Topaz AI 3 - denoise, sharpening and scaling

I met a friend the other day at home. He was here because he wanted to have a look at how I am using Camera Bits PhotoMechanic Plus.

It also turned out that he inspired me quite a bit to take a closer look at Topaz AI 3.
He is a bird photographer and uses it a lot for birds in flight pictures and is really impressed.

Earlier I have tested Topaz Denoise for some of my repro photographed old color slide pictures but never bought it.
It has both advantages and disadvantages compared to Photolab.
One is that it is possible to use it even for non RAW-files like JPEG-files and a draw back is that one seems to be forced to use intermediate formats like TIFF or DNG as far as I know.

My closest neighbor happens to be a Leica-photographer mainly using short focal lengths.
He says he has been waiting for a product like this.
Especially the integrated scaling will be important when cropping.

According to my visiting friend which is an old technician and still open to new tech despite he is way over 80 a program like this in many ways is able to match much of the developments we have seen both in cameras and lenses with just software like this.

The day I decide not to use Photolab any more I definitely have to replace it with something else. Despite Capture One is strong in so many aspects the noise reduction is not state of the art really. From what I have seen Topaz can be used as a plug in to Photoshop and Lightroom nicely but I haven´t seen a possibility to do that with either Photolab or Capture One.

What is your idea about this development and these alternatives?

I can highly recommend Topaz Photo AI 3.

It is capable of treating RAW and non-RAW files but, personally, I prefer to use PhotoLab for denoising, thereby forcing me to create intermediate TIFF files for printing, which is where I use Topaz mainly for resizing and sharpening.

Once again, personally, I would not use Topaz as my sole tool as, for me, it can be horrendously slow, especially if you want to sharpen selectively. It also doesn’t provide the RAW adjustments that PhotoLab does. But, for printing, which I do a lot of, up to A0, both for myself and other photographers’ exhibitions, I cannot recommend it strongly enough. I am getting comments from other photographers who think my prints come from Large Format originals.

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Thanks for your input Joanna. Scaling seems very impressive.

Nothing to be surprised of really that 16 bit TIFF will get very big and slow if the source is your high res. NEF.

I think one of my last TIFF was over 400 MB from an ARW 33 Mpixel

Big TIFF-files are notoriously slow and demanding.

Topaz Photo AI is nice but it’s not a replacement for Photolab; I use it in addition to PL. Photo Ai doesn’t have the control over shadows and highlights and contrast and color etc. that PL has. I use Topaz simply for sharpening and the occasional upsizing.

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Me too generally. Since I always start with RAW-files and Deep Prime XD. From what I have seen Topaz Denoise sometimes gives strange artifact patterns that I hardly ever see with Deep Prime XD.

… but compared to Photolab i think Topaz Sharpen often is better. Especially some of my old pictures have been taken with lenses unsupported with profiles and then you are there stuck with old and poor “Unsharp mask”.

Deep Prime XD doesn´t work with JPEG-oroginals either and in cases like that Topaz is a far better choice i think

I´m not either i big fan of working with poorly integrated external software (that needs TIF or DNG) whether it is DXO NIC Collection or something else but one thing surprised me and that is how well Topaz integrates with Photolab as a plug in. Since I didn´t first understand how to do that I asked Microsoft Bing Coopilot how to.

In fact it is just to “Export to Application” and add the search path to Topaz AI 3 (the one one chooses will be remembered until next time). That exports a TIFF or DNG to the same folder as the RAW and then open it in Topaz. After some editing there the TIFF will be visible again with the updates made in Topaz. It is pretty easy and streamlines after all.

  1. Install Topaz Photo AI Plugins:
  • Topaz Photo AI integrates with various image editing software. Some plugins install automatically, while others require manual installation.
  • The following plugins install automatically:
    • Lightroom Classic
    • Photoshop & Photoshop Elements
    • Capture One
    • Apple Photos
  • These plugins require manual installation:
    • Affinity Photo
    • Other Applications
    • Command Line Interface
  • Troubleshooting information is also available1.
  1. Workflow with DxO PhotoLab and Topaz Plugins: