I can't get the "grain" (when doing NR, not when trying to imitate some film of course) in C1 to be as "beautiful" as in LR when I deal w/ high ISO raw... to get a grainless high ISO image is not my target as the resulting visual smearing of the details will be too ugly (like Topaz Denoise does at some of its default presets, unless you will work its sliders manually)... so of course the look of the "grain" is subjective - but w/ ACR (LR) it is w/ quite uniform structure, unlike in C1... so I wonder whether it is my personal taste how it looks or I am missing something between 5 sliders (and sharpening sliders too) ?
here is what I like in ACR for example (not stating that this is the best of course) just to give an idea about (using the same publicly available ISO6400 raw file from imaging resources) :
direct link to full size screencopy = http://img573.imageshack.us/img573/861/acr1w.jpg
Tricky area! Both programs are very good and it's great that these are the options photographers have now (as opposed to e.g. LRv1 which was just very poor at very high ISO rendition).
The raw file "test shot" referenced in this thread is a bit contrived given that we're talking about very high ISO dSLR images. I prefer, whenever possible, real world images. VERY few ISO6400 shots are taken with scientifically perfect exposure in a studio with front studio daylite balanced strobe on a tripod. These shots in real world usage are almost always hand held, have areas of under and over exposure, are taken in mixed lighting environments and very often include skin tone.
So I wrote my article using an ISO6400 shot from the 5D Mark 2 I did in a bar with off camera flash, handheld with a Canon 50mm f/1.2 lens. The exposure is relatively accurate (given the guerilla nature of the shoot) but the hands are a bit over exposed. It's under mixed lighting and requires a good bit of highlight recovery; to me this represents a very real-world use of ISO6400 on a 5D Mark 2.
You can read my article, download the raw file (or the 100% JPGs), and see my settings (including a download for a "Capture One v6 style" for ISO6400) here:Capture One 6 vs. Lightroom Noise Reduction
I consider myself an expert user of both programs, but certainly by main expertise and bias are towards Capture One (one reason why I included the raw file). So please feel free to download the raw and let me know what revisions you might have to the LightRoom processing. Bear in mind that all comparisons are flawed in that you have to either A) match settings as close as possible which may not be getting the most from either program or B) do your best in each program. We do our best to be fair while trying to be realistic as well, but have included the raw file in case you disagree with our choices.
I agree LightRoom's grain rendition is very pleasing, especially since it requires zero change to the defaults. However, the grain structure of Capture One is quite pleasing to me as well. They are like two different film emulsions and each will likely look better for different files/scenarios. However, other areas of image quality that this article highlight are:
- highlight recovery (especially as pertains to highlight color accuracy in skin tones)
- tonal gradations (look at the abrupt line of color change on the models lower cheek in LR vs. C1)
- shadow color accuracy (look at the false color introduced in many shadow areas on the model in LR)
- lens corrections (especially chromatic aberration and purple fringing which are very common in these types of shoots since they are often shot wide open on f/1.2-1.8 lenses)
To me this represents a much more real world evaluation of the noise reduction and overall image quality of each raw processor for very high ISO shooting.
If an expert Aperture user would like to download the raw, and run some settings in Aperture I'd be happy to post a followup on the article on our website, or you could post it here and I can link to your post.
Doug Peterson (e-mail Me)
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