Noise Reduction using Neat Image

I took the following photo using a Nikon 1 V2, 1″ sensor camera, at ISO 800. This is a big enlargement of a tiny section of a photo of a Titan II rocket launcher (from underneath). This was a very dark location, in the basement of the Evergreen Aviation Museum building.

I processed this image using Neat Image 8, the latest version of the Neat Image noise reduction software. You can see the remarkable improvement from the original, at left, to the noise reduced version, at right.

Voila_Capture 2016-08-29_07-47-05_PM

Today’s noise reduction software enables even small sensor cameras to produce remarkable results in low light.

Noise reduction is built in to Adobe Camera RAW, Photoshop, and Lightroom, RAW Therapee, Affinity Photo, and nearly all image editing software today.

3rd party tools are available in the Google NIK Collection (Dfine2 tool), and the Noise Ninja “community edition” or commercial edition.

Each noise reduction software applies its own methods for noise reduction. You may find that some programs work better on some types of photos than others. I have used Neat Image 7 for a long time and just began using Neat Image 8. For most photos, I just use Lightroom and a combination of “Masking” and Noise Reduction. But for tougher photos or those where I want the best result, I generally turn to Neat Image.

Original Image, after Neat Image processing, and then re-compressed using Mac Preview to 55% to keep the size under 2 MB for upload (in other words, this is a moderate lossy compression version).


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DPReview suggests Nikon 1 development has ended

DPReview, mentions in a review about the Canon EOS-M mirrorless camera, that DPReview thinks Nikon has ended development of the Nikon 1 system.

Dpreview believes Nikon 1 is no longer in development

Nikon Rumors quotes DPReview saying that DPReview believes the Nikon 1 is no longer in development. DPReview does not provide a source – seems like its a guess, and as good as any other guess that we are making. The quote is buried in a sentence inside a review of the Canon EOS M, explaining why they are not including comparisons of the Canon mirrorless camera with the Nikon 1.

Will Nikon abandon the customers who have invested in the CX lenses? Or will they perhaps release a DL-camera body with an interchangeable lens feature?

The 1″ sensor is not dead at all. All the camera makers are moving to 1″ sensors as the smart phone market ate their point n shoot and compact camera sales. The 1″ sensor, with greater dynamic range, higher resolution and improved low light capabilities provides a differentiation from the smart phone.

Smart phone shooters, however, while interested in better image quality, are probably not going to start carrying camera bodies and a handful of lenses. They will opt for cameras with included zoom lenses. Sony, Panasonic, Canon all now have 1″ sensor cameras like that – because that is where the market has gone – and Nikon will be there with the DL-series. A 1″ sensor with a nice zoom (preferably fast) are clearly a step up from the smart phone.

This summer, while camping, I am noticing an up tick in the number of vacationers again shooting with a real camera (versus smart phone), and especially those using “bridge type” cameras. Those are the cameras that sort of look like a DSLR, but with a builtin zoom lens (not interchangeable). I suspect this is where the low end of the market is going – and where many smart phone shooters are also going, particularly when they seek zooms and megapixels.

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Olympus OM-D-E-M1 for US $799 – 24 hour sale

Olympus is having a 24 hour sale on the OM-D E-M1 Body

Promotion expires 11:59pm EST on 8/15

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Camera Body
+ $31.96 in Adorama Rewards
$799 with Free shipping

I shoot with an E-M10 – for still shooting, the Olympus cameras are fantastic!

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Point n shoot photography

Recently, I have been experimenting with what I can achieve with a mere “point and shoot” camera. Both of these photos were taken with an Olympus XZ-2, which ranks at the high end of point and shoots, but has only a 1 / 1.7″ sensor.




This photo was also taken with the Olympus XZ-2. While the originals are 12 MP images, all of these have been resized to 640 pixels wide for display here. They look much better full size!

Blown down

I also shoot 1″ sensor cameras (Nikon 1) and will post some of those photos another time.

For now, here is a link to some nice night time photos taken in Paris by someone using a 1″ sensor Sony RX100 camera. I think the 1″ sensor size is going to be a “Sweet spot” for cameras, producing exceptionally good images. As sensor technology improves, we are also seeing remarkable low light capabilities of these smaller sensor cameras (as compared to 4/3ds, APS-C or full frame).

1″ not only produces exceptional results but lenses are quite small relative to the larger format cameras, producing a small and lightweight package for professional quality results.

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4K 3D Stereoscopy VR 360 camera for US $399 (not yet available)

Source: STEREOSCOPY :: Arcinteractive, Inc. presents TwoEyes #VR – 4K 3D Stereoscopy 360 camera (1/1) –

This product is not yet in production and the release date has not been provided. However, this is an intriguing product for spherical VR 360 in 3D, compared to the complexity of and time consuming processing of combining numerous cameras together to create VR 360 or 3D VR 360. Hope it comes to market!


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Traveling light photography

I just discovered this group on Flickr: TLP – Travel Light Photography – a group devoted to “traveling light”, meaning small cameras or limited gear.

I spent a couple of days at our local coast last week and I took only my Nikon 1 and my Olympus XZ-2 high end “point n shoot” camera to see what I might accomplish with “small cameras”.

I really liked the result! A few photos from the trip are in the post, below.

For typical outdoor photography, it is hard to distinguish photographs taken on many “low end” cameras from their higher end “professional cameras”. As I hiked about carrying my little Nikon 1, I saw others carrying large, full size DSLRs, and in particular, very large and heavy lenses. I doubt there was much difference in our photos.

Higher end cameras with full frame sensors do have benefits, of course, notably options for narrow depth of field, dynamic range and less sensor noise, and many options for lenses. But small sensor noise is less of a problem today due to new sensor technologies and noise reduction tools such as Neat Image, which do wonders for high ISO noise. Narrow depth of field is not always a benefit either 🙂

The demographics of the typical hobbyist shooter may soon come into play – while all age groups shoot photos, including with DSLRs, the use of of expensive (and bigger) cameras seems more prevalent among the age 50 and up group (who can afford such cameras). As this group ages, they may find carrying a heavy camera and even heavier lenses is a bit of burden.

As small cameras get better and better, I wonder if we will see a transition from carrying big cameras and lenses to using smaller cameras? Many will likely continue to have both types of cameras, but may start carrying smaller cameras while walking and hiking about.

This future market direction seems like an obvious one. In fact, it seems there may be two trends pushing towards the 1″ sensor size camera. First, the downsizing of the “big guns” and the second is the upsizing of the smart phone shooters. Regarding the latter, I seem to see more and more people shooting with nice 1″ integrated lens cameras in place of their smart phone.

Traveling light does not mean one has to have a small sensor camera, either. For many, the idea is to be simpler – say taking a Canon 7D with one lens instead of a bag of lenses. That too qualifies as traveling lighter!

I recently watched a Youtube video where a professional photographer recreated a sequence of studio shots using his Canon G7X, a 20 megapixel 1″ sensor camera, all shots that he had previously done for a client using his professional Canon gear. He noted there was no meaningful difference between the “low end” shots and the “high end” shots.




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Shooting with small sensor cameras

Thor’s Well, Cape Perpetua, Oregon Coast. Photo taken with Nikon 1 J5. On this short trip, I took only small cameras, like the Nikon 1 and my Olympus XZ-2 “point n shoot” to see what I could do 🙂

Thor\'s Well“Circles in the Sand”, giant artwork on the beach below this cliff at Bandon Beach, Oregon.

Circles in the Sand

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