Dealing with Noise in RAW?

I get the importance of shooting in RAW and the editing capabilities that it provides.  The only thing I am struggling with is the noise of my RAW files in comparison to JPEGs.  My pics are super noisy in RAW and I reduce the noise in LR to a suitable place when zoomed it, but when I zoom back out their skin looks so fake (overly flawless).  I guess I am reducing the luminance noise too much?  But it seems if I reduce color, contrast or detail noise it doesn't make much of a difference.  I am especially confused as to why the outdoor, sunny pics are so noisy because I probably had ISO 100 out there!  I increase the recovery amount in hopes that will get back the detail, is that correct?  Do I need to sharpen more?  I appreciate any advice.

Posted on September 4, 2011 at 7:26 am
plumcrush01
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(8) Comments

yelppuppy
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That's weird.  Did you have JPEG pics from the same scene with the same settings? Can we see a part of the pic at 100%?  Maybe a screenshot?


It could be that your JPEG pics were of smaller sizes, and therefore the noises weren't as obvious.  If you scale down on the noise reduction, and export to JPEG to a desired size, the noises might go away.

Posted on September 4, 2011 at 8:39 am
plumcrush01
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No, I wasn't comparing JPEGs and RAW files from the same wedding, just in general. For the first 6 months I had the camera I shot in JPEG always and I never once had the noise issues that I do when shooting RAW files. I mean I had noise certainly with JPEG, but it only took a minor noise reduction to fix & it never made skin look fake. 

Posted on September 4, 2011 at 10:37 am
mrs.green2b
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Can't solve your noise issue but might help make it look less digital and more like a natural film grain. Try turning your noise reduction on just a touch. Then take your color slider to 100. This takes all the color out of the noise so you dont have that pixilated looking grain. If you zoom in, you'll see it more clearly.
Posted on September 5, 2011 at 10:44 am
yelppuppy
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Come to think of it, it makes sense RAW is noisier.  Your camera does noise reduction (among other PPs) for you when shooting in JPEG.  JPEG files are smaller too, so you see less nosies and also less details.


If you take some photos with RAW + JPEG, and compare them side by side, I'm sure you'll see more details in RAW but also more noises.  That's just the nature of unprocessed file plus its larger file size.  Reduce noises a little bit, not going over board, and export it to JPEG that's the same size as the in-camera jpeg, and then compare them side by side.  


Another thing is you don't need to zoom in too much to reduce noise. If at 100%, there is little noise, you're going to lose too much detail.  Especially at ISO100, I wouldn't zoom in at all. 


@mrs.green, that sounds like a cool trick!  I never understood what the color slider is for, but what you said makes sense.

Posted on September 5, 2011 at 11:27 am
as4968
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Noiseware by Imagenomic - not sure how I ever functioned without it!

Posted on September 5, 2011 at 12:29 pm
plumcrush01
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Mandy-is noiseware available for LR3?  I couldn't seem to find it :/ 

Posted on September 6, 2011 at 6:53 am
yelppuppy
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I think noiseware is a PS plug-in.  I have Topaz Denoise which has LR plug-in.


However, there's something seriously wrong if you need an external denoiser for anything lower than ISO 800.  It shouldn't be part of your normal workflow.

Posted on September 6, 2011 at 11:14 am
plumcrush01
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I am thinking the problem was that the lighting at this wedding was very tricky.  It was super, super sunny, but there were harsh shadows all over.  I had posted about this issue already but I guess if the groom was in full sun & correctly exposed, but the bride was in shade & underexposed she is going to have a lot more noise because she's underexposed.  I think my main goal of this thread is to try and figure out the best way to deal with noise for indoor, higher ISO pics without losing details.  I think the outside issues are a combination of my under exposing & the tough lighting...I hope that's the explanation for it at least =?

Posted on September 6, 2011 at 11:32 am

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