I have always considered the Topaz plugins as the “go to” set of add-on functionality and that did not change when TopazStudio came out so, when I saw the new AI Clear plugin I wanted to give it at least a try even though I thought that it was a bit pricey. Normally I expected an intro price but I did not get any advance notice of this plugin at all or any sale price, but only saw it mentioned on another forum.
Anyway I decided to try it on a really high ISO image shot with my M4/3 Olympus camera. Normally I try to stay below ISO 1600 on it because, being only a small sensor camera, it does not handle high ISO values well. I thought the best comparison would be against Dxo’s Prime Noise Reduction as it is the best I had seen, so I took the raw image, created both a High and Prime image from Dxo’s PhotoLab and then, again using PL, but with the NR turned off, sent the image to AI Clear to process. I then took all 3 photos and compared them. Here are the results:
- Dxo PhotoLab with High NR vs Topaz Studio AI Clear
- Dxo PhotoLab with Prime NR vs Topaz Studio AI Clear
Of course there is a bit of an issue because PhotoLab NR appears to do more than just remove noise. It also seems to adjust the contrast and perhaps the exposure as well, but the comparison between the adjustments seems pretty stark.
To be clear, this is AI Clear on it’s High Setting. It seems very disappointing to me.