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07-01-2020, 05:55 PM   #1
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Noise reduction - different camera body or better software?

I am curious about noise reduction. On occasion travelling, I need to shoot without tripod or flash in low light. My K-50 can handle ISO 6400 fairly well for grabbing an image for posterity, but it is often a bit noisy past 3200 to make a nice print. Would I be better off getting certain denoise software (I find Nik dFine tends to reduce detail too much), or are newer Pentax bodies noticeably better at higher ISO? I also canít wrap my head around smaller pixels in newer sensors being better in this regard. Any real-world experience shed some light on this? Thanks.

07-01-2020, 06:15 PM   #2
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My KS2 was slightly better than my K50. My KP is a lot better than the K50.
For Noise software the Topaz De-Noise is about the best you can get. Stand Alone or Plugin usage.

Good Luck
07-01-2020, 06:27 PM - 4 Likes   #3
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I also have a K-50 and got DxO a few months ago. You'll need the "Elite" version (what-EVER) to get Prime denoise, but I think I got a 2-stop improvement in NR. Better than Nik DFine (I have the free Google version) and better in both results and time/effort needed to obtain those results than RawTherapee, which was my previous raw converter.

Shortly after getting DxO, I shot an entire outing (indoors) at ISO 3200 and was pretty shocked at how clean the images were when I was done with them.

That said, there's no way around downloading some free trials and taking them for a spin to see if they work for you.
07-01-2020, 06:33 PM - 1 Like   #4
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Personally, I never do any PP in-camera. I prefer to PP incl. noise removal in computer. Partly because I shoot in sequences at (Hi) fps and do not want the camera to hang up during PP.
I personally like the noise removal by Noiseware, a small but quite good software. (I have no vested interest.) There are other good softwares around,
My 5 cents.

07-01-2020, 06:48 PM - 3 Likes   #5
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Hands down you can't beat DXO PhotoLab Elite's Prime noise reduction for noiseless images. I tried Topaz and others and you can't beat DXO PhotoLab. You can get a 30 day freetrial with PL 3.3 Elite give it a try to see for yourself. You will need to also download the K-50 optics module and the program should recognize what ever lens you are using and download the proper lens optics module.
07-01-2020, 07:06 PM   #6
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From what I've seen, the KP seems better than the K50. Some people say a stop. I would say the D500 which I shoot is about a stop better than the K50 as well, and ISO6400 shots from the D500 are quite usable compared to the K50, which I almost always throw away. So I think the KP would be similar.
07-01-2020, 07:12 PM - 4 Likes   #7
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Can we get a noisy photo and have a "shoot out"? Lets let every champion of each software show their magic.
07-01-2020, 08:42 PM   #8
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I also use noise software noiseware.

07-01-2020, 09:57 PM   #9
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The KP produces much less noise than the K-50. I have both cameras.
07-02-2020, 12:30 AM - 3 Likes   #10
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+1 for DxO's Prime noise reduction in PhotoLab 3 Elite. Does a great job at reducing noise while retaining detail, particularly when dialled back against the default values (my standard workflow preset puts it at one-third of the default). Has saved countless ISO 4000 and 5000 K-3 DNGs for me, and makes even older K-7 DNGs at ISO 1600 look quite acceptable (see K-7 sample below). Do get the trial version to see if it works for you though.

And yes, more recent cameras will almost invariably give you cleaner high-ISO, but a state-of-the-art RAW converter can have a similar effect on IQ as a camera upgrade.


Last edited by Madaboutpix; 07-02-2020 at 12:46 PM. Reason: File size optimization.
07-02-2020, 06:14 AM - 1 Like   #11
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Iso performance of the same generation of sensor technology is correlated to pixel size, however across generations that doesn't hold up. The KP uses a much better sensor than the k50, and it includes the accelerator chip which extends low iso performance.

Additionally, the recommendation for dxo prime is a solid one. I use dxo myself and find that prime noise reduction makes a noticible difference on iso 3200 and higher shots on my k3.
07-02-2020, 06:52 AM   #12
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I've downloaded DxO plugins on the strength of this thread and tried them out. I'm not seeing a great advantage over Lightroom, which is ultimately what I'm looking for in a bid not to move to Adobe's subscription model. The trade offs seem to be the same. DxO gives you a quick hit which initially looks good but in a side by side comparison you can achieve the same in Lightroom and DxO doesn't avoid introducing the same artefacts you get from too much sharpening or too much noise reduction. If I sharpen to the same levels in Lightroom, I get the same artefacts I see in DxO, except initially you don't notice those artefacts appear in DxO because of the jump to a different window (on the plugins). Now I hasten to add, I've only just started playing and I've got 30 further days to experiment, so...


I'm also not using photolab, which means I'm having to hop in and out of the different programs via the Edit In command, so that's also doubling my workflow. I'm coming at this from the same place I think, except my place is the K5 not the K50. It was all hunky dory until I got a longer lens and started pointing it at things that move and requiring higher iso's and I'm not even going to mention focusing!

Last edited by 3by2; 07-02-2020 at 07:44 AM.
07-02-2020, 09:10 AM - 5 Likes   #13
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When ever I see this discussion I need to think back to the *istD. ISO3200 on the *istD exceeded any color film up to that time and was equal to Kodak tri-x 400 ISO B&W Pushed to ISO 3200.

I have always marvelled at the continuing complaints about high ISO performance of DSLRs and never understood Completely the Need / desire for The ultimate photograph. In fact, even during the film era, many shots taken with grainy images added something to the overall mood of the image. It suggested the conditions were dark (and they were)
07-02-2020, 09:26 AM - 1 Like   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by 3by2 Quote
I've downloaded DxO plugins on the strength of this thread and tried them out. I'm not seeing a great advantage over Lightroom, which is ultimately what I'm looking for in a bid not to move to Adobe's subscription model. The trade offs seem to be the same. DxO gives you a quick hit which initially looks good but in a side by side comparison you can achieve the same in Lightroom and DxO doesn't avoid introducing the same artefacts you get from too much sharpening or too much noise reduction. If I sharpen to the same levels in Lightroom, I get the same artefacts I see in DxO, except initially you don't notice those artefacts appear in DxO because of the jump to a different window (on the plugins). Now I hasten to add, I've only just started playing and I've got 30 further days to experiment, so...

I'm also not using photolab, which means I'm having to hop in and out of the different programs via the Edit In command, so that's also doubling my workflow. I'm coming at this from the same place I think, except my place is the K5 not the K50. It was all hunky dory until I got a longer lens and started pointing it at things that move and requiring higher iso's and I'm not even going to mention focusing!
  1. DxO Prime noise reduction is a feature of PhotoLab Elite, so you don't get this with the Nik Collection nor with the standard version of PhotoLab which is provided with it. Amazing as it is, Prime is not a magic bullet.
  2. Too much is too much editing - here sharpening and noise reduction - in any conversion software, so of course you're seeing artefacts. One part of familiarizing yourself with a new piece of software is getting your own bearings of how much is too much. And that, as you're suggesting yourself, may take a little more time. Only you can decide if you find the results compelling.

Last edited by Madaboutpix; 07-02-2020 at 09:36 AM. Reason: Nuance added.
07-02-2020, 09:46 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
When ever I see this discussion I need to think back to the *istD. ISO3200 on the *istD exceeded any color film up to that time and was equal to Kodak tri-x 400 ISO B&W Pushed to ISO 3200.

I have always marvelled at the continuing complaints about high ISO performance of DSLRs and never understood Completely the Need / desire for The ultimate photograph. In fact, even during the film era, many shots taken with grainy images added something to the overall mood of the image. It suggested the conditions were dark (and they were)
Good points.

I mostly object to chroma noise, which I find very unfilmlike and downright ugly, but sometimes the subject matter is enhanced by a clean image too IMO. I like the fact that good denoising can to some extent make up for both older cameras and slower lenses (both of which describe my own setup). In the case of DxO, that good denoising comes with some really great local editing tools, which I find very useful. So, for me, the cost/benefit was pretty favorable.
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