Under less-than-perfect conditions, or low light conditions, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS3 may take photos that have too much noise in them, or at least more than you would like. Noise basically refers to imperfections in the photo that give the photo a grainy appearance, that is not as sharp or as smooth as would be ideal. Noise can affect all types and models of digital cameras, so the noise problem and noise reduction solution described here can be applied to photos taken by any camera, though the level of success may vary depending on the original photo quality.
Some basic photo post-processing can make your photographs look better. Using the free demo version of Neat Image noise reduction software, JPEG photos taken with the Panasonic ZS3 (or any other camera) can be improved or cleaned-up by following a simple process.
Before Processing Photos from the Panasonic ZS3
Note: Download links can be found at the end of this article.
There are a few free software programs that you will need before you can carry on with the noise reduction of your Panasonic ZS3 JPEG photos.
- Neat Image, noise reduction software, free demo edition.
- (optional) FastStone Image Viewer, a free image viewer, or any other software to compare images side-by-side.
- (optional) PhotoME, a free EXIF data viewer/editor, restores the original photo’s EXIF data to the processed photo. The demo version of Neat Image does not save EXIF data.
Reduce Noise in Panasonic ZS3 JPEG Photos
Note: Make sure to always keep an unaltered backup copy of the original photo JPEG file.
In Neat Image:
- Click “Open input image” and select the image you wish to apply noise reduction to. If you have multiple copies at different resolutions for the same photo, please use the largest resolution photo you can.
- Click the “Device Noise Profile” tab, then click “Auto Profile”.
- Click the “Noise Filter Settings” tab, then choose a “Filter Preset” from the drop-down menu.
Under the “Advanced” menu of the “Filter Preset” drop-down menu, choose a setting that matches what needs to be fixed in your photo. For photos that need only noise reduction, without having any other issues, the filter settings that will work well are “Remove only half of stronger noise (keep fewer details)” and “Remove only half of weaker noise (keep more details)”. Of course, other settings may work best for your particular photo, depending at the degree and type of noise in your photo.
- Click “Preview” and adjust the zoom to preview the changes. Click the left mouse button and drag the white square outline to choose which area you want to preview the changes for. Release the left mouse button to preview the changes. If you are not satisfied with the changes, or just want to see what effect other filter presets would have on your photo, then go back to step 3 above to choose and preview another filter preset.
- When you are satisfied with the chosen filter preset, click the “Output Image” tab, then click “Apply” to apply the changes to the image. Then click “Save output image” to save the changes.
- The first time you save an image after opening Neat Image, you will see this pop-up describing the limits of the demo version of Neat Image. For most users these limits will not be an issue, since the image file is saved at a high quality, and the EXIF data can be copied from the original image to the processed image using a tool such as PhotoME.
After Processing Panasonic ZS3 Photos with Neat Image
Once you have finished processing your photo with Neat Image, then you may want to compare the processed photo to the original photo. You may want to use the free software program FastStone Image Viewer, or else any other software of your choice that can compare photos side-by-side.
In the free FastStone Image Viewer, make sure the “Smooth” checkbox in the toolbar is unchecked. Select the two photos you wish to compare, then in the file menu go to “Tools” and select “Compare Images” (or use the keyboard shortcut “P” key). Inspect the photos side-by-side and at different zoom levels to see if the results are an improvement.
Save Photo EXIF Information
The demo edition of Neat Image does not save or transfer the original photo EXIF information to your processed photo. But you can still transfer the original photo EXIF information to your processed photo with free software, such as the free software program PhotoME.
In PhotoME, open the original photo. Use “Open file” from the file menu, or use the PhotoME file browser by clicking the icon next to the words “File Menu”. It is faster to use the PhotoME file browser if working with many files.
Then select “Export Exif data” from the file menu and save the EXIF data for the original photo. Open the processed photo, then select “Import Exif data” from the file menu. Click “Save file” to save your processed photo with the photo’s original EXIF information.