Noise reduction - in camera vs. RAW

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Drake, Mar 28, 2008.

  1. Drake

    Drake TPF Noob!

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    For about a month I've been shooting with my XTi almost only in RAW mode and something keeps bothering me all the time. How good is actually the noise reduction algorithm of the camera raw plugin in CS2? Aren't modern cameras equipped with better noise reduction solutions? I always sharpen my images a bit in the camera raw plugin which results in - what seems - a bit noisier images than JPEGs of similar sharpness.

    What's your opinion on the topic? Let's not talk about RAW vs. JPEG in general but rather focus only on the noise reduction issue.
     
  2. djrichie28

    djrichie28 TPF Noob!

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    You can try this idea out. I follow this method and haven't had many noise issues. Avoid the sharpen feature on the Raw converter and make all other photo adjustments in the Raw converter as well as your tools of choice inside Photoshop and save the Sharpen tool in Photoshop as your last tool before saving your image. I have heard that certain photo manipulation is better when applied to an image that hasn't yet been sharpened. Give it a try and see how it works out for you.
     
  3. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    - Assuming you are talking only RAW
    - Assuming you are talking high ISO low light noise
    - Assuming you are not talking a camera like a Nikon D3, but exclusively your Canon

    The moment you go above ISO 400, you will have noise, whether in camera noise reduction is turned on or not. Yes it will be less but we are talking maybe low single digit number % improvements at most.

    There is no way your ISO 1600 pic will look anywhere as good with noise reduction turned on compared to the results of that same picture with noise reduction turned off and a good noise reduction program like Noise Ninja, Neat Image or NoiseImage.

    If you want to see the difference, why don't you post a very noisy high ISO picture with your NR turned off and on... I will take your pic with the NR turned off and apply noise reduction with software and you can see the results for yourself. I think you would be surprised at the results.
     
  4. Mav

    Mav TPF Noob!

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    In camera NR is usually pretty bad because they're trying to minimize the impact to processing time and camera battery life, and the amount of time your camera is locked up for. A few generational leaps in processing power and battery life from now this might change and minimize the need for off-camera NR that most people use today.
     
  5. Drake

    Drake TPF Noob!

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    I think you may have a point here.

    I know, I do use Neat Image as a part of my workflow and love the difference it makes. I was just wondering about the noise in earlier stages of post processing, we all know it is always better to have more quality to start with.

    Actually I was so interested that I've decided to take some test shots in the RAW+JPEG mode, in ISO 1600 to exaggerate it. I adjusted the RAW image to look pretty much like the JPEG in terms of exposure and then sharpened the image a bit just to match the sharpened JPEG from the camera. In the end I compared both versions side by side in Photoshop and was amazed with the results. The RAW version had much more details and, what seemed, also a tiny bit less noise. The noise was also monochromnatic, not some pinkish stuff like on the JPEG. Turns out the in-camera noise reduction really downgrades high ISO images in terms of detail and overall quality. And that's before we start thinking about Neat Image.

    Well, speaking of Neat Image, do you get rid of noise in your images right at the beginning of your edit or rather as a final step followed with sharpening?

    It seems like I've answered the RAW noise question myself. Thank you all for your opinions ;)
     
  6. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I don't use NeatImage anymore, I use either Noise Ninja (outside PS) or NoiseImage (inside PS as a plug-in), both seem to work better for me.

    In terms of when I reduce noise, I am still playing/testing but it is either the very first or very last thing is what I am doing now.
     

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