Denoise with detail

I am on the distribution list of a wildlife photographer. In his recent posting, he claims:

Make ISO 12,800 Look Like ISO 400!

A Master Class On Lightroom Denoise!

This video is a master class on Lightroom Denoise! If you want to see my techniques for making ISO 12,800 look like ISO 400, you’re gonna love this! It’s the BEST way to fix a noisy photo!

In fact, I think the advanced techniques at the end of the video allow you to make your images look better than any third-party app - just using Lightroom!

In this video, we’ll take a really deep dive, and I’ll show you everything you need to know to get the most from Lightroom Denoise. We’ll talk about the kinds of images that work best, how the Donoise tool works, and some advanced techniques beyond just the simple Denoise dialog.

In fact, in my experience, the advanced techniques featured towards the end of this video preserve detail better than any third-party software I’ve tried while giving you the best possible noise reduction.

It’s the best 45 minutes you’ll spend on post processing!

Lightroom denoise540x304

the above is present on youtube:

I do not have a current Adobe suite rental license; because of the rental requirement to stay current, I no longer use Adobe. However, the claim above is very strong and I cannot evaluate it. If anyone on this list is proficient with PL7 Elite and has a current Adobe license, it might be useful to compare the Lightroom “techniques” in the video to what PL7 Elite can produce. If indeed the claims are correct, and one needs to use “high” ISO exposures, then this might be a reason to rent the Adobe suite. My suspicion is that PL7 Elite does as well or better than the techniques in the video.

If you are genuinely interested in this then why don’t you take advantage of a free trial of Lightroom and find out for yourself?

such is life

:grin: :grin: :grin:

Steeve Perry is very good at taking bird shots and post processing them.
Very, very good.

A few points of clarification.

(1) When Adobe introduced pixel increase, I did try the “free trial” as I was also experimenting with the Topaz application that also added pixels not in the original raw image file. At that time, I found that the Topaz application produced a more aesthetically pleasing image than the Adobe implementation, and attempted to cancel my Adobe trial. This was not a pleasant experience as Adobe attempted to have me keep my rental (subscription) and charge me at all cost. I finally did get the Adobe sales team to allow me to discontinue the trial at no cost to me. Thus, I am not enthusiastic to repeat that experience.

(2) Perry may be very good (outstanding) at post-processing bird images in the Adobe suite. I have found no such “tutorials” using PL for the same purposes. DxO PL has experts in the use of PL who are far more expert at the use of PL than am I, and who have explained better settings than I have used. Nonetheless, I need to produce with minimal invested time per image the best images that I can submit to clients. If indeed following Perry’s tutorial for the Adobe application does produce a better result than I can get with PL7 Elite complete, I need to re-consider how I handle workflow. On the other hand, if a PL “expert” user can produce the same (or better) results in PL, then that would influence me not to re-consider that I no longer use Adobe workflow.

Found this on Youtube
Lightroom Denoise Secrets: Make ISO 12,800 Look Like ISO 400! (


In general, the better software is the one one has or hasnt, depending on personal expectations.

DOL’s approach is to only apply Deep* denoising on export, while Lightroom creates a denoised image in an additional DNG file “immediately”, after confirmation in an extra dialog. No waiting for Santa, but " instant gratification" so to speak. Both apps can be used to set denoising for better or worse.

So, which denoising is better? Both are!

“Both are”. I understand that the preview in PL, including using the PL loupe, may not be identical to what one gets in the exported JPEG (I export to JPEG for clients) – although these should be to save iterations between what one gets in reality versus in preview. It is the final result that matters. Looking at the video, I get the impression that Adobe workflow can both enhance detail and lower noise with adjustments I have not found in PL7Elite complete. I have yet to be able to use ISO 12800 and produce a result the same as ISO 400 for birds in PL. It is possible that the Adobe LR techniques being shown in the video do not in general produce the claimed results but one needs a current Adobe LR rental and detailed experience with that current application to test the techniques in the tutorial video. I had hoped that someone expert both in LR current and PL7 Elite complete current would “translate” from the LR tutorial to PL.

Ahh - That may explain why I’ve read that LR’s denoise process creates very large files (?)

not really, 40mb A7R2 .ARW can result in 80mb AI/ML NR’d .DNG after ACR… DxO PL7 will create 150mb NR’d linear DNG … so which one is very large here ?

PS: for comparison - ACR with just AI/ML demosaick and WITHOUT any NR makes 100mb DNG… so adding Adobe’s own default NR value @ 50 in ACR reduces 100mb to 80mb … quite effective compression Adobe uses nowadays

of course this is just one particular raw, but it still shows

Maybe there is a translation and maybe there isn’t. I’ve found that nr also depends on the individual image in the sense of what it shows: While we might like shiny, noiseless stamped metal (cars), suppressing noise with limestone objects might be far from ideal.

I’m not allergic to a sensible ammount of luminance noise and prefer PhotoLab’s approach of not saving intermediate behemoth files…and occasionally even add “grain” to a denoised image. But I could try to establish a translation for the challenge rather than for “better” nr. Post a link to a sample raw file (in a PM, if you’re afraid of sharing it publicly) @wildlifephoto .

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Promoting this horribly marketing material tells something about the promoter :slight_smile:

First of all, it’s quite obvious that the goal of the “tutorial” was to promote the author and the software, rather than to really teach something, so you can’t call it a tutorial.
For DPL, as a rule of thumb, choose DP XD for smoother background and more microcontrast, or choose pure DP if you prefer to retain some luma “grain”. In ISO below 10k it’s usually hard to see the difference (assuming FF camera with a good sensor). For flat, well lit subjects, with small DR and without small details, all in focus, I can safely go to ISO 200k. For headshots, ISO 30k or even 20k, may be too much (but do you need that ISO for headshots?). I use mostly DP defaults (Luminance=40 in my case), but for some types of photos I use Luminance=25 and Noise level=30, just as an example. This fine tuning is only for exceptional cases in extreme ISO. Some people in this forum use even lower Luminance values. It all depends on the camera, lens, subject, taste, customer, to name just a few.
Practice, practice…

On the other side, I’m a bit surprised that it takes so long in Lightroom to process one photo :wink: . Personally, if photo requires more than two local adjustments (excluding dust removal and optional stains treatment), I simply throw it out, since it will likely look artificial (with some exceptions, of course).

The main contenders in “AI” NR “rat’s race”, use research which was in great part published in various journals and conference papers. Some of the authors in fact work for the contenders (DxO for example), and they probably know each other very well.
So you shouldn’t expect much difference in performance, perhaps half a stop or so.
It’s a very image dependent thing and the devil sits it the NR implementation details.
There are very few people in the world who really deeply understand the topic, and certainly we can’t discuss it seriously here. The current implementations use “deep-learning” only, so there are still many funny things ahead.

The “tutorial” didn’t touch one important aspect – how well denoising settings work across the whole camera’s ISO range. If you are doing “mass production”, take for example indoor sports or weddings in poor lighting, you will quickly realize how well DP adapts to various ISO settings (for “properly” exposed photos). In DPL, I can often use the same settings across ISO 100-25k, without having too much to worry about. With good quality photo, like the one used in the “tutorial”, it’s much easier to work. Also keep in mind that NR performance depends on lens “quality” (contrast, CA), focus, …

There are many NR comparisons in the Internet, some hard to trust.
Even if the processing is fully documented, just choosing a specific subject
may have some hidden marketing goal. You have to process yourself at least several thousands of very high ISO photos to gain enough experience, to choose quickly settings which will suit you and where to look for possible artifacts.

Tutorials are only departure points, the journey is yours.
Sorry, this bombastic thing hit me again :wink:

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Thank you for the above recommendations. I was not “promoting” any application, material item, or service. However, there are MANY tutorials and preset “sets” for the Adobe suite. I develop my own presets, typically for “batch” processing for those images I will submit to a client; if the client wants additional work on the image, then I will do what I can within sensible time-limits. Most of the “tutorials” I find are for enthusiasts/prosumers, tend to “push” a product, and often “push” the “tutor”. As for the “artificial” look, etc, the results depend upon the client; for those clients whose preferences I have “discovered” from experience, I adjust the “look” to what the client wants. I realise that this is a pragmatic approach, not “artistic”; however, I will not “add” detail that is not there – eg, I will not do an Art Wolfe approach and insert an animal that was not present when I composed the image.

Yes, you have to adapt to the customer like Coca Cola did – in some countries it’s much sweeter than in other. I haven’t seen yet photographic tutorial that would take into account cultural differences, but I didn’t watched too many. Probably they would spark too many hates.

es, you have to adapt to the customer like Coca Cola did

I hear about one recent beauty contest in Japan … it seems they adapted over there

To be clear: I do not modify an image to make it into fiction, nor do I accept clients that use my work to promote things with which I have strong disagreements. In the USA, for example, these would include those who reject anthropogenic global warming or who support “wise use” environmental destruction and mass extinction.


NP, don’t worry.

Here are screenshots of the LR NR screen showing the effects at various levels as well as cropped views of 5 photos for comparison between PL and LR for noise reduction. No other adjustments were made. The PL views were processed with the default “Optical corrections only” preset and Deep Prime. The LR photos were processed with default optical corrections, 50% noise reduction and about 150% sharpening/60% masking representing “moderate” adjustments trying to get close.
The original and full DNG files, along with additional LR settings, are available for viewing at:!AjxAgDyf1Sbdgt10fsepU6EivZzGWQ?e=r2RZzL

The PL7 process was 2 steps and could be automated to a single preset. The LR process requires many more steps. and some individual evaluation. PL required 48 sec to complete the NR and file output process for the 5 files (grouped) to DNG files, whereas LR required over 2 minutes on my i-7 based PC.

The video author suggests “pre-sharpening” before noise reduction because LR presents the effects of sharpening in the noise reduction loupe window help when adjusting the amount of NR.
The video author also notes that the best candidates for NR are “tack sharp” and around large items (animals) in the frame. Duh…get it right in the camera first.

My photos were selected to represent more of my wildlife photography experience - taken from a group safari vehicle, limited time to compose the shot, and no significant control of the lighting and background. The photos are for our personal use so getting a good “snapshot” is a goal as well as some really good "keepers.

I prefer PL because the results seem at least as good as LR, and usually better, with minimal fuss at the PC. Pl has “rescued” several poorly lit shots for my needs. Any of my “keepers” are then processed further in PL and/or Photoshop.


Thank you for the practical comparison. From what you have provided, as well as my previous experience with the owned, not rental, Adobe license (for applications that now are obsolete), PL does essentially as well as or better than LR plus PS and with much less effort in post. Aside: I did not attempt to access the originals and a quick attempt to find EXIF information did not reveal the body/lens, etc, you used.