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Noise ninja


Someone recommended Noise Ninja to me, and I was wonder what experiences you all have had with it.  Do I need the 16-bit pro version or the 8-bit  version? Is there a marked difference in the output? Is it worth the money?


by Scout Tufankjian at 2005-07-25 08:13:15 UTC (ed. Mar 12 2008 ) Brooklyn , United States | Bookmark | | Report spam→

I think the question of worth depends on the camera you are using. I have been using noise ninja (I guess the 8-bit version) for about 6-8 months now, and it has been fantastic in cleaning up the shadows from my Nikon D1H & later my D2Hs. While it doesn’t eliminate all the noise in an image it does make a huge difference without compromising the sharpness of the image.
I’m no expert with the program, but I think the main difference between the pro version and the other version is the ability to batch process. Since I want to look as each image and make adjustments as I remove the noise I’ve never wanted to use this feature.

by Mike Brown | 25 Jul 2005 08:07 | Memphis - USA, United States | | Report spam→
Does it work with scanned images as well? I have a nice Canon scanner but it’s only 3.6 DMax and sometimes there is the problem of noise. I’d like a 4.2 or 4.8 scanner and am thinking of the Konica Minolta scanners. Noise Ninja sounds interesting. How much is it? I’ll do a search. Cheers.

by Paul Treacy | 25 Jul 2005 09:07 | New York City, United States | | Report spam→

price ranges from $35-80 depending on the version you get. I would think it will work for scanned images too.

by Mike Brown | 25 Jul 2005 12:07 | Memphis - USA, United States | | Report spam→
Yeah, I’ve got it.  Don’t use it much but when I do it is a lifesaver.  Unless you do your Photoshop work in 16-bit, you only need the 8-bit version.  But, I would spring for the batch processing.  I started without the batch and actually forked out more money for the upgrade.  When shooting a wedding in a dark church, a nighttime protest, or a high-school basketball game in a cave of a gym, and you walk away with 50+ images all with noise, it is a pain  to open up the program each and every time. 
Yes it works with scanned images.

by Eric | 25 Jul 2005 15:07 | San Francisco, United States | | Report spam→
I’m not sure.  but you might want to ask these guys….

by Keith Sirchio | 25 Jul 2005 16:07 | | Report spam→
I was wondering how long it would take for the photos to appear. These folks are almost scarey. Shouldn’t they be hiding behind the trees or something?
Terrific shot!

by Paul Treacy | 25 Jul 2005 16:07 | New York City, United States | | Report spam→
NYT’s Vincent Laforet talks about Noise Ninja on the last sportsshooter newsletter. heres the link:


I’ve been using NN for a while now, and I dig it.

by Ben Chrisman | 25 Jul 2005 17:07 (ed. Jul 25 2005) | Santa Fe, Nuevo Mexico, United States | | Report spam→
Whenever I use NN my pics always look a little plastic, as if they’ve been air brushed almost.
I dial the strength and smoothness controls down.
Any tips anyone? What settings do you all use?

by Allen Daniels | 19 Sep 2005 15:09 | Bath, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
Noise Ninja has been an absolute life-saver for me in terms of cleaning digital files of inherent noise. I shoot exclusively with two D2h bodies; And, truthfully, noise is apparant and obvious from ISO400 and up. I find that the dynamic range of Nikon’s digital cameras are such that my metering techniques are more precise than when using slide film. Taking advantage of reciprocal exposures sometimes helps alleviate noise, as the dynamic range can be adjusted, but that’s rare.

I choose to shoot in the RAW mode exclusively, another technique that allows for greater control over the noise problem. However, I can’t fully eliminate noise without the aid of a third party plug-in. A couple weeks were spent tweaking the controls on NN’s interface, until I found a combination of setting that worked well with my toning process. Here’s a list of settings, beginning with the camera, and ending with an explanation of my toning process: (This is by no means meant to serve as an absolute guide, as no image is exactly the same, and everyone’s individual process is different. So, take it with the preverbial grain of salt.)

D2h: Raw (no compression), WB (Auto), Sharpening 0 (normal), Tone (Less Contrast -), ColorMode (II), Hue (0). I spot meter about 99% of my work.

Camera RAW: Tonal and color adustments are specific to each image. Sharpening 40, Luminance smoothing 10-20, Noise Reduction 0.

In Photoshop: I crop, first, if absolutely necessary. Then, if I need to use NN, I make a duplicate layer for the NN. With the pro version of NN, as a user, you are able to either download a series of profiles for your specific camera, and/or use the supplied MacBeth Colour checker to make your own profile – the latter of two choices I avoid as a photojournalist; because, we’re not operating in a controlled enviornment. So, after testing, I chose a profile that accurately represents the behaviour of my camera under a very wide variety of shooting circumstances. If I remember correctly, that profile is placed within the operating folders of the NN program. (MacOSX10.2.8)

Instead of clicking on profile image, I click profile chart, an action that references my camera’s profile. Also, I operate NN with the LUMINANCE radio button clicked, as this setting more accurately analyzes random noise patterns. I find that this setting works particularly well in artificial light, especially when there are multiple sources and colour temperatures.

Strength 18, Smoothness 0, Contrast 12, USM 0/0.4, Colours 10 10 10, ( Check the TURBO and CORSE NOISE boxes ), and that’s it! I really don’t mess around with anything else within the NN interface, aside from adding aditional boxes that analyze noise. I do this if I feel the program didn’t accurately select multiple gradations of a particular colour. (Note: Abuse of smoothness creates the “platic look” that most people commonly reference. I find that leaving it on 0 is most appropriate, especially when shooting at the higher ISO’s, for one particular reason: I love the grain of TRI-X, Delta3200, and Kodak’s P3200, and to some extent the grain from the higher speed colour emulsions. Leaving smoothness off, still leaves a signature “grain” associated with noise, except there’s no random colour variation.)

Then, with every image I tone, the process is always in the same order: Levels, Curves, Colour Balance, Saturation, Merge Down, any dodging and burning is done in LAB on a new layer; then, Merge Down, Convert Back to RGB, and lastly, a High Pass. I have an action set for this process, which isn’t terribly complicated: Duplicate layer, soft light, highpass: 22.1 radius, and then I adjust the opacity of the layer as necessary. Finally, the image gets flattened and saved as a TIFF.

This process may seem like a lot to go through just to make a usable file, but I’ve refined my workflow to about five minutes per file.

If anyone is interested in viewing one comparison of an unprocessed RAW vs a final image off a D2h at ISO1600, let me know in the forum. I would post it now, but don’t know how. Hope this information helps, and please, feel free to ask any other questions. Love to share! And, yes, I am much more concerned with simply making good pictures.



by Andrew Dolph | 19 Sep 2005 21:09 | Rochester, New York, United States | | Report spam→
My previous post wasn’t supposed to be one long paragraph! I apologize. Not sure what happened, as I wrote my reply in the approprait box. Oh well.

by Andrew Dolph | 19 Sep 2005 21:09 | Rochester, New York, United States | | Report spam→
The first image in my gallery uses NN with an image from a D1X 5.47mp the second is from a D1H 2.8mp. I believe both were shot at 1600 iso if I recall. Definately not lower.

by Ken Murray | 20 Sep 2005 07:09 | Broomfield, Colorado, United States | | Report spam→
I use it all the time with a nikon d70 at anything over 400 ISO, definitely worth the pretty low price to me. Especially good if you shoot concerts and other artificial light stuff.

by Stephan Sturges | 20 Sep 2005 10:09 | | Report spam→

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Scout Tufankjian, Red Sox Fan, Snapper Scout Tufankjian
Red Sox Fan, Snapper
Brooklyn! , United States
Mike Brown, Photographer Mike Brown
Memphis , United States
Paul  Treacy, Photographer Paul Treacy
London , United Kingdom ( LGW )
Eric, Freelance Photographer Eric
Freelance Photographer
Austin , United States
Keith Sirchio, Photographer Keith Sirchio
Brooklyn , United States
Ben Chrisman, Photographer Ben Chrisman
Oakland , United States ( OAK )
Allen Daniels, Allen Daniels
Bath , United Kingdom
Andrew Dolph, Photojournalist Andrew Dolph
Medina, Ohio , United States ( AAA )
Ken Murray, Freelance Photographer Ken Murray
Freelance Photographer
Broomfield, Colorado , United States ( DAA )
Stephan Sturges, Student/Photographer Stephan Sturges
In Brussels , Afghanistan


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