False colors and moiré patterns can appear in images when shooting repetitive patterns. Moiré is nothing new. It was well known that Nikon D70, the first consumer DSLR camera from Nikon, produces moiré pattern easily due to a weak anti-aliasing filter in front of the image sensor. The recently announced D800E removes the “effect” of the anti-aliasing filter, which results in a small gain in sharpness and resolution but carries an increased chance of false color and moiré.

Nikon is pretty upfront with the Nikon D800E, warning potential buyers about the false color and moiré. The following is shown on the Nikon D800 product page on Nikon USA website. Nikon offers Capture NX 2 software with a Moire reduction function.

Moiré is not exclusive to cameras without the anti-aliasing filter. In the post Nikon D800 vs. Nikon D700 High ISO Comparison, you can clearly see the moiré pattern in the 100% crop from Nikon D700. The images below show the crops from both Nikon Capture NX 2 and Adobe Lightroom 4. Moiré patterns can be seen over the vertical strip on the left and over the horizontal zipper on the right.

Moire shown at 100%. Processed in Nikon Capture NX 2.

Moire shown at 100%. Processed in Nikon Capture NX 2.

Moire shown at 100%. Processed in Adobe Lightroom 4.

Moire shown at 100%. Processed in Adobe Lightroom 4.

Interestingly the default Lightroom 4 rendering of the raw file has stronger moire pattern than the image rendered by Nikon Capture NX 2. Does Nikon Capture NX 2 have a superior demosaicing algorithm? The image from Nikon Capture NX 2 also retains more highlight details.

How to remove moiré

In Nikon Capture NX 2, moiré reduction belongs to the Camera & Lens Corrections section of the Develop module. If you are not RAW shooter, this function is not available.

Nikon Capture NX 2 Moire Reduction

A setting of low seems to be all it needs to remove the moire from this particular example. There is no need to select anything. The software automatically removes the moire without user telling it where the moire is.

Lightroom 4 uses a different approach. To remove the moire, you need to first select the Adjustment Brush in the Develop module, select Moiré from the Effect menu, adjust the effect and brush sliders, then drag over the moire area to remove it. One stroke for each moire area is all it takes.

Lightroom 4 moire removal

Posted in: Software, Tips and Techniques on March 15th, 2012. Trackback URI
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