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Author Topic: High ISO noise reduction and Lightroom  (Read 5458 times)

Bob_B

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High ISO noise reduction and Lightroom
« on: September 02, 2012, 08:56:44 AM »

I read an article that gave me the impression that using a camera's high ISO noise reduction doesn't help when using raw files and Lightroom, as the raw file does not contain the resulting noise reduction. Any truth to this?

Thanks.
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Simon Garrett

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Re: High ISO noise reduction and Lightroom
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2012, 09:45:01 AM »

It may depend on the nature of the camera's high ISO noise reduction.  I'm pretty sure on my Nikon (D300) that high-ISO noise reduction affects both raw and jpeg, i.e. the raw file DOES contain the resulting noise reduction.  I guess it's possible that on some cameras the noise reduction might be applied only on the image data that is then converted to jpeg, and any raw file is unaffected.  Check the camera manual.  

Correction, I was wrong!

I've just tried a few shots at max ISO with "High ISO NR" set to off, normal and high.  It affects jpegs (including the preview stored in the raw file), but apparently not the raw files themselves.  This is odd: neither the NIkon manual nor the Thom Hogan manual mention any difference in high ISO noise reduction between raw and jpeg.  

So I think what you read was right for my NIkon: high ISO in-camera noise reduction is not applied to raw files.  And my camera manual didn't mention this, so I suggest trying it as I did and see what happens.  

Sorry for getting it wrong first time.  You learn something new every day...
« Last Edit: September 02, 2012, 11:19:41 AM by Simon Garrett »
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BartvanderWolf

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Re: High ISO noise reduction and Lightroom
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2012, 09:58:00 AM »

I read an article that gave me the impression that using a camera's high ISO noise reduction doesn't help when using raw files and Lightroom, as the raw file does not contain the resulting noise reduction. Any truth to this?

Hi Bob,

AFAIK the Raw files from Canon cameras are Raw, no postprocessing is done after the AD conversion. Even the read-noise is not clipped. Nikon cameras apparently do process the Raw data before saving it to file. So, as Simon suggested, look it up in the camera's documentation.

You can verify whether it makes a difference for your specific camera model, by analysing the Raw data of a shot of a stationary scene with and without that High ISO noise reduction function enabled. You can use a program like RawDigger to compare the standard deviation for certain indentical crop areas in the scene.

Cheers,
Bart
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Keith Reeder

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Re: High ISO noise reduction and Lightroom
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2012, 11:53:07 AM »

I read an article that gave me the impression that using a camera's high ISO noise reduction doesn't help when using raw files and Lightroom, as the raw file does not contain the resulting noise reduction. Any truth to this?

Yep, completely true (noting of course, Bart's caveat above - I think the Pentax K-5 for example, has Raw-level NR applied to higher ISO files). Generally speaking in-camera NR isn't "baked in" to the Raw, but is simply a metadata tag that lets the camera company's proprietary conversion software know how the camera was set, at which point it will apply that same setting from within the converter.

An exception to this is long exposure NR - that is embedded in the Raw, being generally an in-camera dark frame subtraction.
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Keith Reeder
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Bob_B

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Re: High ISO noise reduction and Lightroom
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2012, 12:40:53 PM »

Well, I use a Canon 7D, so it seems there is little reason to set its high ISO noise reduction if all I plan to shoot are raw files. Is this also true for the other noise reductions in camera?
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Ken Bennett

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Re: High ISO noise reduction and Lightroom
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2012, 01:51:18 PM »

No. Long exposure noise reduction does apply to raw files.
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Keith Reeder

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Re: High ISO noise reduction and Lightroom
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2012, 03:51:27 PM »

Well, I use a Canon 7D, so it seems there is little reason to set its high ISO noise reduction if all I plan to shoot are raw files.

Unless you're converting with DPP, you are correct.

Quote
Is this also true for the other noise reductions in camera?

Have another look at the last line of my previous post, Bob...
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Keith Reeder
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vamsizzz

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Re: High ISO noise reduction and Lightroom
« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2013, 04:06:38 AM »

So does that mean to take advantage of High ISO noise reduction, one first need to import it in DPP first and then any other software ( like Lightroom) ? :-\
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hjulenissen

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Re: High ISO noise reduction and Lightroom
« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2013, 04:51:14 AM »

1. Canon cameras can (and usually should) apply in-camera noise-reduction of long exposures, even for raw files. This is fundamentally different from regular noise-reduction, and requires two exposures.

2. Otherwise, NR settings will only affect JPEG files. DPP will probably read the raw file metadata describing the user settings wrgt NR (it seems to go to great lengths to make the raw file appear like the out-of-camera JPEG).

If you shoot only raw, I would make sure that 1. was enabled, and not worry about 2.

-h
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vamsizzz

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Re: High ISO noise reduction and Lightroom
« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2013, 05:16:55 AM »

Yes, I only shoot RAW. I was researching it because I was facing problems with HIGH ISO noise ( while cropping Wildlife/Bird shots ) and NR in lightroom made my pics very soft. And I was "hoping" that somehow I could make sure of "High ISO Noise reduction" and deal with the problem ( while shooting in RAW ).
Thanks for your reply! Do let me know if you have any other techniques of reducing noise without losing much sharpness/detail  ;D
-- Vamsi
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elied

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Re: High ISO noise reduction and Lightroom
« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2013, 06:38:55 AM »

So does that mean to take advantage of High ISO noise reduction, one first need to import it in DPP first and then any other software ( like Lightroom) ? :-\
I wouldn't do that; first because IMO LR's NR is much better than DPP's after you have mastered its use and second because DPP has no highlight recovery and limited shadow enhancement, LR's greatest strengths, and these tools would be far less effective on tiffs from DPP with clipped highlight data and non-linear shadow data.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2013, 06:49:31 AM by elied »
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