ON1 NoNoise & Topaz DeNoise AI comparison

I’ve been waiting to pull the trigger on a noise reduction plug-in until ON1 released theirs. Aside from the fact that Adobe should be at this level with this basic function, I’m pleased so far. Here’s a hummingbird shot from a few days ago taken at ISO 4000, but exposed pretty well so it’s just ISO noise and not made worse by underexposure.

All photos processed in Lr with the same values (basically auto with tweaks then applied to all photos). Noise reduction & sharpening done the best I could do with each app. Obviously it isn’t the same in terms of how much or little was applied and each software handles it differently, but I was looking for what I consider an acceptable result from each given the limitations.

Without any NR or sharpening -
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Lightroom NR & sharpening -
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ON1 NoNoise noise reduction = high, sharpening applied
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Photoshop Smart Sharpen on layer 2, Camera Raw NR on layer 1 -
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Topaz DeNoise AI High/Clear settings (sorry about the watermark) -
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Topaz Sharpen AI on Very Noisy

I chose High on the Topaz panel because it was the closest to the High setting on ON1. They both look decent, but if I wasn’t doing a comparison I would have dialed Topaz back to Medium. The edges just look too weird with it on High for this image. In terms of detail, I think things are smoother in Topaz (if you can see behind the watermark), but I might be able to tweak that in ON1 since there is some control there. Obviously the background in the Topaz shot is much smoother also. I probably wouldn’t go this extreme, but thought I’d show it v. the ON1 high nr level. It’s a matter of personal taste of course.

Camera Raw did the worst overall, leaving lots of artifacts behind. Strange that the same underpinnings in Lightroom did not.

Well after a week of using No Noise with different images, I’m not as enthusiastic as I hoped. The last image I ran though it left weird halos and artifacts around some details (grass in the foreground mainly) and I just don’t want to keep playing with it to see if I can reduce or eliminate it. Plus sometimes there are really weird bright pink smears and occasionally a square in the URC that I can’t figure out the cause of. Overall it doesn’t seem fully baked which is too bad since it works with RAW files. I’m going to have to reconsider Topaz.

Do have a good look at Topaz. I’ve found it to be amazing, but I’m not an OnOne user. I find the Low Light setting in Topaz usually (like 98%) works best for me, with a range of cameras and a good sample of exposure mistakes.

I also like that Topaz seems to be constantly working to improve their product. I’ve received several updates since purchasing their product.

Thanks peeps. I’ve been using Topaz in trial mode for a while (thus the watermark), but bit the bullet and purchased both Sharpen & DeNoise. I’m irritated that I have to, but that’s an Adobe issue. As things go, I think using both is going to make a lot more of my photos better. Here’s one of our local fawns from yesterday afternoon -

It’s not the best shot, but they just won’t take direction! As usual I started off in Lr for basic adjustments and a crop, then ran it through DeNoise then Sharpen. I really wish there was a direct hand off that could happen between both rather than running it back through Lr. Then I dropped it into Ps for some Content-aware fill to remove a pole on the side of the driveway. All in all it’s a lot more work than my 10-year-Lr-only process and I’m going to have to be a lot more selective in which images get worked and which don’t, otherwise I’ll be spending all day in front of the laptop. Not that all photos need both.

I totally agree with you concerning irritation at Adobe. Seems to me they are more interested in marketing than they are improvement of their product. They can’t come up with better noise reduction? Really? That’s a basic function. And it’s way too complex for the average user. There are lots of folks making money off Adobe products - including Adobe.

Btw, love the deer…

I am an enthusiastic user of Topaz DeNoise AI and Sharpen AI. They run best and fast on a Mac M1.
I don’t agree about the lack of improvement of Adobe products. I get updates about every month. I recently have been reworking some older images. The improvement is obvious. Nearly all algorithms have been upgraded. The point is that we don’t get big (and expensive) updates once a year any more, it is a continuous stream of small improvements.
Coming back to the OP, the very best noise reduction is the recent release of DXO Photolab 4.

+10 for the stream of improvements. One big gotcha is that every time PS updates it reverts to the default Color Settings, which is sRGB and no warnings of profile mismatches. You have to go back in each time and set these items:

The Color Mgmt Policies choices will just set the default for a mismatch and you will have a chance to change it it as needed each time.

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But if you set the export space in ACR, it will remember the setting. The most annoying thing I find is that it will open monochrome DNGs in Greyscale instead of Adobe RGB. Easy enough to change during editing, but still…

My irritation with Adobe lies with the fact that their AI tech should be used to do the level of noise reduction and sharpening that these other software companies achieve. I held out as long as I could, but resent that I had to buy additional products in addition to what I already spend yearly with Adobe. This is basic stuff they should be doing. Not Sky Replacement.

But that’s not the point. I’ve been playing with DeNoise & Sharpen and here is another version -

Sharpen only on Very Noisy setting -

Thanks for the info, @Diane_Miller - I’ll reexamine my settings and keep better track when things update. I had no idea it reset to a default.

Those setting reverting each time – somebody ought to hung by the thumbnails for that.

I’ve found the best results using DeNoise as the first step in PS – let it choose the method on Auto – I always seem to get Low Light and I find it amazing. I almost always let it do whatever sharpening the slider shows underneath the noise slider. The Clear algorithm is an old one and as of recently was not nearly as good – one of those “legacy” things?? Best to compare all the options for each image. Some do give over-sharpening of some details. It can always be masked out if you do denoise on a new layer.

I’m an athiest when it comes to sharpening – it can be done at the pixel level, enough to compensate for the anti-aliasing softening when the Bayer sensor pattern of the raw file is translated to pixels, but beyond that it is mostly has to be done by introducing artifacts. Sometimes it can improve things a bit, but check at 100%. The Sharpening slider in LR can compensate for antialiasing, and it is set at a default of 25 to do that, approximately. Some images can take a higher setting. The Texture slider will do a somewhat broader scale pseudo-sharpening. The high pass filter method is about the best for larger-scale sharpening.

But I will confess I haven’t used the Topaz Sharpen thing much, and since I paid for it I should give it a better try. But Topaz DeNoise is worth whatever I have ever paid for any and all Topaz products.

If you save the settings as a named preset and use it rather than just changing the settings, then you don’t have to change them each time.

Thanks @Keith_Bauer – I’ve never used a PS preset! Guess its time I learned how…