Fixing noise in Adobe Camera Raw
If you’re shooting at ISO 100 then noise isn’t a problem for modern digital sensors, but if you have to push ISO to 400 or higher, or use a long exposure, then it’s likely you’ll begin to see more and more noise in your images.
The forest scene here was shot at ISO 3200, so the noise is very visible, particularly in the shadow areas.
A bit of noise isn’t necessarily a bad thing; it can add atmosphere to landscapes or create a gritty documentary-style effect. But large levels of noise can spoil a shot.
Fortunately, Adobe Camera Raw has a range of excellent sliders that combat noise. The main tools for noise reduction in Adobe Camera Raw are the Luminance and Color sliders.
Luminance reduces grain and blotchy dots, while Color reduces unsightly spots of random colour. The trade-off to noise reduction can be slight blurring and loss of detail, so you’ll need to decide whether to accept the noise, or attempt to correct it.
Sharpening and noise reduction are two sides of the same coin, so if you sharpen a noisy image it’s likely that you’ll increase the visibility of the noise.
You’ll need to strike the right balance between sharpening and noise reduction by experimenting with different sharpening amount and luminance settings. Toggle the Preview box on and off to judge the results.