Lightroom DeNoise AI – First Impressions

Adobe has just announced a new update to Lightroom. I’m using Lightroom Classic version 12.3 (April 2023). Just thought I’d run an old image of mine through the new process, to see what it does (how well it does it). My current go to program for de-noise is Topaz Photo AI, which is extremely good, as it not only handles noise, but also sharpening. With the added bonus that it uses AI to improve faces in images, which really is like magic.

So, how does the new Lightroom De-Noise do? This is an old image, but one of my all time favourites. I’ve never tried running it through Topaz, but will do that when I get a chance. Since it’s an image I use on my website gallery.

First Image is the original (some NR was applied in LR from way back, but only a minimal amount). I then used the new DeNoise button at the default 50% setting. Result looks way too plastic for my liking. But, interestingly, it’s not only done things to the noise, it’s also done other things like it appears to have sharpened the handkerchief in the grooms pocket, by quite some amount. Clever stuff. But it’s clearly not just doing a noise fix here.

What’s more worrying is it’s messed with the overall colour tone of the image. It’s as if its raised the exposure or lifted the shadows and added a blue cast to the image. Not what I asked for.

Next up I tried again, but reduced the slider to 30 to see if the results were a bit more realistic. Not bad. I could live with that result. Again, in this 2nd version you can see the handkerchief has been considerably improved sharpness wise, as have other faces in the scene. Will be interesting to see how Topaz does with the same image.

Original Image No DeNoise
Original Full Size
Original Image Cropped No Denoise added
Original Cropped
DeNoise LR 50 Crop
LR DeNoise 50 Cropped
DeNoise level 30 added
LR DeNoise 30 Cropped
DeNoise Added Level 30
LR DeNoise 30
DeNoise Topaz Photo AI 01 9952
Topaz Photo AI
Denoise by Topaz Photo AI
Topaz Photo AI

Interesting results. Now remember, this is only one image. Results might alter with your own images. And this was just a very quick rough test. The most interesting thing in this particular image (for me) is the way the handkerchief is handled by Adobe LR. Not sure if I prefer the Topaz version or the LR version now. Because the reality is we don’t look at images cropped in at 100% during normal viewing. So perhaps the LR Denoise is preferable. I’d be interested to see what others think. Leave a comment below.

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One Comment

  1. Hey Paul, I’ve been using pureraw 2 for my denoising really noisy pics and I find LRCC’s AI Denoise at around 30-40 has been as good or better for the size people are going to be seeing these photos. A really good blend of noise and detail. The fact it’s all built in so works perfectly within LR is a big bonus too. I was really impressed by how it’s cleaned up the colour spill around the pocket handkerchief in your photo – on the edge of too smooth and sharp maybe.? But 30 seems fine here otherwise,

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