Opinions and/or suggestions about image granularity

I think you need to render all three at the same brightness, then compare.


Did you enable RawTherapee’s noise filters?

Maybe posting the raw file (with a permissive licence) and your pp3 sidecar would help.

This is probably the right explanation for the graining. Use some chroma denoising (default if you active Noise reduction) and you’re much closer to the other examples.

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I agree. You will have a significantly better result just by activating the noise reduction (even with luminance slider at 0).

Hello all and thank so much for the quick replies.
In the example above I didn’t apply any filter, in any of the used tools.
I wanted to compare the development process of the tools with the minimum process: only white balance (always detected by the photo tool from the camera shot data).
As from your suggestion I tried just few minutes ago to apply in RawTherapee the “Impulse Noise Reduction” and “Noise Reduction” with the default values, but I can’t appreciate improvements (maybe my mistake or incompetence?). I upload here a screenshot.
Good idea to post an original RAF file and the related pp3 file.
I hope to have a little bit of time today to post a shareable shot (this one is from an house not of mine and I want to avoid any permission trouble).

Good improvement playing with Luminance and Detail Recovery.
Maybe the other tools always apply such processing?


RawTherapee is really powerful when it comes to noise reduction. Admittedly you do need to find your way around and might want to create a set of profiles based on noise (ISO) levels that are specific for your camera. The latter isn’t needed, though, it will just make your starting point much easier.

I noticed that you use the slider for luminance control. You would be better of by using the curve. You have much better control over which area (dark/light) gets how much noise reduction.

You can also use the denoise tool in the Local Adjustments module (see the below New Tools Basics video) to target very specific areas while leaving other parts alone. Areas can be selected by colour, luminance, etc

Andy Astbury made a bunch of videos that deal with noise reduction that will probably get you up and running:

Advanced, wavelet based:

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Hello, I always set Luminance to 20 and Detail recovery to 70, for me that works in most of the (less or more) normal cases, so from iso 400 to 1600 or so. I never use Impulse Noise reduction, because the Noise reduction tool is all I need.

Great suggestions, thanks a lot to all of you (and of course especially @Jade_NL).
I absolutely have to spend a little more time studying and testing RawTherapee’s features.

RT seems to be producing much more saturated colors than the other softwares and the darkest areas tend to show much more noise. I believe that you have the “Auto-matched Tone Curve” active that tries to fit a tone curve to the embedded JPEG. Also be sure to be using the “Auto matched camera profile” and activate all options Tone, Base and Look. Now your image should be developed in a neutral way and from here you can do your customizations. I tend to avoid noise reduction, and I avoid altogether the luminance noise reduction: Fuji cameras have a pleasant grain in my opinion. Of course hi-ISO images are good candidates for BW development.

Last but not least: check which RAW demosaicing you’re using!!! Noisy images tend to prefer the “Fast” method at the expense of resolution and Moire’ artefacts. When you become more expert you may play with Markenstein+fast with a variable threshold. Instead of using the noise reduction module you could also play with the “False colors suppression steps”: I usually set it to one for noisy stuff.

Hope that helps!


ps: I forgot maybe the main point: if you’re not planning to see your pictures through a microscope, please avoid 200% magnifications… Even 100% is equivalent to look at a huge poster from 30cm… usually 50% is comparable to seeing an A3 print at monitor viewing distance.

Hello Marco,
thank for your suggestions.

I checked my settings and did not have “Auto-matched Tone Curve” active.
Instead I activated, as you suggested, “Auto matched camera profile” with all the options: Tone, Base and Look.
I tried to improve with Demosaicing but I couldn’t take out that damn multicolored grain.

In this case only “Noise Reduction” seems to work, sorry :slight_smile:
I set it like this:
Color space: L * a * b
Mode: Conservative (with Aggressive the rendering is a bit too fake)
Range: 1.70
Luminance: 30.00
Details recovery: 50.00
At this point the result was already very good but remembering that at the beginning you noted that RT could generate more saturated colors than other tools, I retouched:
Contrast: 10
Saturation: -10
For me the result is excellent, I show it here.

Obviously some of these settings work and make sense in this specific case, but they helped me understand a little more how to get around with RawTherapee and where to start in order to have a first neutral profile.

Thank you all! I have a lot to learn :wink:


P.S. I know the 200% zoom is a little bit exagerated but I wanted to stress the problem of the multicolored grain that in some cases is very boring. Consider this is a shot at ISO 800, S 1/18, A 4 and FL 55.

OK, very good that you’re finding the right values for the plethora of sliders :wink:

Could you please post here a screenshot of the RT controls (the first tab, the one with exposure, saturations etc?) It’s very strange that you should decrease saturation to mimic the other softwares.

This one is for ISO 4000 with an X-T30. With ISO800 it’s very rare to see color grain in most situtions.
Anyway, my point about noise and 200% zooms was just to emphasize that the color noise you see when zoomed is totally gone at 50%, so if you’re not cropping very hard, I’d prefer not to denoise since it makes the picture lifeless, plastic, fake.


Not sure if I agree with your remarks about (not) zooming in and tackling noise…

When working on noise reduction zooming in is rather essential. At the beginning of that process I often times zoom to +/- 400% (or higher). This is the only way to get the correct demosaicing method dialled in and, if the noise allows it, set the correct capture sharpening.

If you (also) use the wavelets module to denoise you need to zoom in to 200% or 300% to be able to set the best results.

The other options, impulse noise reduction and noise reduction should be done at 100% view. RawTherapee does not always show accurate results when you do not do this. The modules that are sensitive to this have the 1:1 token next to it.

About things turning out plastic, waxy ,lifeless or fake; Here’s an example of a rather high ISO image (20K) that was posted here on pixels that I tackled: Hockey game under lights: 20k ISO on m4/3

Only using the noise reduction module to tackle noise is often times not enough to get the job done. Most (all?) of the above is covered in the videos by Andy Astbury that I linked to in my previous reply.

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Ok Marco, as absurd as this coincidence may seem, I also have the XT-30 and I shot with XF18-55 F2.8-4 :smiley:
These are two enlargements to 50%, one is from RawTherapee, the other from my current reference tool (which I would like to abandon in favor of RawTherapee).

I also add the screenshot you ask for.
Consider that I have not made any changes in the reference tool, everything is set to default.
Also, I tried to set “Clip-out of gamut…” and “Highlight reconstruction” but without appreciable results.

Ibdont know what the other tools are …
But yes , ACR / Lightroom always does a bit which you can’t turn off . With the denoising sliders all the way down , there always is some. With the sharpening sliders all the way down, there always is some .

It seems they try to normalize all the sensors , and then after that give you some controls .

It’s incredible subtle though, but if you’re comparing like this it might just be the thing.

And yes, every photo tool has a different look , also for color rendition , saturation and color contrast. So out of the box , you expect to see differences.

If you like what you get with little fiddling, that’s up to you to decide.

I totally agree, it is clear that commercial image processing tools use “tricks” to get you to the result you expect as quickly as possible.
I prefer not to declare the name of the tool I use as a reference because I don’t want anyone to think that I am doing hidden advertising here.
I like RawTherapee for its origin and development philosophy, it also has some out-of-the-box features that I really appreciate: for example it doesn’t claim to be the “owner” of your albums, it provides you with a file with the parameters used for each photo, and so on.
At the same time it’s less intuitive and faster than my current reference, it produces that multicolored grain that I find in pretty much all photos and makes it a little difficult for me to produce smooth (in colors) and sharp (in details) photos. I’m trying to find a solution.

I don’t know or your RAF files are from a Bayer sensor or xtrans. But playing around with the demosaicing methods and the number of ‘color smooth passes’ can help, without touching the denoising parameters yet.

Also, resetting all the exposure parameters and curves on the first tab + first tool, can help . It might now be trying to get the look of the preview jpg. And in doing so might be upping the (color) contrast and highlighting the differences.

In my - short - experience rawtherapee does not show a lot or extra color grain out of the box . Or I never noticed it / never bothered by it.
But I don’t have Fuji cameras.

Hi Jacques,
of course with VERY high ISO stuff noise reduction is almost a must.
Your result with that 20k ISO image was very good.
I just tend to shoot at ISO 3200-6400 and then almost always convert those images to BW that I really prefer.


To be honest, the multicolored grain appears to be limited to a bunch of shots.
I don’t know why… fog? wet film on the lens? critical pink color?
Anyway, with other photos I am getting processings that seem to me of excellent quality and without having to apply any noise reduction.
I am satisfied and, of course, ready for the next challenge :wink:


+1 for this. I use the auto-values for ‘3 pass + fast’, but for noisy images I set the ‘false color suppression steps’ to 2.