Once again, as on previous occasions, I have revisited one of my air show galleries — Wings Over Wairarapa 2009 — and reprocessed all the photos using DxO PhotoLab 3. PhotoLab is not the perfect photo processing tool, but it scores highly over every other one I’ve tried in getting the sharpest images out of my RAW files.
Between the excellent, sharp rendering, more modern, high-resolution screens, and a willingness to push for higher quality I have managed to double the dimensions of most images, while in some cases cropping more closely, and still improve the clarity of the subjects.
As before, some images did not stand up to this treatment (and if I’m honest, this was apparent even in the original processed images) and so have been dropped. Every photo has been reprocessed from RAW with no reference to the original renderings, so cropping is done with my modern thinking, mostly to 16:9, with a number of 3:2, the odd 1:1 and once again, where it seemed appropriate, a few 5:2 as well. I’ve also done all the lighting from scratch as well. (And, sigh, getting rid of the dust specks as well.)
I have other galleries lined up already for this treatment, but this one will likely be the earliest I tackle, as the sharp renderings require a lens profiled by DxO and my trusty Pentax DA 55-300mm was brand new at this show. The Sigma that preceded it is not profiled. Note, also, this was shot on the 10 megapixel Pentax K10D and I found the pixels were often just enough to get the full 3200 pixel size. I’ll have much more leeway on the K5 (at 16 megapixels) that I used from 2011 through 2017 and more still on the KP (24 megapixels) that I have been using since 2017.
Because I have simply replaced the images, you don’t get a chance to compare, so here I have included a comparison for you. The before image on the left has been pixel-doubled to more closely match the after image, but you will notice the latter is slightly larger because I cropped closer. You can see that in addition to the sharper edges, there is detail present that was merely hinted at in the original.
As always, here are a some taster images to whet your appetite. These are just a few that I think benefited wonderfully from the higher definition.