How do you deal with noise?

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Cathy
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#1
Can I ask what you find the best way to remove noise from a photo ?
I use Lightroom and Photoshop also Nik software but wondered is there something better or can you share the way you use these programs to get the best results. Thaks in advance Cathy.
 

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#2



I think all those have some kind of noise reduction tool but beware,
Cathy, it comes at costs: sharpness, definition and micro-contrast.

My suggestion is to apply only locally through an adjustment layer. :cool:
 
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#4
The Adjustment Brush in Camera Raw can be quite useful for noisy backgrounds.
Making any noise removal the first in the process can prevent other processes exaggerating any noise that is present.
 
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Rob
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#6
Also consider if it needs removing - other than in extreme cases, I think it's only something that photographers notice.
This is so true. Does anyone who’s not a photographer look at an image and say ‘that’s nice but the noise really spoils it!!’?

I was on a hedgehog workshop the other year and one guy was complaining all day about how iso was too high and it would mean his images would not be good enough for his camera club entries (we ended up using studio lights outside because of the complaints- that didn’t work that well). It made me chuckle when I saw that years BWPA images, another photographer had a image taken on the workshop that was not only placed in the BWPA awards and in the book but also on the calendar!! Would have loved to the see the guys face when he found out!
 
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Seajay
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Cathy
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#7
Also consider if it needs removing - other than in extreme cases, I think it's only something that photographers notice.
I was lucky enough to be where I saw a Kingfisher but as it was a bit away and not in great light I had no other choice to bump up the iso.They are not great images to begin with but good enough to share online but thought I could make a small improvement getting some of that noise out. I have tried but the image looked more like an oil painting by the time I had finished lol
 
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David
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#8
I was lucky enough to be where I saw a Kingfisher but as it was a bit away and not in great light I had no other choice to bump up the iso.They are not great images to begin with but good enough to share online but thought I could make a small improvement getting some of that noise out. I have tried but the image looked more like an oil painting by the time I had finished lol
I’m 100% certain your noisy picture of a kingfisher is better than my none existent picture of a Kingfisher :)
 
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#9
For all of my Wildlife images I just use the luminance in LR. When I add sharpening then I use the masking slider to remove the sharpening from as much of the background as possible. Very occasionally I will brush in a bit more noise reduction but it's got to be pretty high ISO before I do that.
 
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#10
Visited an exhibition at our local civic centre recently. "RPS International Photography Exhibition" The content and composition was far more important that dust specs or high ISO or chromatic thingy. Loved it.
 
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#15
Background noise is the new bokeh :D

This is an image from earlier today. OK, it's a bee on a flower so I decides to experiment with some Affinity Photo settings. Now to my eyes it looks quite good, not in an insect spotter/cataloguing species type of way, more in seeing what could be done with a photo to lift it.

Not everyone's cup of tea I'll admit but at least I had fun editing.
Bee alert
by Pete Banks, on Flickr
 
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#17
Make sure you're using the masking slider when sharpening the image too. Holding down the Alt key while moving the slider shows the parts of the images where no sharpening will be applied in black. This can help reduce the appearance of noise by only sharpening the parts of the image that need it. Sharpening increases the appearance of noise so it's a balancing act between noise reduction and sharpening to get the look you want.
 
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Dennis
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#19
This is so true. Does anyone who’s not a photographer look at an image and say ‘that’s nice but the noise really spoils it!!’?

I was on a hedgehog workshop the other year and one guy was complaining all day about how iso was too high and it would mean his images would not be good enough for his camera club entries (we ended up using studio lights outside because of the complaints- that didn’t work that well). It made me chuckle when I saw that years BWPA images, another photographer had a image taken on the workshop that was not only placed in the BWPA awards and in the book but also on the calendar!! Would have loved to the see the guys face when he found out!
Couldn't agree more ...I have more shots win comps and got in mags and calendars with the old 7d mki (full of noise ) than any other of my cameras i have owned ..
 
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#20
I sold my 7Dii because of the horrid noise. I even made a decent preset for Lightroom which I applied on import, but it always bugged me.

I have noise presets for the 1DX and 5D4 but the are both a leap ahead in noise handling compared with the 7Dii.

As said above, masking slider is a godsend, dont be afraid to use it, and hold "alt" to see exactly what it will be that will be masked. The more you have to crop as well will affect the visible noise.

But as you say, its only something other people notice when you as the photographer point it out.

I am always on a permanent quest to get the perfect noise reduction formula! :)
 
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#21
I use Neat Image on mine, post lightroom and photoshop, I do not use their in built ones, nor the niks one, i use a 1dx and 50D for what it is worth. it clears noise up and also can slightly sharpen the image too, you can get the odd artifact, but nothing as bad as the noise, there is a free download to trial and I used that for years before buying it, it is also realy simple to use, see

https://ni.neatvideo.com/
 
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4,607
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Mike
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#22
Hi Cathy,

Just regarding the techs, there is still a lot more that can be done with your shot. I'm guessing its quite a crop given the noise on the bird, so there isn't much that can e done there without losing detail, as in general, you dont want to be applying much noise reduction to the bird as it will quickly kill feather detail.

However, regarding the background, you can still clean this up quickly in photoshop. I split your shot into 2 here, applying noise reduction to the top half as a demo (but not touching the bird). All I did was create a duplicate layer, go to filter -> noise -> reduce noise. I applied the maximum value of 10 for demo purposes and thats about it. This is the difference.

seajay-KF-NR.jpg

If you need more info about layers or masking the bird just let me know

Mike
 
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Tim
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#23
Hi Cathy,

Just regarding the techs, there is still a lot more that can be done with your shot. I'm guessing its quite a crop given the noise on the bird, so there isn't much that can e done there without losing detail, as in general, you dont want to be applying much noise reduction to the bird as it will quickly kill feather detail.

However, regarding the background, you can still clean this up quickly in photoshop. I split your shot into 2 here, applying noise reduction to the top half as a demo (but not touching the bird). All I did was create a duplicate layer, go to filter -> noise -> reduce noise. I applied the maximum value of 10 for demo purposes and thats about it. This is the difference.

View attachment 128634

If you need more info about layers or masking the bird just let me know

Mike
Such a helpful post, nice one!
 
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Seajay
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Cathy
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#24
If you need more info about layers or masking the bird just let me know

Mike

Mike thank you and this has made a huge difference to the background and lets the bird stand out a little more I am going to give it a try. Sadly I did not get a lot of feather detail due to the distance and light but I am so going back to that area to try again on a day with some good light. :) I am happy to post the raw file to you as it would be nice to see if there is anything else I could do to improve it using layers and masks. Even though it is not a great shot it would be nice to learn from it. For now this is a smaller version of the what the raw looked like straight from camera so you can see how far away I was and how poor the lighting was. Did not stop me from taking lots of shots of it though lol
Cathy




original small.jpg
 
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#25
Mike thank you and this has made a huge difference to the background and lets the bird stand out a little more I am going to give it a try. Sadly I did not get a lot of feather detail due to the distance and light but I am so going back to that area to try again on a day with some good light. :) I am happy to post the raw file to you as it would be nice to see if there is anything else I could do to improve it using layers and masks. Even though it is not a great shot it would be nice to learn from it. For now this is a smaller version of the what the raw looked like straight from camera so you can see how far away I was and how poor the lighting was. Did not stop me from taking lots of shots of it though lol
Cathy




View attachment 128666
No problem Cathy - check your inbox

Mike
 
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Simon
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#28
Can I ask what you find the best way to remove noise from a photo ?
I use Lightroom and Photoshop also Nik software but wondered is there something better or can you share the way you use these programs to get the best results. Thaks in advance Cathy.
I just take a deep breath and leave it :)

Exception.. if I've made noise worse by lifting exposure, extreme cropping or careless sharpening then I might do something.

These days I find that I'm adding noise more often than I'm removing it!
 
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Tony
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#29
I sold my 7Dii because of the horrid noise. I even made a decent preset for Lightroom which I applied on import, but it always bugged me.
Not just me then - although I've not sold mine. But the noise does bug me, I've learned to mostly not be disappointed by it, because I don't use it in situations where I need an ISO over 800, but even at 400 or 800 the noise on the 7d2 is annoying. It's definitely not just me - something about the camera and sensor mean the noise is worse than other Canon cameras around the same time with similar sensors.

I know it doesn't matter ultimately, and the Kingfisher shot in this thread is a superb example, but I am often aiming for crisp lines and high contrast, and noise is often the enemy of that. It's less problematic on natural, soft edged shapes.
 
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Tony
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#30
Not just me then - although I've not sold mine. But the noise does bug me, I've learned to mostly not be disappointed by it, because I don't use it in situations where I need an ISO over 800, but even at 400 or 800 the noise on the 7d2 is annoying. It's definitely not just me - something about the camera and sensor mean the noise is worse than other Canon cameras around the same time with similar sensors.
I had noise issues with my first two copies of the 7D2 but my latest one is much better.
Makes me wonder if there are quality control issues with them.
Over on A.N.Other forum, people are posting great high iso shots that to my eye look very clean.
 
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Tony
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#31
I had noise issues with my first two copies of the 7D2 but my latest one is much better.
Makes me wonder if there are quality control issues with them.
Over on A.N.Other forum, people are posting great high iso shots that to my eye look very clean.
Mine was first generation (redundancy money 'just at the right time'), I wonder if they worked out some kinks? I'm still happy overall with the 7d2, it's extraordinarily capable, and noise is my only real complaint (and I recently bought a 6d for when I don't want noise issues).
 
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#32
Another trick some users employ is to dial in 1/3rd stop over exposure in the compensation.
Whilst this goes some way to reducing noise it is at the expense of highlight detail.

I'm also led to believe they work better with the latest lenses. Something to do with the angle at which the light hits the sensor. (way too technical for me)

With all of the above said, I don't care to use my 1dx2 much above iso 800.
 
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Mike
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#33
@Seajay

Cathy, cheers for the file. I'll send you a PM later, here is the basics -

The file was unfortunately underexposed, and with the crop, there isn't too much more than can be done with the detail. I made a couple of adjustments to the RAW in in lightroom as below -

Screen-Shot-2018-06-15-at-07.34.28.jpg

In photoshop I raised the midtones a little with a curves adjustment layer, then, AFTER RESIZING (very important!!!) did 4 separate layers. First was a noise reduction on everything bar the bird and the rock using filter -> noise -> reduce noise set to 10. I then ran a gaussian blur on the background (filter -> blur -> gaussian blur) to clean it up a little more. Third was some selective sharpening around the head and eye, but making sure not to sharpen any noisy area of the bird. Lastly was a gentle noise reduction to the oranges on the bird

Saved for web, and this was what I came up with

cathy-KF.jpg

Like I said, when I get time I'll PM a little more detail

Mike
 
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#35
Not just me then - although I've not sold mine. But the noise does bug me, I've learned to mostly not be disappointed by it, because I don't use it in situations where I need an ISO over 800, but even at 400 or 800 the noise on the 7d2 is annoying. It's definitely not just me - something about the camera and sensor mean the noise is worse than other Canon cameras around the same time with similar sensors.

I know it doesn't matter ultimately, and the Kingfisher shot in this thread is a superb example, but I am often aiming for crisp lines and high contrast, and noise is often the enemy of that. It's less problematic on natural, soft edged shapes.
I had a 7Di and did not like the noise.My 7Dii, which is a later version than your one, is much better and I have set the upper ISO limit at 1600. A lot depends on what you are shooting. FF is always likely to be better, although the comment about not using a I DX ii above 800 is surprising.
 
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Seajay
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#36
@Seajay

Cathy, cheers for the file. I'll send you a PM later, here is the basics
Like I said, when I get time I'll PM a little more detail

Mike

Mike I love your result it looks really good :)
Considering it was not a great shot I am well impressed with what you have achieved with this image and would like to say thank you for taking the time to show me how you did it. If it had been any other bird I would have deleted it but I have been after a Kingfisher for such a long time and this was the nearest I have ever been so did not want to lose the image. Thanks again Mike
 
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#38
Another trick some users employ is to dial in 1/3rd stop over exposure in the compensation.
Whilst this goes some way to reducing noise it is at the expense of highlight detail.

I'm also led to believe they work better with the latest lenses. Something to do with the angle at which the light hits the sensor. (way too technical for me)

With all of the above said, I don't care to use my 1dx2 much above iso 800.
You must be fussy about the detail in your images Tony. Both my 5D4 and 1DX MkII are set on ISO 800 virtually all the time. I very rarely drop below it even for macro work and think nothing of shooting wildlife at 3200.
 
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#39
I personally can't stand signal noise, and yes, as with all 1dxmk2 cameras, mine displays noticeable signal noise in raw files at or above ISO 800.

As for noise reduction algorithms, the loss of detail drives me to despair.
The biggest p***er is shadow noise, it ruins images for me.

I guess non photographers won't even notice it but, I take pictures as for hobby and for my own interests so yes, I am critical of these things.
 
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Mike
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#40
I personally can't stand signal noise, and yes, as with all 1dxmk2 cameras, mine displays noticeable signal noise in raw files at or above ISO 800.

As for noise reduction algorithms, the loss of detail drives me to despair.
The biggest p***er is shadow noise, it ruins images for me.

I guess non photographers won't even notice it but, I take pictures as for hobby and for my own interests so yes, I am critical of these things.
Tony,

Something must be going seriously wrong here, either your technique or you have faulty kit. No way should you be seeing noise on a well exposed, not too heavily cropped ISO 800 file.

I have the original 1dx and don't use any NR at 800, and I'm pretty fussy on IQ.

Might be worth starting your own thread with examples to get this sorted

Mike
 
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