Best Noise Reduction Software in 2021 | Digital Camera World

2021-11-25 09:45:34 By : Ms. Cindy Wong

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The best noise reduction software can convert your high ISO images, smooth grain and restore image details

The best noise reduction software is as important today as ever. Since entering the market decades ago, digital photography has made a huge leap. With the continuous advancement of technology, we are now able to capture more things than ever before, but as long as digital cameras have image sensors, there is still a problem, and that is noise.

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Image noise is often seen as small, grainy artifacts that look like a rash on digital images. It may appear as a difference in color or brightness, and there are many complex reasons for its existence. But under normal circumstances, the smaller the image sensor, the greater the effect of noise on the photo. 

The same is true for the exposure time of the image sensor. Long-term exposure will introduce "hot immersion" noise, so that the photosensitive dots (pixels) can record interference from themselves or nearby circuits. Higher ISO sensitivity is the culprit in inducing noise, because the higher the ISO setting, the more noise in the image, but a high ISO is essential for handheld images in low light.

It is true that today's cameras provide better image quality than in the past, but this will only make us more eager for higher sensitivity! The fact is that any camera, even the latest model, will produce more image noise when it approaches its maximum ISO setting.

No matter how expensive the camera is, every camera is susceptible to image noise. Therefore, image editing software that reduces noise is essential. By analyzing the photos, the software continues to reduce brightness and color fluctuations, it takes into account image noise, and the threshold and variance are customized by the user.

However, not all noise reduction software is the same, because each software can use different types of technology. Recent software even uses artificial intelligence to cleverly scan images to identify important subjects to prevent noise reduction artifacts from appearing in key areas of the image. 

All the best photo editing software includes noise reduction tools, so you may wonder why you need a separate dedicated tool. This is because dedicated noise reduction software usually provides better results, more control, or both.

Some noise reduction tools can also work independently, while others run as plug-ins through existing image editing software. Not all noise reduction software can process the original file, and it needs to be completely edited before noise reduction, which will affect the workflow and the time spent on the image—especially if the noise reduction effect is not good. Therefore, before buying, be sure to review our summary of the best noise reduction programs below.

DxO PureRAW is well integrated into the workflow, because users can remove noise in the image before editing with other image editing software. PureRAW eliminates not only image noise, it can also use the built-in DxO optical module to eliminate aliasing and correct lens defects.

A well-arranged user interface and useful introductory tips help make DxO PureRAW one of the most user-friendly noise reduction software available. In this review, its noise reduction processing is unparalleled, with truly excellent results with clean, sharp edges. For example, beautiful and clean results far exceed anything that can be done in Lightroom Classic and can be done in just a few clicks. However, some original files are not supported, including (for now, although this may change) Fujifilm X-Trans files.

DxO DeepPRIME noise reduction technology is also built into DxO's flagship image editor PhotoLab 5.

Dfine 2 can be used as a standalone image noise reduction software, or as a plug-in for existing image editing workflows. The advantage of using it in this way is that you can handle noise removal before submitting the edit, or simply add it at any time in the editing workflow. The disadvantage is that it does not support original files, so the photos must first be processed into JPEG or TIFF format, which is not helpful for those who often use original files, because you will not find any noise-free results. Until you finish the editing process, if you use Dfine as a plug-in in Photoshop or Lightroom, the workflow will be simple.

On1 NoNoise AI can be used as an independent noise reduction software or plug-in to adapt to an established image editing workflow, using artificial intelligence to scan photos before removing noise. The powerful automatic filter is applied to the image with noise problem, it can well balance the noise removal while preserving the details of the subject. 

It provides options for cropping, masking, optimizing and retouching images, as well as navigation thumbnails, histograms, and information/history windows to check progress. Not the absolute best noise reduction software, but it is definitely one of the best choices. More importantly, NoNoise AI is now integrated into the latest version of ON1 Photo RAW 2022, so if you own the software, you no longer need to purchase ON1 NoNoise separately.

Photoshop CC uses its most basic function denoising filter to do a pretty good job of removing noise, but compared to the competitors in this review, it is one of the worst. Upon activation, a new window will appear, providing control sliders to change the filter variables. There are four settings to control: intensity; preserve details; reduce color noise; and sharpen details. By carefully balancing each control, it is easy to remove a lot of noise from the image. 

There is even an advanced option to eliminate noise based on color channels for advanced users. The Remove JPEG Artifact button is designed to reduce the compression problems caused by lossy compression algorithms through the JPEG file format, but it is not particularly effective. There are many manual noise removal techniques in Photoshop CC, but compared to the other one-click options available in this review, this is a rather time-consuming move.

However, it is worth pointing out that the noise reduction controls used in Adobe Camera Raw to convert the original file before editing are as powerful and effective as those in Lightroom.

In Affinity Photo's Develop Persona, there is a details tab, which is responsible for changing the fine details in the image. Scroll down to the noise reduction setting and turn it on to display five sliders. Similar to Lightroom Classic, there are controls for brightness, brightness detail, brightness contribution, color and color contribution. 

When adding brightness or color sliders to reduce the overall noise in the photo, the processing is immediate and obvious. It produces very clean results that look good, but we feel that the lack of contrast options makes some images look glassy, ​​which is especially noticeable on skin tones.

The great thing about Lightroom Classic is that it creates a seamless workflow that minimizes interference in the interface. Thanks to the Details panel in the Develop module, it is very easy to eliminate noise. In a layout similar to Affinity Photo, Lightroom Classic provides six slider controls to change brightness, detail, contrast, color, color detail, and smoothness. 

The method is powerful, and it does a good job of eliminating noise. The inclusion of the contrast slider means that any dynamic range lost during the noise cancellation process can be restored to obtain high-quality results. The best part is that it is very suitable for photo editing workflows.

Both Photoshop and Lightroom can be purchased as separate monthly subscriptions, but this makes them very expensive. As part of the Adobe photography plan, they are much more valuable, but although this is paid for by a monthly subscription, you are still committed to the annual plan.

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Jason Parnell-Brookes is an international award-winning photographer, author and former technical editor of N-Photo magazine. He won the gold medal in the 2018/19 Nikon Photo Contest and was named the Digital Photographer of the Year in 2014. Jason is a qualified teacher, graduated with a master's degree, and has worked with many well-known international clients.

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