10 Replies Latest reply on Feb 20, 2009 10:37 AM by Rockshead-sXCWMw

    High ISO noise handling

    janrysavy
      First, I must say thank you for DNG Profile Editor and generic Camera * profiles. You did really outstanding work!

      The last part that we need to completely abandon Nikon Capture NX2 is better noise model for high ISO NEFs. Please see following samples how NX2 compares to ACR 5.2. For my eyes the NX2 render noise in very pleasing manner: fine and smooth texture. I didn't find way how to get similar results with ACR.

      ACR 5.2: http://img261.imageshack.us/img261/6147/acr52ba7.jpg
      NX2: http://img82.imageshack.us/img82/2139/nx2fi6.jpg

      Please see both images in 100% zoom.

      Any chance to introduce NX2-like noise look into ACR?
        • 1. Re: High ISO noise handling
          Level 1
          >Please see both images in 100% zoom.

          You realize that looking at the image at 100% zoom is SCIFI, right? A computer display that can display 100-120PPI is 1/3 to 1/4 the resolution of the printable size/resolution ad therefore shows the image 3-4 times the actual size...

          I looked at the images in Photoshop at 100% and considering that you didn't optimize either the sharpening or noise reduction (both are at "default") the ACR version holds up rather well to the NX version. View it at 50% or a more reasonable print resolution of 25% zoom and what you are talking about ceases to be visible (and won't be visible in print).

          That's not to say that in general, noise reduction and sharpening can't get better in ALL raw processors, but it would be useful for people to actually know what they are looking at and how to adjust for those parameters. The stuff you are talking about is irrelevent for printing...
          • 2. Re: High ISO noise handling
            Level 1
            > Any chance to introduce NX2-like noise look into ACR?

            You'll have to roll your own. Create presets for different noise levels. Mix in
            sharpening if you want. The tools are there. However, it may not be possible to
            get an exact NX2 match.

            -X
            • 3. Re: High ISO noise handling
              janrysavy Level 1
              Jeff, you can say the same for example about capture sharpening. When you zoom to 5%, you can skip noise reduction and sharpening at all.

              I didn't say it is not possible to make high quality prints with ACR conversion. I'm just asking for better noise rendering, so well received by users of latest Nikon cameras.
              • 4. Re: High ISO noise handling
                Jao vdL Adobe Community Professional & MVP
                I actually looked into this quite a it comparing ACR/Lightroom to NX and I have concluded that NX loses a lot of detail at the expense of the more film-like noise handling. This appears to be because NX applies enormous amounts of chroma noise reduction equivalent to over 100 on the ACR color noise reduction slider. So much so that after I became aware of it, I could not stand the NX noise handling anymore. Lastly, as Jeff notes, you need to be careful with looking to much at this at 100% on a screen. What you should do is make prints at reasonable sizes and compare those critically.
                • 5. Re: High ISO noise handling
                  Level 1
                  >Jeff, you can say the same for example about capture sharpening.

                  No, you can't...noise is supper high frequency texture, edges in an image may or may not be high, medium or low frequency but most images do not contain super high frequency along the lines of the noise. Hence the ability to sharpen the edge and not the noise (and the ability ti reduce the noise) So, ignoring the capture sharpening is leaving image detail on the table, ignoring noise is not.

                  Some people fall in love with the film grain look of digital camera noise. It ain't film grain. If you like film grain you CAN put it in an image after the fact but noise simply breaks up the continuity of the photographic image.

                  In your posted example, you had noise eduction off and sharpening at default. Both of which combine to reduce the image quality you can get from that image. Considering the ACR was at default, I think it did pretty darn good against NX.

                  Again, you really need to understand what you think you are seeing. Everything you see on a computer display is 3-4 times as large as reality at a 100% zoom. It's meaningless if the final result is a print.
                  • 6. Re: High ISO noise handling
                    Bill_Janes Level 2
                    One reason that the image is rather noisy even with the D3 is underexposure. I opened the JPEG in ACR and +1.5 EV in exposure was needed to brighten it up. The white balance is also off. I did what I could to improve it with a few quick tweaks and used NoiseWare to reduce the noise. you may or may not like the results, but I'm sure you could do better with the original NEF. IMHO, when noise reduction is needed, it is best to use a specialized program such as NoiseWare and turn off sharpening in ACR. You could do the NR on a layer with NoiseWare and use masks to further refine the results.

                    http://bjanes.smugmug.com/photos/476472326_yxet6-O.jpg
                    • 7. Re: High ISO noise handling
                      MadManChan2000 Adobe Employee
                      Jan and friends, improved noise treatment is something we're looking into. But this may take some time, so I appreciate your patience. (And I'm glad you enjoy the profiles and the DNG Profile Editor.)
                      • 8. Re: High ISO noise handling
                        Bill_Janes Level 2
                        >Jan and friends, improved noise treatment is something we're looking into. But this may take some time, so I appreciate your patience. (And I'm glad you enjoy the profiles and the DNG Profile Editor.)

                        Eric,

                        Yes, better NR would be an attractive addition to ACR. For example, Bibble Pro incorporates Noise Ninja. The latest generation of digital SLRs have such low noise that NR is not currently a problem for most photographers, but for action and available light photographers, noise is still a concern. I would say, keep up your good work with your camera profiles, DNG Profile Editor, better demosaicing algorithms, etc. For now, I am content to use NoiseWare when I need better NR than ACR currently offers.
                        • 9. Re: High ISO noise handling
                          janrysavy Level 1
                          Bill, I only want to point out one thing: I'm not looking for such sophisticated noise reduction as you can find in NoiseWare. I don't need and like to suppress noise at all.

                          All I'm asking for is better noise pattern or look. The existing one produced by Lightroom and ACR is much hard to retouch (you definitely need 100% or 200% zoom here) comparing to pattern produced by NX2. Sometimes you need to crop image and noise pattern is suddenly more important. Sometimes simply you need to produce image that will look nice even in 100% zoom.

                          Eric, it is great news, thank you!
                          • 10. Re: High ISO noise handling
                            Rockshead-sXCWMw Level 1
                            As you say, great news from the estimable Mr Chan. When last I raised the significant gap between the noise treatment of NEFs by Lr compared to NX - particularly in light of the very high ISO capability of the D3 and others - his comment was limited to pointing out the (then) new Camera Profiles did not address noise.

                            So progress in hand by the look of it. Many thanks.