Quality of Noise Reduction in Lightroom 4?

Started Mar 7, 2012 | Discussions
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kidcharles Regular Member • Posts: 245
Quality of Noise Reduction in Lightroom 4?

Hi all,

I've recently started using LR3 to process my Canon RAW files. (I'm on Windows XP at the moment so I can't use LR4 until I upgrade.) Frankly I don't like the effect it has on my photos when using Contrast Noise Reduction higher than about 25 on the slider, you get that plastic look very quickly above that, and if you sharpen afterwards you get terrible artifacts. I've tried out Topaz Denoise 5 and while the algorithm is fantastic, it strips off the EXIF data which is just obnoxious, and of course I have to go to TIFF to use it and would rather stay in RAW if I can. Also you can't batch process with it, and assorted other annoyances. (To me Denoise seems like someone put a Maserati engine into a rusty old school bus.)

Can anyone who has used it comment on the quality of the noise reduction feature in LR4? Is it different or improved over LR3? How does it compare with Topaz Denoise 5? Thanks.

bpatient Forum Member • Posts: 78
Re: Quality of Noise Reduction in Lightroom 4?

I've used LR3 since the beta version as well as the LR4 beta. I purchased the LR4 upgrade this morning, but I haven't had a chance to compare it to the LR4 beta version. As far as I can tell, the noise reduction in LR4(beta) is the same as in LR3, although the new process conversion seems to produce, by default, somewhat higher local contrast and seems to be, therefore, somewhat sharper than the LR3 version. I don't understand what you mean by "Contrast Noise Reduction" in Lightroom, since (although the luminance noise reduction does include an adjustment for contrast) the two main means of noise reduction in Lightroom are luminance and color.

Noise reduction and sharpening interact in Lightroom. Perhaps you should try various differing parameters in an attempt to find something that suits you. Many people seem pleased by what they can accomplish in Lightroom.

IanSeward Regular Member • Posts: 301
Re: Quality of Noise Reduction in Lightroom 4?

kidcharles wrote:

Hi all,

I've recently started using LR3 to process my Canon RAW files. (I'm on Windows XP at the moment so I can't use LR4 until I upgrade.) Frankly I don't like the effect it has on my photos when using Contrast Noise Reduction higher than about 25 on the slider, you get that plastic look very quickly above that, and if you sharpen afterwards you get terrible artifacts. I've tried out Topaz Denoise 5 and while the algorithm is fantastic, it strips off the EXIF data which is just obnoxious, and of course I have to go to TIFF to use it and would rather stay in RAW if I can. Also you can't batch process with it, and assorted other annoyances. (To me Denoise seems like someone put a Maserati engine into a rusty old school bus.)

Can anyone who has used it comment on the quality of the noise reduction feature in LR4? Is it different or improved over LR3? How does it compare with Topaz Denoise 5? Thanks.

I suggest you have a look at this article:
http://www.sansmirror.com/articles/proper-noise-reduction-in.html
--
Ian

DUMB4SS Regular Member • Posts: 470
At the risk of being patronising

Are you exposing correctly, as I've not seen any issues with LR noise reduction on reasonably well exposed images.

Reilly Diefenbach
Reilly Diefenbach Forum Pro • Posts: 10,061
Re: Quality of Noise Reduction in Lightroom 4?

The new LR noise reduction seems unchanged to me, as in it destroys detail when you dial it up enough to smooth a background compared to Topaz. The good news is that you can brush it selectively, cleaning up your background (somewhat) while maintaining detail in the subject, although the max setting isn't strong enough, at least in the Beta.

kidcharles OP Regular Member • Posts: 245
Re: Quality of Noise Reduction in Lightroom 4?

bpatient wrote:

I've used LR3 since the beta version as well as the LR4 beta. I purchased the LR4 upgrade this morning, but I haven't had a chance to compare it to the LR4 beta version. As far as I can tell, the noise reduction in LR4(beta) is the same as in LR3, although the new process conversion seems to produce, by default, somewhat higher local contrast and seems to be, therefore, somewhat sharper than the LR3 version. I don't understand what you mean by "Contrast Noise Reduction" in Lightroom, since (although the luminance noise reduction does include an adjustment for contrast) the two main means of noise reduction in Lightroom are luminance and color.

Noise reduction and sharpening interact in Lightroom. Perhaps you should try various differing parameters in an attempt to find something that suits you. Many people seem pleased by what they can accomplish in Lightroom.

Thanks for the info. My mistake, yes I was referring to "Luminance" NR not "Contrast."

kidcharles OP Regular Member • Posts: 245
Re: Quality of Noise Reduction in Lightroom 4?

Reilly Diefenbach wrote:

The new LR noise reduction seems unchanged to me, as in it destroys detail when you dial it up enough to smooth a background compared to Topaz. The good news is that you can brush it selectively, cleaning up your background (somewhat) while maintaining detail in the subject, although the max setting isn't strong enough, at least in the Beta.

Yes, that selective denoising is something I'd be very interested in. I do a lot of bird photography and typically this means I've got a subject that has an enormous amount of fine feather detail with a completely blurred background. Typically I want basically no noise reduction on the bird and max on the background. Currently you can do masking with sharpening, which is perfect, but you can't mask the noise reduction. It would be great if they had an inverse mask for NR, where it would only do NR in areas of low local contrast/detail.

My dream scenario would be that Topaz licenses their algorithm to Adobe to free it from the confines of it's clunky external interface.

kidcharles OP Regular Member • Posts: 245
Re: At the risk of being patronising

DUMB4SS wrote:

Are you exposing correctly, as I've not seen any issues with LR noise reduction on reasonably well exposed images.

Oh yes, I know about exposing correctly (ETR, etc.), but even images that are exposed correctly can require NR, especially higher ISO shots (for example BIF shots which I do a lot of).

Reilly Diefenbach
Reilly Diefenbach Forum Pro • Posts: 10,061
Re: Quality of Noise Reduction in Lightroom 4?

Photoshop with Denoise/Topaz Remask does exactly what you want, at a price...

Eric Chan Senior Member • Posts: 2,800
Re: Quality of Noise Reduction in Lightroom 4?

Lr 4 noise reduction and sharpening is the same as in Lr 3. (Entire Detail panel is the same.)
--
Eric Chan
http://people.csail.mit.edu/ericchan/photos/
http://people.csail.mit.edu/ericchan/dp/Epson3800/index.html

DUMB4SS Regular Member • Posts: 470
Maybe a dual export then

Export one version with the noise reduction as you need it and then another with all the detail visible.

Overlay them in photoshop and mask out the areas you require.

You could also try After Shot Pro, as that has Noise Ninja built in.

Just had to google BIF BTW.

Gregm61 Forum Pro • Posts: 14,530
Re: Quality of Noise Reduction in Lightroom 4?

Eric Chan wrote:

Lr 4 noise reduction and sharpening is the same as in Lr 3. (Entire Detail panel is the same.)

The controls are the exact same, but the overall processing differences in the new ACR 7 in LR4 have me adjusting some of the sharpening and NR values I was using ACR/CS5. No doubt, once CS6 is out with the new ACR the same adjustments will have to be made just as I had to make adjustments moving from CS4 to the new ACR in CS5.

Photoshop and Lightroom use the exact same ACR program, the programs just lay out the controls differently on the screen. Last night was my first go in Lightroom. Nice program, but looking at it for the first time after using ACR in Photoshop exclusively for a few years, it took more than a few minutes finding my way around.

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RetiredInFlorida Senior Member • Posts: 1,303
Re: Quality of Noise Reduction in Lightroom 4?

bpatient

you will see this if you click on - contact Adobe

ALERT - We are experiencing high call volumes due to the demand for Adobe® Photoshop® Lightroom® 4. We apologize for any delays this may cause.

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Mike

DUMB4SS Regular Member • Posts: 470
FYI Greg

Eric is one of the team who developed Lightroom, so he may know a bit about it.

Gregm61 Forum Pro • Posts: 14,530
Re: FYI Greg

DUMB4SS wrote:

Eric is one of the team who developed Lightroom, so he may know a bit about it.

Don't doubt it. I am sure they are exactly the same, but, as I said, the other new processing being done in LR4 vs. ACR in CS5 has affected how much noise reduction I use. Noise reduction is just one part of the process, and the other "stuff" can have an affect on how much of the same thing you have to use.

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Royi Avital Regular Member • Posts: 496
Re: Quality of Noise Reduction in Lightroom 4?

Eric, what about the demosaicing algorithm?

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joey_B
joey_B Veteran Member • Posts: 3,080
Re: Quality of Noise Reduction in Lightroom 4?

could you post the unprocessed original of that image alongside with your edit, so the OP can see what the actual improvement is?

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