At first glance, I think NoiseNinja will remain in my toolbox. The results from Aperture’s noise reduction tools are like butter knives compared to the razor-sharp blades that PictureCode’s software uses to carve up noise. Photoshop CS and CaptureOne all produce better results at noise reduction than Aperture.
There are two controls in Aperture, radius and edge detail, as shown below in the following screenshot.
The default settings are 0.10 for radius and 1.50 for edge detail. At 100%, frankly I don’t see much change in my images unless I start increasing the radius. There’s do not seem to be separate controls for managing luminance noise and color noise, as there are in the other RAW convertors and noise reduction applications. I do so much high ISO photography that reducing color noise is my number one task for NoiseNinja.
Compare this image above with what NoiseNinja produced from a CaptureOne RAW conversion.
And for a final comparison, Photoshop CS’s noise reduction abilities. I have never found Photoshop’s handling of high ISO noise and shadow noise to be all that good. Has anything changed in CS2 that might change this?
Disregard the white balance differences for a moment. You can see that NoiseNinja’s noise reduction abilities are superior to Aperture’s. I really hope that Apple adds a plug-in interface so third-parties can enhance Aperture’s capabilities. It’s beneficial for everyone in the long-run!
Here’s an example of NoiseNinja running on an Aperture processed image (made some color and contrasts adjustments as well) . Not bad! What is unforunate is that you can’t modify the resulting file using Aperture’s non-destructive editing tools. Final Cut Pro has good plug-in support… let’s hope Aperture will too in the next version!