Photo Software Reviews

10 Comments on DXO PhotoLab 2 Vs Photo Ninja

  1. Jesse

    DxO has so much more to offer than Ninja. No way I’d take that over PL. However, I’ve always thought PL noise capabilities were a bit hyped and your comparison proved it. Nice job.

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  4. Darrell Thompson

    Thanks for article, I’ve been using Photo Ninja for years and have just tried PhotoLab 2. Reference your findings about the high ISO NR I have to disagree with your findings about PN doing a much better job. By default PL applies high lens sharpening, which at higher ISO settings causes unpleasant noise around the edges, which is what you have on your ISO 1600 image. Turn this lens sharpening down quite a bit or even off and the image looks much more like PN except away from the edges PL has a smoother, finer grain looking noise. Even at low ISO this lens sharpening is best turned way down.
    I also tried both at a very high ISO setting of 25,000. At first I thought PN did a better job of colour NR as at 100% it removed all the colour noise and at 100% PL still had a few odd bits of colour when viewed at 100%. Then I noticed that PN had removed completely some small yellow rings from a £20 note in the image ( and had removed wanted colour from other areas ), yet PL had completely retained them. I had to set PN’s colour NR slider to 50% to bring the rings back to an acceptable level, but then I ended up with unacceptable colour spots over a lot of the photo.
    Although PL lens sharpening is very aggressive in small amounts it can be used at any ISO to give more detail than PN – I used the detail slider in PN to match the detail in PL in an ISO 6400 image, but PN ended up looking more noisy overall.
    So overall for NR I would give the slightly edge to PhotoLab 2.

    • AndyBell

      Interesting points. I don’t often shoot at high ISO so it’s not really an issue for me anyway.

      These days I’m tending to use Topaz AI Clear or Topaz Noise AI for noise reduction as I find them even better. But I haven’t done a proper side by side test of them – I just like the look of their results.

      • Darrell Thompson

        I had a go at an ISO 800 image with PN, PL and Topaz and no matter what I did with the sliders in Noise AI I couldn’t keep the detail and remove the noise like I could in PL. AI Clear looked better on this image, but even with the lowest sharpening setting it’s a applying quite a lot of sharpening which makes the noise look a little worse. If you could lower the sharpening it would probably look a little better than PL.

        I then tried a ISO 6400 image and got the images looking fairly similar though Topaz AI Clear did look a little cleaner and a touch sharper than PL.But that’s just a couple of images and there isn’t really one NR program that will do the best on every image.

        • AndyBell

          Yeah, noise is often image specific and there’s not a one size fits all solution.

          Then again, with sensor resolution being so high on even modest cameras I sometimes wonder if we obsess to much about it. At 100% on screen the noise from these high resolution sensors can look awful. But, unless you’re intending to make a massive print then you’re going to downsize the image considerably for the final result.

          Downsizing an image tends to reduce noise (in my experience), and so many images these days seem to be viewed on phones and tablets.

          It’s much like lens sharpness – upgrading to a 10% ‘better’ lens may not yield visible results at regular viewing sizes…

          • Darrell Thompson

            Yes I’m just doing it to make sure I’m happy with PL before I buy it.

            I also compared a ISO 200 image between PL and Topaz and although I got them looking pretty similar there was a couple of areas where PL removed detail as I guess it confused it with detail but was still there in Topaz. On further inspect I found a couple of ares where Topaz had removed detail and in PL it was still there.

            Most modern NR seem fairly close, it’s whatever works best for you and you workflow.

          • AndyBell

            Agreed. My last landscaping trip was 100% using a tripod and 100% ISO 100 using a full frame camera. Noise? What noise?

            I also developed some of the images with DXO PL 2 and Photo Ninja and always preferred the PN results to DXO even though DXO had lens/camera specific corrections and Ninja didn’t.

            I used a ColorChecker passport to take a series of images to teach Ninja about my camera’s colour performance and, when using this custom profile, its results are beyond pleasing.

            I still own DXO and would use it when needed. Its chromatic aberration removal can handle things that Ninja struggles with – mainly because it has built in specific corrections for the camera and lens whereas Ninja doesn’t and needs to be taught about them – this can take a lot of time and trial and error.

            I don’t think there’s any one size fits all solution. Sometimes I use Skylum Luminar, especially when I need to recover significant shadow details. Luminar does that better than the others, I think.

            But Ninja works for me 80% of the time, with a bit of Topaz AI Clear.

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