Verdict: 5/10 Dfine feels like an old-fashioned solution to a problem that has changed. Digital cameras and RAW processors now have noise reduction processes way ahead of those in Dfine. There are now many ways of controlling noise earlier in the photo capture workflow either in-camera or in RAW sofware, and the real issue these days is not just finding a tool that can do it … [Read more...] about Nik Dfine 2 review
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.
The default processing for camera RAW files in Lightroom is a reasonable start but quite often you find yourself making the same adjustments time and time again for specific cameras. I get that particularly with my Fujifilm X30. It’s a few years old now and has a pretty small sensor that’s prone to noise, but it’s perfect for travel and I like the way it renders … [Read more...] about How to change Lightroom’s default processing
Your camera’s sensor, your lens’s image stabiliser and the latest photo-editing software technology may surprise you with what they can do together. When you’re on vacation or on a once-in-a-lifetime trip or just strolling through warm city streets at night, you’re going to want to capture the sights with your camera but you don’t want break the mood by wrestling with a … [Read more...] about Don’t be scared of high ISOs!
If you never thought you'd need to pay attention to the Lightroom noise reduction settings, you might need to think again. Like a lot of photographers I shoot RAW files on the assumption I'm going to get better image quality by processing the images myself rather than leaving it to the in-camera JPEG processing. That's fine in theory, but if you're in the habit of shooting both … [Read more...] about Lightroom noise reduction and why you need it
DxO Optics Pro 9 came with a new PRIME noise reduction feature that was much more effective than the program's regular High noise reduction process, but it was a processor-intensive task that took several minutes to render a finished image. Worse, some users remarked that the processed files looked a little 'soft'. I wasn't exactly overwhelmed by it myself in my first PRIME … [Read more...] about DxO Optics Pro Prime 9.0 vs 9.1: is there a difference?
It's one of the less glamorous plug-ins in the Google Nik Collection, but Google Dfine 2 still fills a valuable function. It's a noise-reduction plug-in that goes a few steps further than the noise reduction options built into regular applications, so here's a quick guide to how it works and what it can do. I'm trying it out on this picture (above) I took hand-held on … [Read more...] about Cure your noise with Google Dfine 2
DxO Optics Pro 9 brings a number of important enhancements and new features, but the new PRIME noise reduction processing is one of the most important. It's a highly sophisticated noise reduction process which surveys a thousand surrounding pixels for each pixel processed in an attempt to separate genuine detail from noise. The payback is the processing time, which can run to … [Read more...] about Just how good is the new DxO Optics Pro 9 PRIME noise reduction?
Shooting in available light often gives the most natural and attractive portraits, but it also means you often have to shoot at high ISOs. I took this informal picture while I was working on a feature for N-Photo magazine, and while the light from the window is soft and even, it's not very bright and I had to use an ISO of 2000. The picture was taken on a Nikon D4, which … [Read more...] about How to control noise for better portraits in Lightroom