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What Is The Best Noise Reduction Software?

#1 User is offline   Mike Cooke Icon

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 03:16 AM

I’m using CS5 but the noise reduction isn’t very good, so I’m wondering what noise reduction software everyone recommends.

Cheers
Mike
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#2 User is offline   Mike Rowe Icon

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 07:05 AM

Mike

I use Noise Ninja as a plugin to PS Elements 9, which seems to work for me.

Mike
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#3 User is offline   Paul H Icon

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 07:51 AM

I use Imagenomics, they offer a selection of varios plugins but a necessity with a 5dmk2 on auto ISO

http://www.imagenomic.com/

cR
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#4 User is offline   SmartShots Icon

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 08:42 AM

I have used noiseninja for several years but recently the latest version of Lightroom 3 has excellent noise reduction built right in. The only time I use noiseninja now is if I need to switch into photoshop where I have actions I've created for selectively reducing noise.

#5 User is offline   Paul Dunning Icon

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 10:25 AM

I use Nik Software's Dfine , works well for me and I like their control point system which lets you adjust the amount of noise reduction easily for different areas in an image.



Paul.

#6 User is offline   DaveDixon Icon

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Posted 23 February 2011 - 05:55 PM

Noise Ninja for me (standalone, cos I don't use PhotoShop). I'd previously used Neat Image, but the batch processing capability in Noise Ninja was a major sellign point for me. Then, once I'd spent longer using it, I felt it gave me way more control than Neat Image did, and I've never looked back.
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#7 User is offline   Antonio Fernando Shalders Icon

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Posted 23 March 2011 - 03:28 PM

For me the best one is the Imagenomic Noiseware Professional edition. There are a standalone version for Windows and a plug-in for Photoshop CS and Elements (Win/Mac). It's cheap, very powerful and handles large images very well. There are lots of fine tunning controls and the output is better than Noise Ninja and Neat Image for my taste.
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#8 User is offline   Susanna Saunders Icon

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Posted 26 March 2011 - 09:36 AM

View Postcat ryan, on 18 February 2011 - 07:51 AM, said:

I use Imagenomics, they offer a selection of varios plugins but a necessity with a 5dmk2 on auto ISO

http://www.imagenomic.com/

cR


Err... Why auto ISO Cat???? :o Some special application that has wildly varing light levels???

I use NIK's Lightroom plugin Dfine. Works very well for me as I'm impressed with what the software can do with images shot in low light conditions - as for which is best - I couldn't tell you as I'm sure it varies from image to image and lighting conditions, image subject and a whole load of other variables... so I wouldn't get too anal about it!

http://www.niksoftwa...ex/en/entry.php


Susanna
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This post has been edited by Susanna Saunders: 26 March 2011 - 09:38 AM

"Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so". Douglas Adams

#9 User is offline   Phil G Icon

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Posted 26 March 2011 - 10:00 AM

What Is The Best Noise Reduction Software?

The one between your ears!

The rest are salvaging techniques making up for limitations in the image processing HW and SW, but more often than not exacerbated by the decision making 'computer' behind the eyepiece

Phil
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#10 User is offline   Cotswolds Chap Icon

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Posted 26 March 2011 - 10:18 AM

View PostSusanna Saunders, on 26 March 2011 - 09:36 AM, said:

Err... Why auto ISO Cat???? :o Some special application that has wildly varing light levels???

Susanna
~~~~~~


My cameras are permanently on auto-ISO... it is a fantastic feature where a camera has good ISO performance, which my Nikons do...
the simple reason is that it allows you to mix:
- the simplicity of the camera's very fine exposure / metering algorithms
- the creative control of manual

i.e. you can set aperture and shutter to whatever you wish for creative control and the ISO compensates to provide perfect exposure - very powerful...
of course it is necessary to be aware of when the camera's metering will fall down, and compensate - but that is easy and a bit of EV compensation one way or the other works well...

I only turn auto-ISO off when using studio lighting - I allow it up to 3200 on the D300 and 6400 on the D700 without worry

on the original qu. I use Lightroom 3 - very good noise control - however it is rare to need it - even at ISO 6400 I don't tend to use it...
biggest reason I have seen for folks needing noise control is under-exposure of the image...

Alasdair
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#11 User is offline   Paul H Icon

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Posted 26 March 2011 - 02:15 PM

View PostSusanna Saunders, on 26 March 2011 - 09:36 AM, said:

Err... Why auto ISO Cat???? :o Some special application that has wildly varing light levels???

Susanna
~~~~~~


When I have to capture a service or particular mass in a cathedral it's more often a one off event, I don't get chance to sit around gathering settings its a shoot off the hip occasion. So I don't have the opportunity to ask them to repeat it! Safe option, low light one off chance, use auto iso. Then a work out with Imagenomics gets the results.

Here is some of the work Susanna.

http://www.sjbcathedral.org.uk/

The ordination images were a trial, I had to descretly walk the the back up the stairs across the vaulting grab a shot down whilst they lay prostrate and be back all within a Litany!

cR
Up a mountain down a Beer:)

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#12 User is offline   Phil G Icon

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Posted 26 March 2011 - 03:51 PM

Cheers Paul and Alasdair

You just given a good examples of how it's the SKE behind the viewfinder (aka between the ears) that's far more important

Phil

( SKE = Skill Knowledge and Experience)
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#13 User is offline   Matthew J. Byrne Icon

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 08:21 AM

does anyone find the noise reduction in LightRoom 3 quite harsh? Colour noise reduction slider works wonders I find but the luminance slider seems to really blur the image, If I then add sharpening afterwards I find the edges are not natural looking.

Maybe I'm adding too much and it only seems to affect under-exposed RAW files that I post-process. I don't use the masking or detail sliders in LR3, need to look into that and learn how to use them properly.

cheers

#14 User is offline   Phil G Icon

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 10:09 AM

View PostMatthew J. Byrne, on 01 April 2011 - 09:21 AM, said:

does anyone find the noise reduction in LightRoom 3 quite harsh? Colour noise reduction slider works wonders I find but the luminance slider seems to really blur the image, If I then add sharpening afterwards I find the edges are not natural looking.

Maybe I'm adding too much and it only seems to affect under-exposed RAW files that I post-process. I don't use the masking or detail sliders in LR3, need to look into that and learn how to use them properly.

cheers


Hi Matthew

I think you've answered your own question

That's the trade off (Blur), the inbuilt adjustments are after all there to mitigate the inherent idiosyncrasies of the capture system and demosaicing algorithm not to salvage 'incorrectly' exposed images. (the Bayer Matrix is only RGBG so it's relatively easy to manipulate the best guess algorithm regarding colour but CMOS systems have a blur filter over the sensor to minimise Moiré ) and if you increase blur then to use a polite version of an old saying "you cannot sharpen a BLUR"

The most effective use of time is to spend it ensuring you minimise the probability of noise when you expose and/or use techniques to overcome same in PP, then you only need to mitigate what's inherent in the 35mm CMOS systems.
If you're not happy with that move to CCD sensors or Medium format CCD or true colour Multi-shot/scan which will push the boundary a little further before you hit new limits - basics still apply or take up painting with electrons or ... paint

All the best

Phil
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#15 User is offline   tonykaye Icon

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Posted 02 April 2011 - 06:12 PM

View PostPhil G, on 01 April 2011 - 11:09 AM, said:

Hi Matthew

I think you've answered your own question

That's the trade off (Blur), the inbuilt adjustments are after all there to mitigate the inherent idiosyncrasies of the capture system and demosaicing algorithm not to salvage 'incorrectly' exposed images. (the Bayer Matrix is only RGBG so it's relatively easy to manipulate the best guess algorithm regarding colour but CMOS systems have a blur filter over the sensor to minimise Moiré ) and if you increase blur then to use a polite version of an old saying "you cannot sharpen a BLUR"

The most effective use of time is to spend it ensuring you minimise the probability of noise when you expose and/or use techniques to overcome same in PP, then you only need to mitigate what's inherent in the 35mm CMOS systems.
If you're not happy with that move to CCD sensors or Medium format CCD or true colour Multi-shot/scan which will push the boundary a little further before you hit new limits - basics still apply or take up painting with electrons or ... paint

All the best

Phil


Forgive me chipping in (no pun intended) but I think we might be getting a few issues lumped together where really they are best kept separate. They are:-

1) Bayer array. This is a filter array of nominally panchromatic sensors, and is independent upon the type of sensor use, CCD or CMOS. Any Bayer array sensor needs demosaicing and depending upon the algorithm used you may see different artefacts.

2) CCD or CMOS. This relates to the way a sensor is fabricated. The end imaging results may be similar, but they work very differently. The output from a CCD pixel is charge which is converted to voltage as the output from the chip. A to D conversion is performed by a separate chip. The output from a CMOS pixel is voltage as the charge to voltage conversion is done via circuitry that is behind the photosite. The A to D conversion is done on the chip so the chip output is bits.

3) Low pass filters. With any digital sensor which is a sampling system you run the risk of producing spurious data (artefacts/moiré) if you’re sampling frequency is too low. A scientist called Nyquist established that you must sample at twice the maximum frequency (or higher) to avoid artefacts. This applies to all systems be they digital audio or digital cameras. Most lenses are good enough to present spatial frequencies that are significantly higher than half the sampling frequency defined by the sensor. To avoid unwanted artefacts, low pass filters are incorporated into the design of many sensors. The need for low pass filtering is independent of sensor type, and both CCD and CMOS sensors are available with incorporated low pass filters.

4) Noise. All sensors produce noise it’s the laws of physics. In the early days of sensors CCD tended to be lower noise than CMOS, but modern CMOS sensors have dramatically narrowed the gap. In the real world assessing the inherent noise performance of a camera is tricky as if you work with jpegs, then the images will have already been processed with significant noise reduction applied in the camera. If you use the raw conversion software by the camera manufacturers, they don’t all apply the same degree of noise reduction as a function of ISO. I have plotted the noise curves of my Nikon D300 with Nikon Capture NX2 and you get discontinuities where suddenly additional noise reduction kicks in. I have measured 24% less luma noise at 800 ISO than at 640 ISO, and 35% less chroma noise. I have found that using ACR with the Adobe defaults allows fair comparisons to be made.

I am sorry I have strayed from the original question about the best noise reduction software. Prior to Photoshop CS5 I always had a couple of different noise reduction plug-ins installed to help me with those difficult shots when my daughter was on stage and I was starved of light and had to pushed up the ISO to maximum and still accept some underexposure. Once I started using CS5 I was struck how significantly improved the noise reduction was compared to previous versions of Photoshop, provided I remembered to switch to the 2010 process rather than the 2003 when opening images that I had previously optimised in CS4. If the XMP data was written pre CS5, you will get the 2003 noise reduction and demosaicing algorithms unless you remember to go in and change it.

I agree that there is often a trade with detail vs. noise reduction. This is where as a photographer you make the call as to how much noise reduction to apply as I am sure it is scene dependant and photographer dependant. I personally prefer slightly noisier but sharper results, but that is probably because I grew up with film!!

I hope I have shed light and not added confusion.

Tony

#16 User is offline   Matthew J. Byrne Icon

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Posted 21 April 2011 - 07:59 AM

Hi Phil and Tony,

Just wanted to say thanks for the detailed information, it's helped me answer my question and clarify this.

Have a great easter.

Cheers
Matt

#17 User is offline   pauling Icon

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Posted 12 May 2011 - 11:20 AM

I used Neat Image. It is an image filter to reduce noise and grain in photographic images produced by digital cameras and scanners.

#18 User is offline   D.J Roberts Icon

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Posted 02 December 2011 - 03:10 PM

Hi Guys

I use the NR in Lightroom 3.5.

I find it is very good. If you have areas of excessive noise e.g sky, which may need more NR than say the actual subject area itself eg an aircraft against the sky, I usually make a virtual copy and do noise reduction on both areas seperately, combine them in CS5 and mask out the areas as required.

Cheers

David

#19 User is offline   Martin Walters Icon

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Posted 03 December 2011 - 12:36 AM

I use Neat Image...I find it works well, I just accept the defaults and go with it.

I only ever use it when I have pushed the ISO up high, and hence I have to live with the slight softening it gives the image. I generally look at the effect before I accept the changes though.
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#20 User is online   davidaskham Icon

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Posted 03 December 2011 - 03:54 PM

View PostSmartShots, on 18 February 2011 - 08:42 AM, said:

I have used noiseninja for several years but recently the latest version of Lightroom 3 has excellent noise reduction built right in. The only time I use noiseninja now is if I need to switch into photoshop where I have actions I've created for selectively reducing noise.

This matches my experience too. LR3 is very good but, for tricky or important images, I edit externally and use Noise Ninja then return to LR. NN does have much finer control if you need it.

This post has been edited by davidaskham: 03 December 2011 - 03:55 PM

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