All about Hoofbeats & Footprints

Noise Reduction with Topaz Labs

This past weekend I had the unique opportunity to visit a Horse Racing Farm north of Baltimore. This Horse Racing Farm is a historical property dating back to the 1920’s and is known as Sagamore Farms. It is presently owned by Kevin Plank, owner of Under Armour who has begun the lengthy restoration of the property.

There is one building in particular that I was completely fascinated with which was the 1/4 mile indoor racing track that will take nearly $5 million to restore. Currently in disrepair I wandered inside thrilled with the textures, patterns, dark and light of the structure. One specific area was a ladder leading up to the hay loft in a very dark spot. As tripods weren’t allowed during the visit I decided to push the envelope and use the highest ISO setting available on the 5D Mark IV.

Selecting ISO 32,000 yes that you heard that right. ISO 32,000 at f/4.0 which gave me 1/40 of a second which I could handhold with a fair degree of sharpness.

Topaz Labs had recently introduced a new noise reduction software that uses artificial intelligence. As I was already an owner of the Topaz Studio AI Clear, they gave it to users in addition to AI Clear. DeNoise AI by Topaz Labs promises to bring unheard of noise reduction to the photo editing arena.

Let’s first look at the original image with some basic Lightroom adjustments. No sharpening or noise reduction is applied within Lightroom.

DeNoise AI by Topaz Labs is a stand alone software so I saved the image as a JPEG and then opened it up in DeNoise. It automatically analyzes the image and applies sharpening and noise reduction. There is an option to increase each of them, but when I tried that I didn’t see any further improvement. Here is the ISO 32,000 image processed with DeNoise AI.

I still wasn’t overly happy with the results so I decided to bring the saved DeNoise JPEG image into Topaz Studio to apply AI Clear. This seemed to help a bit and getting closer to a workable image.

A final step to bring clarity to the image was to use the default Precision Detail Adjustment and selected an overall sharpening.

Considering that the original image was taken at an insane ISO 32,000 which in my world is a setting I would never use, can you image how wonderfully DeNoise AI will do with an image with a much lower (but still high) ISO that has digital noise.

For me, I think both AI Clear and DeNoise is well worth the investment and can be considered worthy to add to your digital darkroom.

4 replies »

  1. Did you see Northern Dancer’s grave? Well at least it was there when I used to go in high school.

    Sent from my iPhone

    Regards, Willy Palmer


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