Noise reduction software, the latest . . .

dissentdissent Posts: 1,268Member
edited February 2013 in General Discussions
yeah, maybe this has been beaten to death. But I've been back and forth through a couple of earlier threads, and I'd like to get a more up-to-date take on what y'all think on this.

I am working up some photos for print, probably just 4x6, 5x7, maybe some 8x10. A number of my earlier photos, especially with a flash in the hotshoe, have ended up with a fair amount of noise in them. The D5100 and its kindred, as I am given to understand, have a habit when set to auto-ISO to push flash shots into pretty high ISO values when they have a wide ISO range set in the ISO setup area. So I have a bunch of jpegs with varying amounts of noise I'd like to try to clean up.

So I've been reading up on three different products (1) Nik Dfine 2, (2) Neat Image and (3) Topaz Denoise 5 (as well as Topaz DeJpeg). I'd like to get you folks thoughts on these products. As a LR4 user, frankly I'm leaning towards Topaz, because they have a Fusion Express app that apparently lets you run the denoise et. al. from inside of Lightroom, without having to save a separate file that then has to be re-imported into LR.

But that doesn't mean that I don't want to hear what you think about any other software. Thanks in advance for your advice.
Post edited by Msmoto on
- Ian . . . [D7000, D7100; Nikon glass: 35 f1.8, 85 f1.8, 70-300 VR, 105 f2.8 VR, 12-24 f4; 16-85 VR, 300 f4D, 14E-II TC, SB-400, SB-700 . . . and still plenty of ignorance]

Comments

  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,085Moderator
    edited February 2013
    Hi Dissent,

    I use LR4. Before LR4 I used LR3 with HDR EFEX PRO - now I can get the results I need without plug-ins.

    I see your problem as easily cured with no changes to your workflow as at those print sizes I wouldn't need to sharpen the images from my D7000 (same sensor). Your best answer is turn auto-ISO off, second best is change the settings to allow ISO 800 max. ETTR will minimise your noise too.

    Fancy software will not replace best practice in gathering the data (getting the shot).

    EDIT: ETTR link: http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/digital-exposure-techniques.htm
    Post edited by spraynpray on
    Always learning.
  • GabGab Posts: 63Member
    Use LR4.3 for chroma noise removal (it's industry leading in that respect) & Topaz for luminance noise. I tried other options too, but they don't really come close to this. I would be interested in how some pros get that glossy / film noisy look with their "web prints", but I imagine there is more to that than some PS plugin..
  • tganiatstganiats Posts: 131Member
    I have tried many in the past; currently using Nik Dfine with good results.
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    edited February 2013
    @ dissent

    Thought the thread title was more descriptive of your query...
    Post edited by Msmoto on
    Msmoto, mod
  • dissentdissent Posts: 1,268Member
    edited February 2013
    Thanks all. More please.

    @ Gab - yeah, sometimes LR4 seems to be doing a pretty good job and sometimes not. Thanks for pointing out the types of noise difference. As in -
    http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/image-noise-2.htm
    still trying to wrap my pointy little head around some of this information.

    @ SnP - yeah definitely agree that minimizing the noise in-camera is by far the best idea. I've got a lot to learn in terms of how to make the camera bend to my will to produce the image I want (more accurately, how to bend my brain around how to use my hardware to its best advantage). Takes time. Need to shoot more under conditions that challenge my camera's sensor and hardware settings to see what settings are doing what. Getting over my noob's reticence to shooting raw. Yeah, it's not such a big deal swimming in the deep end of the pool, is it? Thanks for the ettr link - everything is helpful.

    @ Msmoto - thanks; no problem.

    edit - upon further review, I'm going to have to review how I was using LR4 alone to do noise removal.
    http://help.adobe.com/en_US/lightroom/using/WS67a9e0c3a11b149632d4213d12864349b1a-8000.html

    So much to learn . . .
    Post edited by dissent on
    - Ian . . . [D7000, D7100; Nikon glass: 35 f1.8, 85 f1.8, 70-300 VR, 105 f2.8 VR, 12-24 f4; 16-85 VR, 300 f4D, 14E-II TC, SB-400, SB-700 . . . and still plenty of ignorance]
  • donaldejosedonaldejose Posts: 3,199Member
    The first step, as spraynpray said, is to not generate noise in the first place when not necessary. Both the D3100 and the D5100 default to the highest ISO setting when you attach a flash. (I think this is an error in the programing since flash does not need such high ISO, that is why you are using flash in the first place.) On these two models I always turn auto ISO off when I attach a flash and set ISO to 100. If you are bouncing your flash off the ceiling and using a kit lens at f5.6 you may need higher than ISO-100. I check for underexposure and raise ISO step by step until I have the proper exposure. Spraynpray is correct that above ISO 800 the D3100 image quality drops significantly to the point it is unacceptable I find the D5100 can go to ISO 1600 before image quality is unacceptable. If you keep the noise to a minimum in the first place you most likely will not need a new program.
  • dissentdissent Posts: 1,268Member
    Good advice, I think, donald.

    Oh, and after a couple of quick LR4 edits, as the young folks say, the color noise slider is "teh awesome!"
    - Ian . . . [D7000, D7100; Nikon glass: 35 f1.8, 85 f1.8, 70-300 VR, 105 f2.8 VR, 12-24 f4; 16-85 VR, 300 f4D, 14E-II TC, SB-400, SB-700 . . . and still plenty of ignorance]
  • dissentdissent Posts: 1,268Member
    @ SnP and Gab - well, it's starting to look like I actully CAN do a lot of the noise correction I want to do in LR4. I'll be doing a fair amount of this over the near term, so I'll have to see if I run into any issues LR can't do well. Thanks again for the helpful discussion.

    @ tganiats - do you use Dfine in addition to Lightroom, or some other process? I'd be interested to know what other kinds of problems you are solving with Dfine as opposed to other programs.
    - Ian . . . [D7000, D7100; Nikon glass: 35 f1.8, 85 f1.8, 70-300 VR, 105 f2.8 VR, 12-24 f4; 16-85 VR, 300 f4D, 14E-II TC, SB-400, SB-700 . . . and still plenty of ignorance]
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    I use Nik Dfine 2 - you can open the program in LR and use it from there. Works very well. I tend to think it works better than LR as you can pick areas and the strength you want it on. Really quick too.

    I have also used Noise Ninja which has a batch operation and have used that on large groups of old files (Family/friends/bdays) stuff that doesn't warrant any real post production. It is good as well.

    I had a trial of the previous version of Topaz and thought it was really good as well - I went with Nik as I bought the complete set of their software.
    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • blandbland Posts: 811Member
    I've found that LR4 does some noise good and Topaz Denoise5 does other noise good. Point being, one might want to get several denoise programs.

    I haven't tried Nik Dfine 2 yet but that may be the way to go if it does all noise. That picking areas to use it sounds pretty good.
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    Sorry Bland - I don't think Nik is the solve all - but it does very well. I generally use both Nik and LR4. I'll start it in Nik as it does great in holding detail very well - very well. Then I will use LR4 to smooth it out, (contrast mainly and a bit of coma) and that creates an image I like. Then I will go back and add about 10 clarity. But all of that get's into personal taste.

    I would like to try Topaz again as every once in a while I'll get something nothing works on. Or better put, the test exposure shot that was 3 stops underexposed, ended up being the best shot for something. Why people have eyelids and must use them, I'll never understand ;)
    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • dissentdissent Posts: 1,268Member
    Very interesting all. It sounds like maybe I should just run the free trials of Nik Dfine and Topaz Denoise to see what they do for me on a couple of my worst examples, just to see if they do anything better than LR. I was going to ask if there were any types of photos or conditions that Nik or Topaz tended to be advantaged for, but it sounds like it depends on the photo, and the conditions could be just about anything.
    - Ian . . . [D7000, D7100; Nikon glass: 35 f1.8, 85 f1.8, 70-300 VR, 105 f2.8 VR, 12-24 f4; 16-85 VR, 300 f4D, 14E-II TC, SB-400, SB-700 . . . and still plenty of ignorance]
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    edited February 2013
    One LR "trick" I sometimes use is, the noise reduction slider on brush tool
    this allows me to reduce , say, the nose noise in the sky but keep the detail in the main subject
    I have not found the need to use anything other than LR
    Post edited by sevencrossing on
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,085Moderator
    I've heard of the eye in the sky, but never the nose in the sky.... ;)

    But +1 to the rest seven.
    Always learning.
  • BabaGanoushBabaGanoush Posts: 252Member
    The problem with using an external editor like DeNoise to work on a NEF file from within LR is that you have to create a huge TIFF file, which is 5 times larger than the file you started with. For the D800, this converts a ~40 MB NEF FX file --> ~200 MB TIFF file. Disk space is cheap but after a few thousand such files you'll begin to wonder if the 15TB drive space you have is really enough. Also, the present version of DeNoise5 seems to have an annoying bug in it. If you display the TIFF file it creates in Loupe mode in LR, the camera and lens information is not displayed properly in the image overlay.
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,085Moderator
    That is good info Baba. :)>-
    Always learning.
  • dissentdissent Posts: 1,268Member
    Interestin BabaG. I wonder if this is still what happens when you use the Fusion Express plugin to run Topaz Denoise. I got the impression from their description that you didn't have to export and then reimport back to LR by using Fusion Express. Thanks for the heads up on the exif bug. Funny how nobody ever puts their software bug issues front and center on their web site.
    - Ian . . . [D7000, D7100; Nikon glass: 35 f1.8, 85 f1.8, 70-300 VR, 105 f2.8 VR, 12-24 f4; 16-85 VR, 300 f4D, 14E-II TC, SB-400, SB-700 . . . and still plenty of ignorance]
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