This is a continuation from a different thread.
Yes, I watched all the videos, I spent hours playing with the possibilities, and I already had started a discussion on the topic some time ago.
There, people were friendly to suggest various ways of reducing noise through combination of modules, and their results are quite satisfactory, but using them requires tweaking on an image-to-image basis. This reminds me of the situation with highlight reconstruction before dt 4.2, and that’s why I made my above remark.
Here is an example of what I’d like to achieve. The following is a very small crop (covered by fair use, I assume) from a low light sports shot by dpreview. They developed it with Adobe software that I do not have access to. I don’t even like their edit (I find it way over the top), but I like Adobe’s denoise. Luminance noise is well visible but is not disturbing. It even adds a certain quality to the image:
Here is what I obtain using the denoise (profiled) preset “wavelets (chroma only)” and otherwise trying to more or less replicate the dpreview edit (without quite as much contrast and saturation):
basketball-0.orf.xmp (8.0 KB)
My edit attempt with darktable has a blue-grayish haze that I find difficult to get rid of reliably. The face is not so bad, but the background is full of dots that remain very visible even if exposure is tuned down to make the background darker. Increasing the strength of noise removal does not really help either.
Ideally, such basic noise removal could be achieved by simply activating a module with its defaults or with a basic preset that could be activated by default for all images, fire-and-forget.
The noise in the above image is mostly photon noise, and this is a basic physical phenomenon that does not depend on camera/sensor details. Apparently, algorithms do exist to contain it that provide better results out of the box than what can be easily achieved with darktable. I would love to have the time to work on this topic myself, perhaps one day…
Until then, I’m happy to hear any suggestions how to deal with high-noise images without spending hours on hand-crafting and tuning presets.