digital photo software clean up.

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by steve_howard|4, Jan 22, 2014.

  1. I have a nikon d7100 and currently use AF-S 18-140 vr, AF-S 70-300 vr, and snagged a sigma EX 10-20 AF HSM lens.
    I mostly am shooting family and kids sports stuff. I am looking into some software to clean up photo's in batch processing and automatically for the majority of my shots. i need to process both raw and jpg as I do have the nikon AW 100 as well.
    My main goal is High ISO clean up, then batch automated picture fix/clean up. I am getting into indoor sports (basketball and cheer so high ISO is becoming a concern. As is a newer faster lens like the AF-S 70-200 VR
    So far looking at the Athentach and the DxO pro.
    Can anyone explain why one over another or their advice on these or one I maybe should look at instead and what to watch for? Also i currently only have the View Nx2 software from the camera.
     
  2. Give Lightroom 5 a whirl. It's a huge improvement over ViewNX2. The trial version is full featured for 30 days. Excellent all around workflow, batch editing and the heal/clone tool now behaves like a real brush rather than a spotting/dabbing tool.
    Some folks report DxO has somewhat better noise reduction capabilities for high ISO shots, but I'm not familiar with the workflow. After over a year with Lightroom I'm still satisfied enough with the noise reduction quality, improving editing tools and overall continuity for processing lots of shots from the same session.
    Be sure to watch some of Julieanne Kost's video tutorials to grasp the basics for workflow, editing, etc. There are lots of Lightroom video tutorials online but I like Julieanne's for the appropriate pacing, reasonable length, top notch preparation and her vocal intonation. Too many other video tutorials overlook basic stuff, like actually being prepared with an outline so the tutor isn't continually fumbling and stumbling for words. And good vocal qualities really help clarify the lessons - another underrated characteristic. Some otherwise competent digital darkroom wizards have poor speech habits which makes it necessary to review some parts of the tutorials to grasp what they're talking about.
    And avoid the trap of trying more than one new program at a time. I've neglected my own advice a couple of times and never got the full benefit of the trial periods for some programs because I was trying to learn two or more editing programs during the same trial period.
     
  3. I'll second Lightroom. It is a very good product. DXO is more like Apple Aperture in it's workflow and design (IMO), which you may want to try as well. DXO has a trial basis, so I'd try them all. Use the same shots when testing so you can compare one to another. DXO is very good, I just prefer Lightroom's workflow.
     
  4. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Julieanne Kost's Lightroom video is an excellent suggestion. She works for Adobe so that it is official from the source.
    Indoor sports photography is very demanding on equipment. Eventually you'll need some faster lenses than those f5.6 consumer zooms. However, for basketball, you may be able to get away with something like a 85mm/f1.8 AF-S instead of the very expensive 70-200mm/f2.8 types.
     
  5. For high ISO images, I don't think any program gives you better results than DXO with their new PRIME NR option. It is time consuming but the results are truly amazing (the PRIME NR option can add several minutes to image processing time depending on the size of the image but in the end, the exceptional IQ is for high ISO images is worth the wait). I am not familiar with Athentach. You should probably try them both out and see which you like better.
     
  6. Actually I did try Perfectly Clear by Athentach recently and was not impressed with its NR. Since both DXO and Athentach offer free demos, you should probably test them both out for yourself.
     
  7. I have used both DxO (through version 8) and Lightroom (through version 5). Both are very useful for image processing. But Lightroom is also great for organizing large sets of images.
    Also, DxO files are huge if you keep them in raw format. The DxO "linear DNG files" are often twice as large as the original NEF files. In contrast, Lightroom's DNG files are usually 10% to 20% smaller than the NEF files. This makes a big difference if you are processing and storing hundreds (or thousands) of images at a time. But if your goal is to batch process NEF files to JPEG, DxO is very helpful.
     
  8. Lightroom is the usual candidate, and DxO has its share of fans. There are more players, though, and it can be worth checking them out, look at screenshots to get an idea of their User Interface, and then give the one that has the most appeal to you a try with its trial version. Others to consider would be CaptureOne 7, Corel AfterShot, RAWTherapee and (Nikon) CaptureNX2. The downside of these being lesser known applications is that you will find less tutorials, but any of these applications can deliver pretty great quality. Personally, there are aspects of the Lightroom UI that I dislike, and bad experiences with the stability, speed and UI of an older DxO version steer me away from them (plus I'd need the expensive Elite version for my camera). I've been using CaptureNX2 for a long time, and even though it's an old program, it's still very capable but not as fast as others; my current choice is CaptureOne Express, which does everything I want quick, efficient and with an UI that works for me.
    That all said, Lightroom remains the usual candidate - many happy users, so it really can't be a bad choice. But User Interface preferences are very personal, so it can be worth it to have a look at all options.
     
  9. FWIW, DXO Version 9 is the first version of DXO to include their PRIME Noise Reduction feature. Unlike most noise reduction programs, DXO Prime reduces noise without loss of detail. Version 9 is very, very stable and is far improved over previous versions.
     
  10. +1 for Lightroom. I find it easy to use for RAW conversion and photo adjustments. And it has the advantage of the catalog to help you find things when your list of photos gets too large for your memory to handle.

    If you go for Lightroom, try to learn as much as you can about it early in the game. The online tutorials can be a big help here. When I first started using it I just used it for the editor. Eventually I started putting keywords onto the images and that helped me to search for things. But it was several years before I started using the 1-5 star ratings and color labels to sort things out and eventually I had to go through 30,000 images to sort them.

    I never developed the ability to delete the semi-useful and duplicate images (I do delete the downright junk stuff) so they cluttered up the catalog. Adding the ratings (1 star is fair, 5 stars is great, 0 stars is not really worth much) and/or color labels (green=great, red=rotten, yellow=Yeah!, blue=But I thought it would be useful......) makes it easier to figure out which of a given subject is the one you liked most.
     
  11. Ditto, the user interface consideration Wouter described. While I'm
    generally satisfied with Lightroom I prefer Picasa's interface and speed.
    But Picasa lacks Lightroom's raw editing versatility.

    RawTherapee was powerful and versatile but the choices could seem
    overwhelming and unnecessarily complicated. I used it for a few months
    after the trial version of Lightroom 4 expired, but by the end of 2012
    switched to Lightroom and stayed with it.

    Occasionally I'll use ViewNX2 for converting raw to TIFF for some low ISO
    photos that will be processed in a specialty editor - DxO FilmPack3, or
    Paint Shop Pro. I do like some Nikon default settings such as b&w with
    filter effects. But I dislike Nikon's software interface overall and
    wouldn't pay for Capture after trying it.
     
  12. Having recently tried both Lightroom 5 and DxO Optics Pro 9, I would say that Lightroom is definitely faster, but DxO definitely has better noise-reduction (at least when using their most powerful version, which works great but further slows things somewhat).
     
  13. Tons of great input from all!! Now some more questions:
    -Do either of the free downloads add a bunch of junk to your computer?

    -When you say Lightroom is faster like how much? Say you have 1000 RAW photo to process? I am newer to the DSLR so not tons of RAW images to process. But a lot of old point and shoot to try to clean up.

    -My current raw images are 30MB so how bad is processing time gonna be. New i5 processor, Samsung EVO solid state drive and 8gb RAM

    -How do they differ for the storage of files pre and post processing. If I am just wanting to clean up files in RAW and leave in RAW and then only convert to jpg for what I want to print? Are the originals kept and then new ones created post processing or not? I donโ€™t think I want to have doubles and triples of everything? Or do I then just delete the originals once I am good with the fixed images.

    -Do any of the programs over do any adjustment often/make pic worse or is one better at leaving a photo be?
    If a RAW image, that is simply converted to a jpg, will the jpg have some sort of processing automatically and look better as a jpg than RAW?
     
  14. Below are example of crops from a D800 image shot at ISO 6400.
    00cKfL-545042084.jpg
     
  15. Processed with CS6
    00cKfM-545042184.jpg
     
  16. DXO Prime processed
    00cKfN-545042284.jpg
     
  17. Here is a sample shot of what I got last weekend in general for appearance. Pretty good i assume given, thes low f/4-5.6 lens, about 200ft away, horrible lighting leds/strobes/etc, and smoke machines every now and then. Maybe I don't need the better high ISO cleanup of the DxO Pro 9?

    RAW file converted to jpg of 1600x1067 avg compression no processing at all from View NX2

    d7100, AF-S 70-300 VR, shutter priority, 1/640, ISO 3200, f5.6, 240mm handheld
    still have learning to do, but the ISO Noise looks pretty good? NO?
    [​IMG]
     
  18. Elliot, what is CS6?
    The DxO Prime seems to leave a little more deatil and less smoothing?
    Thanks for the comparison photo
     
  19. CS6 is the latest version of Photoshop.
     
  20. I use both CS6 and DxO.
    DxO is my software of choice when processing a large number of images that don't need much editing. It's very slow with its most powerful noise reduction enabled, but you can chose that on a case by case basis. When I shoot indoor sports and have a relatively arge number of images that need to be processed quickly I usually process 100 or so in DxO, make all the adjustments, hit batch processing, go for a beer or two and come back later (or the next morning).
    When I shoot landscapes or a few family shots (with only a few images to process) I like to process them individually in CS6.
    Many of DxO's automatic corrections (including NR) do a pretty decent job. CS6 always takes me longer, but often I prefer its results.
     
  21. Steve, it's difficult to make a really fair comparison, because both programs have a bunch of controls, different defaults, etc. I would just saw this--with typical minimal / modest edits, Lightroom's processing seemed essentially instant, while DxO's could take a moment, and with DxO's best noise-reduction used, it could take two moments. I use a Dell tower with a an Intel Core i5 (second-generation, quad core), 8 GB of RAM, and Windows 7-64 bit, and most of the raw files were 16 MP.
    As for noise reduction, just remember that both programs give you a substantial amount of control, and what types and what degrees of noise reduction you apply will have a major effect on the results. I don't think Elliot's examples are typical of what I've gotten--show a bigger difference--but his general conclusion is similar to mine. I think that DxO has a definite edge in noise-reduction sophistication; on the whole, you can get less noise while maintaining more detail with DxO.
     
  22. Steve, there are all kinds of little tricks for making batch editing efficient in Lightroom. For example, you can flag or rate a bunch to get certain types of edits, or drag them into collections. Apply the same white balance, EV adjustments, curves, etc., to the entire batch in that collection.
    If you have several photo that are oriented identically, or nearly so, you can even apply brush retouching (tricky for eyes, though - the alignment is critical). But batching generalized brushwork, gradients, even crops, can be applied to several nearly identically composed photos.
    If individual photos need adjustments after batch processing, it's quick and easy to tweak each one without going overboard and losing a cohesive overall look.
    Picasa has a very similar batch workflow, but with much less sophisticated tools. It's handy for JPEG-only stuff and I still use it occasionally for my older JPEG/TIFF-only P&S cameras.
    The Lightroom method is tricky to grasp at first. It doesn't affect any photos directly. For example, you could retouch a raw or JPEG file heavily, then open the same file in another editor and see no changes at all. Same with Picasa and other similar tools. The edits are all instructions, not actually applied to the original, and it isn't necessary to save an intermediate file in any proprietary format, or in TIFF, PNG, BMP, etc. You can even close Lightroom without "saving" anything and all the edits are saved because the edits are just instructions.
    When you're satisfied with an edit, then you can save it to a new file - anything from a small JPEG for web sharing to a TIFF for export to another editor such as DxO FilmPack, Nik, etc. Lightroom does its best to minimize the risk of ever saving over an original JPEG, TIFF, etc., and of course it's almost impossible to screw up an original raw file.
     
  23. Elliot's CS6 noise reduction example looks like the typical default setting, which tends to be a bit too aggressive with many noise reduction utilities, both built in and standalone. I almost never use that much luminance smoothing, even for my noisiest files. It just isn't necessary because moderate luminance noise rarely shows in print.
    You could probably approximate the DxO results just by dialing the luminance noise reduction way back, using mainly chroma noise reduction to minimize the blotchy color specks. If any remaining roughness really bothers you a little brushwork around gritty looking facial details - noses, lips, eyes, etc. - can selectively minimize noise without excessive smoothing and loss of skin texture and desired detail.
    Just depends on the intended output. If for printing, the amount of NR used to make a 100% view of a photo on the monitor seem smooth may be too much for print. And if the output is a small web sized photo for sharing, downsizing a photo and converting to JPEG tends to minimize noise anyway.
     
  24. Lex, you are correct. I did use the default CS6 settings. But I don't know if anything less would not have removed the noise in a manner similar to DXO Prime. Perhaps you or someone else who has more experience with customizing the NR process in Photoshop can post samples.
    My point was simply that there is basically no loss of detail with DXO Prime NR. If CS6 and other programs have the same abilities, that would be good to know. I originally tried the Athentach software because of claims of exceptional NR (and other IQ), but did not find it very effective. FWIW, prior to DXO prime, I often found myself applying some form of NR in CS6 for my very high ISO image processed with DXO.
    Also, keep in mind that the crops I posted are at the pixel level. In a typically sized print such as an 8 x 10 (or smaller), I doubt you would be able to see much, if any difference in IQ assuming the image was not cropped.
     
  25. Try less aggressive luminance noise reduction in Photoshop. That's the main difference I see between the CS6 and DxO examples.
    The DxO example also shows very slightly more saturation in the red chroma noise.
    I don't know how much control those tools offer. The standalone version of Noise Ninja offered very fine control over luminance and chroma noise, including color channels and HSL. Such fine control was seldom needed but was occasionally useful in selectively minimizing redness in skin noise, and similar fine tuning, without excessive smoothing overall and loss of fine detail and natural texture.
    Lightroom doesn't offer such finely, selectively adjustable noise reduction - no selective adjustments for chroma RGB or HSL - but this is seldom a factor for most of my photos. When I do need that extra bit of selective adjustment Noise Ninja still works very well, although it's a bit of a hassle to save raw to TIFF just to work in the standalone version of NN.
     
  26. I played around a little bit with your image in PS CC ACR, Elliot, and got a little closer to your DXO version, although not getting quite as much detail preserved, but it is pretty close.
    00cKlo-545055684.jpg
     
  27. Here's an example run through Noise Ninja and tweaked in Lightroom, but you'd need a TIFF from the raw file to do a proper job and minimize the horizontal lines and other artifacts.
    Been awhile since I'd used Noise Ninja - I'd forgotten how good it can be with difficult photos, even when you only have a JPEG to work with.
    Anyway, with less aggressive luminance NR there's more natural skin texture and fine detail in hair. And if you have time and patience to work in layers you can selectively brush in the desired effect throughout the entire photo. But I've gone to that trouble only with portraits taken in dim artificial lighting where no single global noise reduction setting was satisfactory for the entire photo.
    00cKlz-545056184.jpg
     
  28. Elliot, if the example of DXO Prime you showed was more or less the default settings and didn't require extensive manual intervention (eg, painting more or less of the effect in different areas, two passes, one for darks, one for light areas, etc.), I'm impressed.
    I played with your starting image using three of my favorite NR tools: Neat Image, Topaz DeNoise, and Ximagic denoiser and performed the manual adjustments listed in the previous paragraph. After 20 min of work :-( , I wound up with the attached version.
    It's not bad compared to yours (eg, intentionally, I let a bit more skin texture remain), but I certainly don't want to be spending many minutes on each image that needs to be processed.
    Tom Mann
    00cKmc-545059584.jpg
     
  29. Lex, did you somehow re-texturize the skin? Also, what happened to the color? Surely, Noise Ninja didn't make the image that cold, did it?
    If Noise Ninja pulled that skin texture out of the posted version, and you didn't add it as a separate step, I'm impressed. I haven't tried NN in probably 4 or 5 years. The skin texture you showed is enough to make me download the latest version and try it again.
    Tom
    PS - You did a great job dealing with the highlights (eg, hot spots on the nose, upper eyelid, cheek, etc.). How did you do this?
     
  30. Steve - I bet that if you could have run the NEF through ACR's NR instead of having to use a JPG, I bet ACR would have given you even better results.
    Tom
     
  31. I am confirming that the DXO Prime NR settings were at their default settings. Attached is the crop as opened in CS6 with its default settings with no noise reduction applied. When I attached my original samples, I processed the image with NR to try and match the noise levels of the DXO sample (I guess actually to match the lack of noise). There are numerous ways to remove noise with Photoshop. I have found prior to DXO Prime NR that I could sometimes do better in CS6 than I could with DXO in creating a pleasing high ISO image. But it was always time consuming. Now I just rely on DXO because it is so good and so fast (you don't have to do anything).
    00cKmt-545060084.jpg
     
  32. Correction to the above, the 2nd sentence should have ended with "with its default settings with no additional noise reduction applied" ACR does apply some NR with its default setting.

    Again, I want to remind everyone that if this was printed as an 8 x 10 or smaller, you would probably not see any noise or see any differences between the various versions. Below is the full frame as shot with the D800, and it clearly shows the D800 downsampling advantage.
    00cKn2-545060284.jpg
     
  33. opps, wrong size...
    00cKn4-545060384.jpg
     
  34. Tom, I did use ACR version 8.2. In PS CC you can use ACR and all its functions on jpgs as well as nefs. Its a great tool!
     
  35. Here's another try taking about 30sec using ACR 8.2 in ps cc on the jpg. I used the noise reduction sliders and added some lightness to the highlights to try to match the dynamic range of Elliot's image.
    00cKoi-545063784.jpg
     
  36. I also have a d7100 and shoot a lot of high iso shots, typically 3200 indoors. I have been very pleased with the NR of ACR 8.2 in PS CC. As I mentioned above, CC has ACR as a filter as well that can be applied to jpgs. As a filter, it could be used in "automate/batch" to process a folder full of jpgs, but it doesn't work with raw files (I tried). IMO the D7100 at 3200 really doesn't need much noise reduction, especially if you intend to print smaller than 20 inch prints, because the pixels and noise are reduced when you reduce the print size.
     
  37. Hi Steve - From your comments about being able to process JPGs in CC's ACR, it sounds like you may not be aware that this has been possible for at least the last few generations of PS. I have been opening JPGs in ACR for several years now. The improvement that CC brings is that one can now use ACR as a filter within PS, not just as a "front end" to PS.
    My comment about using ACR on the NEFs instead of on JPGs was intended to point out that the ACR's NR (as well as several other features) works much better when it has access to raw sensor data from each photosite, rather than having to deal with the aftermath of demosaicing, gamma and other tonality and color corrections, data compression artifacts, 8 bpc instead of 12 or 14 bpc, etc. that are all cooked into any JPG.
    The advantage of doing NR as early as possible in the workflow, ie before any other processing or adjustments have been made is illustrated by difficulties I encountered when I experimented on one of your early images. I wasn't sure exactly what had happened to the highlight areas (eg, side of her nose, cheek, etc.), but it was obvious that the noise statistics (quality of the noise) in these areas were considerably different from the noise in other areas. This is why I wound up using different settings for the highlights, midtones, and shadow areas. OTOH, if I had started with the image you posted captioned, "opened in CS6 - default settings -no additional NR applied", or, even better from the raw file, the statistics of the noise in these different areas would have been the same and one could get equivalent or better results with much less effort. It was only after you made your comment that you added some brightness to the highlights that I found out the source of the extra work required, LOL.
    Cheers,
    Tom
    PS - I fully second your comments that less NR is needed if you are going to substantially down-rez an image. Even dramatic image imperfections like hot pixels are substantially tamed when one averages several adjacent pixels in the original to get one pixel at the new, lower rez. That being said, just like my previous comments, the best choice is to kill the hypothetical hot pixel as early as possible in the workflow, before it's effect spreads to adjacent pixels.
     
  38. "Lex, did you somehow re-texturize the skin?"​
    Nope. That's just messing with the Noise Ninja sliders for luminance amount, smoothness and contrast; and chroma amount, smoothness and saturation.
    "Also, what happened to the color? Surely, Noise Ninja didn't make the image that cold, did it?"​
    That was done in Lightroom. I was kinda sleepy when I posted that sample and forgot to detail the steps. It's just auto white balance.
    "You did a great job dealing with the highlights (eg, hot spots on the nose, upper eyelid, cheek, etc.). How did you do this?"​
    That's all Lightroom. It's the best I've found for recovering highlights with subtlety and finesse. Between the sliders for highlights and whites in the basic tone adjustment box, and the tone curves highlights slider - each of which has a slightly different effect - it's possible to finesse most highlights really well.
    If I had the original raw or TIFF I'd have gone a bit farther in tweaking the eyes and shadows, but some horizontal artifacts were already becoming too visible from working with a JPEG.
    Highlight recovery is one of the features that sold me on Lightroom. Nikon's is nowhere near Lightroom in this feature - Nikon's highlight recovery ranges from "No effect... no effect... no effect... solid ugly gray patch." Ditto noise reduction. While Lightroom isn't quite in the same league as Noise Ninja and Noiseware in terms of versatility, it's far better than Nikon's. Lightroom is far better at sharpening too, especially if you include the clarity slider as an equivalent to contrast masking using the unsharp masking tool in most pixel level editors.
    "If Noise Ninja pulled that skin texture out of the posted version, and you didn't add it as a separate step, I'm impressed. I haven't tried NN in probably 4 or 5 years. The skin texture you showed is enough to make me download the latest version and try it again."​
    I'm still using my original copy of NN from almost 10 years ago. Still works great, although it's a kludge having to convert raw to TIFF just for the noise reduction (which Noise Ninja recommends as a first step, before any other adjustments), then syncing back into the Lightroom catalog for final adjustments. But it's useful for really tricky situations, especially photos of people.
    The ability to view luminance and chroma channels, in addition to RGB, really helps in finessing subtle NR effects. It seems unnecessarily complicated when I describe it, but of all the older style noise reduction tools I tried several years ago, Noise Ninja was consistently the best overall, between speed of response, adjustments vs ease of use, and end results.
    I will admit DxO looks really good, based on the various examples I've seen. If I was in the market for another editing tool I'd definitely consider DxO.
     
  39. I'm going to upload a few full sized JPEGs from the D2H at ISO 1100, a noisy bugger with some visible chroma noise even at base ISO 200 that would have had me giving up on the D2H years ago without Noise Ninja. The D2H does no internal noise reduction, other than long exposure NR. And ViewNx2 does no NR for the D2H either, although it does for the V1 - ViewNX2 seems to apply only the default settings for a particular Nikon model.
    Back around 2005-2006 I tried all the then-current noise reduction utilities and raw processors that offered NR, and Noise Ninja's standalone version was consistently the best for the D2H. Bibble, a pretty good raw processor for that era, included a version of Noise Ninja that was more limited than the standalone version and tended toward over-smoothing and a superficially pleasant pinkish look to skin that, now, feels a bit saccharine. Looking back recently at my Bibble-processed raw files from a 2006 hospital documentary project, I'll need to redo all of 'em in Lightroom to get a more consistent, coherent look.
    Noise Ninja is still subjectively better than Lightroom's noise reduction, but Lightroom is good enough for most of my needs and I really like the workflow - it's a pleasure not needing to render to TIFF before further adjustments in another editing tool.
    The main difference I see between Noise Ninja and Lightroom is that NN can smooth out areas where there is no detail or texture of any consequence, while leaving essential detail where desired: skin texture, detail in eyes and hair. Additionally, NN offers a brush tool to selectively reduce/remove noise reduction in critical areas such as eyes.
    Lightroom's brush tool does not quite match Noise Ninja in selectively finessing noise reduction. This may not be a priority for most Lightoom users because the current crop of dSLRs are far, far superior to my D2H in terms of high ISO noise.
    But for folks who are still using early (actually 3rd or 4th generation) Nikon dSLRs like the D2H, D100 and D70, Noise Ninja is the bee's knees. Ditto Imagenomic Noiseware, which appeared to produce identical results with less effort, while not offering quite the same level of finessing chroma, luminance and RGB channels. Both are also excellent for digicams that produce only JPEGs or TIFFs, without any raw option.
    Here's a straight conversion in Nikon ViewNX2, from NEF to JPEG, using neutral settings, no noise reduction, etc. Any apparent sharpening is the default in ViewNX2, which appears to apply a sharpening of around 2 or 3 - too much for my tastes, but adequate to compensate for lossy JPEG compression.
    BTW, I'm uploading full rez versions directly to the thread to avoid any re-compression imposed by photo.net on our portfolio spaces. So these will all appear as attachments rather than appearing inline.
    If anyone would like an uncompressed TIFF to play with I can attach one, but this first upload is at maximum JPEG quality and probably will work just as well for tinkering with in your favorite noise reduction tool.
    00cKt4-545070184.jpg
     
  40. Same photo, converted from NEF to TIFF in ViewNX2, then run through Noise Ninja standalone in default settings for D2H at this ISO. Usually I'd tweak Noise Ninja for a little more chroma noise reduction and a little less luminance NR, but for example purposes I'm leaving it at the default.
    It's pretty good for the D2H above ISO 800, especially in artificial lighting - the D2H is awful under most artificial light, due to excessive sensitivity to near IR. I'm happy with this for the D2H, and would normally use this noise reduced TIFF for additional tweaking to correct white balance, color, exposure, etc.
    00cKt7-545070484.jpg
     
  41. Same again, this time converted completely in Lightroom from NEF, while attempting to emulate the ViewNX2 look as closely as possible.
    Subjectively, Lightroom preserves essential detail equally to Noise Ninja, but doesn't smooth out the out-of-focus surroundings as pleasantly. Lightroom's noise reduction sliders aren't as effective as Noise Ninja's for finessing subtle yet visible differences.
    00cKt9-545070584.jpg
     
  42. Last up, a color corrected version in Lightroom. My living room CFLs are awful with the D2H and cannot be accurately color corrected to show Eartha Kitty's true coat of predominantly steely gray fur with tinges of tan in the white.
    A recent casual photo conversations thread on lights was, um... enlightening ... regarding the color rendering index shortcomings in CFLs. My usual fix is to covert to monochrome and be done with it.
    00cKtC-545070684.jpg
     
  43. By the way, again, those were all with the D2H at ISO 1100, under ordinary curly-cue CFLs, 50mm f/1.8D AF Nikkor at f/1.8, 1/30th sec.
    The main difference I see between the ViewNX2 and Lightroom samples are in highlight detail in the white fur around Eartha Kitty's face. Lightroom is far superior in retaining highlight detail. It's been awhile since I tried Capture, but as I recall it couldn't match Lightroom in highlights. That's a huge factor for shooting at high ISOs, in contrasty lighting, and especially with digicams having limited dynamic range. If you're fortunate enough to have a current model FX/full frame dSLR, you might not even need those advantages in highlight recovery.
    In terms of subjective noise reduction and sharpening, you can see the out-of-focus periphery of the whiskers appear very slightly "dirty" and gritty in the Lightroom examples, compared with the smoother rendering of Noise Ninja. I played with noise reduction, sharpening and other settings as much as patience allowed, but couldn't quite match the smoother rendering of Noise Ninja while also retaining essential detail.
    I'm tempted to upgrade Noise Ninja, since I'm still using my version from 2005 or 2006. It's really good. But I may also give DxO a trial version spin if it does the same thing more easily and quickly.
     
  44. Tom, my previous version of PS was CS4, and I don't think I could open jpgs with ACR, maybe I could and just didn't know. Anyway, the ACR filter in CC is really handy.
    Lex, I've found that the modern sensor of the D7100 handles different kinds of light very well. I shoot around our house which is lit with the newer bulbs and my colors are quite natural. Even street lights turn out looking natural.
    Steve, with the D7100 you can shoot even at 12,800 iso if you need to and get acceptable noise with any decent noise reduction program, and if you reduce the size, then it is even better. Here's a shot with streetlights, kit lens, 1/13 sec with VR, iso 12800, some noise reduction in ACR but the colors were pretty much as shot.
    00cKtr-545071484.jpg
     
  45. Okay, one more example, just to demo some of the versatility in Lightroom - again, the main advantage over a standalone noise reduction tool like Noise Ninja is there's no need to render the raw file to TIFF, evaluate, try again, lather, rinse, repeat.
    Same photo, this time with:
    • the global clarity pulled back from +25 to -15, which reduces some grittiness in out of focus areas, and minimizes local contrast in some areas; and
    • sharpening radius increased a bit to minimize artifacts around the whiskers; and
    • brush adjustments just to the eyes to boost color, contrast and clarity to offset the global reductions in sharpness.
    If I wanted to spend more time on it I could use brushes to further minimize any remaining luminance noise texture in the out of focus areas.
    Lightroom 5.x offers even more selective adjustment tools, so I'll be upgrading to it soon. Lightroom is gradually closing the gap between simpler workflow tools and pixel level editors, in terms of relatively straightforward retouching and adjustments. I tried the trial version late last year and was really impressed with the heal/clone tool, which now behaves more like a real brush (although it's still not in the class of a pixel level editor). The local gradient and other features are also improved, and overall LR5 felt just a little quicker than LR4.x on my middling PC.
    00cKu0-545071684.jpg
     
  46. Thanks again for all the info and pics. But I am more confused now then ever! haha
    Many of the abbreviations i don't know what they are.
    ACR, CC, D2H,
    I assume CSx are all just different versions of lightroom?
    Some questions from earlier still looking for:
    -Do either of the free downloads add a bunch of junk to your computer?
    -Do any of the programs over do any adjustment often/make pic worse or is one better at leaving a photo be?
    -If a RAW image, that is simply converted to a jpg, will the jpg have some sort of processing automatically and look better as a jpg than RAW?
    ****I am basically looking for an automated batch program at this point to clean up new photos taken in RAW, as well as past photos in jpg and not over do a photo. Kind of what it sounds like Perfectly Clear(Athentech) does. Or am I missing something here?
    I am also looking for one that has good ISO NR as well. I don't think I necessarily need the best one yet based on the pics I have obtained thus far from my equipment.
    I will look to a program in the future to correct/tweak individual photos down the road as I see fit. However if the program I get now will allow this in the future as well great.
    So that being asked. what recommendation for a program probably.
    Thanks Again all!!
     
  47. ACR: Adobe Camera Raw, a raw file converter.

    D2H: a Nikon dSLR

    CSx: Adobe Creative Suite, a bundle of tools, not
    just Lightroom. Was very expensive.

    CC: Creative Cloud, Adobe's subscription service.

    None of the freebies I use clutter up the PC with
    junk. But be careful of the source. Some
    download sites will try to sneak in adware or
    change your browser home page and search engine.

    Raw files usually look mushy and dull without
    processing. When you open a Nikon raw file in
    ViewNX2 you'll usually see the default in camera
    JPEG editing choice. That is an editing choice,
    one of many possibilities. Better or worse is
    subjective.
     
  48. Thanks. that makes better sense
     
  49. Go with LR5 believe me it's miles ahead of DXO Pro I know I have it and never bother with anymore.
     

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