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Can anyone recommend some good noise removal tools, free and commercial? Should support RAW and JPEG. Are certain tools better than others in particular situations? Do some integrate better with other software? Do plugins or stand-alone dedicated NR programs work significantly better than the noise reduction built in to RAW converters?

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You've gotten lots of good answers. What I did was download the trial versions of Noise Ninja, Noiseware, and one other whose name currently escapes me. What I found was that if tweaking the noise reduction settings in Adobe Camera Raw came very, very close to what any of these packages could offer. I bought Noiseware when I needed to apply NR in batch to hundreds of different photos shot in different conditions. It was a money vs. time decision. Noiseware fits nicely into my workflow with custom Photoshop actions, and I already had experience with Portraiture, made by the same company. –  Eric May 10 '12 at 0:12
    
Another point in Noiseware's favor is that when I upgraded to a 64-bit OS and 64-bit Photoshop, I could download the 64-bit version of Noiseware for free. At the time, Noise Ninja wanted extra money to move to the 64-bit version. –  Eric May 10 '12 at 0:13

12 Answers 12

I think Topaz Denoise and Imagenomic Noiseware are the best. I wrote a thorough review on the previous Topaz Denoise (It's in Hebrew, yet Google Translation makes it readable and understandable in English). It should be even better now (Version 4).

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Cost? Is there a freeware version or trial? –  Joel in Gö Jul 16 '10 at 8:00
    
Both of them cost money. Both of them have a 30 days trial. Go to: topazlabs.com Or imagenomic.com Enjoy. –  Drazick Jul 16 '10 at 8:04
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i've used topaz denoise too - it's very impressive –  Danny Edmunds Nov 8 '10 at 11:09

Don't know about "best" but I quite like NeatImage. Windows 32/64 and Mac OS X, with plugins for Photoshop and Aperture. Prices start at $29.90/€24.90 and there's also a Demo edition.

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I've had good results with NeatImage, but now that my workflow has moved to Lightroom I just use that. –  Dave Van den Eynde Jul 16 '10 at 10:50
    
I'm with Dave Van den Eynde. I have NeatImage, and it works well, but after moving to LR3, I rarely use any specific NR tools other than those that LR3 provides. –  Conor Boyd Nov 8 '10 at 19:20

I use Noise Ninja. I don't have any experience with the other so I'm not sure how to compare it, but it did seem relatively easy to use, albeit a little overwhelming in terms of features and controls offered. I think the home standalone is around $35. You can buy plug in versions for photoshop, etc as well.

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Noise Ninja comes built-in with Bibble. –  Reid Jul 16 '10 at 13:29
    
What is Bibble? –  reuscam Jul 16 '10 at 13:35
    
Bibble is a RAW editor, I used it a while (v4 and v5) before switching to LR. See bibblelabs.com –  Marc Jul 16 '10 at 15:05
    
In case Bibble's web site disappears, Bibble was bought out by Corel in January, 2012 and is now being sold as AfterShot Pro. –  Blrfl May 12 '12 at 20:27

If you shoot Canon, their "Digital Photo Professional" software that comes with the cameras actually has a pretty decent noise removal tool.

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the link is pointing to 404 page, perhaps Canon changed it –  akram May 9 '12 at 20:52
    
Canon apparently did remove that page, and they don't seem to have replaced it with any other information. I've updated the link to point to Wikipedia instead. –  chills42 May 10 '12 at 17:47
    
yeah I tried to look for a link in Canon's website but couldn't find any –  akram May 10 '12 at 18:05

Noise removal tools are mostly based on the wavelet denoise technique.

You can get a good wavelet denoise plugin for Gimp
Gimp wavelt denoise plugin

This allows you to independently adjust noise reduction in the Y, Cb and Cr channels

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Lightroom 3 is pretty good lately.

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+1 Look into lightroom, I read several reviews now of people ditching Noise Ninja because lightroom has gotten that good and its more integrated. –  Shizam Nov 8 '10 at 16:35
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+1 for Lightroom 3. With LR2, their noise reduction was pretty poor, but LR3 really pushes the envelope. I've been able to clean up some very badly noisy images shot at ISO1600 that couldn't be fixed before. –  jrista Nov 8 '10 at 20:45
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Another +1 for LR3. Having got so used to Lightroom's workflow, I've become increasingly reluctant to have to go to the effort of sparking up an external NR product (whether standalone or as a PS plugin), yet with LR3, I now am perfectly comfortable shooting my Canon 350D at ISO800 and higher (when circumstances require it) knowing that LR3 will still be able to work wonders. –  Conor Boyd Nov 9 '10 at 3:15

I've had decent results with DxO Optics Pro. I hadn't heard of NeatImage, but that looks pretty good, too.

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well this answer maybe too late since the question was asked from almost a year but for the sake of others who will search this website looking for a noise removal tool, I do really recommend Noiseware from Imagenomic. In my opinion, it's the best noise removal tool so far and it doesn't degrade the photo sharpness a lot. It's in version 5 now.

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Another late answer. I find the noise adjuster in Capture NX2 very good, so I should imagine that the same company's Dfine 2.0 would be worth a free 15 day trial. It allows you to apply noise reduction where you want it which makes it easy to eliminate noise in your some areas of your images while maintaining detail and sharpness overall.

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I recently purchased Nik Dfine 2.0 and I am really impressed with the results. It does a really good job of removing noise while still keeping sharp details in the image. It performs extremely much better than the noise reduction in Aperture 3.

You can get it as a plugin for Photoshop, Lightroom, and Aperture. There is a 15 day trial so you can try it out.

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Here's a link to the User Manual for version 3.12 of Canon's Digital Photo Professional.

http://gdlp01.c-wss.com/gds/1/0300009841/01/dpp312-11w-en.pdf

(I don't yet have enough reputation to add comments to someone else' answer.)

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CreamyPhotos is really easy to use. There is no trial limit for their free version and the quality of their reduction algorithm is also noticeably better than lightroom and noise ninja.

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Please see the help page on self-promotion. If you are affiliated with this software, you're welcome to participate but must disclose that link. Also, I can't help but notice that your reference for "noticeably better" is on the software's own site, which probably isn't without bias. –  mattdm Jul 12 '13 at 18:12

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