I’m often asked about various plugins that I use, and would recommend. One that I always suggest, and state as one of my go to’s is DeNoise, and it is $20 off through the end of the month (use code “junedenoise” at checkout) HERE! DeNoise usually goes on sale about once every year for a couple weeks, so if you’ve been waiting for this plugin to go on sale, here ya go! If you’ve not yet tried DeNoise, I suggest downloading the free trial via the link above, at least and seeing what it can do. C’mon in for some examples and my take on why I find it to be so useful.
Why does one need a noise removal plugin when in camera noise reduction, or in software sliders offer the ability to adjust for it already? Well, modern sensors are growing in resolution, and cameras are offering higher and higher ISO settings with each release. Noise suppression, in camera as opposed to in software, for me, is like using spray paint to touch up a hand painted portrait. It is hard to fine tune it and get it to the point where you can really localize any application. It works, sure, and often works well enough but it isn’t the best way, certainly not a lot of the time.
Included noise reduction sliders in digital asset management software are great tools, and are getting better and better, but it is one tool of many in the Swiss army knife approach that is DAM software (honestly, I’m just waiting for Adobe, Apple or Capture One to buy into the technology from Topaz). Much like Photoshop, many tools are there, they’re just not always the best tools available, hence the benefit of specialized plugins.
All of the example shots here have actually had the default noise reduction profile applied for the RAW files within Aperture. Looking an any of these, the default application has actually done an amazing job at removing nearly all of the chroma noise (the messy red and green speckles) and managing the luminance noise (the monochromatic graininess) and in many cases, this is ample. Grain shouldn’t be seen as something that needs to be eliminated entirely, but when it comes at the expense of fine detail, it is handy to be able to minimize it’s effect. The ability to retain, and bring back detail in a shot within the noise reduction software is also very important. Any NR can smooth a shot out, essentially eliminating any trace of noise, but that almost always drags the detail away with it. Have a look at this:
This is a shot taken at ISO 25,600, and with one click and a quick adjustment to the red channel and detail recovery sliders, I ended up with the resulting, “after” image. The retention, and actual definition of detail is pretty cool with this plugin, as is the recovery of the independent color channels. This is noticeable in the 100% crops, and even more so below in the screen shots with 200% magnification showing how adjusting the Red Channel slider can help bring back the reds, and remove the ugly mottling after the noise reduction is applied.
Keeping in mind that this is A) a 200% crop view and B) a shot taken at ISO 25,600 I’m always so pleasantly surprised with the ability to fine tune shots like this, considering that this is what it looked like to begin with:
The ability to easily adjust the red, blue and green channels independently within DeNoise has been a very handy feature for me on more than one occasion. Not only does it help with chroma noise, but helps recover information in those channels that may be lost to high signal amplification, or pushed to their limits when noise reduction is applied.
It’s not a plugin I use every day, but it is a plugin that when I need it, it has proven to be invaluable.
You may have used Noise Ninja, or NIK Dfine (I have used both). I even did a comparison between Dfine and DeNoise the last time I wrote about Topaz DeNoise (HERE if interested) and while Dfine has some good tools, and is a fine NR plugin, it is not nearly as good as DeNoise for my money. If you already have an NR plugin and are happy with it, you can probably ignore the need to buy another unless you do a lot of low light/high ISO photography and use NR a lot. If you’re shopping for one, or would like to see if DeNoise would be better for you than what you’ve got, I’d suggest trying it out. It’s free to try, and if wanting to purchase it, now is a great opportunity to knock 25% off the normal price of $79.99 ($59.99 through the end of June HERE, just use code “junedenoise” at checkout). You can also give the free trial a run through this link, just click on “free trial” at the top right of the page and they’ll email you an activation link.
Let me know if you have any specific questions in the comments, or via the Contact Me link. I’d be happy to try and help.
Thanks for the read, and stay abreast of all the goings on here by connecting with me via the socials: Facebook, Twitter, Flickr or Instagram. If you prefer email, please feel free to add your email address at the top right of the page here. You’ll get email alerts as new articles are released.
Thanks for the read and happy shooting,