Noise has long been the dread of digital photographers. It creeps into shadows, night skies and even skin tones when you crank up the ISO. Luckily, every new DLSR that arrives seems to better handle noise from shooting at high ISO. Remember when ISO 800 was a big deal? Then came the Nikon D3 and photographers were regularly shooting at ISO 3200. I shot some assignments at ISO 6400 and produced images that looked great in magazines and brochures. Now the upper limit is over 100,000; where will it end?
But let's face it, high ISO images still have some noise. The trick is learning how to deal with this noise after shooting an indoor sporting event at ISO 6400. The lastest version of Lightroom and Photoshop have improved their noise reduction functions, but still leave the user wondering if there is a better choice of sliders settings for effective noise removal. That is not an issue with Imagenomic Noiseware.
I have been using early versions of Noiseware for years, and their current version is the best yet. Dramatically improved with a variety of noise reduction actions, Noiseware can be simple or advanced, you choose. The workflow is simple. With your image in Photoshop or Lightroom, open the Noiseware plugin. Next choose one of the many presets to get started. You might choose 'Night Scene' or 'Portrait' depending on your shot. A large preview window shows you the effect. Once you apply your preset, you have a lot of control to tweak the effect by using various adjustment sliders. Sometimes all it takes is one click, no guessing on slider amounts.
The above image was taken in an underground cistern in Istanbul at ISO 25,600 using a Nikon D800. I chose the 'Stronger Noise' option in Noiseware, and with one click my shadows went from speckled dust matter to smooth dark tones. I sharpened the image just a little, and had a decent image for handheld shooting at ISO 25.600. If you are looking for a great noise reduction option, check out Imagenomic Noiseware. It goes for $79.95.