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12-05-2014, 12:04 AM   #1
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What best free app to work with noisy K-30 DNG files and how to minimize it?

Hello,

I am a bit interested in astrophotography. However, as these photos are quite dark, they need to be taken with higher ISO and contains quite a bit of noise.
Currently I do not have photoshop (going to buy as soon as my "serious" PC is fixed), so I try to work with free apps. So, now trying to work with SilkyPix for Pentax and RawTherapee. However, the automatic noise correction does not do much. Is there an better app to work with that (I do not especially want to loose the light information, so 8 bit tools are not a choice). Maybe I can work with some specific scenario I do not know about?
Or should I set high ISO correction on camera when taking future photos? Won't that make the photo loose light/stars information or make it blurry?

The photo I am trying to fix is https://www.dropbox.com/s/hiqaafzlbb7yqtv/IMGP8820.DNG?dl=0 - as I try to pull out the Milky Way and stars, I am also trying to darken the sky and do not push the noise too much.

Any help is appreciated, as the post-processing is still my weakest part...

12-05-2014, 01:59 AM   #2
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Adobe CameraRAW/Lightroom, NoiseNinja, Topaz DeNoise, Nik Dfine are some of the most common NR options out there.
12-05-2014, 02:04 AM - 1 Like   #3
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Here is my attempt. Just a quick and dirty romp with the original in darktable v1.4.2. I eliminated almost all the noise which also eliminated the dimmest stars. The stars were not all that sharp to begin with so not much could be done to sharpen them. Adjusted white balance so that Altair, the brightest star top center matches its spectral class which is blue-white. Crushed the blacks with Levels to darken the sky. The Milky Way is there running down the center of the frame but you can also see quite a bit of tropospheric cloud.

As far as improving the setup, first thing I would do is to search out a darker place to shoot from. The darker the skies, the lower the ISO you will need to use for the given exposure time which thus means the less work you will need to do in post-processing.

Jack
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12-05-2014, 02:24 AM   #4
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Wow, the result is impressive.
Regarding darker place - this was in the middle of mountains, with no street lamps around, only couple lamps which got to the tree, and a small town at the right corner. As I was on vacation, I could not ask to turn off the lights from hotel or find other place. No tripod or remote as well, camera set on the table with phone under the lens to rise a bit. When was working with camera upside down, got a better view https://www.dropbox.com/s/478vqgxorej6wes/IMGP8829.DNG?dl=0

I looked into darktable - it seems it is only for linux...

12-05-2014, 08:30 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Evie Quote
Wow, the result is impressive.
Regarding darker place - this was in the middle of mountains, with no street lamps around, only couple lamps which got to the tree, and a small town at the right corner. As I was on vacation, I could not ask to turn off the lights from hotel or find other place. No tripod or remote as well, camera set on the table with phone under the lens to rise a bit. When was working with camera upside down, got a better view https://www.dropbox.com/s/478vqgxorej6wes/IMGP8829.DNG?dl=0

I looked into darktable - it seems it is only for linux...
I really like Topaz Denoise it is normally a plug-in but I think it can be used as a stand-alone. Go to the Topaz.com website and ask the question. I know it will plug in to PS, LR,Aperture,Elements, and I am pretty sure it will work with Apples i photo.
12-05-2014, 08:45 AM   #6
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As for free programs, Raw Therapee's noise reduction is supposed to be pretty full featured. I don't remember if I used it during the brief time I tried it - very soon I moved to Corel Aftershot Pro and haven't used Raw Therapee since.
12-05-2014, 09:56 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Evie Quote
Hello,

I am a bit interested in astrophotography. However, as these photos are quite dark, they need to be taken with higher ISO and contains quite a bit of noise.
Currently I do not have photoshop (going to buy as soon as my "serious" PC is fixed), so I try to work with free apps. So, now trying to work with SilkyPix for Pentax and RawTherapee. However, the automatic noise correction does not do much. Is there an better app to work with that (I do not especially want to loose the light information, so 8 bit tools are not a choice). Maybe I can work with some specific scenario I do not know about?
Or should I set high ISO correction on camera when taking future photos? Won't that make the photo loose light/stars information or make it blurry?

The photo I am trying to fix is https://www.dropbox.com/s/hiqaafzlbb7yqtv/IMGP8820.DNG?dl=0 - as I try to pull out the Milky Way and stars, I am also trying to darken the sky and do not push the noise too much.

Any help is appreciated, as the post-processing is still my weakest part...
To the OP :

Can you post a photo directly here? Some of us, like me, do not use Dropbox.

12-07-2014, 11:06 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by jpzk Quote
To the OP :

Can you post a photo directly here? Some of us, like me, do not use Dropbox.
You do not need to use dropbox to download this file. It is a public link for sharing. They might offer to register but it is not mandatory, only as spam.
12-07-2014, 11:26 PM - 1 Like   #9
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It has good noise reduction.

If you find you like it, is well worth the upgrade to the current version (v10) which has steller noise reduction (and some useful extra features like Clearview).
01-15-2015, 04:06 PM - 1 Like   #10
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Here is my attempt of noise reduction on your quite challenging image with RawTherapee 4.2.55 (compiled myself, but I think the Denise tool hasn't changed since the last Release).

Note: I can't upload pp3 files here, so I had to add .txt suffix. Remove it before use.

---------- Post added 16-01-15 at 00:10 ----------

PS: disabling the Sharpening tool (very) slightly change the fine grain on the reduced image, in a better way in my opinion.
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01-15-2015, 05:22 PM - 1 Like   #11
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I wasn't satisfied with the previous image, so I made another one with, hopefully, a better color balance, and more contrast as well. Switching the working color space to sRGB did helped too. It's not ideal, but it's the best I can do.
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01-15-2015, 08:36 PM - 1 Like   #12
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The best free app IMO is the Noiseware Communtiy Edition. It's not as powerful as the professional version but still does an very good job.
Download Noiseware - Award-winning Photo Noise Reduction Plugin and Standalone
01-16-2015, 03:04 AM - 1 Like   #13
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Well, I see and use noise reduction as part of the post processing.
Here is my attempt to post process your shot, as if it was mine!

I use Lightroom 5 for 98% of my post process, and here all has been done in LR5
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01-16-2015, 04:41 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by mtux Quote
Well, I see and use noise reduction as part of the post processing.
Here is my attempt to post process your shot, as if it was mine!

I use Lightroom 5 for 98% of my post process, and here all has been done in LR5
Wow, the last one is really great, I might need start taking lessons from you Know any good/sure tutorial how to make such photo from the mine?

Anyway, thank you all for the advises, and for your time working on this photo. I see I have to get a better computer and try Photoshop or Lightroom. Also, I have learned much what are the possibilities with each app.
And, oh well, to get a clear sky for better photos - now got almost two months of "soup in the sky".
01-16-2015, 08:22 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Evie Quote
Wow, the last one is really great, I might need start taking lessons from you Know any good/sure tutorial how to make such photo from the mine?
Thanks, but I think you should learn from the masters
Here are some guys on youtube I found their works helpful on using Lightroom:
The let's edit series of this guy is awesome to start in Lightroom: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLzx_sZRGyMgJBVts6y_gSQr1xHbsOSqhy
Serge Ramelli is sure one of the masters of post processing and retouching: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyaDDjiNgWX-uRXOx6LPsYQ
And there's plenty more stuff in youtube and other places on the internet, like Adobe's channel on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7NyBKOKI6vdFDHYzDHlteg
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