Lightroom 3 noise reduction

One of the new features of Lightroom 3 I was eager to try out was the noise reduction. This was said to be improved in Lightroom 3 and a top feature that I was looking for improvement so couldn’t wait to see if was really better. Overall it does look like Adobe definitely improved the noise reduction feature, it reduces the noise but also doesn’t fully degrade the image sharpness and quality like Lightroom 2 did. Here are a few examples both shot at ISO 3200 and adjusted with the same settings for Noise Reduction (set to a medium amount of noise reduction for the first shot and maximum for the 2nd shot). If you have used the noise reduction in Lightroom 3 and love it or hate it let us know in the comments below.

Here is the first shot straight out of the camera. Shot with a 5d @3200:
lightroom 2 vs lightroom 3
Then a cropped view processed in Lightroom 2 (only adjustments made for Noise Reduction)
lightroom 2 noise reduction
And the Lightroom 3 version
LIghtroom 3 noise reduction

This shot was with a 7d at ISO 3200 and processed with the noise reduction sliders set to 100. Here is the original image:

lightroom 2 vs lightroom 3
Processed in Lightroom 2
lightroom 2 vs lightroom 3
Processed in Lightroom 3
lightroom 2 vs lightroom 3

and also a few views really cropped in to see the differences. The first image from Lightroom 2 and second is Lightroom 3

lightroom 2 vs lightroom 3 noise reduction test
lightroom 2 vs lightroom 3 noise reduction test

From the tight detail shot you can really see the edges still retain some sharpness in Lightroom 3 while doing a pretty good job with the noise.

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Author: Mark

Mark is a fine art wedding and portrait photographer from Northern California. He has been passionate about photography since childhood and started his studio 12 years ago to bring a fresh style of photography to the wedding and portrait world.

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  1. Great article! I definitely think that I will be moving to LR3 when it hits the market since I’m such an LR addict. With that said…I still think we need to leave solid pixel editing to pixel editing software. LR3 does appear to be doing an ok job with the noise reduction but I still think that running a proprietary noise software (i.e., Noise Ninja or others) is always the best option. I normally try not to spend time on noise in my workflow until its absolutely necessary for production. Thanks for the review and insights.

  2. Yes, I still think if you really need to fix a noisy shot Noise Ninja is the best. That is the main noise reduction I have used and will probably keep using it. However if Lightroom (or Aperture) could keep improving a little in this area it would be so much better to do it quickly in the same software I am using to edit my images.


  1. Editing your photos in Lightroom 3 | Digital Photo Buzz - Digital Photography reviews and tips - [...] tool compared to Lightroom 2. Check out our comparison of noise reduction from Lightroom 3 here: Lightroom 2 vs…

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