DxO PhotoLab 2 Noise Reduction

Started 4 months ago | Discussions
dcbrow3 New Member • Posts: 23
DxO PhotoLab 2 Noise Reduction
9

I recently asked a question about low light images on my em-5ii and it was suggested that I look at DxO PhotoLab 2 for noise reduction. Today I found time to download the trial copy. Now I want to be clear that this somewhat expensive software. The full version costs $200 I think. But the results to me are very impressive. I searched the forum and see some discussions about the software, but because people were helpful to me with my recent question, I wanted to put up some samples so you could consider this if you are having noise in high ISO images.

To test the software I intentionally shot a test photo at 25k ISO. I just looked around my house for something with a fair bit of detail to see whether it would be preserved. So it's not any kind of great photo!

These 3 samples are all from DxO using whatever default settings the software uses except for the noise reduction. One is with that turned off. One is with the noise reduction called HQ (fast). The last is with the noise reduction called Prime. Now the HQ (fast) mode shows up on screen while you're editing. The prime is computationally intensive so you don't see it on your screen. You can see a small preview of a section from your image showing the effect. You get the whole image with noise reduction only when you export the image. The images I exported were full size JPG files (does dpreview resize when you upload?)

I hope these samples help anyone looking for noise reduction help for high ISO images. Although I didn't post it here, I did run a picture of my cat shot at ISO 3200 through and again, I found it impressive how much detail in the fur was preserved given how much noise was removed.

Cheers!

No noise reduction

HQ (fast) noise reduction

PRIME noise reduction

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glassoholic
glassoholic Senior Member • Posts: 3,998
Re: DxO PhotoLab 2 Noise Reduction
7

DXO PL2 with PRIME is the best fit for processing m43 that I have ever found and used. It makes noise a non issue for me with RAW m43 images.

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photofan1986
photofan1986 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,258
Re: DxO PhotoLab 2 Noise Reduction
1

Yes,  I tested dxo optics pro many times before, and I never really warmed up to the interface. But lately, I tried Photolab 2 and I find it quite usable. AND the IQ I get from the raw files is fantastic. Not only noise reduction, which is really state of the art, but also details and color accuracy for skin tones on my Panasonic cameras. I get much better colors generally than what I can get from ACR.

Now I use both dxo and ACR in alternance, depending on my mood/the picture.

Great piece of software.

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peppermonkey Veteran Member • Posts: 4,910
Colours...
1

photofan1986 wrote:

Yes, I tested dxo optics pro many times before, and I never really warmed up to the interface. But lately, I tried Photolab 2 and I find it quite usable. AND the IQ I get from the raw files is fantastic. Not only noise reduction, which is really state of the art, but also details and color accuracy for skin tones on my Panasonic cameras. I get much better colors generally than what I can get from ACR.

Now I use both dxo and ACR in alternance, depending on my mood/the picture.

Great piece of software.

generally I don't really do much noise reduction...and usually when I do, I'll dab a little on Lightroom. On rare occasions when it's important, I'll try it on DXO. Probably because I haven't tried enough but haven't really seen the difference between the two.

Now, as for colour accuracy...well, yes, DXO is much better than Lightroom.  Yet, Lightroom with Xrite ColorChecker nails the colours even better than DXO.

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stevevp Regular Member • Posts: 274
Re: Colours...

Has anyone tested Prime against Topaz AI Clear? I'm currently considering some noise reduction software and should be interested for views.

Many thanks.

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VideoPic
VideoPic Senior Member • Posts: 1,309
Re: DxO PhotoLab 2 Noise Reduction

You touched a really interesting subject. I do not know you, so anything I write is general only. Noise has been something that interest me, mostly because of the full frame hype and those who like people to believe the M43 format is noisy..... Here a view random comments on noise:-

- In a recent "survey" I did people indicated they use 80% time ISO1600 and lower. Max ISO in most reports were ISO3200. (that said many never go as high as ISO3200)

- Why the relative low ISO's - simply because IBIS and MFT fast lenses enables great control

- Its good for every photographer to build a good understanding of his/hers camera's noise profiles

- Practice develop techniques to reduce ISO settings in all photographing situations - many techniques available

- Never neglect to use noise creatively. Olympus does have a very interesting noise pattern and can be used very creatively.....

- Master techniques and software to "manage" ISO noise where needed in post processing....

- From own tests I did, ISO25600 is really extreme, even if you want to tests. My advice is to do your tests on ISO1600 and max ISO3200. Some MFT models are OK for ISO6400 but it can be tricky to get OK results. It is nearly impossible to get good noise reduction results at ISO25600, to much image degrading took place......

With the above in mind the two best options for me personally is Photoshop and DXO Photolab. Which one is better is difficult. At the moment I prefer Photoshop RAW. That said my current plan is to cancel the Adobe prescription I have....to keep PS Elements 2019 and DXO. My experience is Photolab is amazing on Olympus RAW files and the results I get using it is extremely satisfying......

Siegfried

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Tech developments to wipe sensor size arguments, 3yr death countdown started Jan 2019

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stevevp Regular Member • Posts: 274
Re: DxO PhotoLab 2 Noise Reduction

Many thanks for your reply.

I do not wish to take this too far off-topic. In brief, I am a new Olympus user (~2 months) and have just returned from 3 weeks in Sri Lanka. I took my new Olympus E-M5ii, 14-150 (non-pro) and 75-300mm lenses. I intend to do a brief write up of my Olympus experience shortly.

Whilst I loved the lightness of the equipment and was able to shoot photos at an effective 600mm which I could not have done with my D750 (because of the size and weight) there is no question that I have a lot more noise to deal with. Some of this can be viewed as artistic but in some cases I would like to mitigate it. I am a Lightroom user but I struggle with the balance between noise reduction and a resultant loss of sharpness. Hence I am looking for a possible NR alternative.

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brianric Veteran Member • Posts: 8,444
Re: Colours...

stevevp wrote:

Has anyone tested Prime against Topaz AI Clear? I'm currently considering some noise reduction software and should be interested for views.

Many thanks.

I use it and like it better than DxO.

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VideoPic
VideoPic Senior Member • Posts: 1,309
Re: DxO PhotoLab 2 Noise Reduction

stevevp wrote:

Many thanks for your reply.

I do not wish to take this too far off-topic. In brief, I am a new Olympus user (~2 months) and have just returned from 3 weeks in Sri Lanka. I took my new Olympus E-M5ii, 14-150 (non-pro) and 75-300mm lenses. I intend to do a brief write up of my Olympus experience shortly.

Whilst I loved the lightness of the equipment and was able to shoot photos at an effective 600mm which I could not have done with my D750 (because of the size and weight) there is no question that I have a lot more noise to deal with. Some of this can be viewed as artistic but in some cases I would like to mitigate it. I am a Lightroom user but I struggle with the balance between noise reduction and a resultant loss of sharpness. Hence I am looking for a possible NR alternative.

You welcome Steve

If you familiar with this forum you will notice there are many very knowledgable people here and willing to help. My own gripe with some of the support one often see is....that link to great know how and practically applying in it in day to day life always seem to stay a vague unreachable goal....... So my approach and unfortunately far from perfect is to focus on the goal and not the theory......

That said I do believe MFT owners should spend just enough time to understand the origins of image noise, the ISO setting, exposure, ETTR plus plus......

Why? Well the MFT sensor cannot compete with full frame sensors if it is high ISO images you do. Sad to say this is when you go look outside the MFT world.

Again that said. I compared more than 10 cameras in a controlled environment while back and the results were very interesting. Ranging from top compacts, MFT, APS (Fuji) and the Sony A7 II....they ALL had noisy image results. I will not use anyone of them at ISO25600. If your Nikon 750 were clean on ISO25600 you need to hang onto it for those days you will need it.

What I saw from the results were interesting. With all these cameras not one were giving clean RAW files at ISO1600. Up to ISO800 yes. ( I tested in full stops)

So what can you do to "manage" noise?

Lets list the goals:-

- We want to avoid smearing away of details during noise reduction

- We like to keep the colors true from low or base ISO to max recommended ISO

- DR - I personally never experienced problems w DR. (Personal.. not true for all)

- We like to decide when it's creative or not....

How to "manage" a MFT camera noise?

- Its really important to practice exposure techniques like:-

- How to take advantage of IBIS to keep ISO setting low

- Find the safe and clean RAW file for you camera (Is it ISO400 or 800 or 1600)

- How to make use of MFT fast lenses to keep ISO low (f1.8 group or f1.2 group)

- There are a few great lower priced f1.4 lenses out there which are great

- ETTR exposure techniques

- Example, ETTR (plus 1 stop) and dial back the ISO with one stop. Find the best combos

- Some say, low shutter speed, low ISO, IBIS results in blurred street scenes, true but great in my view for night street scenes, especially being safe with having people in an image.....

- Software that's reliable:- PS, LR, DXO, WS, Topaz

- Determine your camera safe range for different conditions.

One function I read Nikon has and not in Olympus is... I understand with Nikon one can set the camera up to use a range (as with Olympus) but one can also link the minimum shutter speed before ISO will start increasing (not possible with Olympus). This you need to build into your technique...

One last point, although your lenses are great lenses they both slow you would agree. See if you could try a f1.8 prime like the 17mm f1.8 at night. MFT is much more forgiving on DOF, especially at night.......

Best

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Tech developments to wipe sensor size arguments, 3yr death countdown started Jan 2019

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Pete_W
Pete_W Senior Member • Posts: 1,000
Re: DxO PhotoLab 2 Noise Reduction
2

dcbrow3 wrote:

I hope these samples help anyone looking for noise reduction help for high ISO images. Although I didn't post it here, I did run a picture of my cat shot at ISO 3200 through and again, I found it impressive how much detail in the fur was preserved given how much noise was removed.

I've been using DxO for a number of years. It's great software.

For landscape photography, the Clearview feature is awesome.

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Pete

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stevevp Regular Member • Posts: 274
Re: DxO PhotoLab 2 Noise Reduction

@VideoPic

Many thanks for your kind and comprehensive answer. Clearly a lot of food for thought. I certainly need to work on my technique for keeping the ISO as low as possible. Most of my recent photography has been bird and wildlife where I need more reach than the primes allow - although the 300mm PRO is on the wishlist!

During my recent trip I was surprised just how high the ISO was going on what to me seemed to be a light if overcast day. Birds and animals in shadow eg in trees also saw the ISO ramping up although, where I could, I shot at slower shutter speeds than I was used to.

Unfortunately I find the Nikon is just too heavy for my overseas travel so once I am completely convinced that MFT is the way to go I will probably sell it.

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Newbie6824 Forum Member • Posts: 84
Re: DxO PhotoLab 2 Noise Reduction
1

Do you have any thoughts about the free Olympus software? I don't have the experience to comment. But I found this video interesting.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HivkjHwAqHk

Okapi001 Senior Member • Posts: 4,872
Never use global noise reduction
1

Most importantly, if you want the best results, never use global noise reduction. Out-of-focus areas, together with areas with little details, can benefit from more noise reduction, while areas with a lot of details need much less noise reduction.

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PlumShots Contributing Member • Posts: 596
Just an FYI...
3

peppermonkey wrote:

photofan1986 wrote:

Yes, I tested dxo optics pro many times before, and I never really warmed up to the interface. But lately, I tried Photolab 2 and I find it quite usable. AND the IQ I get from the raw files is fantastic. Not only noise reduction, which is really state of the art, but also details and color accuracy for skin tones on my Panasonic cameras. I get much better colors generally than what I can get from ACR.

Now I use both dxo and ACR in alternance, depending on my mood/the picture.

Great piece of software.

generally I don't really do much noise reduction...and usually when I do, I'll dab a little on Lightroom. On rare occasions when it's important, I'll try it on DXO. Probably because I haven't tried enough but haven't really seen the difference between the two.

Now, as for colour accuracy...well, yes, DXO is much better than Lightroom. Yet, Lightroom with Xrite ColorChecker nails the colours even better than DXO.

… in case you are not aware, DXO Photolab 2 now supports .DCP camera profiles.

Cheers.

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VideoPic
VideoPic Senior Member • Posts: 1,309
Re: DxO PhotoLab 2 Noise Reduction

stevevp wrote:

@VideoPic

Many thanks for your kind and comprehensive answer. Clearly a lot of food for thought. I certainly need to work on my technique for keeping the ISO as low as possible. Most of my recent photography has been bird and wildlife where I need more reach than the primes allow - although the 300mm PRO is on the wishlist!

During my recent trip I was surprised just how high the ISO was going on what to me seemed to be a light if overcast day. Birds and animals in shadow eg in trees also saw the ISO ramping up although, where I could, I shot at slower shutter speeds than I was used to.

Unfortunately I find the Nikon is just too heavy for my overseas travel so once I am completely convinced that MFT is the way to go I will probably sell it.

We have many bird photographers on this forum...... post a new request, they keen to help....something with bird photographers

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Tech developments to wipe sensor size arguments, 3yr death countdown started Jan 2019

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boxerman Senior Member • Posts: 1,542
Olympus Viewer/Workspace (and download serial number)
2

Newbie6824 wrote:

Do you have any thoughts about the free Olympus software? I don't have the experience to comment. But I found this video interesting.

I seldom have need of noise reduction software. I'm generally not sensitive to non-chroma (color) noise; chroma noise is easy to clean up most times, if it appears. Default settings usually put it below my personal threshold of concern.

I have used Olympus Viewer when I need some. It's fine for me. I assume the newer version (Workspace) is faster, but haven't checked. Then, for me, I'm all fine.

(It turns out that, although Olympus asks for your serial number, you don't need it. All you have to do is enter the right number of digits. I think I use 0123456789, + or - one digit. I'm too lazy to go to my camera or to copy over the SN for easy entry.)

I keep track of noise reduction software, in case I need it. But, aside from free stuff (Olympus, for example), I have not found a need. This is no doubt partly because I seldom go to ISO 3200, much less more.

Since My E-M5, I've reduced noise reduction on camera to "low" and also reduced default sharpening. Suits me most times, and gets a cleaner (by my standard) image generally by default.

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rsf3127 Regular Member • Posts: 298
DxO PhotoLab 2 is king
3

I've been saying it here for ages that the software from DXO is the best for noise reduction.

Now that they incorporated NIK local adjustments (including noise reduction) it is a no brainer.

It is simply changed the way I shoot radically. No need for FF because of noise anymore.

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biggles266 Senior Member • Posts: 1,148
That's very impressive, thank you for sharing. n/t

No text.

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Bryan
Bryan Senior Member • Posts: 2,383
Re: DxO PhotoLab 2 Noise Reduction

Agreed without hesitation.

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nboyer Veteran Member • Posts: 5,130
Re: DxO PhotoLab 2 Noise Reduction

While I prefer LR as my main RAW converter, I also use DxO.  Based on my personal experience DxO PRIME noise reduction is the best.  But, you do need a powerful computer to process it.  When my standalone LR v6 no longer works, I will dump it and go DxO full time.  I refuse to go the subscription route.  Cheers!  -Norm

dcbrow3 wrote:

I recently asked a question about low light images on my em-5ii and it was suggested that I look at DxO PhotoLab 2 for noise reduction. Today I found time to download the trial copy. Now I want to be clear that this somewhat expensive software. The full version costs $200 I think. But the results to me are very impressive. I searched the forum and see some discussions about the software, but because people were helpful to me with my recent question, I wanted to put up some samples so you could consider this if you are having noise in high ISO images.

To test the software I intentionally shot a test photo at 25k ISO. I just looked around my house for something with a fair bit of detail to see whether it would be preserved. So it's not any kind of great photo!

These 3 samples are all from DxO using whatever default settings the software uses except for the noise reduction. One is with that turned off. One is with the noise reduction called HQ (fast). The last is with the noise reduction called Prime. Now the HQ (fast) mode shows up on screen while you're editing. The prime is computationally intensive so you don't see it on your screen. You can see a small preview of a section from your image showing the effect. You get the whole image with noise reduction only when you export the image. The images I exported were full size JPG files (does dpreview resize when you upload?)

I hope these samples help anyone looking for noise reduction help for high ISO images. Although I didn't post it here, I did run a picture of my cat shot at ISO 3200 through and again, I found it impressive how much detail in the fur was preserved given how much noise was removed.

Cheers!

No noise reduction

HQ (fast) noise reduction

PRIME noise reduction

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