Noise Ninja

Anyone out there tried a piece of software called Noise Ninja?  It’s from a company called PictureCode.  Here’s what they have to say about their product:

Noise Ninja is the most effective and productive solution for removing noise and grain from digital photographs and scanned film images. It is a must-have tool for anyone shooting in low-light or fast-action situations — including news, sports, wedding, and event coverage — where high ISO photography is required and the resulting noise compromises the image.

Noise Ninja often yields a two-stop improvement in effective image quality, while preserving important image detail. In addition, it can produce cleaner, smoother enlargements from low-ISO images.

It runs from US$35 to US$80 depending on which bundle you buy – everything from a standalone app to a Photoshop plugin.  Since I’m currently using it with Lightroom, I have to use the standalone version – which will only work on TIFF and JPEG files, not on RAW or DNG.   I’m using the free trial version, which watermarks your finished photos with a grid.  It looks like you have to spend some time with it to use it properly but I got some interesting results after playing with it for just a few minutes.

Here’s my original processed photo (which I just posted in the previous post):

And here’s the same photo after running it through Noise Ninja.

As you can see, it removed a hell of a lot of grain.  But it did some other stuff too – the color has changed on the Shangri-La sign and I lost a lot of the color on the Cheung Kong building.  But again, that’s after just playing with the software for a few minutes.  There are more detailed controls for color that I need to spend some time with.

I’m thinking this is interesting enough that I might buy it.  I know I don’t get that many commenters here but if any of you out there reading this have some thoughts on this software, I’d appreciate hearing about it.

I’ve read that some people think more highly of DxO Optics Pro.  However that software costs US$199-$299 (I think that for the D800 I’d need the more expensive version).  It’s more expensive than Lightroom and offers a lot of functionality that I might not need.  Any DxO software users out there? What do you think of it?

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4 Comments

  1. davethevet July 8, 2012 at 9:37 pm #

    I got the nik software bundle which includes define which is ok, but the noise reduction in LR4 is good enough for me. Ive always had massively better results with stacking which you can do in photoshop, just like sony does in camera. Niks sharpener is exellent.

  2. davethevet July 8, 2012 at 9:49 pm #

    I passed on the dxo stuff because the big sell as far as I could tell was the lens corrections which latest d800 software does in camera and lightroom does, again, pretty well.

  3. Mac July 9, 2012 at 9:54 am #

    Hey Spike. This software stuff is something right up my alley. I feel for you, ha ha. Photographers should not have to depend so much on software. But now a days it is 50% shoot and 50% digi darkroom.

    Dxo (ver 6) is a great to use if processing a few images. The de-noise works great and I love the way it can straighten out converging lines on an ultra wide angle shot. But with LR4 being my choice for editing and processing a batch of a few thousand shots Dxo just gets pushed aside. I also did not want to pay for the upgrade to ver7 to get it to work faster as it has closed on me more than a few times while doing batches.

    Before LR 3 I mainly used Dxo and it would take more than a day or two to deal with a few thousand images. At that time I was amazed at the powerful engine (w/ an iMac 21″ late 2011). With LR3 I was blown away with the speed of editing, processing and coverting RAW to JPG well within an 8 hr window. Now with LR 4.1 it is all the software I need. Except for PS with products and portraits.

    I use mainly canon but I have a Nikon. In LR all those images can be processed to look like it is from 1 camera. The biggest advantage LR has: it’s a little bro of PS. LR has given me the opportunity to batch edit+convert a few thousand images while I run off and do another shoot. And coming home to see it all done saved to my externals.

    Dxo is great to have as a friend to give the occasional advice. LR is that friend you can trust and have as much beer and chow with. I hope you don’t go out searching for too many friends. It cost too much

    • spike July 9, 2012 at 12:20 pm #

      Dave, I’ve been mostly hesitant to use heavy noise reduction in LR because the more I apply, the more detail I seem to lose. Noise Ninja seemed to do a better job of retaining detail, just also seems to add a lot more work to get the colors back to where they’re supposed to be.

      Mac, as you may know, I “live” with Lightroom 4 and am mostly happy with it. I’m also learning Photoshop and deciding if I will upgrade from ver 4 to ver 6. I don’t think I’m going to spend the money for DxO but am tempted on Noise Ninja.

      Thanks both for your feedback!

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