Reducing Noise Without Losing Detail

Many photographers already know the noise-like grain effects produced by fast analog film emulsions. Grain is an integral part of the analog photographic process and still is often used deliberately as a stylistic device. In the digital world, noise is most obvious when you shoot using high ISO sensitivity values, and especially when underexposed shadows are brightened during processing.

If you shoot in RAW format, noise can usually be effectively reduced using a RAW editor, although later corrections to tonal values can cause reduced noise to flare up again. Photoshop’s noise reduction functionality was never one of its strong points, although the Reduce Noise filter introduced with CS2 and ACR 6 was a great ...

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