NoiseControl ($50 / $30):
This result was achieved with a bit of fine-tuning after
auto sampling. As you can see the noise was removed successfully
while keeping all details crisp and sharp.
No other tool in this test
allows so much control over the denoising parameters as
NoiseControl, which is another reason why NoiseControl
produced such a superior result. NoiseControl is also
able to preserve the most image details without side-effects.
You can also achieve a softer
look with NoiseControl if you like. Here we kept a very
fine grain structure with as many tiny details as possible.
This also retains the photographic quality of the image.
Photoshop's Reduce Noise filter:
Even with extreme settings
this filter leaves a lot of noise in the image. It is
still possible to increase the noise reduction a bit,
but then the details get quite blurred.
Surprisingly Photoshop's Reduce
Noise filter is not as bad as we first thought - it even
produces better results than many of the tools below -
but it is no match for NoiseControl.
Reduction feature of Camera Raw/Lightroom:
Both tools use the same algorithm and offer five sliders
for noise reduction and four for sharpening.
If you want to keep more
image details, you need to use a higher Detail slider
setting, which adds artifacts as shown here. If you want
to avoid the artifacts, a lower Detail slider setting
makes the image quite soft and plastic-like.
Either way it does not manage
to preserve as many image details as NoiseControl. Its
sharpening adds back or emphasizes the artifacts.
Paint Shop Pro's Digital Camera
Noise Removal filter:
This tool automatically evaluates
the noise and offers four sliders for adjustment and a
It does not manage to sufficiently
remove the color noise and manual adjustments do not improve
the situation. It lets you produce a less soft look than
here, but that also returns the noise. Sharpening produces
This tool does the denoising
automatically and only offers two sliders for adjusting
the denoising parameters, which do not really let you
essentially improve the result. There are options for
special noise types, but that does not help either. There
is no sharpening option, so the noise gets amplified again
when using an external tool.
The denoising result is soft,
although much less noise was removed than in the NoiseControl
This tool only offers two sliders
adjusting the denoising. There is a sharpening feature
that works fine.
The result exhibits an obtrusive smudged
color noise pattern, which does not really look attractive.
This tool takes quite long to
start up, does not offer automatic denoising, but a lot
of sliders and a few presets.
It forces you to make a bad compromise
between a smeared result (as seen here) or a noisy look
with artifacts. Additionally, as you can see here, the
color noise is still very visible and distracting. It
is certainly one of the worst results in this test.
$40 - $80 Tool:
This tool offers automatic denoising
as well as adjustment options, but not as many as NoiseControl.
There is a sharpening option, but it tends to add line
artifacts along the edges. The UI of this tool is a bit
inconvenient to use.
Even at full intensity quite some
color noise is retained. The details are smoothed a bit.
It does not reach the denoising effectivity of NoiseControl.
This tool offers a lot of
features, but is quite unintuitive and hard to use. Its
sharpening feature tends to add a mosaic pattern to the
It is possible to remove
more noise, but then the details get too soft. So too
keep image details you have to keep some of the noise.
This tool offers a good performance on average, but not
as good as NoiseControl.
is intuitive to use and includes many features. Still,
the four sliders for influencing the denoising parameters
did not help at all. The sharpening adds strong artifacts
along the edges, so it is better to omit it.
the details were preserved fine, too much coarse noise
was retained in the image. Especially the remaining color
noise is obtrusive.
Both tools from the same company contain
one slider for denoising. Overall, both apply a similar
denoising, which is quite ineffective and produces ugly
tool forces you to run itself two times, because it does
not apply luminance and color denoising at the same time.
denoising seems to work OK, but luminance denoising is
tool offers no auto and sharpening functions, only a few
sliders. The UI is simple but a bit clumsy.
noise seems to be removed fine, but the color noise is
still very visible as a coarse pattern. The details are
a bit soft.