Noise Reduction Wars | Lightroom vs. Topaz DeNoise AI
Affiliate Disclosure: One of the ways I support this website is by partnering with awesome companies, whose products I use and love. These partnerships allow me to earn a small commission when you make a purchase through one of my affiliate links, but there is no additional cost for you. Your support is greatly appreciated!
Not long ago I captured this photograph of a Snowy Egret at Santee Lakes.
It was nearing dusk and the light was fading. I increased my ISO to 400 to get a bit more light into my camera so I could get the shot. My exposure was spot on, but because my camera body is a bit old, even a slight boost in ISO created noticeable noise.
There are several tools currently available to reduce image noise. The two that I use the most are Lightroom and Topaz DeNoise AI. Addressing image noise is a delicate balance between removing noise and maintaining sharpness.
Lightroom’s Noise Reduction
First, we’ll look at the results using Lightroom’s Noise Reduction and Sharpening and see how it performs.
If you look at the gray area around the Egret, the noise has been smoothed, but it was at the expense of losing detail in the feathers.
Topaz DeNoise AI
PRO TIP: When sending an image from Lightroom to Topaz DeNoise AI, make sure that all settings in Lightroom’s Detail Panel (Sharpening & Noise Reduction) are set to “0” prior to sending the image to Topaz DeNoise AI. Failing to do this will cause undesirable artifacts.
I opened my image in Topaz DeNoise AI using the Lightroom plugin and clicked Auto. About 95% of the time, the automatic setting does a stellar job, though there are times I need to fine tune the settings for the best result. However, this time, Auto did the trick.
Let’s take a look at the before and after:
As you can see, the noise is gone in the background, but the details in the the eyes, feathers, etc. are all preserved and perfectly sharpened.
Lightroom vs. Topaz DeNoise AI
The difference is clear (pun intended). The Lightroom noise reduction version muddles the detail whereas Topaz DeNoise AI managed to remove the unwanted noise AND sharpen the details at the same time.
Noise Reduction Winner: Topaz DeNoise AI
Lightroom is a great tool and is capable of a heck of a lot…but in this case it is definitely not the best tool for the job. If you have an image where the detail is important (and seriously, when is it not?) I highly recommend running your image through Topaz DeNoise AI if you have unwanted grain.
If you’re ready to give Topaz DeNoise AI a try, make sure you use my link and enter my coupon code ANGANDRIEUX at checkout to save 15% on your purchase. Topaz also offers a free 30 day trial of all of their software if you prefer to give it a test drive before putting down your hard-earned cash.
Questions about Topaz DeNoise AI or Lightroom?
If you have any questions about the software mentioned in this article, please leave a comment below, or contact me directly. I’m always happy to help!