Adobe Lightroom Noise AI – How Good Is It?

The latest Adobe Lightroom Classic update brings us AI noise reduction. I decided to give it a spin testing it against DXO Photo Lab 6 Deep Prime XD noise reduction.

Here’s my take on the two.

I used a photo from a Sandhill Crane trip I made in March, taken before sunrise with my Nikon D810, shot at ISO 12,800 in very low light. I did a DXO Deep Prime XD noise reduction, Lightroom AI Noise Reduction, and the original RAW file. I cropped in on a small area and here is the comparison.

First up, the raw file with no noise reduction applied.

RAW File converted to JPG with no noise reduction applied.

As you can see, the original RAW file is quite noisy.

Here’s the same image with AI noise reduction applied in Lightroom Classic.

Adobe Lightroom AI noise reduction applied

Adobe Lightroom AI Noise Reduction is effective. But is it as good as DXO Deep Prime XD?

Here’s the DXO Deep Prime XD version of the same image.

DXO Deep Prime XD noise reduction.

It’s hard to see at normal screen resolution, but the DXO Deep Prime XD is doing a better job of reducing noise. What you are looking at here is a 100 percent crop, but when you zoom in more closely, the Lightroom file is showing more grain. Both the DXO and LR noise reduction are doing a good job but it is obvious that DXO Deep Prime XD is superior when it comes to cleaning up a photo made at ISO 12,800.

Here’s the screen capture comparing the images at about 300% magnification. Click on the below image to see the full size screen capture comparison at about 300% magnification.

DXO on left, Adobe LR on right

DXO Photo Lab 6 Deep Prime XD is the better of the two. IMO DXO Photo Lab Deep Prime XD still rules the noise reduction world when it comes to photo editing.

A few more thoughts.

I use Adobe Lightroom Classic as my main photo editor. As an overall photo editing platform, it’s about as good as it gets. But, for specific tasks, Lightroom Classic seems to trail the pack when it comes to noise reduction, image enlargement, sharpening and lens corrections.

My workflow always begins with Adobe Lightroom, but I find that it’s better to use DXO Photo Lab on images that need a little extra love. The profile corrections in DXO Photo Lab are superb, as is the noise reduction, so I often export a LR edit to DXO to fix those things. I love Lightroom and Photoshop, but for many specific tasks there are better alternative solutions. Adobe always seems to be behind the curve on performance enhancements. I wish it was different, as I rely on Adobe LR and PS to do a lot of editing, but the competition is catching up and, in many cases, has left Adobe as a less desirable editor for many things.