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Old Oct 17, 2004, 8:43 PM   #1
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Given that there's no such thing as a free lunch, what's the "cost" of using noise reduction software? Is it an effective loss of resolution, or loss of fine detail, or something else?
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Old Oct 18, 2004, 7:48 AM   #2
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In theory, it is a free lunch. In practice... yes, it is a free lunch... some times. But it's all about perceptions. We all agree that the picture is changed, but does the change just remove noise? And what does it replace it with?

Whenever I use noise reduction software I always examine the important parts of the picture very closely. With neatimage, this is easy. I will spend a minute or more just switching between the before & after pictures and looking to see if any detail is lost. Some times it is, and I reduce the amount of noise removed (I always start at 100% removal.)

So it isn't a lost of resolution (in the sence that the number of pixels is reduced) but it can be a loss of fine detail. It isn't always, but it can be.

Eric
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Old Oct 18, 2004, 10:59 AM   #3
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I agree with Eric. Neat Image can work wonders - always at the expense of detail, sometimes noticeable, other times i'ts virtually imperceptable. It can't do the impossible, however, salvage an total mess.

Best thing is to try it. Like sharpening an image, there's a skill to it which takes practice. That said, it's a very useful tool.
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Old Oct 19, 2004, 6:54 AM   #4
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If you want a decent price try Noise Ninja. It works really well, increases details that you think can't be increased most times, and works great for Digital AND film pictures. It what a lot of "Pro's" use. The cost is prety small for the result in return. The price is $29 USD but you only get 8 bit workability, BUT, for $79 USD you get 8 and 16 bit wokability and much more. It's a good investment if you're shooting a lot of low light stuff and need a good program to clean it up and sharpen it at the same time. Heck take it on a test drive, you'll be delighted at the outcome, but that's just something you'll have to judge for yourself.
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Old Oct 19, 2004, 7:45 AM   #5
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In addition to Neat Image and Noise Ninja (the two best commercial programs by most accounts), also look at Noiseware.

I've been quite surprised by howNoiseware works (without destroying detail), and they have a free, standaloneversion that is very fast. The free version does strip the EXIF from the files. But, other than this fault, it seems to do an outstanding job.

http://www.imagenomic.com(Noiseware)

http://www.neatimage.com (Neat Image)

http://www.picturecode.com (Noise Ninja)


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Old Oct 20, 2004, 9:57 AM   #6
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JimC, thanks for the links. However I was wondering if you or anyone else here knows if:


a) Does Photoshop have a way to reduce noise?
b) Which one? (the "Noise" filters only add it, I think)
c) How good is it compared to the (free) software by Neat Image and Noiseware?

I've been using a little those two programs, given that I do a lot of nightshots and my FZ10 has a very noisy ISO 400 which sometimes I must use. Since I have access to PS7, I was wondering if anyone could help me in here.

Thanks a lot.
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Old Oct 21, 2004, 11:56 AM   #7
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There's no native function or filter in PS (at least 7, I don't have CS) that is specifically designed to reduce noise - and there are several types, from high iso and low light conditions from digital camera images. I'm sure if you really knew what you were doing there's a way, however. Much easier with probably better results to get Noise Ninja or Neat Image which is designed specifically for that purpose. Try the trial, you'll be sold. It, along with Nic Sharpener, are among the more useful PS plug-ins.
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Old Oct 22, 2004, 12:04 AM   #8
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Nick is right, there's no native function for noise reduction in PS7, only an unsharp mask fitler which only helps a little bit. If I'm not mistaken CS has no native filter for noise either. The are a lot of plug-ins for noise reduction though. Searching for plug-ins are your best bet, or stand alones like the ones already mentioned.
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Old Oct 22, 2004, 12:47 AM   #9
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JimC,
I checked out NoiseWare, and I have to say it was quite impressive for a freeware product. Good recommendation on your part.
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Old Oct 22, 2004, 4:15 PM   #10
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Yes, Noiseware is a very good freeware. Neat Image is good also, but since it was kinda slow I've been using Noiseware. Only problem, it crashes from time to time.

Thanks to everyone for their answers.
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