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Please Improve noise reduction to modern standards

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81 comments

  • Kurt Aulbjerg

    NEED to se the result of noise reduction at all zoom levels

    12
  • BeO
    Top Commenter

    Yes, at all zoom levels. If there are performance concerns then pls. make it configurable for the user.

    9
  • Gourmetglow

    I would absolutely love C1 to have a feature comparable to the denoise on Lr, it’s definitely holding the programme back from its main competitor and I feel that it would absolutely level up the gap, bringing C1 to the forefront. At the moment editing low light images is pretty difficult

    5
  • Thomas D.

    This is one of the most important things in photo processing today.

    I use a workaround via two applications that complement each other wonderfully.

    The advantage is that you can do what you want with the images but that the light is no longer so important.

    Currently I can go up to ISO 25600 during weddings but as described I currently need two applications for this.

    Apart from that, there is no A.I. software that can de-noise images of a Phase One back well (I mean pre-de-noise, so that you can process the images as RAW).

    The important thing is that the images can be denoised on import, or at an intermediate step, so that they already look good during processing.

     

    4
  • Danny Batista

    Hey Christian, I think most people are a little thrown off by the preview not matching the final export. It's definitely odd to have to export the image to confirm the final ouput looks how you're expecting instead of just approving of the preview and being confident that you'll get what you see when exporting.

    4
  • Curtis P

    Lately I shoot primarily wildlife in low light and have a lot of high ISO noise in my images. I have to start with Topaz software and export a DNG before working in C1 because of the poor noise algorithms implemented in C1.  By this point the colors in the DNG have been determined by Topaz, essentially ruining the best feature of C1 (i.e. the color science). 

    Please C1, compete with Adobe and Topaz and impliment an AI-based noise reduction algorithm that the user can enable by choice, i.e. the user can decide to enable or not, particularly if they have suitable GPU.

    4
  • Raymond Harrison

    To me, I’d characterize this thread as “most agree that noise reduction can and should be improved in C1”. I think the difference in opinion might be on scale and of course, everyone comes to the table with different priorities on what they want the very limited resources of Capture One (the company) to focus on. To me, start with “improving” and then go from there.

    Right now, there’s not a competing package that does what Capture One does. It’s exceptional. Additionally, I shoot a fair number of systems (I never switch, I just add 😀) and use a fair number of third-party tools outside of C1 such as Helicon, Photomatix and PT GUI (and would do this even if I used Lr). Those tools are the best at what they do. If I had an atrociously noisy image that Capture One couldn’t handle, I’d use DxO, maybe Topaz - I own both. I’d like the space between what Capture One can handle and what I need DxO for to get narrower. If it could handle 100% of my horribly noisy images 80% of the time, that’d be fantastic. It can handle maybe 50%-60% of such images today. There’s no software today that makes high ISO (high gain / noise) shooting “penalty free”. We still need to understand our cameras, what they can and can’t do and what their limits are (they all have limits). We need to operate in those limits and if we’re going to push or exceed them, then understand those characteristics too. I don’t care for Lr’s recent noise reduction for the cameras I shoot with (at least default settings). Topaz is OK, DxO is OK, but a lot of that is subjective between the two (to me).

    As a developer, I usually roll my eyes with the phrase from someone that usually begins with “it would be easy to…” but I’ll say 😎…it would be [relatively] easy to close the gap to something more acceptable for a broader range of images given modern techniques. Capture One doesn’t, to me, need to chase every edge case there is - that way lies insanity and not a lot of return on investment for them.

    If there’s a quick-ish win for a reasonable amount of gain and efficient use of developer time, then take it.

    More than anything, I’d love for them to toss zendesk or whatever they’re using on this site and get a proper feature request ecosystem in place. Now THAT would be awesome.

    4
  • Ric Cohn

    Another example of how far CaptureOne is falling. I'm depending more and more on taking the time to go to a separate application for noise reduction. Now that LR has introduced NR for free there is one more reason to consider abandoning C1 for all except on-set capture (and I understand LR is getting better at that as well). I hope C1 steps up its game.

    3
  • FirstName LastName

    Current batch of AI photo editing softwares on the market provided much more capable noise reduction / image sharpen abilities than C1 "noise reduction" offering. C1 noise reduction feature are really are far behind than LR, Topaz, etc. For the prize that C1 charges, need to move fast to improve NR ability to remain competitive with Adobe and others.

    3
  • Christian G
    Product Manager

    Hi Tino, 

    Thank you for the request.

    Are you talking about what you see in the Viewer (Preview/Proxy) or in the final processed output (jpeg/tiff etc) ? 

    2
  • Danny Batista

    Made a mention of this years ago. Glad to see it being logged. I use Topaz De-Noise now in Photoshop and it's integrated well with my full circle workflow from C1 to PS and Back to C1. Would be nice to have in C1 though obviously.

    2
  • Thomas D.

    Ric Cohn

    C1 is still far superior to me than LR.

    Because i don't even need to look on the interface to process an image, i just use my keyboard or a seperate controller.

    ___

    Because of the denoising, the evolving process is just fasten up and special models are already in the making (the others just don't sleep).

    Since i'm using DxOs AI denoising (twice as fast as Adobe's) since 2020, i don't know if i should care about C1 lacking of it, because there is no problem with this, but who knows how long DxO and C1 stay in the game.

    But i would like to see how C1 would do the process, i'm very interested in the technology and would do it myself if i could.

     

     

     

    2
  • Tino Nettling

    The noise reduction in C1 was state of the art until AI denoising came around.

    Ryan Johnson

    No, simply no. The denoise was always the weakest part in C1. I'm writing since years to them to improve it, but nothing happens.

    The denoising is so bad that it actually makes the images worse than better. If i have images that need denoising  i always have to rely on external tools. 

    About the the other issue you mention - i suggest to leave that out of this denoise topic and as i understand these are also important issues, so it would be great to make a separate topic for this! 

    2
  • Tino Nettling

    Ryan Johnson

    i tried over the time  denoising  capabilities of basically all major apps. Lightroom has always been better 

    I made just now again a quick comparison... please don't tell me that you find C1 denoise better

    https://magentacloud.de/s/rHZx37S7HFQYbr7

    (i haven't used the AI denoise of LR, just the normal denoise setting)

     

    This is the topic about "Improve denoise quality". I really don't get why you are discussing other topics. 
    I'm not saying anything about priorities. Thats up to the Capture One Team and the community to vote. 
    Please create a new topic with the issue you mentioned. 

     

     

    2
  • David Michael Jacobs

    I guess it's not me. I tried using C1 noise reduction and I wasn't satisfied. Picked up Topaz Photo AI and it wasn't much better. As of the big 2.0 update, it smokes! Topaz still has a big issue with recognizing Canon's version of the DNG file, CR3. I'm sure there are those who have cameras made by other manufacturers who are experiencing the same issue. Have to take the extra step and convert the file to a 16 bit TIFF. Too bad C1 doesn't have noise reduction as good as, if not better than Topaz, Lightroom does. But C1 is way better than Lightroom for editing RAW files. It would be nice to have great noise reduction within C1, so it wouldn't be necessary to look elsewhere.

    2
  • David Michael Jacobs

    With Topaz Photo AI v2, the result, right out of the box, is way better than C1. I'm hoping C1 will update its noise reduction, so it won't be necessary to purchase additional apps.

    2
  • Brian Jordan
    Moderator

    I continue to be completely blown away by this thread.  Topaz does 3 things.  Sharpen, Upscale, and DeNoise.  That's it.  And its DeNoise provides diminishing returns on most photos compared to basic NR from most editors, Capture One included.  

    Could Capture One's noise reduction be better?  Sure.  Is it fair to Capture One or even reasonable to this community to make comparisons verses a tool that specializes in literally 3 things?  I think not.  Specialist tools will always handle edge cases better.  That's their sole purpose and value proposition.  Lightroom's AI noise reduction?  Yeah, it works.  Sometimes.  Mostly I see it as a marketing ploy.  If we're honest with ourselves, it's not an improvement for most photos and, frankly, costs too much time in round-trip to even try most of the time - at least in my experience.  I own all 3 of them.  I only touch Topaz when I have really crap photos that I need to salvage.  An edge case.  Lightroom?  I've got LR because I need PS on occasion.  Even if LR had the very best NR imaginable, all the other things it leaves on the table vs Capture One (for me) means it's till a non-starter.  Instead of improving color management, tone mappings, their own horrible catalog, they do AI because woooooooooooow, AI. It's like a magician showing you where he didn't put the red ball.

    I think we're all better off to request and expect reasonable improvements in noise reduction for the 80% of photos and have Capture One focus resources on problems core to the majority of users.  Regression bugs.  Catalog optimization. Better healing tools. Etc.  It's simply not reasonable to expect any one or any thing to be better than every other alternative 100% of the time.  Again, could it be better?  Sure.  Is sticking Topaz up as our goalpost reasonable or helpful?  I think that only sets us up for disappointment.

    I posit that a better use of our time is to back out of the shadows at 300% and enjoy our photos.

    2
  • Brian Jordan
    Moderator

    No.  That's not what I said and I tried to be very careful to get that point across.  C1 definitely does need to up the noise reduction available to us.  However, I see Topaz tossed about as the baseline for improvement.  I personally feel that holding that up as the goalpost is counterproductive.  Topaz is a specialist product that does that and very little else.  Furthering their NR algorithms receives the bulk of company funding (I think likely).  

    Here, a corollary, if I may:  My son plays a video game.  A bunch of players were looking at and requesting a feature from a different and only slightly similar game.  Same genre; different gameplay loop.  This game rolled out something along that vein but different.  More in line with their gameplay.  A vocal set of players tanked review sites and discussion boards because they didn't get this other thing over there that, most players at least, didn't need and believe would have come at the expense of core gameplay.  The net result was hurt feelings on all sides.

    Similarly, I think Topaz PhotoAI or DeNoiseAI dominates the discussion here and maybe detracts from what most of us really want and need. Frankly, I'd rather Capture One give me a DeNoise algorithm that works for most of my photos while also addressing other issues.  I'm no white knight here.  But having come from a developer background and understanding bandwidth, I'd have preferred my users tell me they want and need a loaf of bread rather than the whole bakery - unless the whole bakery was the absolute requirement.

    This is my personal opinion and I'm as entitled to it and my ability to voice it as is anyone else here. I put it out there specifically because this is a discussion.

    2
  • Raymond Harrison

    This is a great discussion and is applicable across the board to other similar feature requests (an example being any request with “AI” in the title). Usually it is accompanied by comparing it to a competitor like Adobe or DxO or, in this case, Topaz. I agree that we all want improved noise handling or more masking options but expecting them to be like a competitor’s is going to lead to disappointment. I point to HDR and Pano. Even though these are useful features and add value, they do get panned, at least sometimes, for not being “like” another tool. Do they need work? Sure, but that gets buried, to me, in the other noise. I’m worried about the initial release of AI-based masking, not because it won’t work, but because it won’t be like Adobe’s, at least to start.

    My day job is software development and we do a lot of AI-based work, and it’s not a magical elixir, I can assure you. It’s just a tool (a very good one, of course) with a lot of marketing weight behind it. There’s no penalty-free photography where you can shoot in any light level you choose. We just choose what is an acceptable result and need our tools to help get us there.

    I’m all for better noise handling from C1. I prefer they do it with their “Capture One point of view”. I use the tool because I like it and their POV. Cost and license type is of no concern to me in the grand scheme of photography related expenses.

    So give me a loaf of bread that’s better than before. 😀

    2
  • Jochen Wüst

    After using C1 for years I must now say that I agree with Tino regarding the noise reduction topic. At least conditionally. I don't know why, but if I export images in their original resolution, they turn out pretty darn good (even when shot at high ISO). However, as soon as I export an image scaled down (to, say, something like 1200px or 1500px on the long edge), the result for some reason appears to be much more noisy than the original res. viewed at 100%! Which basically makes no sense, since the noise should become less visible when an image is scaled down. But it's a fact that I have to deal with and I don't like it. It gets even more weird: If I export the finished & denoised image as a 16bit TIFF, then re-import that TIFF again and export a 1200px JPEG from that TIFF, then I finally end up with something that looks like the result I would have wanted / expected right from the start when exporting a smaller version from the edited RAW.

    2
  • Den Denyer

    Right now I'm batch processing C1 output through Topaz AI - It's not *too* bad a workflow thanks at least to the fact that the developers at Topaz implemented reasonable batch controls, but it's certainly a step I'd rather not have to take!

    2
  • Danny Batista

    First name Last Name, why are you starting in topaz. The proper workflow is start your raws in capture one, do all raw workflow, right click and edit in photoshop for all your retouching workflow AND use topaz as a plugin. OR if you’re against photoshop, then just export the finished raw and then open in topaz for the final denoising. While I agree that c1 denoising is awful, your workflow is backwards here. Trust me, instead of waiting for c1 denoise improvements, swap your workflow and you won’t be upset each time you work on a photo

    1
  • Danny Batista

    But that’s what I mean - do all lens correction, local raw adjustments, exposure balancing, color correcting, easy distraction removal all in c1 on the raw file, then go to ps or topaz or wherever you want to go AFTER taking advantage of all the raw data and options in c1. I’ve never needed to convert anything to dng before or after my raw edits in the past 10 years. Either way the denoising is not good in c1 but I haven’t let that hold me back and I don’t feel like I’m agaisnt a brick wall with the info I posted above.

    1
  • Ric Cohn

    Danny Batista, I understand your workflow works for you, but I never assume other's don't have valid reasons for not following my "obviously better" workflow. I use DxO PureRaw on noisy images which IMHO is better on many images than Topaz. It only works on Raw files. I also rarely need to go to Photoshop these days and being forced to make all my decisions and export a Tiff to send to a program like Topaz would be a big hit on productivity. It all depends on the type of images you are using it on and the end purpose of the images. Denoising programs have allowed me to get what I consider good looking images with my R5 I never would have considered trying before. Now that Lightroom has implemented a version that I'm sure will get better, it ups the stakes for programs like C1. Similar to when new "professional" lenses started needing lens correction to be acceptable. Having correction modules for more lenses became a necessity to remain in the game.

    1
  • Johan Forssblad

    Would it be possible to make a Noise Reduction tool that works with other files than RAW, i.e. TIFF?

    I am scanning plenty of 6x6 cm positive films and would appreciate a workflow within CO.

    Such feature could make it worth upgrading from my perpetual CO 22 version! Sincerely Johan, Sweden

    1
  • Eugene Girshtel

    I agree that Capture one needs to improve noise reduction. I shoot with a Fuji XT3 and when zooming in, I can see these strange circular wormy objects throughout the image on high iso images. I then have to mask the subject and background on separate layers and reduce the Noise Reduction detail to zero on the background layer. I raise the detail slider on the subject layer to bring back some sharpness. The noise reduction capabilities are falling behind the rest of the field and adding an improved noise reduction algorithm would make MANY users jump to purchase the latest version of capture one.

    1
  • Ryan Johnson

    The noise reduction in C1 was state of the art until AI denoising came around. How are you people so oblivious to how uncharacteristically good the denoising is in C1? I will say it works best with Canon images, and the "preserve detail" part of the feature is atrocious on high-ISO images. It just introduces JPEG blocking and artifacting. "Turns them blurry" --yeah, because the noise effectively causes data loss.

     

    AI denoising is "important" ish, but is not the biggest problem C1 needs to address. They have other performance issues and catalog integrity issues that need to be addressed before a shiny new feature gets released. The Catalogs are not ACID compliant, and backups fail when initiated from the File menu option, and they don't use a proper database engine. They store everything in a SQLite database file. Concurrency is problematic with SQLite 2.0, so they need to update to 3.0 at the bare minimum, or ditch SQLite for something more reasonable like MariaDB or a Graph database, which might speed up some of the Catalog operations.

     

    Database files retain very old records that are invalid. I found records of files in locations that no longer existed after I had re-located every file in the database after upgrading an old DB and reinstalling Windows for the umpteenth time. This kind of data sanitation issue is more urgent to fix than adding a potentially more expensive algorithm (both in terms of development and computational cost).

     

    You can see the problem and my solution here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nRP34FwamMc&t=7s

     

    Hand-hacking the database is the only way to fix this, afaik. The "Verify catalog" feature in the File menu may address this, but I doubt it, because the db's are verified every time I back them up, and I've been backing them up for years before I discovered this problem.

    1
  • Eugene Girshtel

    Ryan Johnson, I totally agree that the database needs rework as well but denoising is something they should be thinking about concurrently. 

    I happen to fall victim to the poor database management recently (Capture one 20 few months ago) when I went to restore a catalog on a reformatted computer. None of the backups were able to restore properly even though they were all verified after backup. After some hacking around, I was able to get the catalog to import back but all of my masks were gone from the layers. Support said it was a known bug.  I can't believe a professional company like Capture one could still be having issues like this. 

    Anyway, the point is, the database needs rework as well as some tweaks to denoising. I still enjoy using Capture One's denoise abilities but they can be improved. 

    1
  • Bernard Languillier

    I have been a capture one user for many many years and use it as my main converter for my IQ4-150, GFX-100s and Nikon Z7II, Z8 and Z9.

    I also use DxO PL6 and have to agree, C1 Pro is very far behind (at least 2+ stops equivalent, meaning that ISO 1600 in C1 Pro is slightly behind ISO 6400 in DxO PL6, a huge difference) in noise reduction and this is by far the No1 thing I would like to see improved.

    The second one being the speed of preview generation and culling. It is far from using the raw power of modern CPU and more importantly GPUs.

    Thank you.

    1
  • BeO
    Top Commenter

    Brian Jordan

    However, I see Topaz tossed about as the baseline for improvement.  I personally feel that holding that up as the goalpost is counterproductive.  Topaz is a specialist product that does that and very little else.

    Well, there is another application which is not a specialized tool but rather can replace C1 for raw development, and has a supberb AI noise reduction, some say it is even better than Topaz. It's DXO Photolab.

    I purchased a perpetual license for those edge cases with high noise, and as a potential alternative to eventually replace C1, should they continue with their price race and perpetual license policy crappy deteriorations or even drop this license model, and to support DXO so that they stay in the market as a competitor. DXO is not a bigger company afaik, not comparable to Adobe but rather to C1.

    That having said I'm quite happy with the image quality of C1 for low and medium noise images, unless maybe I need to crop in considerably. C1 even tops Nikon NX Studio for my NEF files in that regard, in my experience.

    And I agree with Brian's priority points. I really do. However, not asking for other things I would like to see in C1, like superb NR, does not at all increase the chances of these point being implemented. Instead, I see features which I am not interested in (feature set of v23) and not would have upvoted.

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