One of the most important improvements is the new noise reduction engine, which is designed to handle even high levels of noise without reducing edge detail. Like the rest of the program it is quick and easy to use, and the results are extremely impressive, surpassing even the very effective noise reduction system of Photoshop CS4. It can easily pull an extra two stops worth of detail out of high-ISO images, allowing high-end DSLR cameras to be used at settings as high as 6400 ISO and still produce acceptable results, a real boon for professional photographers. Even small compact cameras, typically very prone to noise above 400 ISO, can benefit from this treatment.
The Camera Raw processing engine has also been overhauled, with its quality again surpassing the standard Adobe Camera Raw used in Photoshop. Processed Raw images can be exported into Photoshop for further editing as usual, but the new process version system ensures that older images, which have been processed using Camera Raw, can be either kept unchanged or re-processed using the new algorithms.
Many of the filter effects and special processing simulations have been improved, with effects such as bleach processing, infrared, vintage colour and more available as pre-set filters. Natural-looking vignetting and film grain have also been added to offer more choice for those who prefer their images less than perfect.