New 4 PICS with the G1X - One with 6400 ISO !

Started Apr 5, 2012 | Discussions thread
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bill hansen Veteran Member • Posts: 8,691
Regarding Topaz Denoise 5 (long post)

Peter - Like all the better noise reduction programs, Topaz does not give the best results at its default settings.

I don't claim to be an expert, but here's what has worked best for me with Topaz: view the image in Topaz at 200% (which is the default), move the Strength slider to the right until there's just a little noise still visible in the medium-dark parts of the image. Usually, a value somewhere between 11 and 17 is plenty, though some high ISO images take as little as 6 or 8. Then go to the Shadows slider and advance it a little - maybe to 15 to 25. Next, go to the Highlights slider and decrease it by about the same amount, 15 ot 25. Finally, check the Color Noise and the individual colors (red and blue) quickly. Advance those sliders if there's a lot of color noise, which I'll bet there will NOT be in your 6400 image.

When I know I'm not going to apply sharpening to an image, or when preservation of fine detail is not important, I'll view the image at 100% in Topaz and then go through the steps I've outlined above. The idea is to apply the bare minimum of noise reduction. It's almost never necessary to remove every bit of noise, and it's usually not even a good idea to do so. If the image can be viewed at 33 to 50% mag without noise being a distraction, that's enough for most images. If you plan to make a really large print, (greater than 12X18 inches) then maybe you'll need more NR.

That sounds time consuming, I know. But it's not. It's reasonably quick once you've done it a few times.

The other thing, with any noise reduction program, is to make a Layer copy of your background image first, and do you your NR on the copy. Then, if you like, you can reduce the opacity of the new layer before flattening layers. Some people like to deliberately overdo the noise reduction, and then adjust the layer opacity as a final step. I don't do that, but it's an option.

Noise Ninja can come very close to the effectiveness of Topaz. For best results, always adjust its settings for the individual image. Adjust the NR in NN so noise is minimized (not necessarily eliminated completely) in the darker areas, then use the Noise Brush to very carefully reduce NR in the rest of the image. You can use a much stronger Noise Brush (thus brushing away more of your NR) in the brighter areas, which will have much less noise to start with.

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Bill Hansen
Ithaca NY, USA

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