Today’s Question: Your new course on the Nik Collection from DxO got me interested in this bundle of plug-ins again. I’m wondering, however, what you think of the quality of the noise reduction with the Dfine plug-in included in the Nik Collection. Do you think it is at the same level as other software?
Tim’s Quick Answer: I don’t consider the noise reduction in Dfine (part of the Nik Collection now offered by DxO Software) to be particularly good. I recommend using other tools (such as Lightroom, Camera Raw, or third-party apps) for noise reduction, rather than using Dfine.
More Detail: While I’m impressed with the overall quality of the plug-ins in the Nik Collection by DxO, it is also worth noting that these applications haven’t been significantly updated in quite some time. There have been very few new features or other meaningful updates in the last few years. As a result, other software has improved to the point that in some cases other tools will provide better results.
To be sure, HDR Efex Pro still does a very good job of assembling high dynamic range (HDR) images. However, as noted in an earlier edition of the Ask Tim Grey eNewsletter, I’ve been more impressed recently with the results I’ve achieved with Aurora HDR (https://timgrey.me/aurora2019).
I also still very much like what is possible with Silver Efex Pro and Analog Efex Pro, and often find very interesting effects available with Color Efex Pro. So there is still great value in the Nik Collection, especially when it comes to applying creative effects to photos.
Unfortunately, there have not been any real updates to the Dfine plug-in, so the noise reduction quality with this application is not on par with more recent offerings.
I’ve found that Adobe Camera Raw and Lightroom provide excellent results in terms of noise reduction, and there are several third-party plug-ins that provide great results as well. However, Dfine is not an application I would recommend for noise reduction.