A recent question from a colleague:
I have a client who wants an image that needs some significant noise reduction. I’m trying to decide if I should purchase Noise Ninja for this little project or whether I should wait for LR 3 to be released. What do you suggest?

My answer:

Lightroom 3 Beta has greatly improved noise reduction over previous versions.

But currently, I think the best noise reduction software out there is Topaz DeNoise. I think its only drawback is that it only comes as a PS plugin.

Other really good programs:
Noise Ninja
Neat Image
Nik Dfine

All of these will allow you to integrate advanced NR within an automated LR/PS workflow. All of them produce excellent (and similar) results. The major differences between them are the software interfaces and controls.

One advantage of programs that are available as standalone apps (separate programs that don’t require Photoshop) is that you can set them up in Lightroom as External Editors, allowing you to use the Edit In… command to send the file to the outside editor, do your work, save and close and return to LR where the processed file is updated automatically. In this way, a standalone app offers more direct LR interoperability than a PS plugin.

To automate noise reduction between LR and plug-ins within Photoshop, you need to use Actions/Droplets and Lightroom Export post-processing.

There are lots of comparisons online; Google “noise reduction software” if you want to read reviews.

Hope this helps; let me know if you have any other questions about this.

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