Best Pure Noise Reduction Software?

Started May 21, 2013 | Discussions thread
fPrime
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Two Stage Noise Reduction
In reply to Corpy2, May 26, 2013

I've found that the best noise reduction involves not only the best tools, but rather the tools plus the best technique.  In particular for high ISO files I am now using a two-stage noise reduction approach splitting chroma and luma noise responsibilities to the specific software that handles each best.  The advantage of this divided approach is that you can run both reduction processes at lower settings independently thereby retaining maximum detail in the image overall.

While it's luminance noise reduction is mediocre, nothing currently beats Adobe Camera Raw for the protection of fine color detail during chroma noise reduction.  For this reason I process every RAW in ACR without any luma noise reduction but chrominance noise reduction dialed in just enough for each ISO to correct the color noise.

Once in Photoshop nothing currently beats Topaz DeNoise 5 for fine luma detail preservation during luminance noise reduction, so I use Topaz after ACR import to fix the luma noise only.  The advantage of correcting chroma noise first is that I can now run Topaz at "lightest" or "light" noise reduction settings.  If chroma had not been cleaned up first Topaz would easily require "moderate" or higher settings and the reduced detail that come with those.

For more on this method, see the settings I use for the Panasonic LX3 here:

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/51513863

fPrime

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