Fix your photos with Noise Reducer Pro for a clearer picture

Reduce noise in photos from your digital camera or phone with this stand-alon app and Photos extension.

Noise Reducer Pro is a great tool for reducing the amount of noise or grain in photographs taken in low light levels. It makes photos clearer and runs on the Mac, iOS, Android and PC.

Noise in digital camera photos and photos taken with a phone resembles the grain in old photographs taken on film. Areas of plain colour in an image look dotty and pixelated. It ruins a photo because it reduces the quality of the image. Some creative photographers use grain in their photos, but for most of us it is accidental, unwanted, and makes our photos look poor. Noise Reducer Pro is a free app that aims to remove noise from photos.

The version I am using is, of course, the Mac version, but the others should work just as well. To get the Noise Reducer Pro app, just go to the Mac App Store and search for it, or visit the website.

Stand-alone app

Run Noise Reducer Pro and it opens  window on the desktop. A photo can then be dragged from a Finder window and dropped on the app window to open it for editing. The default view is to show two images side by side with the before image on the left and after the app has processed it on the right.

Other views are available and the photo can be split down the middle so the left half shows the raw image and the right half shows the noise-reduced one. A zoom feature enables you to zoom in to see the details.

Noise is created by very low light levels on the the camera sensor, which is pushed to the limit of sensitivity. It often happens when shooting photos at night or in the evening without a flash, which is why the following images are dark.

Noise Reducer Pro for the Apple Mac

When dragging a zoomed image to look around, the other image in the split view moves automatically in sync, so you always see the same part of the image. That is a useful feature.

The only controls are an Auto button and manual slider. The slider is easy to use and as soon as you let go of it, the preview image is updated so you can see the effect.

Noise Reducer Pro for the Apple Mac

When you are happy with the resulting noise reduction, the image can be saved to JPG, PNG, TIF and so on. Always save it under a new name so you still have the original.

Noise Reducer Pro extension

Noise Reducer Pro adds itself as a Photos app extension and it must be enabled by ticking the box in System Preferences > Extensions > Photos, but once this is done, it is ready to use.

Enable the Noise Reducer Pro extension in macOS

Open the Photos app, find a photo with grain and noise, and double click it to view a large version. Down at the bottom of the tools on the right side of the Photos window is Extensions. Click it and then select Noise Reducer Pro.

Noise Reducer Pro for the Apple Mac

It is exactly the same as the stand-alone app, but it is more convenient to use from within the Photos app. The photo you are viewing is loaded for editing, then the results are saved back to Photos. As with all editing in Photos, you can always discard the changes and revert back to the original.

How good is the noise reduction?

It quickly became apparent that the app cannot perform miracles. I loaded up some of my grainiest and noisiest photos and ran it through the noise reduction at maximum. The resulting images were definitely better, but they were far from perfect. Mind you, there were some shockingly bad photos that would have been difficult, if not impossible to fix manually.

Noise Reducer Pro for the Apple Mac

I tried fixing the photos in GIMP and could not do as good a job as Noise Reducer Pro. It smooths out the noise a bit without losing the detail in the image. It won’t make your photos perfect, but it will make them better than they were.

App: Noise Reducer Pro (Mac App Store)
Price: Free
By: Systweak Software
Size: 4MB
macOS: 10.8 or later
Verdict: There is a definite reduction in noise in digital photos. Recommended.



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