Smoothing

An unwanted image effect where excessive noise reduction has also smoothed out much of the fine, textural detail in a photo, making it look soft and unnatural. You see this a lot in high-ISO photos from compact cameras with small sensors, where the maker’s noise reduction is often very aggressive in an attempt to hide image noise.

PRIME (DxO)

A special noise reduction tool in DxO Optics Pro which uses extremely sophisticated noise reduction analysis and processing to achieve much better results than normal noise reduction. It’s very processor-intensive, though, so you can only preview the effect on small areas of the image at a time, and processing the full image can take a couple of minutes.

Noiseless (MacPhun)

Noiseless is a Mac-only noise reduction tool which works both as a standalone app and a plug in. It smooths out noise in high ISO images via a range of presets designed to tackle different kinds of noise. You can adjust the strength of the noise reduction and set the controls manually if you wish.

Noise reduction

Camera makers use special noise reduction processing techniques to reduce the appearance of noise in photos, but the drawback is image softness and haziness and a kind of ‘watercolour’ effect where areas of fine, subtle detail are smudged beyond recognition. Bad noise reduction can do as much harm as image noise – or more.

Dfine

Software plug in for reducing noise in images and part of the Google Nik Collection. Like many other noise reduction programs, Dfine analyses the image and calculates a noise reduction profile. It’s also possible to define the areas used for analysis manually.

Colour noise

One of the two types of digital image noise and caused by random variations in the colour of neighbouring pixels. Colour noise is relatively easy for software to remove without any significant impact on the image qualtiy. Luminance (contrast) noise is the other type, and much more difficult to remove effectively.