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Unfortunately, Adobe's noise reduction routines are pretty poor compared to
third part offerings. You are much better off not using Adobe's and getting
something like (in order of my preference) Nik Dfine 2.0, Noise Ninja, Neat
Image. Any of these Photoshop plug-ins (some can be used without Photoshop,
check the manufacturer) will do a much better job of noise reduction.
I know they're well behind the dedicated apps at the moment, but I was surprised to see that Canon can not only do a better job in-camera, but in a P&S camera! Surely with all the processing power in a computer, we can get superior noise reduction to a P&S camera?
At the very least I'd like to see the NR sliders go higher... at least the chroma. With chroma on "100", I shouldn't see any chroma noise.
You can, but first Adobe has to recognize that their noise reduction
technology... sucks. From posts from Adobe personal on these forums they at
this time don't recognize that. Infact they feel it is just as good as the
plug-ins. The problem they say is that people don't know how to use it. That
is of course bunk. If people can figure out how to use the much more
powerful and complex plug-ins Adobe's couple of siders is a no brainer.
For a company that has a lot pertaining to digital photography they really
offer poor quality basic features for those photographers. But, that is
> ... I was surprised to see that Canon can not only do a better job in-camera, but in a P&S camera!
You shouldn't be -- it was at the cost of sacrificing possibly as much as 2 f-stops, which is typical of the NR in P&S JPEG engines.
Ok, I'm going to jump in and add my .02 - I own both a G10 and a D300, use Bridge/ACR/CS4 exclusively for my processing.
Remembering that ACR is first and foremost a raw converter, I am in no way disappointed with its high iso performance. Most such shots from the G10, as well as the low iso, go out of ACR as 600x800 pixel web/email images; the pixel shrinkage does very well at suppressing noise. To me, the capability of ACR to quickly crank out such is very valuable, I want to see more convenience features in this area, primarily presets, before Adobe uses their engineering talent to improve noise suppression within ACR.
For those higher iso images that I want to render as larger images I completely back off the noise and sharpening sliders, bring it into Photoshop, and apply Neat Image for noise control. No beef at all with this workflow, I believe it's unrealistic (and not particularly valuable) to expect Neat Image capability in the ACR plug-in.
Michael, what do you mean by two stops?
Richard, it sounds like ACR is sufficient for the way you work, and I agree that ACR is a RAW converter, not a full-fledged image editing application. But my problem encompasses ACR and LR; I use ACR/LR's noise reduction as my only noise reduction, so it isn't good enough for the way I work.
I import everything into LR, and only use PS when I need to do something that can't be done in PS. With the new tools in LR2 I use PS/ACR for less than 1% of my images, although I also (re)process files that will make very large prints in PS as well.
For me that means that LR's version of ACR is the only noise reduction I'll ever get on most images unless they're being printed 20x30 or larger. So the fact that NeatImage or other plugins can do a better job doesn't help me. I need LR to do a very good job on noise reduction, otherwise I'm forced to use PS even for 8x10's if the image is noisy. (For my part that means at ISO3200 my 5D, at ISO1600 for my 40D, and at ISO400 for my G10.)
I disagree that it's unrealistic to expect ACR/LR to match NeatImage in capability. ACR, perhaps, but not LR. LR is supposed to be a one-stop-shopping photo application. With the pixel-editing tools added in LR2 (hurrah!) Adobe has clearly attempted to make LR the only app you need to use in as many cases as possible. Requiring a separate noise reduction app destroys that utility... especially considering you then also need to do sharpening outside of LR.
I could see LR have a two-stage approach to NR, just like they do with sharpening. NR takes a relatively long time to do, so you might not see it happen live in Develop mode, but when LR makes the 1:1 preview in Loupe mode, the NR could be applied then.
> what do you mean by two stops?
Compare the results of your 5D and G10 in-camera JPEGS. For, equal exposure for the highlights, I'm willing to wager that you see 1-2 f-stops more detail in the shadows from your 5D.
my CA$0.02 :)
I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree, here are my parting shots:
1. I use the D300 for "serious" stuff, the G10 for carry-around casual, therefore there aren't that many instances when a G10 shot needs to be processed as a larger image.
2. I keep the G10 set at Av, auto iso, which limits the camera to iso 200. If conditions are dim the camera signals such, but usually if it's a static shot I'll depend upon the IS to pull me through.
3. I'm not a LR user, tried it out early in the game and decided it wasn't for me. I understand that LR2 has added several features, but so has ACR 5.2. I end up using Bridge/ACR for most of my casual stuff, never even go into PS. IMO you may be expecting too much from the lower end software.
So I get what I need/expected from the G10 thru Bridge/ACR/PS, just want to see Adobe smooth out the ACR 5.2 functionality.
Michael, there's definitely more information in the entire 5D image, not just the shadows. And if I follow you, I agree that NR on the G10 will kill a lot of detail. But I don't think that has any bearing on the relative performance of the G10's JPEG NR and ACR/LR's RAW NR.
Lets say you shot RAW+JPEG at ISO400 on the G10. You processed these two files three ways:
1) JPEG straight out of camera, no editing.
2) JPEG edited by LR, with no NR by LR, and only as much sharpening as is useful.
3) RAW edited by LR, with the best NR and sharpening you can do.
My expectation is that #3 would have the least noise and most detail, because I was able to apply just the right amounts of each. But in reality, #1 and #2 have less noise than #3, and #2 also has more detail. Essentially, JPEG is better than RAW, because you're applying Canon's superior NR, and leaving LR to do only exposure and creative edits.
If Canon's JPEGs are superior to ACR/LR's RAW processing, why shoot RAW?
Richard, I generally use my SLRs for "serious" stuff too, so this isn't a killer problem for me. But the G10 is capable of making very high quality files, and at low ISO I wouldn't be shy to make a large print from it. It's just at high ISO that Adobe's NR falls down. And it's not just in large prints that this is noticeable.
I guess my request is that Adobe's NR does at least as good a job as Canon's in-camera NR. As it is, in-camera JPEGs are good enough to make 8x10's at ISO400, but RAW isn't. That's a big difference for my uses. I make a lot of 8x10's, and I spend a lot of time at ISO400. Ditto for 4x6's at ISO1600. So this NR issue has a real world impact on how I can use the G10.
I'm a RAW-only shooter with all my other cameras, but with my G10 the poor G10 NR in ACR/LR has lead me to shoot RAW+JPEG. I process the JPEGs, and file the RAW files away in case ACR/LR's RAW conversion improves someday.
I fully agree with C Krueger. After paying through our noses for the world's best Software. At least we should an get above average, user friendly noise reduction. Not just another tweaked blur slider in the name of "luminance" The color noise reduction seems to work fine on D300 files BTW.
The color NR works fine with my other cameras, too, Anurag; it removes all color in the noise grain. It just can't do so with my G10.
I would like to see a general increase in the quality of the NR in ACR/LR, but even if that doesn't happen ACR/LR should at least be able to remove all chroma noise from any camera it supports when color NR is set to "100".
To me, color noise removal slider has no further effect above 25-30 (Canon 40D). What is up with that?
The ACR controls are "blind" adjustments, i.e. are not unique for each camera. It is not reasonable to expect them to do more than a very rudimentary job on chroma and luminance noise. And since there is no limit on chroma noise it's not reasonable to expect 100 to eliminate all chroma noise, unless one expects the image to go to black and white at that point.
Effective noise reduction requires "profiling" for each camera and iso combination. I don't believe it's reasonable to ask Adobe to do such, much more practical to use a third party program and calibrate for your own cameras. It's enough that they keep up with each camera's raw format uniqueness, tough enough job by itself without adding much, much more camera characterization and testing.
And yes, the camera manufacturer can do a better job of noise reduction in-camera, since he has the benefit of knowing the camera's noise characteristics.
>The ACR controls are "blind" adjustments, i.e. are not unique for each camera.
Actually no...the base line for the specific demosiacing and noise reduction is camera specific. In fact all of the default Camera Raw settings for a specific camera are adjusted for that model otherwise how could Camera Raw have a default whose numbers are all the same?
What Camera Raw doesn't do is try to turn a sow's ear into a silk pursel...the point and shoot cameras with high MP counts are very high noise/low signal sensors that are essentially putting out crap. Camera Raw's noise reduction is really designed to help good signal to noise captures and as such is not designed for industrial strength boulder reduction...
I can believe baseline per camera, but I doubt that the NR in ACR is ISO specific, such as what one can do with a third party program. I'd like to hear one of the ACR engineers weigh in on this subject.
And I object to grouping the G10 in with the point and shoot crowd - it's capable of very good images, within the limitations of the 1/1.7 sensor size. A .22 rifle can be a precision instrument, just can't take down the same game as an elephant gun.
>NR in ACR is ISO specific
Oh, but it is. That is why 25 is a perfectly sensible default for most photos.
But why I can't get more NR above 25, I don't know.
And the G10? Looks impressive - at base ISO. Do you know how small those sensors are? About the size of my pinky nail. With 15 million photo sites, the S/N ratio are gonna be way low.
>And I object to grouping the G10 in with the point and shoot crowd - it's capable of very good images, within the limitations of the 1/1.7 sensor size.
It's a *******' point and shoot camera...it just happens to have a raw output (unlike most of the other point and shoot cameras that do indeed shoot raw then process them onboard without giving you the raw option). The photo site size and the amount of light falling on it is really at the far end of acceptability even for 100-400 ISO settings, let alone above. You are drinking the Canon Kool-Aid budit's a point and shoot camera...and Canon's own software steps all over the micro-detail in an effort to remove the excessive noise the sensor produces.
>But why I can't get more NR above 25, I don't know.
At 25 is there ANY color noise left in the image? If not then running the slider up higher won't have any impact...you realize that color noise reduction is essentially blurring the the HS of HSL (the luminance noise reduction is only working on the L channel). If there no more color noise, running it up higher won't have an effect.
Have you used one? And I don't drink Canon kool-aid, I have a D300 so I do have a reference point. I use ACR for both cameras, shooting exclusively raw, so I bypass the Canon noise reduction.
If you'd like to join us in the Canon forum, G10 subset, perhaps you might learn just how capable a G10 can be when used properly. There's plenty of images there for you critique. And don't believe everything you read in the DP review.
So how about we drop the "small sensor cameras are junk" theme and stick to the original thread topic.
The G10 is capable of quite a bit if used at low ISOs: http://luminous-landscape.com/reviews/kidding.shtml however, Jeff is right, the physics of such a tiny sensor cannot be ignored - it is still just a point and shoot. You will get more noise at higher ISOs and you will lose detail if you try to get rid of it. There is no free lunch here. ACR/Lightroom are clearly tuned towards retaining detail, which means that you will see more noise if you pixel-peep at high (i.e. > 100 for the G10) ISO files. Canon just blurs over it in their jpeg conversion clearly and loses lots of detail (at least from all the example jpegs I've seen from this camera).
I think you are also off the track, this is not the thread subject, and you're preaching to the choir. I understand the physics of sensor size, but my objection to lumping the G10 in with other compact, contrast detection af cameras has to do with its overall performance. I'm not suggesting it will keep up with a DSLR, just that if used sensibly it is capable of high quality images, and in terms of metering and af speed is pretty much at the head of the compact class.
Go back and read the posts, my basic position was in oppostion to those who were complaining about ACR noise reduction for the G10. I shoot raw exclusively on both the D300 and G10, and am pleased with the results of both thru Bridge/ACR/CS4.
>At 25 is there ANY color noise left in the image?
Oh, yeah. Particularly of the low frequency / large color blotch type (my 'speciality' is low light action / documentary, and I often work at ISO 1600 and above). Maybe ACR just doesnt bother with low frequency noise?
Oh, the other hand Jeff, the third party plug-ins do a hell of a lot better
job than anything Adobe offers. Adobe doesn't even come remotely close. That
is part of the problem.
> Adobe doesn't even come remotely close. That is part of the problem.
And the BEST use of noise reduction software is locally based...something Camera Raw only JUST got in a parametric basis with ACR 5.x. I use Noiseware on most high ISO images but blend it very carefully with an inverse luminosity mask and take great pains to cut the amounts where not needed (in upper midtones and highlights) using masks.
>Have you used one?
I used a G9 for a while and the noise characteristics of the G10 are only incrementally better. BTW, the lens sucks...and to the best of my knowledge the G10 STILL isn't instant on with zero delay when pressing the shutter. It's a point & shoot camera. Yes, it's small and lightweight but it is NOT that much smaller than my EOS Rebel and I can put any Canon glass I want on that camera and stomp the crap out of the image quality of the G10. Look, it is, what it is...mildly useful but with arguably much poorer image quality due to the sensor and the lens...you really shouldn't be expecting that much out of that camera output...the fact you can get reasonably "decent" output at 100-400 ISO is a blessing.
Ok, here's an example of what the G10 can do. Taken with a 430EX II mounted directly on the G10, ceiling bounce and Fong Origami. Makes for a very portable portrait kit. ISO 200, 20-25 Luminance-Chroma NR, default sharpening in ACR. Original was raw, landscape mode, this is about a 50% crop, no resizing.
And don't let my better half know I'm posting her image with no retouch.
BTW, the af is significantly improved over the G9, it now has a Servo AF mode that takes over after half-press, roughly equivalent to Continuous Focus on a DSLR. Not as fast as my D300, but does enable one to track moving objects.
Jeff, I won't debate that the output from the G10 at ISO800+ is poor. It most certainly is! And I know that simply eliminating the scads of noise in a G10 high ISO shot won't restore the detail the noise killed in the first place. But with every other camera I've used with ACR and LR, the color noise slider eliminates all color noise at or before the "100" setting. So I was surprised when that wasn't possible with the G10.
I don't currently own a camera that puts out an image quite as noisy as the G10 at ISO1600, but what about the A900 at ISO6400?
Or the 50D at ISO12800?
Both of those are horrifically noisy. Worse than the G10 at ISO1600, I'd say. But those cameras certainly aren't crap. They just offer ISO settings higher than some consider acceptable. But then again, some people consider anything higher than ISO200 on a 5D unacceptable, so it's obviously all relative. Point being, I would expect ACR to do the best job it could for any camera it supports, not just the best job it can do for only some of the cameras it supports.
In any case, I want ACR to be able to remove the color noise from my G10's images, just like it can with my other cameras. I know the images are sub-standard when measured against a DSLR, but at least to my eyes, even very noisy images can look decent in small prints so long as there aren't big color blobs all over the place.
As for the luminance noise, I'm happier to live with that. I'd be happy to eventually pay for a LR upgrade that gives me NR similar to what the high-end third-party apps do, because that feature would make each of my cameras geniunely more useful--and retroactively! But a simpler request it seems is to recalibrate what "100" means for the G10. At least then I could dispense with the JPEGs and still make an 8x10.
What I'd like to say it is This:-
"there is a need for a neat image like noise reduction in Photoshop. either give it in raw or in photoshop as a filter"
That's the bottomline. Period.
>What I'd like to say it is This:-
"there is a need for a neat image like noise reduction in Photoshop. either give it in raw or in photoshop as a filter"
That's the bottomline. Period.
Your wish came true! Neat Image can be used as a filter in Photoshop already.
> Jeff is right, the physics of such a tiny sensor cannot be ignored - it is still just a point and shoot.
Many complained about the G7 not being capable of raw, while the hints dropped by Canon decision makers was that sensor result wasn't worthy of raw development. The G9 would seem to imply they changed their minds, but my personal belief is because the sensor is capable of more color (gamut) than was delivered by the camera JPEG, not the signal-over-noise.
my CA$0.02 :)
Antony (PST #28)
.........But I have to pay for it, in addition to the hefty amount one has to shell out for Photoshop!!!. Photoshop is supposed to be the master of the trade; and here we are handed the *jack* of noise reduction!!!!!!
>But I have to pay for it
If it was included, then I think the price of Photoshop would rise with the equivalent of NeatImage's price.
If the price is a problem, then ask money for your work too! Neat Image can be earned back with one single shot.
And all upgrades are free up to now.
That's exactly the point. COST.
And mind you noise reduction utility does'nt exactly qualify as *bells n whistles*. Its quite essential in today's context.
And what if, if you are not a pro who can recover it in a single shot!
I am a non pro high level enthusiast who is Passionate about Photography!
I could easily trade some of the more fancy stuff for a good noise reduction feature.
>That's exactly the point. COST
This is like buying a DSLR with built-in flash, suffer Red-Eye, buy a real flash and then whine at the cost and blame the DSLR manufacturer.
Chris Krueger wrote:
> I suppose my favored solution would be to either implement or license NR technology that matches NeatImage/NoiseNinja/NoiseWare. That feature alone would be worthy of justifying a 3.0 version for me.
Jeff Schewe wrote:
>And the BEST use of noise reduction software is locally based...something Camera Raw only JUST got in a parametric basis with ACR 5.x. I use Noiseware on most high ISO images but blend it very carefully with an inverse luminosity mask and take great pains to cut the amounts where not needed (in upper midtones and highlights) using masks.
Chris is correct in that it would be nice to have the capabilities of NoiseWare built into ACR. Bibble Pro offers integration with NoiseNinja and the author of NoiseNinja has noted that NR is best applied to the raw file before any image adjustments are made. Some adjustments, especially the exposure control in ACR, have a marked effect on the noise profile of an image; NoiseNinja does have a capability to read the exposure adjustment and automatically use a previously made profile for that adjustment. However, this is a lot of bother.
The DetailGuard of Noiseware does offer some control over the sharpening, but local controls such as Jeff suggests work best with NR and how such controls would interact with Noiseware is not documented. A noise reduction tutorial would be of great help to many of us. Since migrating from a Nikon D200 to a D3, I have noted that my need for NR is markedly reduced. It is often preferable to accept some noise rather than the softening that NR often produces.
Hence, NR is not a major priority for photographers with modern SRLs, since these have reasonably low noise at all but the highest ISOs; so I doubt improved NR is high on Thomas Knoll's to do list. The masking and local controls in ACR 5.x would make improved NR much easier to use.
>so I doubt improved NR is high on Thomas Knoll's to do list
Then you would be wrong..while not being dealt with "separately", the whole IQ question is one that the Camera Raw engineers are very, very keen on. And that includes the entire pipeline of the conversion process. No, I doubt ACR will ever get true industrial strength noise reduction ala Noiseware or Noise Ninja (Adobe DOES have a responsibility to it's 3rd party developers and it's not considered good form to just stomp on them), improved noise reduction and improved image quality in the demosiacing is indeed a major priority as is other image quality issues such as fixing lens defects and addressing other factors in play such as workflow when processing files through Camera Raw.
Sure, progress is never as fast as users would like and sure, the engineers have to keep spending time dealing with new undocumented and proprietary raw file formatssomething that seems to be lost on people. The engineers WOULD have a lot more time to deal with image processing and improved image quality if they didn't have to spend so much time dealing with decoding new file formats. Which is another reason why it's important to keep in mind that a standardized raw file format such as DNG would indeed be good for the entire industry, and good for photographers and the failure of the camera makers to adopt one is indeed hurting everybody.
ACR 6 should see a lot of image quality issues being addressed...unfortunately, that won't be until CS5 which is due in a bit more than a year from now (assuming the average time between upgrades).
>Then you would be wrong
This is one case in which I'm glad to be wrong. In the meantime, any NR suggestions or links to NR?
I use Noiseware on processed files and generally make a copy of the background layer to apply it on then use a layer mask or blending option to apply the NR only to areas where it's needed...
Well, if Adobe is so hot to protect their third party developers (not a
problem in my opinion) then Adobe needs to allow for the full and proper
extension of ACR and Lightroom. That means being able to install
ACR/Lightroom specific plug-ins that will work directly with the raw data
and this would include the changes made by these third party options being
stored in the meta-data and being non-destructive.
The way it is with Lightroom now you have to export you image to bitmap to
use third party options. Not a very smooth option when Adobe goes out of
their way to tout the advantages of the raw workflow and non-destructive
If they would allow this I would have no trouble buying a third party
"industrial strength" noise reduction option for ACR and Lightroom. Having
to do this after the conversion to bitmap really lowers the value of the
hole non-destrutive editing and raw workflow advantage. I still finding it
amazing that Adobe didn't see this and design LR properly form the ground
up. But since they can't seem to ship a stable fairly bug version version
let alone put out a patch that does break more than it fixes I guess I
shouldn't be all that surprised.
I thought one of the major advantages of plug-ins (ie modular software) was to avoid burdening the main program down with extra code (and cost) so that individual users can add features to fulfil their requirements.
Just imagine, if Adobe thought it would be a good idea to buy out all the 3rd-party plug-in developers and add everything to the already bloated Photoshop!