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Nik Dfine banding removal

Discussion in 'Image Processing' started by Amin Sabet, Mar 27, 2010.

  1. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    The only major issue I have with the image quality of my Pana GH1 is banding. With high ISO images, or any ISO images which have been underexposed and pushed, banding can be a real problem.

    The best solution I have found to date is Nik Dfine. The photo below is a recent ISO 1600 (more like ISO 2154 according to DxOmark data) photo I made through thick and dirty glass at a local zoo. Please ignore the reflections, which were unavoidable and do not have anything to do with the GH1 image quality.

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    Even in this web-sized version, significant banding (both horizontal and vertical) is evident. I then used Dfine to remove the banding and added a bit of contrast in Photoshop. Below is the original, web-sized image again. If you mouseover, you will see the version after processing in Dfine:

    <img src="https://farm5.static.flickr.com/4033/4466287279_6ec793d6e3_o.jpg" rsrc="https://farm5.static.flickr.com/4014/4467060964_02ced925d9_o.jpg" border="0">

    This debanding process does not seem to affect detail. Below is a 100% crop of the above image. Mouseover to see the same crop after debanding and a bit of contrast enhancement.

    <img src="https://farm3.static.flickr.com/2499/4466416355_18e8d32511_o.jpg" rsrc="https://farm5.static.flickr.com/4016/4467191012_38da6f6790_o.jpg" border="0">

    Nik has a 15-day Dfine trial here. Highly recommended if you have an issue with banding. Unfortunately the Dfine plugin is not compatible with 64-bit Photoshop but works in 32-bit PS, Lightroom 2, or Aperture.
    • Like Like x 1
  2. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Here's another pre/post example. This time at nominal ISO 3200 (ISO 4176 per DxOmark). Banding is very obvious. Mouseover for the post-Dfine version. In this example, there was no contrast enhancement in PS, so all the difference is attributable to Dfine.

  3. BBW

    BBW Super Moderator Emeritus

    Amin, thank you. For some reason - using Safari - I can only see activity when mousing over on the close up of the baboon's eyes where I clearly see the improvements.
  4. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Thanks BB. What you're noticing there probably isn't the banding removal by Dfine but rather the contrast enhancement I did in Photoshop. The banding removal is more subtle and best seen in the other examples. It's probably easiest to see on the out-of-focus wood cabinets in the last example.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Brian Mosley

    Brian Mosley Administrator Emeritus

    Dec 15, 2009
    Yes, the last example is very clear... good plugin, I wish that Lightzone would support the Photoshop plugin interface.


  6. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Thanks Brian. Here's the 100% crop from the left side of that last example (mouseover for Dfine version):

    https://farm3.static.flickr.com/2681/4467271297_c7cdf49a73_o.jpg" rsrc="https://farm5.static.flickr.com/4054/4468045684_aaf923899f_o.jpg" border="0"><code style="white-space: nowrap;"><code>[COLOR=#000000][COLOR=#007700]

    [/COLOR][/COLOR]</code></code>This tool can result in some odd effects. For example, if you look closely around the edge of the lamp, there is a halo effect inside and outside of the edge. However, it's pretty easy to strike a balance, and any untoward effects are usually much easier to clean up than the banding itself.
  7. goldenlight

    goldenlight Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 30, 2010
    I'm also a big fan of Dfine. This example wasn't taken on a :43: camera but was taken on an Olympus E3, which has a closely related sensor, at ISO 3200.

    Before Dfine

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    After Dfine

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    Here are a couple of crops to show the effect more clearly.


    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    Exactly the same sharpening applied to all examples. Bear in mind that the E3 sensor is now quite old and several generations below the latest :43: offerings.

    The great thing about Dfine is that you can apply the NR selectively, using it more strongly in the under exposed shadow areas where detail is not so important, but less so in the correctly exposed areas of the main subject where it is not needed so much and detail retention is important.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. allan

    allan Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 24, 2009
    How does Dfine's debanding compare with Denoise's?
  9. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    I haven't tried Denoise's debanding.
  10. Narnian

    Narnian Nobody in particular ...

    Aug 6, 2010
    Richmond, VA
    Richard Elliott
    Whatever it is worth department, I just picked up last week the Nik Complete Collection package for Lightroom/Aperture on Amazon at 25% off ($223.77) which includes Dfine as well as several other add-ins (e.g. Silver Efex Pro). You also get a free download of HD Efex Pro.

    So far I am liking what I have seen but have not used Dfine yet. High ISO issues on the GF1 have kept me from going above ISO 400 and I will see if Dfine helps. Thanks!

    Amazon.com: Nik Software Complete Collection for Lightroom and Aperture: Software
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