Tag: Noise reduction

Personally, I don’t mind noise too much, but I know a lot of photographers hate it. With me, it’s chromatic aberration that gets under my skin, but with others it’s noise.

But while there are plenty of tools out there that get rid of noise very effectively, you have to be careful how you go about it. Colour noise is easy to dial out and removing it doesn’t usually have an impact on image quality – it’s luminance noise that’s the real issue because even now, regardless of all their brave words, software publishers still haven’t truly figured out how to separate real image detail (good) from random image noise (bad).

As a result, when you try to dial out luminance noise in software, you inevitably start eating into vital textural detail too. If you push it too far you end up with that horrid ‘watercolour’ effect that afflicts many small-sensor cameras and smartphones. The noise is gone, but so too is everything else that might once have been fine, textural detail. You’re left with clean hard outlines filled in with mush.

So take care. There are lots of tools for removing image noise but you have to rely heavily on your own judgement – there’s very often a delicate tipping point where detail loss starts to hurt the picture quality more than noise removal improves it.

 

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