When we received the Digital Photo Professional 4 announcement, we were optimistic that Canon had significantly improved the software that has become a big part of our lives. Based on the sheer volume of significant changes, there's no doubt that this program deserves its new version number. It is not an incremental upgrade.
However, after processing thousands of photos with DPP 4.0.0, we feel like early beta testers. From our perspective, the software isn't finished. Here's a few reasons why:
- DPP 4 is very buggy and its perfomance is unbearably slow. We have experienced multiple program crashes. Image adjustments do not update quickly enough. While batch processing images, DPP 4 sometimes becomes unusable in its busy state.
- DPP 4 does not recognize DPP 3.x recipes. This means that, for backward compatibility, I must retain a DPP v3 install on my laptop forever if I want to retain my previously-made edits.
- DPP 4 only recognizes a very limited number of camera models and not all of my cameras are included. Who wants to process their images in different software versions depending on the camera being used? Limited support is acceptable to get new features into photographer's hands ASAP, as long as support for the rest of the camera models follows soon after.
- There are some DPP 4 changes that make going back and forth between software versions difficult. One obvious change is the mouse wheel direction being reversed. I think v4 treats the scroll wheel direction properly, but this direction is opposite of the v3 direction.
- DPP 4's crop tool is less precise than in previous versions when using the mouse for adjustment. Therefore, one must adjust the values in the text boxes instead of relying on a quick mouse click and rotation.
- CTRL-Z no longer toggles the last change made in DPP 4. The shortcut still functions as the UNDO command, but now you must use CTRL-Y to REDO the last change. This change would be understandable if Canon used CTRL-Z to implement multi-level UNDO and REDO. But they haven't. So now it's just an unnecessary addition to the keystroke combinations we have to use in our workflow.
- Moving files takes a VERY long time from within DPP 4. One 15-file move to a remote USB 3.0 drive operation took 10 minutes? The move process often ends in a program crash or non-responsive application.
And to be candid, that's really just the tip of the iceberg. The program also suffers from many user interface issues. For instance, if you type in a new brightness adjustment value into the textbox and press CTRL-S, the new value isn't saved in the file. Instead, you must click away from the textbox (make it lose focus) before the program will allow the change to be saved into the file.
- Many photographers are using computers with large amounts of RAM. Please figure out a way to cache and preload recently used and expected-to-be-viewed-next images. We toggle through many images all the time. Why do we have to wait for those images to be rendered again after every glance?
- We need hot keys to move between images in the main window regardless of what control has focus (such as the brightness slider).
- Use the Windows standard for selecting files. Click, shift-click, control-click and shift-control click should work the same in all Windows applications. Same for the Mac standard.
- The Stamp tool was a great addition to DPP many versions back. Taking away hot key support (alt-click, control-z), the mouse wheel functionality (unless first clicking on the slider) and the spacebar-mouse-drag functionality in this tool makes it far less useful for me.
Complaining aside, DPP 4 is loaded with very positive enhancements. Here are just a few of them:
- Far more options for viewing images when checking and editing are now provided.
- You can now determine which settings are included with the copy and paste recipe (more power, but more complexity) with hot keys now supported.
- Darker grey background is better for brightness adjustment/determination.
- A secondary prompt is not required for delete and files can be deleted from directly Quick view.
- New folders can now be created from within DPP.
- Allows (optionally) single-click to show full resolution/100% (great feature!)
- +/- 3 stops of exposure adjustment (was +/- 2 stops) and other options offer finer control (increments of .1 vs. 1)
- Fine-tune sliders are a great addition for color adjustment
Overall Benefits of DPP
- DPP has always been a very easy-to-use tool that delivers very high quality RAW conversions.
- DPP is especially good at getting pleasing color.
- That DPP stores recipes directly in the RAW file means that there is no catalog to maintain and no sidecar files to keep track of and makes file management as easy as drag and drop.
- A Canon EOS camera has not hit the streets without being supported by DPP (in one form or another).
- That DPP is free is another great attribute.
We love the direction that Canon is heading with DPP 4, but right now it's just too buggy to be dependable for important work. Bryan and I have reverted back to DPP v3.x for most of our post-processing needs until the v4 bugs are eliminated.
What has been your experience with DPP 4.0? Feel free to let us know in the comments.