Adobe Lightroom 1.2 dials back noise reduction

Update to software that handles raw images supports new SLR cameras from Canon, Pentax and Sony while letting through a little more image noise, by default.

Whoops! Fujifilm's IS-1 is only an SLR-esque megazoom, not an actual SLR, so I updated the text.

Getting rid of the speckles of image noise in digital photos is an essential part of photo processing, but there can be too much of a good thing.

Adobe Lightroom is used to edit and catalog raw images. Adobe

Evidently, that was the conclusion Adobe Systems reached when preparing updates it released late Thursday night to Photoshop Lightroom and the related raw-image import module of Photoshop C3. Adobe is dialing down the default amount of noise reduction in Lightroom 1.2 (download for Mac OS X and Windows) and Camera Raw 4.2 (for Mac OS X and Windows), adding support for the Canon EOS 40D and 13 other new cameras.

In Lightroom 1.1, some photographers had complained that the software applied overaggressive noise reduction when importing raw images, the unprocessed image sensor data without any in-camera processing. Adobe apparently took heed with Lightroom 1.2.

For a technical description, Adobe Product Manager John Nack included release notes on his blog: "The base point noise reduction applied at the demosaic stage of raw processing has been reduced. The resulting effect is that images with zero luminance noise reduction applied in Lightroom 1.2 will contain more noise than the identical settings in Lightroom 1.1 but less noise than identical settings in Lightroom 1.0."

The new update also adds support for several new cameras' raw formats, so "40D shooters, you can stop stuffing the feature request form now," Nack said. Other new SLRs supported are Olympus' Evolt E-510 , Sony's Alpha A700 and the Pentax's K100D Super .

Update: Adobe's Lightroom leader, Tom Hogarty, said on his blog even later on Thursday night that the new software includes "unofficial" support for Canon's PowerShot G9 , meaning that "our engineering and quality engineering team has yet to certify the quality of the support, but Lightroom and Camera Raw will read the files."

Panasonic's compact Lumix DMC-FZ18 is supported, as is Fujifilm's infrared-specialized, SLR-esque FinePix IS-1 and several high-end camera "backs": Leaf's Aptus 17, Aptus 54s and Aptus 75s and Phase One's P 20+, P 21+, P 25+, P 30+ and P 45+.

Lightroom and Photoshop CS3 use the same engine for importing and adjusting raw images, which can retain more of the original photo's image than can JPEGs. However, CS3 is geared to import photos one at a time, whereas Lightroom is set up for editing many raw images as well as cataloging, exporting and printing them.

The new version also fixes a number of bugs with 1:1 previews, XMP metadata file performance, Web export and catalog handling.

The Camera Raw importer works only with the new version CS3 of Photoshop, but those with older versions can convert raw files to Adobe's Digital Negative (DNG) format with its DNG converter software and then import them.

About the author

Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and covers browsers, Web development, digital photography and new technology. In the past he has been CNET's beat reporter for Google, Yahoo, Linux, open-source software, servers and supercomputers. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces.

 

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