DxO PRIME Noise Reduction vs. Topaz DeNoise AI, ISO 40,000 Image

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
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dcstep Contributing Member • Posts: 782
DxO PRIME Noise Reduction vs. Topaz DeNoise AI, ISO 40,000 Image

I've been using DxO's RAW conversion software since 2009. At first, I used it because it was one of the only RAW conversion software that included digital lens optimization. A few years back, DxO added PRIME, pixel-by-pixel, noise reduction to DxO Optics Pro. It's been steadily improved and it's now part of their PhotoLab 3 Elite software, that I now use.

I mainly shoot birds and wildlife, so my prejudice is toward preservation of fur and feather detail in the NR process. I'll gladly leave some luminescence noise in an image, if I can maintain most of the feather and fur detail. To me, luminescence noise looks a lot like grain, which I got used to decades ago. I'd love to maintain detail and totally get rid of luminescence noise, but I haven't found that software yet.

The image below was taken with my a7RIII and FE 40mm f/2.8 GM OSS, handheld, about 30-minutes after sunset. Topaz does not convert RAW files, so I used DxO to convert the RAW file, with no corrections, so that Topaz would have something to work with. The resulting file was 78.6MB, so I reduced it to under 10MB for DPR.

The next file is fully processed and converted with DxO. PRIME NR is enabled, with luminescence at 20 (down substantially from the default), and chrominance at 100. Additional adjustments to Microcontrast at +17, Fine contrast at 16, with contrast applied 0 to Highlights 17 to Midtones and 0 to Shadows. You can see that I added EV and cropped.

Here's the Topaz interpretation, using AI Clear, Manual, Remove Noise High, Enhance Sharpness High, Recover Details 100, Chroma Noise Reduction Strength 85, Chroma NR Size 5. That result is pretty darn good, but lacking detail. (That's an understandable compromise, give that Topaz is selling NR software).

Here I took the Topaz out-of-box image back into DxO and applied the same Contrast adjustments that I used in my DxO RAW conversion with PRIME NR:

You're supposed to pixel-peep here. Click on the images and look at them in the Gallery at 100%.

I think it's very close to a tie. I'm happy with either. It's understandable that the default for both NR software smash too much detail for my tastes, since they would be biased towards reducing noise.

Thank you Topaz, for the free trial, but I won't be buying. It would add an extra step to my workflow, for no gain that I see. However, those using Lightroom or other RAW conversion software, need to consider Topaz for their NR needs. It's an excellent product.

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 dcstep's gear list:dcstep's gear list
Sony a9 Sony a7R III Sony a6400 Sony FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM Sony FE 85mm F1.4 GM +8 more
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