Recovering Noisy and Blurry, Out of Focus Photos Is Possible

Topaz Labs software has more recently been talk of the town in the wildlife photography community, and for good reason. Just like the needs for wildlife gear can get extreme with the 500mm and 600mm uber-expensive lenses and hyper-fast cameras, the demands for software that can squeeze every bit of fine feather or fur detail out of images is equally desired. Many people, myself included, have now been turned onto Topaz DeNoise AI and Sharpen AI to achieve this.

In this video from my YouTube channel, I first get into showing how DeNoise AI works and share four photo examples ranging from ISO 1,000 up to ISO 8,000 shot with my Sony a7R IV — not a super great low light camera in the first place, especially when I keep it paired to the slower FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS lens.

The latter half of the video I start using Sharpen AI and really show off some magical editing to recover five images that are out of focus or just plain blurry. Whenever I tell people about Sharpen AI I say that it doesn’t work perfect with every photo you feed it, but when it does work, there’s nothing else like it. It’s one hell of a rollercoaster when you come back from shooting, see that you probably messed up a shot you really wish you had but for one reason or another didn’t work out to get it sharp, only to have it be recovered straight to perfect with Sharpen AI.

Ryan Mense's picture

Ryan Mense is a wildlife cameraperson specializing in birds. Alongside gear reviews and news, Ryan heads selection for the Fstoppers Photo of the Day.

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Years and years ago, I gave up on these types of software. They were total crap. But, at least from this video, impressive so far.

Gotta say this looks impressive so far.

Just ran a quick test on a couple of pictures where the motion blur was just a bit too much and I have to say it worked pretty good. It produces much less weird Artifacts in comparison to the PS blur reduction. It is very compute heavy though. It takes quite a long time even using 7 cpu cores.

Hi Ryan, what is your preferred workflow with respect to deploying these two plug-ins? In other words, when do you use the AI sharpen v. Denoise AI or do you use them both on the same image? Does running the same image through both plug ins increase the likelihood of artifacting? And finally, have you printed any images after using the software and does it have an impact?

I love AI Sharpen. It has helped me salvage several photos that just weren't quite sharp enough. This tri-colored heron is a great example. This software is FAR superior to the shake reduction feature in Photoshop.

Well, I had one polar bear image in which I f$cked up the focus and was really upset because if it had been tack sharp, it would have made a killer image. I tried for 5 days the trial version of AI Focus in all modes and settings, it did nothing but add artifacts and create more problems. Probably it's AI has not been trained on polar bears yet haha. No way I'm spending money on this...

It's been hit and miss for me, mostly miss. Lots of artifacts. The Topaz AI filters seem to work best with low, web res images.

A video review of what Topaz can do is pointless - even at full screen on my 4K monitor, I couldn't discern any difference between the before and after apart from the very last photo of the model, where he zoomed in to 100%

I'm using the trial version of Shapen AI on some bird photos and get some good results which I could probably achieve using the sharpening tools provided by my usual photo processing/editing tools, but with Topaz I get results much more quickly, so for that reason I'll be buying a copy whilst it's at a discount.