Neat Image is a digital filter designed to reduce visible noise and grain in digital photographic images. It is a tool for owners of digital cameras, flatbed and slide scanners; and is for use by both professional photographers, and digital image processing enthusiasts. Neat Image not only reduces the high ISO noise associated with image sensors in digital cameras and scanners, it can also reduce the film grain visible in scanned slides and negatives, JPEG artifacts of overcompressed images, and color banding, and at the same time makes images sharper. Neat Image is indispensable in low-light, wedding, sport, and action photography.
...profiled hardware This review was originally posted on VersionTracker.com. Where Neat Image absolutely shines is in a workflow with known consistent hardware imports. You create profiles for the specific camera or scanner and the resulting noise/grain reduction seems nearly miraculous. The results of auto-profiling specific images are slightly less stunning and some images don't have a large enough area of little detail necessary for the software to analyze. But still it is much better than the new PS noise filter.
The one function which I didn't care for was the automatic sharpening included when applying Neat Image. The automated sharpen provided too much haloing for my taste. So I turned it off altogether and use Optipix 3's Detail Sharpener after Neat Image. What a combination!
...amatuers This review was originally posted on VersionTracker.com. The Neat Image plug-in for Mac has been greatly improved since it's introduction. The preview window within Photoshop is large and the auto-profiling feature is fantastic. You can build your own noise profiles, based on the camera that you use or use an auto feature to scan your image.
Customer service is good, the respone is great. This is an essential part of a serious digital workflow for professional and amateur photographers. Applying this filter as a first step before doing any color corrections or BW conversions will make a tremendous difference in your results.
I'd like to see a more automated version of this software, that could be used in a batch process, but other than that, it works perfectly. It's even been optimized for dual processor users.
...is measured This review was originally posted on VersionTracker.com. I've used NeatImage for several years, and started using the Mac Plug-In as soon as it became available. Nothing is easier to use. And nothing works as well. Period.
Unfortunately, the Mac version is less advanced than the PC version as far as capability goes. I personally miss the ability to select sections of the image to use for noise profiling and the detailed level of control of the PC version. (I've only used the stand alone version of the PC version, so I don't know if the plug-in version on the dark side keeps those capabilities. I expect it does.) Regardless, this is worth the money if you are serious about photography.
Before I got my Nikon D70 I used it on every image I scanned in from 35mm film on my film scanner. Now, I used it when I shoot at ISO 800 and up.
Minus one star for the lack of PC available features.