I have been reading Image Sharpening by Fraser & Schewe (Great informative book by the way) and realized that I am not using the Luminance control in Camera Raw enough for noise reduction. I also use Noise Ninja in Photoshop for noise reduction. My question is related to workflow. If I use a product like Noise Ninja, should I first use the noise reduction provided in Camera Raw and then apply Noise Ninja to that file or just use the Noise Ninja?
While I moved from Noise Ninja to Dfine2 my experience with Camera Raw and noise reduction remains the same. I find it is preferable to bypass the noise reduction in Camera Raw and use the plug-in noise reduction for several reasons:
1) Using some noise reduction in Camera Raw seems to alter the image in a way that makes it more difficult to do the best balance between noise reduction and detail retention post-conversion.
2) The ability of Noise Ninja, and, I think, even more so with Dfine2, to allow manual selection of the areas with no detail in order to profile not the camera but the specific image, allows greater noise reduction with less detail loss.
3) The ability to use selective noise reduction according to tonal level or color, very easy in Dfine2, is better at tailoring the noise reduction to where it is most needed in a specific image.
4) In addition, the use of several layers and layer masks, if needed, allows the use of several degrees of noise reduction on different parts of the same image.
This is all overkill for most images, but it has allowed me to use some very high ISO images for large prints that otherwise would not have worked.
While I have not done comparison tests recently, I continue to avoid use of the noise reduction in Camera Raw.