Noise Reduction in Photo Editing | Mediachance AI Noise Reduction vs ON1 NoNoise AI
Noise reduction in photo editing is becoming more and more important as photographers push ISO and distance in their shooting. In a previous article I looked at the overall offering from Mediachance with its AI Photo & Art Enhancer for photo editing. In this second article, I want to focus on noise reduction in photo editing and for this I am going to compare Mediachance Ai Noise Reduction with the 2023 version of ON1 NoNoise AI.
Everyone is talking about noise reduction software for photo editing and all of the big players in the photo-editing scene offer such tools. ON1 PhotoRAW 2023 includes NoNoise AI within it’s core application, Topaz offer DeNoise Ai (currently at $80), Luminar Neo have just released Noiseless Ai as part of their extensions pack and Dxo offer Deep Prime. There are of course a miriad of others including offerings from Affinity Photo and Photoshop.
I have chosen ON1 NoNoise Ai to compare Mediachance AI Noise Reduction against because it is a 2nd generation application, orignally launched with ON1 PhotoRAW 2021, and is packed with the latest technology. This might not be considered fair as Mediachance AI Noise Reduction is a relatively simple tool but it;s worth seeing how the two stack up against each other? After all, to get access to ON1 NoNoise you have to pay a lot more than you will for Mediachance AI Noise Reduction!
Noise Reduction for Photo Editing | Some Examples
For the first example I have used an image taken with a Lumix GX-80. The original RAW image was shot at ISO 25,600 so is a good candidate for this comparison. Since Mediachance AI Noise Reduction doesn’t work with RAW files I have started with a jpeg. It is a pretty noisy start point!
Firstly, here are the results for Original Image vs Ai Noise Reduction from Mediachance
And here are the results from ON1 NoNoise AI on the same image
With regards to the first image of the people in the town setting, I tend to prefer the results obtained from ON1 PhotoRAW 2023 NoNoise AI. However, I don’t think that there is an awful lot in it either way. My choice focuses on the way that ON1 NoNoise Ai has handled elements such as rain on cars, pavements etc as well as the skin tones. I just feel that these are marginally better than the results from Mediachance AI Noise Reduction. In such circumstances it is difficult for the software to differentiate rain etc from noise and I have seen some aweful results for expensive software.
Skin is also a difficult area for noise reduction. Too much processing and everyone looks plasticy. It should also be noted that ON1 NoNoise AI has various options to reduce the detail and sharpening applied and this will help improve this type of image enourmously. Here I just allowed ON1 NoiNoise AI to use it’s defaults as this is the only option available for Mediachance AI Noise Reduction. This seemed to be a fairer comparison.
Two different types of image
In this next image by photographer Tom Magliery which we are displaying here under a Creative Commons usage licence, we have some colour noise which should give us an opportunity to see how Mediachance AI Noise Reduction copes with something a little easier.
In this image there are no “difficult” elements to worry about, We just have some colour noise to deal with. Here, the Mediachance software has handled the task really well and there’s no obvious degradation other than a little softness of the image even when you zoom right in.
In this next image, this time from photographer Bernard Spragg provided under a Public Domain usage licence, we have a fabulous photo of a Blue-and-yellow Macaw, also known as the Blue-and-gold Macaw. Again, noise is relatively light but noticable in the background, eye and feathers.
While AI Noise Reduction has reduced noise in this image, for example the eye is sharp and the background noise is reduced, overall the image lacks clarity especially in the definition of the feathers. If we compare this to what ON1 NoNoise can achieve, we can see the differences quite starkly.
Noise reduction and image clarity for photo editing is both relative and subjective. For street scenes some degradation in image quality is almost expected while in wildlife photography, all that really matters is image IQ. Photographers working in this genre are often faced with high ISO images that need major upscaling in post and therefore access to the very best noise reduction tools is a pre-requisite for success. For this reason, Topaz Gigapixel is often considered as “the one to beat” although there are others of course that compete well.
While I think that Medichance AI Noise Reduction has it’s place, the results obtained are probably not good enough for photographers looking for overall clarity of results. While this software does depress noise in the image it does so by muting detail and this is not what the majority of photographers are looking for.
Want to try Mediachance AI Noise Reduction for yourself? It’s part of the AI Photo & Art Enhancer software toolkit so head on over and download a free copy. The only limitation is that exprted results include a watermark.
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