If you are looking for noise reduction software, really there is no need to look further than Topaz DeNoise. It is what I use and I love it. It is truly awesome noise reduction software.
First let me explain, what is noise? Noise in digital photographs is a term used to describe a visual distortion similar to "grain" found in film photographs. Although grain is sometimes a desired effect, noise looks like pixelated discoloration and is definitely not wanted in photographs. As sensor technology has gotten better and the in camera processing has become more capable, noise has become less of an issue for today's digital cameras and the average photographer.
However, no matter how good digital cameras get there will always be noise. Noise is still very much a problem when shooting at low light, or at a high ISO and when processing HDR (high dynamic range) photos. When creating HDR images you often create some, or a lot, of noise in your photos, especially the sky or at night.
Getting rid of noise is easy, you can blur your image and the noise will disappear. Before the development of decent noise reduction software we did just that, if a blue sky had a lot of noise you could use the smudge tool and painstaking blur the offending skyline. However a blurry image generally isn't the goal. The goal is a noise free, clear, crisp image.
Enter Topaz DeNoise - Noise Reduction Software
Topaz created a powerful noise reducing tool called DeNoise. It is easy to use but needs to be used with a compatible host program such as Photoshop, Lightroom, or iPhoto.
How does it work? I'm not sure, but according to Topaz's website:
"DeNoise generates a custom full-resolution noise profile for each image it processes. This makes it surprisingly accurate at finding the difference between noise and detail - often even more accurate than humans!
Other software either use pre-built noise profiles or only look at a very small section of the image. Although the DeNoise technology is much slower, you'll forget all about speed when you see the image quality of the final results."
Adding noise reduction software is a huge time saver and using Topaz DeNoise gives you less noise, more detail and really gives your photos a professional finishing touch.
Easy to Use
The control panel is extremely easy to use. You can start with the presets that run down the left hand side of the panel. DeNoise can be used with any type of image file from JPEG to RAW/PSD/TIFF. There are 12 presets starting with JPEG - light going all the way to RAW - strongest with debanding.
On the right hand panel is where you find specific adjustments. You can get the exact look that you want by using the sliders under Noise Reduction, Detail Recovery, and the Debanding drop down menus.
That is it, no harder than that. In most cases I have found that the presets have done a great job of analyzing the image and getting the adjustment just right.
DeNoise in Action
Lets take a look at how good DeNoise is at reducing noise.
This is a photo I took at night in South Beach, Miami. Unfortunately it was an extremely busy street with no chance to use a tripod. So I had to up the ISO and hand hold my camera, when you click on the image, you can see there is far too much noise and it is distracting.
So I ran this image through DeNoise and used the Raw - stronger preset.
You can see that DeNoise eliminated most of the noise.
Here is a before and after view.
Topaz DeNoise gives you the peace of mind to raise your ISO without fear of ruining your photos.
I have used other noise reduction software in the past but since I picked up Topaz DeNoise I can honestly say it is the only one I use. I highly recommend downloading a copy and giving it a try. It will improve your images.