PHOTOOG Photography writings by Olivier Giroux


Lightroom 3 Beta and the Leica M9

I've been testing Lightroom 3 for a couple of days, and I confess myself extremely impressed.  The implementation of chroma noise processing is worlds better.

Case in point, here is an M9 image from one of the review sites taken at ISO 2500:


The white rectangle denotes a shadow area that I used for testing.  Below is a comparison of the LR 2.5 and LR 3 renderings with the same settings for noise processing / sharpening. Other settings are their defaults so perhaps not the same but this is what you get when you open the file.

This is 100% pixels:



Remember: this is the same DNG file.  The one that's _vastly_ better is the Lightroom 3 image, I don’t think I need to say which is which.

Seriously this software just gave the M9 that little extra oompf I wanted to see. I think if that’s what ISO 2500 shadows look like then it’s fine.  No, no fine, great!  I'll take this any time.

What can the D700 do with this software wonder?  Well ISO 6400 is more usable for one thing.  But the lower high ISOs (heh) don't improve as much honestly.


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  1. I’ve been testing the Lightroom 3 beta and I’m also very impressed. The chroma noise reduction is really remarkable: until now I’ve never been much interested in this area of post-processing, assuming it to be a sucker’s game. Lightroom 3 has convinced me otherwise.

    It’s also remarkably good at cleaning up the files from the Sony A850 and A900 cameras (which intrigue me more than a little). I suppose this makes sense because those cameras tend to have plenty of chroma noise. The D700 has a lot less chroma noise, whether by sensor superiority or in-camera “Raw cooking” (likely a bit of both). I suppose that may be why Lightroom 3 doesn’t make any big strides with the D700 files.

    Still, Lightroom 3 seems to be simply better than earlier versions in the shadows, even with noise reduction turned off. The developer of the little-known Raw Photo Processor has some harsh words for Adobe Camera Raw, saying that it suffers from “low precision and rounding of calculations” of the Raw data. He has some examples that really make me worry about the general quality of Adobe Camera Raw:

    I hope the next version of ACR incorporates the improvements I’ve seen in the Lightroom 3 beta.

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