Can Lightroom Classic’s new Denoise AI help you eliminate noise?

Adobe Lightroom Classic has a new AI-powered Denoise feature? Can it help you? Read on!

About Lightroom Classic AI-powered Denoise

Adobe states that using artificial intelligence, Lightroom Classic v 12.3 now efficiently removes noise while preserving details. At present, Denoise only runs on Bayer or X-Trans RAW images. Curious, I updated this latest version of Lightroom Classic to see how it would work.

Four easy steps to denoising

Adobe made the new Denoise function incredibly easy to use. I’ll walk you through the process.

Step 1. Select Denoise in the Details Panel to the right. You may also select Photo > Enhance from the menu.

Step 2. “Denoise” is probably already selected if you clicked on Denoise through the Details Panel. If not, check the box. 

Step 3. Use the slider to adjust the intensity of Denoise. If you press and hold on the preview window, you can see your original image prior to denoising.

Step 4. Click enhance to process the image to a new DNG file. The file will have “-Enhance-NR” appended to it. And Lightroom will of course place it next to the original source image.


Of course we have comparisons! 

Comparisons when Denoise is set at 30 out of 100

I compared a single exposure photo of the Milky Way in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. I used a Nikon D750 with with an Irix 15mm f/2.4 prime lens.

The settings were 15 seconds at f/2.5 with an ISO of 4000. With settings like these, of course you will get some noise. But could we get rid of it just by moving a single slider and pressing “Enhance”? Let’s have a look!

Left: original file. Right: Denoised file. 100% view with Denoise at 30.

Left: original file. Right: Denoised file. 300% zoom view with Denoise at 30.

Comparisons when Denoise is set at 50 out of 100

Left: original file. Right: Denoised file. 100% view with Denoise at 50.

Left: original file. Right: Denoised file. 300% zoom view with Denoise at 50.

Analysis of the applied noise reduction

Any noise reduction system or just about any other setting can look bad when you apply too much enhancement. The new AI-powered Denoise in Lightroom Classic is no exception.

Of course, everyone has personal tastes. I found that for this high-ISO Milky Way photo, I preferred a setting around 30, shown in the first two examples. I found that the noise was satisfactorily eliminated while retaining detail. The darker areas around the mountain were kept intact but didn’t look “fake” and “plastic-like”.

When Denoise was set to 50, the shadowy areas of the mountain began looking very “plastic” and over-processed to me.

Denoise also addressed color noise, the little spots of noise that are easily visible in the sky, while leaving the stars alone.

Simple but effective

I also must confess that I was pleasantly surprised at how well this worked. When I saw that Denoise was controlled by just one slider, I was a bit dubious. But I must say that it retains detail and applies noise reduction, well, intelligently.

Above: This and the header photo were processed using only Lightroom Classic, including their new AI-powered Denoise feature. This is from the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California. Nikon D750 and Irix 15mm f/2.4 lens. I used a single exposure as an example of a high-ISO photo so you could see how the new Denoise feature works.

Other notes from Adobe

Adobe recommends that you denoise your image before applying AI masks and Content Aware. Applying noise reduction prior to other tools is generally good practice anyway.

Once the image has been enhanced with Denoise or Super Resolution, you may not process it again. However, enhanced Raw Details DNGs can be processed with Denoise.

Adobe also states that Denoise is a GPU-intensive feature. In other words, it’s perfectly normal for the process to take a while. And it’s also better if you use a faster GPU for Denoise and its other Enhance features.


Head on over to the Ken Lee Photography website to purchase books or look at night photography and long exposure prints and more.  My books are available there and Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Target, Booktopia, Books A Million, IBS, and Aladin. If you enjoy the book, please leave a nice review, thanks!


Night photographers Tim Little, Mike Cooper and I all use Pentax gear. We discuss this, gear, adventures, light painting, lenses, night photography, creativity, and more in this ongoing YouTube podcast. Subscribe and watch to the Nightaxians today!

Ken Lee Photography Facebook Page (poke your head in, say hi, and “like” the page if you would, uh, like)

Behind the Shot video podcast – interview February 2020


How We Got the Shots: Five Photographers, Five Stories – Night Photo Summit 2022


Ken Lee’s Abandoned Trains Planes and Automobiles with Tim Little of Cape Nights Photography
Conversation about night photography and my book with Lance Keimig of National Park At Night

A Photographer Captures Haunting Nighttime Images of Abandoned Buildings, Planes, and Cars in the American Southwest – Business Insider by Erin McDowell
A Photographer Explores Southern California’s Desert Ruins – Los Angeles Magazine article by Chris Nichols



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