Canon CR3 vs Topaz Denoise AI in Lightroom

I’m trying to figure out how Topaz Denoise AI affects the raw data of an image before I edit the photo in Lightroom. I became a huge fan of Denoise AI after editing some noisy photos from my old Canon EOS R. So it basically became habit to convert my EOS R CR3 files and convert them to DNG via Canon’s DNG Converter and then importing those DNG to be automatically processed (sometimes Denoise, sometimes Clear). And then importing the Denoise AI files into Lightroom and editing.

But then I tried this same workflow with my Canon EOS R5 CR3 RAW files. And when I go to edit the Denoise AI files (Canon EOS R5 CR3 to DNG to Denoise AI DNG) versus editing the original CR3 files, I noticed it was much harder to tweak the highlights and the black levels of the Denoise files than it was the original CR3 files. With the original CR3 files, you don’t move the sliders much in Lightroom to affect real change. But with the Denoise files, I had to really move the sliders. And then it didn’t seem to affect the image as much, meaning they stayed in this middle midtone range low contrast look. So it was hard to have good contrast and dynamic range from highlights to blacks without becoming artificial looking. If I try to push the blacks and shadows darker, i wouldn’t have much range to do so. It would crush them too easily with the Denoise files. With the original CR3 files, the file already had great blacks and shadows with details as well as great highlights with details straight out of camera. And the tweaks via the sliders was far more subtle.

So my theory was that maybe the color depth of the original CR3 files are higher than the DNG converted files or the Denoise DNG converted files… the original EOS R5 RAW files are 14-bit. is the Canon DNG converter preserving this 14-bit data? Is the Denoise AI preserving 14-bit color?

Anyway, all of this tech talk is way above my head so if anyone can give me insight on what’s happening, I would really appreciate it.

I guess I may have to be judicious on what images to process through Denoise AI than before where before, I would push everything through Denoise before sending them to Lightroom.

Firstly the Topaz products do not support the EOS R5 at this point in time and therefore the Adobe DNG converter produced DNGs can be opened but may not be processed correctly.

Nothing to do with color depth but certainly the dynamic range of a DNG is limited compared to the original RAW image.

My suggestion would be to use Topaz products as external editors from Lightroom and pass a 16bit, ProPhotoRGB, TIF/TIFF to be processed from LR. I would also do your basic tonal editing before passing the images.


thanks. I’ll try your tips.