Noise Reduction Software Comparison

So I’ve been doing some playing with a few different digital photography related programs and computer stuff, and figured I’d throw out some info. Might help someone somewhere along the way.

I took a photo a while back of Firefly’s hand on a plasma ball at Science World. The image was taken at ISO 1600 so it had some of that lovely digital noise. Tonight I ran it through some of the freely available (well, demo versions anyway) Noise Reduction tools to see how it came out.

Here’s the original image, and a 100% crop of a noisy area:

And the result after putting the image through some noise reduction. They were all default options, no tweaking, using the ISO 1600 *ist-D profile if it was available:

Neat Image

100% Crop 300% Crop Comments
Did quite nicely, left detail while removing noise a bit better than the others I think.

Noise Ninja

100% Crop 300% Crop Comments
Seemed to leave the area a bit more noisy than the others, but it’s hard to say if this would be noticable on a printout or anything outside of “pixel peeping”.

Picture Cooler

100% Crop 300% Crop Comments
A freeware program with a pretty…. “unique” user interface that I first heard of today. It seemed to perform well, but seemed to flatten out some of the details a bit more than the other programs, at least in this example. Compare the shadow regions and they seem a bit more blended into the purple tendrils than with the others.

Paint Shop Pro 9

100% Crop 300% Crop Comments
Did very well. No camera profile, just a “remove noise” adjustment. Of course, this is a full image editing program, where the other ones tested are pure noise removal software. PSP9 seemed to leave shadow detail in while ending up with a bit less “flecking” than Noise Ninja or Neat Image. This could vary on situation of course, this is a very un-scientific test 🙂

To be fair of course I’d give access to the originals, but sadly that might be a bit more bandwidth than I’m willing to give up from my home system right now, especially with a .psd of all the files in layers (for easy comparision by making layers visible and in-visible) is a 78mb download (or 66 for the GIMP .xcf file). If you’re really interested let me know and I’ll put it up for you. However, until then check out the .psd of the 300% crop (3mb) with all the source images as layers.