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Home » Lightroom vs Topaz Photo AI 2 – Upscaling and Denoising Tested

Lightroom vs Topaz Photo AI 2 – Upscaling and Denoising Tested

Lightroom vs Topaz Photo AI

Lightroom, one of the best photo editing software applications, now has AI-powered upscaling and denoising. But how do each of these features compare against those of Topaz Photo AI 2, one of the best AI image enhancers I’ve ever tested?

In short, Topaz Photo AI soundly beats Lightroom, but perhaps not to the extent that warrants buying Topaz Photo AI if you already have a Lightroom subscription. But, if you are specifically interested in upscaling and sharpening, Topaz Photo AI remains the best game in town. Jump to Conclusion.

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Table of Contents

How I Test Software

I tested Lightroom and Topaz Photo AI 2 on the same PC using the same images, and later in this comparison, you can compare the upscaling and denoising output of both applications. Finally, I am both an Adobe and Topaz Labs affiliate and enjoy the neutrality of being biased in both directions.

Lightroom vs Topaz Photo AI for Photo Editing

Lightroom is a vastly superior photo management and editing tool compared to Topaz Photo AI 2. Therefore, if you are specifically looking for a fully-featured photo editing application, I recommend you visit my Lightroom Review or my list of best Lightroom alternatives.

Lightroom Photo Editing
I adore Lightroom. For US$9.99 per month, you get outstanding photo management and editing, excellent AI image enhancement, and 1TB of Cloud Storage. If you need all that, Lightroom is a bargain.

But it might surprise you that Topaz Photo AI 2 has some photo editing capabilities. Its new Adjust Lighting feature enables you to boost your image’s brightness intelligently, and Balancing Color works much like a White Balance adjustment. You can even crop your pictures in Topaz Photo AI 2. Read Topaz Photo AI Review.

Adjusting Lighting in Topaz Photo AI 2

All of this means that when you come to upscale or denoise your images, Topaz Photo AI 2 may offer enough editing capability to avoid loading your image into your favorite photo editing application for a second round of processing.

But that is as far as Topaz Photo AI 2 goes. When it comes to heavy photo editing, Lightroom is the real deal.

Winner: Lightroom

Lightroom vs Topaz Photo AI for Noise Reduction

Lightroom Denoise is impressive, straightforward, and produces excellent results. However, Lightroom Denoise runs a little slower than most and offers little in the way of adjustment. As a result, you don’t have much control over your final image.

AI Noise Reduction in Lightroom
Denoising images in Lightroom is straightforward and effective. However, a lack of adjustments means you have little control over the result.

In contrast, Topaz Photo AI 2 offers multiple AI noise reduction models and independent adjustment for strength and sharpening. Moreover, Topaz Photo AI is a little faster, but not by much.

lightroom Denoise
Topaz Photo AI

Overall, noise reduction in Topaz Photo AI is a little better, but not to a massive extent. In other words, Lightroom Denoise is more than good enough. Read and compare best noise reduction software.

Winner: Topaz Photo AI 2

Topaz Photo AI vs Lightroom for Sharpening

Topaz Photo AI’s AI-powered sharpening is magnificent. Specifically, Topaz Photo AI 2 sharpening is free of the Halo effects and artifacts plaguing traditional sharpening methods. But there’s more. Sharpening in Topaz Photo AI 2 is so good that it can correct poor focus and motion blur.

Topaz Photo AI

In contrast, Lightroom leverages the sort of traditional artifact-ridden non-corrective image sharpening that Topaz Photo AI duly replaces. I’m sure Adobe will introduce AI sharpening soon. But for now, sharpening in Topaz Photo AI is leagues ahead.

Winner: Topaz Photo AI 2

Lightroom vs Topaz Photo AI for Upscaling

Lightroom Super Resolution enables you to upscale your images by 200%, and the results look great and, in some cases, even better than the original smaller image. Lightroom Super Resolution is also fast and straightforward to use.

Upscaling Settings in Topaz Photo AI 2
Unlike Lightroom Super Resolution, Topaz Photo AI 2 is loaded with adjustments, giving you superior control over your final upscaled image.

However, Topaz Photo AI 2 has some advantages. First, Topaz Photo AI can upscale images by up to 600%, whereas Lightroom Super Resolution demands a clunky, if not tricky, workflow to exceed 200%.

Topaz Photo AI 2 is loaded with multiple AI models and adjustments, giving you more power over the end result. This is particularly true when processing portraits – thanks to Topaz Photo AI’s recover faces feature.

Lightroom Super Res
Topaz Photo AI 2

Furthermore, I’ve found Topaz Photo AI (and Gigapixel AI) to be the most consistently reliable upscalers for enlarging complex scenes such as this photo of a Lighthouse.

Lightroom Super Res
Topaz Photo AI 2

Overall, Lightroom Super Resolution is suitable for casual use. But, if you upscale a lot, Topaz Photo AI is the way to go. Read and compare best AI Upscalers.

Winner: Topaz Photo AI 2

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Lightroom is one of the best photo editing applications with the added value of high-quality AI-powered noise reduction and upscaling. Therefore, if you already subscribe to Lightroom, it may not be easy to justify buying a separate application such as Topaz Photo AI 2.

Yet, as my tests demonstrate, Topaz Photo AI offers fractionally better noise reduction, much better upscaling, and vastly superior image sharpening compared to Lightroom. Thus, whether you buy Topaz Photo AI 2 depends on your thirst for these features.

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