This is an interesting time of year for Topaz Labs. October is often the month where photo software houses, such as Exposure and DXO, release their ‘major updates’ to their flagship products. We already know that Exposure X6 is coming. I have no news about DXO Photo Lab 4, but I expect something along those lines will happen in October. And, as with all ‘major’ updates, you must pay for them if you want them.
Topaz announced, in February this year, that they were changing to a ‘pay one price and get free updates for a year’ model, with that one price being $99.00 to receive all updates to four of their AI products: Gigapixel, DeNoise, Sharpen and Mask. This is not a subscription – unlike with, say, Adobe, if you elect not to pay the upgrade fee your existing software still works. It just remains as is and gets none of the improvements and additional features.
All their other products receive free updates.
This frees Topaz from having to save up major improvements for an annual, chargeable, release and allows them to roll out changes incrementally. That’s a good thing. I’m a software developer and a photographer, and I know from experience that major releases can be very hard to get right. Regular small updates are easier to manage and ought to lead to better quality software.
One question raised in Topaz forums was about bug fixes – would existing users get those even if they don’t have an active support licence. I don’t know the answer to that question, but I know that the latest release to DeNoise AI, V2.3.0 comes with both extra features and many bug fixes.
Topaz DeNoise 2.3.0 – what’s new
- Added comparison view, which allows you to compare 3 modes at once
- Added GPU optimization for Nvidia cards
- Added alternative model that does no sharpening
- General AI model improvements
They also list many minor improvements and 10 bug fixes. Not bad for an incremental release.
Is DeNoise AI Effective?
I have tested this software many times – it is the best image noise reduction program around. The only products that compete with it are DXO Photo Lab and Photo Ninja.
This new update mainly concentrates on ease of use, with the comparison between its different settings being the standout feature. Here is a screenshot:
I took the original image using an APS-C camera at ISO 6400 – noise guaranteed! It’s great to see at a glance the results from the various noise reduction models. It is a definite time-saving feature.
Topaz usually offer these upgrades at a discounted price to new users, and this release is no exception. Up to 9th October 2020, you can get DeNoise AI for $59.99 or the ‘Utility Bundle’ of DeNoise AI, Gigapixel AI, Sharpen AI, and JPEG to RAW AI for $195. That includes a year of free updates.
I’ve tested these and they are the best in the business at what they do. Trial versions are available, so there’s nothing to lose in giving them a workout.