We Went to Amsterdam to put Denoise to the Test
This month we hosted a photography workshop in Amsterdam to practice nighttime exposures in one of the world’s most photogenic cities.
While our attendees were busy setting up tripods and shooting long-exposures along the canals, we photographed handheld DSLR scenes at high ISOs, capturing images with extreme noise to create the “worst case scenario” in photography.
Because every photographer has been there: Whether you’re shooting a wedding in a venue with no flash photography allowed, or you’re photographing partygoers at a festival in near-darkness, or you encounter a photogenic scene while traveling at night, sometimes we have to shoot in extremely high ISO.
We built Denoise AI to correct noise in any image while preserving sharpness. Let’s take a closer look at noise and some of the leading noise reduction technology available to photographers.
What's Wrong with Shooting High ISO?
Shooting with a high ISO increases the light sensitivity of your camera’s sensor, allowing you to shoot faster and sharper in dark environments.
The downside is a higher ISO creates unsightly artifacts known as noise, which reduce the sharpness and detail of your image. While it’s ideal to shoot in the lowest ISO possible, sometimes we have no other option.
Here’s what noise looks like in this 100% crop shooting at night at 12,600 ISO:
Ouch! A noisey image like this has limited use — would you deliver this to a client? The solution is to process the image with noise reduction software. Let’s compare the most popular options.
Our Test Image
The image we’ll be working with was a classic scene photographed along the Damrak in Amsterdam. It was captured at 25,600 ISO, f11, 1/13 sec.
Noise Reduction in Adobe Lightroom
We tested our image in Adobe Lightroom and pushed the limits of their noise reduction tool. We had to max out the noise reduction slider to remove noise in the sky, while the buildings started to become muddled and lost sharpness.
Noise Reduction in Phase One Capture One
Capture One didn’t even begin to touch the noise in our photo, even at maximum power. There was still obvious noise in the sky despite pushing the slider to 100.
Noise Reduction in DxO PhotoLab
DxO managed to remove the noise from the sky… by burning the whole image. Shadows are darker and blacker than before, and detail is lost.
Noise Reduction in Topaz Labs Denoise AI
Finally, we took our image into Topaz Labs Denoise AI and were able to achieve the perfect balance of noise reduction and detail. Denoise AI uses machine learning technology, comparing your photo against millions of images to calculate the most intelligent improvements. The results are superior to all other noise reduction tools.