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Higher noise & Raw

ErinCErinC Member
edited June 2014 in home
Dumb question.

When shooting raw, i know that I need to manually sharpen as those in camera settings, & others, are not applied to the raw image. Is it the same for noise reduction?

I have the 5diii and understand it deals with high iso quite well, but is that due to the sensor, or the cameras internal NR software? Or like other camera settings , do I need to manually adjust my NR in Lightroom to make the most of its high iso capabilities? I've been doing minimal NR on the assumption it's the sensor but after chatting with a friend I'm doubting my understanding of it.

Thanks in advance to anyone who can enlighten me.


  • TrevTrev Moderator


    All 3 things come into play with Noise.

    Sensor/Camera's capabilities, Noise settings in Camera, then Noise reduction in RAW.

    ACR/LR have noise reduction settings, but you need to balance between how much to use.

    Generally a setting around 20-30 will help, but NO Detail, as that's counter-productive, if you apply a high noise reduction like 40+ many people then apply a 'Detail' setting to bring back sharpness which will slightly re-introduce the noise back, Catch 22 on that.

    Remember, noise although very visible on a screen, does not print like that and you will be surprised at how much you can 'see' on screen compared to what you see in print.

    If you view a normal image at around 25% on screen, that's around an 8x12 looking image, and I guarantee you cannot see noise until you blow it up to around 100+%, and if you then look at the size on screen that's enormous, but remember it won't print like that.

    High ISO noise is preferable to Under-Exposing noise for sure, get the exposure right (or even slightly over-exp and bring back to help that).
  • ZenonZenon Member
    edited June 2014
    I use as little in camera adjustments as possible, especially NR. It has been a long time since I used in camera NR and perhaps this has improved but the buffer time was so slow the wall I just paint dried faster.

    LR/ACR NR adjustment are excellent. Far better than in camera IMO.

    ISO 12,800 on my 7D which is know to be a light hungry sensor. Not very forgiving.

    No NR


    Frist you adjust colour noise until the blotches go away. When done don't go any further as there is no gain and you start to effect colour hues.


    Next adjust Luminance. Go as far as you need to but it remember it effects sharpness.


    Final results. It won't be poster size but makes a great 8 by 10.


    One more thing LR and ACR offer a masking slider in the sharpening pallet. I'm usually at about 80. Invaluable tool.


    For my hobby shots I use this method which is also edge sharpening. I have a PS action that resizes and sharpens using this method. I'd be glad to share it with anyone. Gone fishing for the next 7 days so when I get back let me know if you would like to try it. It is free.

  • ErinCErinC Member
    Thanks guys. I really struggle with getting the NR balance right and try to under edit to counteract my tendency to go to far; but was worried that I'm going too far the other way. I usually stay below 3200 though so hopefully they're still okay at 25%.

    I think I'll go away, look at the shared links and might come back... I'll admit my understanding of the sharpening and NR tools in the develop module is pretty poor. Aside from the luminance and colour sliders and to some extent the detail slide, I don't fully understand what the other tools do.

    Time for some reading, I'll be back, thank you for your help!!
  • TrevTrev Moderator

    ahh, I knew Zenon (thanks mate) had some settings he uses, and since noise is not a great concern for me I have just a small 20% by default, but Zenon has outlaid a nice group of settings along with samples for you Erin.

    There are other good noise reduction tools out there as plug-ins, and just before you posted this topic Erin I had helped a friend shoot a wedding and he uses a Canon 5D MkII, and at 3200 ISO it is pretty noisy, and since I had Nik (now Google) software plug-ins I had never used the Dfine for noise before and was pretty amazed at the results on just the default settings, so the 50 or so shots he did on almost dark conditions I ran it and it removed a vast majority, but kept the sharpness of the file, good stuff.

    I cannot show you a file since it's not my wedding and I have yet to finish editing the files (he pays me to do the editing).

  • ErinCErinC Member
    K one final dumb qn... If there is little or no noise reduction coming through with my raw files, would I need to have a small amount of NR even on lower ISO shots? Eg 800 or even 400? I assumed that I don't need to NR the lower ISO shots because they wouldn't have noise to reduce... But lacking in camera NR, would I need to add NR in Lightroom to get my RAWs looking as smooth as the JPEGS do? I guess I'm asking whether the low ISO ones have little noise because they just don't have much noise at that ISO , or whether the in camera NR just does a much better job at low ISO's... Clear as mud?

    Btw Zenon thanks for those links I have a much better understanding now!! Also found a tutorial after it on ways to use the tone curve for sharpening which will be v useful.

    Trev I will look into those plug ins, thanks!
  • ErinCErinC Member
    And as a bit if background, the question above comes from seeing a fair bit of grain in images taken at those settings... Wondering if I should be noise reducing or whether perhaps the artifacts are coming from my other adjustments.
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