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09-24-2010, 10:41 AM   #1
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Does in camera noise reduction actually work? I think not.

After reading a thread about the Kx in camera noise reduction feature I decided to do a test of my own and have come to the conclusion that the feature is completely useless. Shots taken at ISO 3200 with an M 50 1.7 at 1.7. What do you guys think?

Noise reduction OFF
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Noise reduction LOW
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Noise reduction MEDIUM
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Noise reduction HIGH
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09-24-2010, 10:48 AM   #2
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Was this shot in RAW or JPG?
Do you have auto NR setting based on ISO and shutter speed?
09-24-2010, 10:59 AM - 1 Like   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by KxBlaze Quote
After reading a thread about the Kx in camera noise reduction feature I decided to do a test of my own and have come to the conclusion that the feature is completely useless. Shots taken at ISO 3200 with an M 50 1.7 at 1.7. What do you guys think?
Although one should do one's own testing -
there may circumstances/conditions that apply only to those particular tests -
which may not apply to other usage.

However having said that - the performance of the K-x at and up to ISO3200 is extraordinary that the built-in noise reduction seems to have very little visible effect -

Please take a look at:

Pentax K-x Digital Camera Hi_iso_nr - Full Review - The Imaging Resource!

or

Pentax K-x Review: 16. Photographic tests (Noise): Digital Photography Review

for a wider range of ISO where the noise reduction becomes more obvious.
09-24-2010, 11:02 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by JohnBee Quote
Was this shot in RAW or JPG?
Do you have auto NR setting based on ISO and shutter speed?
If you shot in raw and processed in something other than the Pentax Software, you're probably not even seeing the noise-reduction.

09-24-2010, 11:12 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by egordon99 Quote
If you shot in raw and processed in something other than the Pentax Software, you're probably not even seeing the noise-reduction.
Bingo!
09-24-2010, 11:29 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by JohnBee Quote
Was this shot in RAW or JPG?
Do you have auto NR setting based on ISO and shutter speed?
Shot in raw but in PP with photoshop I converted it to a JPG.
NR is set to engage on ISO higher than 800.
I didn't see/know that shutter speed can also affect the NR. I have a Kx and didn't notice anything about NR and shutter speed.

QuoteOriginally posted by egordon99 Quote
If you shot in raw and processed in something other than the Pentax Software, you're probably not even seeing the noise-reduction.
I did not know that BUT after I took the RAW images I viewed them in Photoshop and even without converting it to a JPG or doing any kind of PP whatsoever I still did not see even the slightest difference.

But what you are saying is to try to view the photos in the Pentax Camera Utility Software and I might see a difference there?
09-24-2010, 11:35 AM - 1 Like   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by KxBlaze Quote
But what you are saying is to try to view the photos in the Pentax Camera Utility Software and I might see a difference there?

I think what everybody is trying to say is that NR is not applied in RAW files. That was actually my understand as well, and from the responses here, it seems like it is the case.


If you had tried shooting in JPEG the same tests above, you'd have different photos.


Can someone, preferably someone that really knows this as a fact, clarify if any NR in-camera is or is NOT applied to RAW files?


Thanks,

BB
09-24-2010, 11:52 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by UnknownVT Quote
Although one should do one's own testing -
there may circumstances/conditions that apply only to those particular tests -
which may not apply to other usage.

However having said that - the performance of the K-x at and up to ISO3200 is extraordinary that the built-in noise reduction seems to have very little visible effect -

Please take a look at:

Pentax K-x Digital Camera Hi_iso_nr - Full Review - The Imaging Resource!

or

Pentax K-x Review: 16. Photographic tests (Noise): Digital Photography Review

for a wider range of ISO where the noise reduction becomes more obvious.
See, now on that test there is a noticeable difference between every NR level. The NR off is sharper but with more noise and HIGH has no noise but little detail.

Could this be due to the fact that their test was done outside whereas mine was done indoors? Basically does the light source matter?

09-24-2010, 11:56 AM - 1 Like   #9
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From my understanding a very low but fixed amount of noise reduction is applied in raw. The settings for noise reduction are used in Jpegs only out of the camera. If you use the pentax software the raw file contains those settings and they are applied in software on your computer by the pentax tools. Other tools don't look at the settings and just show the raw file without any noise reduction applied.
09-24-2010, 11:58 AM - 1 Like   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by KxBlaze Quote
Shot in raw but in PP with photoshop I converted it to a JPG.
NR is set to engage on ISO higher than 800.
I didn't see/know that shutter speed can also affect the NR. I have a Kx and didn't notice anything about NR and shutter speed.



I did not know that BUT after I took the RAW images I viewed them in Photoshop and even without converting it to a JPG or doing any kind of PP whatsoever I still did not see even the slightest difference.

But what you are saying is to try to view the photos in the Pentax Camera Utility Software and I might see a difference there?

If you shoot JPG, the camera does NR when it generates the JPG. If you use Pentax software, the Pentax software performs NR when it generates the JPG (based on however you set the NR "flag" as the NR isn't actually added to the raw data) When you use Photoshop, it is up to YOU to perform NR (if you want) when you generate the image from the raw data.

Other in-camera settings like contrast, saturation, sharpness are treated the same way and will NOT affect your Photoshop raw conversion AT ALL. They are really just flags/instructions for Pentax Photo Lab to use during the conversion.

Since Photoshop uses its own conversion algorithms, they do not make use of any of these in-camera settings.

If you don't believe me, set your camera to shoot monochrome/B&W but in raw. Open the raw in Pentax Photo Lab, it will be converted as B&W initially, but you can change that if you'd like.

In Photoshop/Lightroom, the image will be converted using whatever defaults Photoshop/Lightroom has setup.
09-24-2010, 12:01 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by KxBlaze Quote
I took the RAW images I viewed them in Photoshop and even without converting it to a JPG or doing any kind of PP whatsoever I still did not see even the slightest difference.
Raw data is just data directly off of the sensor. It cannot be viewed. Google "Bayer Array" for all the scary details. To convert it to a viewable image, you need to demosaic it. Pentax's in-camera JPG processor has similar algorithms to PPL, but Adobe has it's own conversion routines. Pentax uses the in-camera settings as parameters in its algorithms, but Adobe does not.

So it's not the converting to JPG that's an issue, it's the converting to a viewable image that is an issue.
09-24-2010, 12:02 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by VaughnA Quote
From my understanding a very low but fixed amount of noise reduction is applied in raw. The settings for noise reduction are used in Jpegs only out of the camera. If you use the pentax software the raw file contains those settings and they are applied in software on your computer by the pentax tools. Other tools don't look at the settings and just show the raw file without any noise reduction applied.
QuoteOriginally posted by BBear Quote
I think what everybody is trying to say is that NR is not applied in RAW files. That was actually my understand as well, and from the responses here, it seems like it is the case.


If you had tried shooting in JPEG the same tests above, you'd have different photos.


Can someone, preferably someone that really knows this as a fact, clarify if any NR in-camera is or is NOT applied to RAW files?


Thanks,

BB
Actually now that you mention that, I think I remember hearing the some thing. Because RAW is suppose to be just that, the RAW image with no in-camera processing of any kind (which should include NR). When I get some time (Probably over the weekend) I will try this test again but will shoot JPG.

Thanks for the input everyone. If it works it will make me feel a little better about that feature and not think that Pentax put in a useless feature to boost up the features list.
09-24-2010, 12:07 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by egordon99 Quote
If you shoot JPG, the camera does NR when it generates the JPG. If you use Pentax software, the Pentax software performs NR when it generates the JPG (based on however you set the NR "flag" as the NR isn't actually added to the raw data) When you use Photoshop, it is up to YOU to perform NR (if you want) when you generate the image from the raw data.

Other in-camera settings like contrast, saturation, sharpness are treated the same way and will NOT affect your Photoshop raw conversion AT ALL. They are really just flags/instructions for Pentax Photo Lab to use during the conversion.

Since Photoshop uses its own conversion algorithms, they do not make use of any of these in-camera settings.

If you don't believe me, set your camera to shoot monochrome/B&W but in raw. Open the raw in Pentax Photo Lab, it will be converted as B&W initially, but you can change that if you'd like.

In Photoshop/Lightroom, the image will be converted using whatever defaults Photoshop/Lightroom has setup.
QuoteOriginally posted by egordon99 Quote
Raw data is just data directly off of the sensor. It cannot be viewed. Google "Bayer Array" for all the scary details. To convert it to a viewable image, you need to demosaic it. Pentax's in-camera JPG processor has similar algorithms to PPL, but Adobe has it's own conversion routines. Pentax uses the in-camera settings as parameters in its algorithms, but Adobe does not.

So it's not the converting to JPG that's an issue, it's the converting to a viewable image that is an issue.


Another very good point. Great info. I have come to the conclusion that it was user error (in the sense that I didn't think that the NR is not applied to the RAW file). Now I know and knowing is half the battle. Go Joe!!!!!

**Everyone gave great advice/info, everyone gets a reputation bump from me.

Last edited by KxBlaze; 09-24-2010 at 12:24 PM.
09-24-2010, 12:38 PM   #14
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As others have said using RAW is yet another dimension
(unfortunately can be very prone to user errors....).

Most RAW processors do not automatically apply the as-shot camera settings noise reduction to the image.

ACR (Adobe Camera RAW) which would the RAW processor called up by PhotoShop can show the default noise reduction applied.

This is from a DNG file ISO3200 with default noise reduction -

As-Shot settings:


Do this in turn with each different noise reduction setting file and see if the default noise reduction settings change?


Whereas with Pentax DCU (Digital Camera Utility) 4.11 the same DNG file shows:

the scale may well be different from that shown in ACR - but it clearly shows a non-trivial noise reduction can be applied by default -
whereas in ACR no luminance noise reduction is being applied by default at all,
and pretty low color default reduction.....
09-24-2010, 06:29 PM   #15
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So...the lesson is use ONLY the in-camera produced JPG's if you want to see the effect the K-x NR options have.
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