This program rules! I haven't used any other noise reduction program prior to this, only my limited Photoshop actions that produced somewhat passable results. Anyway, enough yapping, here are several samples with descriptions underneath each image (original crop on the left, Noise Ninja crop on the right):
400 ISO shot taken of the Sugar Loaf in Rio de Janeiro. The "loaf" detail is very well maintained, shadow noise is gone, sky noise is reduced but some of the detail of the cables is lost. Overall, there's still a hint of the cables, and Noise Ninja's "haloless" unshap masking (USM) did a pretty good job on the building at the top of the Sugar Loaf.
Another crop from the same 400 ISO shot as above, only this is from the base of the Sugar Loaf and Guanabara Bay. Noise on the loaf side is gone, detail of the water ditch/railling going down the loaf is actually improved from USM, but a bit of the vegetation detail is missing. Noise Ninja can be adjusted and fine tuned to great degree, but if I wanted to get rid of more sky noise for example, I would have to sacrifice other details, such as the vegetation. I decided to balance out the noise reduction across the image.
Yet another crop from the 400 ISO image from above. This time a distant mountain, a patch of sky and some buildings. Noise is reduced throughout, but same issue arrises as in the previous image (a bit of vegetation detail is lost).
Onto a new photo, this time of my cat Keiku
You may think that 200 ISO on the D100 is already pretty noise free, but it can be improved in Noise Ninja! Notice the noise on the reflection of the bed sheet, it's gone! Also, noise on the iris is further reduced, and hair detail is improved thanks to USM.
Detail of Keiku's ear tips and blanket behind her. Noise is again removed from an already low noise image.
Now a real challenge to Noise Ninja! This is a crop from my friend's wedding. I had to shoot 1600 ISO because the rabbi wouldn't allow the use of flash. So this was the perfect candidate. Noise Ninja has a slider for color saturation adjustment, which is a good thing because many noise reduction programs/routines produce images that lack contrast (there's a contrast slider too) and colors look dull. I was able to very closely match the saturation of the original, while getting rid of a lot of luminance and color noise. I was never able to produce anything close using my actions in Photoshop, this is awesome!
A little detail of his yamuka illustrates the benefit of saturation control.
This is one of the casual shots I've taken at ISO 400. Nikon Capture for some reason adds a bit of grain to NEF converted images, which I've learned to live with. Not anymore! Nice smooth skin is back, no grain!
A crop of the same 400 ISO shot, this time showing the detail on the lady's shirt. Part of the cotton shirt pattern is is lost, but not to a detriment. Again, you can dial in the noise reduction strength on the luminance and color channels, as well as how smooth you want the results to be, a slider for contrast and another for saturation. But this came out really well in my opinion. The left side of the shirt is really more noise since that section is not in sharp focus. And notice on the top right corner a patch os skin that is smoothed out.
A crop from nearby the same area as the previous crop. On this one you see how Noise Ninja handles hair. Not bad at all if you ask me. Noise was removed and the overall look doesn't appear "pasted" or "plasterized" as some call it (the poor/too strong noise reduction from some digital cameras).
Lastly, a crop from the same 400 ISO shot showing a backlit white shirt collar. No complains here.
Noise Ninja, along with Neat Image and Grain Surgery (as I've read) are the only few progrmas to incorporate custom profiles to attack noise from several different imaging devices. I downloaded the profiles for my D100, but unfortunately there were no profiles for the scanner that I use at work, a Nikon 9000ED. But if I wanted, I could download their calibration chart and make my own profiles. Right now I do not need to do so, but eventually I may. There are other functions in Noise Ninja that I haven't gotten to yet, including the batch function that I will be making heavy use eventually. What I showed in the above samples was the regular noise reduction scheme in Noise Ninja, but there's also a way to reduce noise specific to a color. You can slect several patches of sky color for example, and then Noise Ninja will perform a more effective noise reduction of the sky, but by the same token, the rest of the image may not share the same need for noise reduction. Overall, I believe this to be an invaluable tool, and one that will see much use from now on in my workflow. Kudos to PictureCode for coming out with Noise Ninja!
Alberto T., PPA