Topaz DeNoise 5 Review

Topaz DeNoise 5 Review ImageTopaz DeNoise 5 Review Image

Mac users, we’re pleased to announce Macphun’s all-in-one photo editor Luminar is now available for just $69£52, and now comes with 12 portrait presets created by Scott Kelby, plus 1 month of access to KelbyOne photography training.

Use coupon code “PHOTOBLOG” to save another $10 on Luminar.

We rated Luminar as “Highly Recommended”. Visit the Luminar web site to try it for free.

Download Luminar & Try Free »

Introduction

Although digital cameras have improved dramatically in their ability to handle high ISO and noise, there are still times when the level of noise in an image is bad enough to be a distraction.

And, if you’re using an older camera, this problem is more pronounced, even at lower ISO settings.

Finally, with point and shoot type digicams, noise can be a factor even at ISO 400, in part because of the very small photosite size on these smaller sensors.

There are a number of options available for reducing noise in your images, including favorites such as Imagenomic’s Noiseware, Noise Ninja, and Neat Image.

A slightly newer option from Topaz Labs is DeNoise, a plug-in for Photoshop and Lightroom. The latest release, 5.0 has added significant improvements in the output quality and the processing speed and warrants a fresh look.

Topaz DeNoise 5

The UI for DeNoise 5 is similar to other Topaz plug-ins, like Simplify and Adjust. On the left side of the window are all the available presets, which are quick adjustments that can be applied and used as is, or as a starting point for your adjustments.

The center panel takes up the bulk of the window and is your preview area. Tabs at the top of the window let you quickly swap between the original and the adjusted version. Along the right side are the preview navigator window and the actual adjustments.

The actual controls that are provided with Topaz DeNoise 5 are broken into three sections – Noise Reduction, Detail Recovery, and Debanding. To start with, you’ll want to work on the noise reduction settings. DeNoise gives you control over both luminance noise and color noise with separate controls for shadow, highlight, and for the red and blue color channels – the two channels most affected by noise problems. Noise reduction can often lead to a problem with the black levels, taking away from the true blacks in your image and replacing them with a haze that looks unnatural. A new Correct Black Level control allows you to correct for this type of issue, restoring blacks to their correct levels.

Topaz DeNoise 5

Topaz DeNoise 5

Next, you’ll use the Detail Adjustment options. Luminance noise reduction frequently softens contrast in the image, which can be recovered with the Recover Detail slider. A Reduce Blur control will enhance the contrast of edges in the image, and if your image starts to take on an unnatural smoothness, you can add a bit of grain with the Add Grain control.

Banding noise is very obvious when it’s present in your image – parallel lines with strong color patterns. A new Debanding control gives you the ability to correct for this type of problem with both vertical and horizontal correction options.

Topaz DeNoise 5

Topaz DeNoise 5

Topaz DeNoise 5 Review ImageTopaz DeNoise 5 Review Image

Mac users, we’re pleased to announce Macphun’s all-in-one photo editor Luminar is now available for just $69£52, and now comes with 12 portrait presets created by Scott Kelby, plus 1 month of access to KelbyOne photography training.

Use coupon code “PHOTOBLOG” to save another $10 on Luminar.

We rated Luminar as “Highly Recommended”. Visit the Luminar web site to try it for free.

Download Luminar & Try Free »

In general, you’ll want to start with luminance noise reduction. Topaz DeNoise 5 helps with this by providing a Luma channel preview which masks out the color information and makes it easer to see the luminance noise. Working from a midtone, use the strength slider to reduce the visible noise to an acceptable level. Next, you’ll move to a shadow area and work with the Adjust Shadow control, and then finish with the highlights (highlight noise is not common and you may find that you use this control seldom).

After making the luminance noise adjustments, use the Detail Adjustment controls to recover any details lost in the noise reduction process. Now, switch the preview back to RGB mode and look for any color noise problems – typically seen as red or blue spots in the image. Topaz DeNoise 5 also offers Red and Blue preview modes to assist with this part of the process. Start with Red and then move to the Blue adjustment. If you have large areas of color problems, you can use the Clean Color control to restore your image.

Topaz DeNoise 5

Finally, go to the Banding noise if you see any signs of banding in the image to clean this up. The last step is to correct the black levels with the Correct Black Level slider. This will remove the haze from your corrected image and restore a solid black point to the shadows.

Conclusion

Overall, I found Topaz DeNoise 5 to be the most logical and easiest to use of the noise reduction applications I’ve tried.  The ability to correct for black levels, and fine detail restoration is very good. Performance has improved greatly in this latest release. DeNoise 5 works with both 32 bit and 64 bit versions of Photoshop CS5 on Mac and Windows systems. If you use any of the other Topaz plug-ins the UI will be instantly familiar to you, making it easy to get up and running.

I’ve long been a fan of Noiseware, but with Topaz DeNoise 5 I’m a convert. The quality of noise reduction and level of detail retained beats anything else I’ve used, and the performance is excellent in both 32 bit and 64 bit modes. I like the ability to use presets and create snapshots, and the support from Topaz has been excellent. At $79, DeNoise 5 is excellent value. Purchased as part of a bundle with Adjust, Simplify, Detail, ReMask, Clean, and DeJpeg the price is $179. DeNoise works with Photoshop versions back to 7, and a free Fuzion plu-in is available to enable Lightroom compatibility.

5 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Features 4.5
Ease-of-use 5
Value for money 5

Add Comment

Required fields are marked *. Your email address will not be published.