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DPP Noise Reduction Settings

Christof Spitz , Jan 04, 2007; 06:12 a.m.

I wonder how those of you who use Canon's DPP set the settings for noise reduction (NR) when converting files from RAW. There are three settings:

* suppress luminance noise: no, low, high * suppress chroma noise: no, low, high

* suppress chroma noise (no RAW): no, low, high

(sorry, I have the German version, but I think you know what I mean).

I suppose the third option has no effect when converting from RAW (?).

For the first two, I set both to "no" if the pic is shot with ISO <=200, both to "low" if ISO is between 400 and 800, and "high" if ISO = 1600. But this is the result of guessing, without really knowing what's going on there.

I have a 400D (DRebel XTi).

Any hints are appreciated. Thanks, Christof


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Juergen Sattleru , Jan 04, 2007; 07:24 a.m.

Hello Christof,

I do all noise reduction in PS using NoiseNinja - the same is true for sharpening. Pretty much the only thing I use DPP for is White Balance adjustments, Picture Style and Exposure variations (I only shoot RAW). The rest is better done in PS (at least that's what works best or me)

Ronaldo R , Jan 04, 2007; 07:39 a.m.

I use DPP for everything except image rotation (horizon straightening etc). I hardly ever used its NR features. I find my 20D sensor so good that it doesn't need NR even at ISO 1600.

My recommendation: Leave both NR settings (luminance & chroma) OFF, except if you have an underexposed ISO 1600 image. Then you can experiment.

You definitely don't need any NR for ISO 400 and 800 - if your images are correctly exposed.

Alan Pain , Jan 04, 2007; 08:36 a.m.

I did a few comparisons when I got my 400D (XTi) a month or so back. In summary, I leave the NR features OFF in DPP unless I have shot at either iso 800 and underexposed, or at iso 1600. I would say however that a well exposed iso 1600 shot remains highly useable at A3 size even without the NR.

I think, from other forum threads, that a dedicated NR program is likely to yield even better results. (Also I do most of my post RAW conversion adjustements in PS - I only use DPP for exposure compensation, white balance and occasional NR).

I'd recommend that you take a test shot and try the settings to see what suits you best?

Jim Huddle , Jan 04, 2007; 10:18 a.m.

When I see comments about how clean everyone's images are it worries me. I see visible noise in my 30D images even at ISO 200. I am not used to seeing this level of noise from my Minolta 7D DSLR and I worry that something might be wrong with my neo 30D. Look at the bottom of this shot and tell me what you think. This was not cropped at all. Just resized and saved as a jpg. One USM pass at 50%,.5,0 http://www.pbase.com/jhuddle/image/72466350.jpg

Another one with only a tad bit of cropping: http://www.pbase.com/jhuddle/image/72135162.jpg

Both of these have not had the exposure adjusted.

Should I be worried.

This is the kind of noise free image I am used to from the Minolta:


Steve Dunn , Jan 04, 2007; 01:03 p.m.

The lack of control over noise reduction in DPP is one of the reasons I don't DPP. ACR lets me tailor the noise reduction, both in finer steps, and on an image-by-image basis. Even two perfectly-exposed images of different scenes at the same ISO can need different noise reduction settings. Deeper shadows tend to show more noise, so lower-contrast scenes often need less NR than higher-contrast scenes. Areas with texture (e.g. the rough, mossy rocks in this image; this image is too small to show the texture but you can imagine what it would look like) can make noise less noticeable, as it can come across as part of the texture rather than as noise.

As for what constitutes a normal or acceptable amount of noise, that's like asking what constitutes a normal or acceptable amount of grain in a film. I was more anal than the average person about film grain, easily finding grain in 4x6" prints from films that some other people would say were virtually grain-free in 8x10" enlargements. So I'm not surprised that I would disagree strongly with a statement that 20D images at 1600 or 800, or even 400, never require noise reduction if the shot is correctly exposed. The statement that noise levels are acceptable at these ISOs is more of a judgment call, and depends on subject matter and enlargement size. I have had images at 100 that have needed NR because they were high-contrast images and I've pulled up some shadow detail (that I couldn't have pulled up at exposure time because it would have resulted in blown highlights), and I've had images at 800 that have needed little or no NR.

Brian Pape , Jan 04, 2007; 01:04 p.m.

Jim, you are introducing many variables into this equation.

Are you shooting JPG or RAW? If you're shooting RAW, you're not taking advantage of the camera's internal post-capture noise reduction algorithms, so a RAW file will always look "noisier" than a jpeg.

On the other hand, you will get more blocking and blotching with a jpeg, especially noticeable in smoothly gradated areas of the picture.

Sharpening before noise reduction will enhance the existing noise that is present in the photo.

Resizing will generally reduce the visible noise, often allowing a resize of an ISO 800 or 1600 photo to look quite good without additional noise reduction.

The severity of the recompression of the photo will affect what one perceives as visible noise.

Generally, with the 350d/20d/30d, I start to notice objectionable noise in a properly exposed RAW file at 100% crop at ISO 400. With the 400d, I sometimes see a bit more shadow noise than with the 8MP sensors.

Looking at your example pictures, it appears that the picture of the kestrel is extremely over-sharpened.

The noise in the owl picture looks to be primarly jpeg recompression artifacts.

Your Minolta may do heavier in-camera noise reduction, but it's hard to tell with resizes, etc.

You'd have to provide maximum quality 100% crops to make much of a determination as to the cause of the "noise" in each photo- where it's introduced, where it's enhanced, where it's removed.

Lester Wareham , Jan 04, 2007; 01:07 p.m.

I do my NR Photoshop. Going from RAW I use the RAW conversion colour noise reduction if required. Once I have it in photoshop I do luminance noise reduction using a gaussian blue layer with a surface mask generated using TRL actions. I can then paint the surface mask as needed to increase or reduce the local NR effect.

I find this gives me more control than noise ninja and fits better with my work flow.

Lester Wareham , Jan 04, 2007; 01:09 p.m.

Additionally I do masked capture sharpnening using a TRL action to generate the edge mask. If I need I can then modify the sharpening mask also. As pointed out above simple overall sharpening will add a lot of noise.

Ronaldo R , Jan 04, 2007; 06:36 p.m.

Amazing bits in this thread that caught my eye:

"...I see visible noise in my 30D images even at ISO 200..."

"...easily finding grain in 4x6" prints from films that... grain-free in 8x10" enlargements..."

That's nothing, I saw a movie with a kid who could "see dead people".

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