overlay. It’s not unlike Photoshop’s Liquify tool.
Other new features in ViewPoint 4 include the ability to flip and rotate images, and the crop and rotate functions are now combined for easier operation.
Interface and usability
ViewPoint 4 is very easy to use, whether you launch it in standalone mode or as a plug-in. The only difference is that the standalone mode displays a folder directory tree in the left sidebar so that you can locate and browse the images you want to adjust.
But there is a somewhat unwelcome surprise waiting here. ViewPoint 4 can only open JPEG or TIFF images. It can’t open RAW files (nor indeed iPhone HEIC files). It seems pretty unlikely that anyone who needs ViewPoint 4’s advanced corrections will be working with JPEGs, so this program makes much more sense as a plug-in or external editor for software that already takes care of RAW processing.
Other programs have auto perspective correction buttons, but ViewPoint 4’s auto adjustments are the best I’ve yet encountered, with a far higher success rate of instant fixes and far less need to make manual adjustments to perfect the results.
The same goes for the Auto Horizon option, and the Miniature effect is very convincing (with the right subject) and very easy to apply.
The ReShape tool is a little less simple, and it’s a good idea to display the main grid (there’s a button on the toolbar) while you’re moving the nodes, because the node grid does not reflect any perspective adjustments already made – you can’t use it to judge horizontals and verticals.
Volume Deformation correction is easy to apply, though it’s not necessarily easy to choose between the left/right and diagonal correction options.
One point definitely worth making about ViewPoint 4 is that its adjustments are ‘destructive’ and permanent and saved back to the original image (or a copy). It’s not a non-destructive tool like the perspective tools in Lightroom, Capture One and others are. You can’t go back later. The only exception is if you’re using it within PhotoLab 6.
ViewPoint 4’s perspective corrections really are very good indeed. Its auto adjustments are very reliable – more so than those in other programs I’ve used – and the manual adjustments, if you need them, are simple to apply. My only observation is that the vertical and horizontal convergence buttons in the panel appear to be the wrong way round – clicking the ‘verticals’ button displays horizontal guides and vice versa.
The Volume Deformation correction is also very effective, though there is a drawback – you seem to lose some of the rectilinear correction of the lens, so that while shapes at the edge of the frame regain their natural proportions – or at least you do with the diagonal adjustment. The horizontal/vertical adjustment seems to get round this, but you still end up with a substantial crop – you can ‘uncrop’ the result with the crop tool, but then you get an image with a different aspect ratio to the one you started with. These optical corrections are not as simple as they appear.
The ReShape tool can be tricky to use too, not least because you have to try to match the grid/node spacing to the level of detail you’re working at, and because it’s quite an art knowing how to nudge adjacent nodes to maintain straight lines and not create unnatural ‘bulges’. My greatest issue was finding images that needed this kind of local correction.
Against that, I really do like the tilt effect. It simple to apply and creates a convincing defocus blur.
ViewPoint 4 works very well, but it reminds me of DxO FilmPack 6 – it does a job that your regular software probably does already, at least partially, and perhaps well enough for your needs.
I can see it being useful for architectural or interior photographers who need a level of control and finesse they can’t get from regular software, and if you shoot environmental portraits in confined spaces with wide lenses, then its Volume Deformation correction could prove useful, even vital.
But it is a specialized tool and, I have to say, a somewhat expensive one. I think its greatest value is perhaps as an add-on for PhotoLab 6. Capture One, Lightroom and Photoshop might not be quite as good as ViewPoint at precise perspective corrections, but for many photographers they might be quite good enough.
And there’s another thing. Much of what ViewPoint 4 does is already in the Perspective Efex plug-in in the Nik Collection 5. DxO is offering users multiple software choices and workflows, which is great, as long as it doesn’t bring confusion with it.
- DxO PhotoLab 6 review
- More DxO PhotoLab articles
- DxO Nik Collection review
- DxO FilmPack 6 review
- DxO PureRAW review
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DxO FilmPack 7: $139/£129
DxO PureRAW 3: $129/£115
DxO Nik Collection 6: $149/£135
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