By Andrew Rodney
[The June issue of Professional Photographer magazine featured the article "RAW Rendering: Adobe Lightroom vs. Apple Aperture." This information and illustration provides additional evaluation of the noise reduction capabilities of those applications.]
NOISE REDUCTION. I like to shoot at ISO 3200 with my 5D for subjects in available lighting. I prefer a third-party plug-in like Imagenomic Noiseware to reduce noise, but it was still useful to compare the results of Lightroom and Aperture. Both converters provide simple sliders, and here it pays to view the image at a high zoom ratio to see the results. The trick is blurring the noise while keeping detail sharp. Lightroom did a slightly better job here initially; the tiny white bulbs in the shot are sharper, while smooth areas of the building have less noise. By opening the Edge Sharpen controls, I was able to get those bulbs back in focus, but it put back some of the noise. The subtle differences are apparent in the illustration at 300% zoom. Notice the edges around the letters in this photo.
Image ©Andrew Rodney. Right-click to download a larger TIFF file showing Aperture vs. Lightroom Noise Reduction (4.61MB).