Select Page

Disclosure: We earn a commission on qualifying purchases made through backlinks at no extra cost to you. We are also a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. Please read our privacy policy for how we use your data and GDPR.

Last updated on March 6th, 2024

At a retail price of $199, it’s definitely not cheap. However, creative teams at established companies like Apple, Disney, and Netflix use Topaz Photo AI. Of course, the price isn’t a concern for them. Read the complete Topaz Photo AI review for more information and to find out if it’s worth it for your photography workflow.

By the way, I’ve been using Topaz Labs software since 2014, way before photography software was improved with AI.

If you want to make important edits to your photo, such as noise reduction, sharpening, or challenging image upscaling, then Topaz Photo AI is definitely worth checking out. Its AI models can complete these tasks with little photographer input. However, the software can be GPU-intensive at times, so you’ll need at least a mid-range laptop to use Photo AI.

As the name suggests, Topaz Photo AI uses artificial intelligence (machine learning) to complete the mentioned edits.

On the other hand, Photo AI is not meant to replace photography software such as Lightroom or Capture One because it’s not a complete edit. It’s still missing certain features, such as exposure adjustments and tone curves. Think of Topaz Photo AI as an extension to your photography workflow with powerful noise reduction, sharpening, and enhancement tools.

But what does AI do to your photos exactly?

Topaz Photo AI automates the basic image edits that most photographers do at the beginning or end of the workflow. These include:

  1. noise reduction
  2. image sharpening
  3. enhance resolution by creating new pixels
  4. facial enhancement for low-quality faces
  5. image enlargement

Except for the image enlargement tool, all the AI edits are automatically applied if Topaz Photo AI believes they are needed. You can also individually adjust the strength of these editing tools.

Topaz Photo AI supports the following file types: JPG, JPEG, PNG, TIF, TIFF, and DNG. Native camera RAW files are also supported. You can view the supported RAW files here.

Topaz Photo AI Review

If you’re looking for a quick fix to some basic adjustments, then Photo AI can be a helpful tool.

On the other hand, most amateurs and professional photographers are not looking to make a few basic adjustments.

With that said, Photo AI is more of an initial or intermediary image-editing software. You will still need to make final image adjustments in software like ON1 Photo RAW or Lightroom.

Since the software has noise reduction, image sharpening, and image enlargement, the question is, does Topaz Photo AI replace Topaz DeNoise AI, Topaz Sharpen AI, and Topaz Gigapixel AI? The answer is no. The latter individual photography software are dedicated tools with more precision controls for fine-tuning.

For example, if you do astrophotography, stick with Topaz DeNoise AI instead of Photo AI for noise reduction. The same goes for Sharpen AI and Gigapixel AI for their respective goals.

Interface

The Topaz Photo AI interface is simple to use; even Android and iPhone built-in image-editing apps are more complicated to use.

The above photo was taken in Sri Lanka in 2010 with a point-and-shoot Sony camera before my passion for photography grew. You can upload an image to the software by dragging it to the window.

The image on the right was an automatically enhanced image by Photo AI that reduced and sharpened noise. The improvements are noticeable if you zoom in.

I manually added the Balancing Color, which color grades the image to its true color. You’ll notice it changed the image temperature from warm yellow to cool blue. Topaz Photo AI did what it was supposed to do. However, honestly, the Balancing Color tool wasn’t needed. I think the warmer colors were better.

Topaz Photo AI Review Example 1: Noise Reduction and Image Sharpening

Machu Picchu

I took a DNG image of Machu Picchu. The image above is after editing in Photo AI. There was no point in showing the before image since it’s hard to notice the difference without zooming in.

Below is the zoomed-in before and after images. Noise reduction and sharpening were applied.

Topaz Photo AI comparison of Machu Picchu 1Topaz Photo AI comparison of Machu Picchu 2

You’ll notice the luminance noise reduction in the shadows and the sharpening applied to the mountain.

Related: How to Visit Machu Picchu on a Budget

Topaz Photo AI Review Example 2: Portrait Improvement

Topaz Photo AI comparison of recover faces 1Topaz Photo AI comparison of recover faces 2

The second test photo used was a stock photo I obtained from Pexels.

This portrait has some blemishes, and recover faces was used to smooth out the image. As you can see, there is still some acne and scarring in the portrait. Photo AI is not meant to retouch portraits completely.

The recover faces tool works well in group photos, especially when some faces or skin tones are underexposed.

Topaz Photo AI Review Example 3: Noise Reduction

starry sky in Bolivia

The last example is of the night sky in Bolivia. Again, you can’t notice the difference until you zoom in. You can see that noise reduction works well in Photo AI. For reference, the camera settings were 8s, f/2.8, and ISO 3200.

Topaz Photo AI comparison of astrophotography 1Topaz Photo AI comparison of astrophotography 2

Topaz Photo AI Review Example 4: Image Enlargement

Photo AI image enlargement example

Above is an image of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. I took the photo with a Sony point-and-shoot camera in 2010. The image had dimensions of 2304 x 3072 pixels. It’s not the greatest image or composition of the Eiffel Tower, but it serves well to demonstrate the image enhancements with the upscaling tool of Topaz Photo AI.

I upscaled the image by 4 times to 12K resolution. Unfortunately, the screen capture of the before-and-after previews in Photo AI didn’t do a great job, especially for the sharpening. If you look closely, the noise was removed from the Eiffel Tower photo was removed, and the details were improved. The noise reduction is noticeable, but not the sharpening. But believe me, in person, the sharpening works.

Photo AI zoomed in upscaling Paris, France

Photoshop and Lightroom Plugins

Topaz Photo AI can be used as a standalone photography software. But as hinted above, it cannot perform other basic edits such as cropping, spot removal, or color grading.

Luckily, the software can be used as a plugin For Capture One, Lightroom, and Photoshop.

Topaz Labs also claims Photo AI will work as a plugin with other image editors, including Apple Photos and Affinity Photos.

System Requirements

Topaz Photo AI is only supported on Windows and Mac desktops and laptops. Most Windows and Mac machines are compatible, including Apple Silicon Chips. View the complete system requirements. You should aim for a computer with at least 16GB of RAM, or 32GB for optimal performance with other photography software running simultaneously.

Conclusion

Topaz Photo AI was developed to assist with the photography workflow, not replace it. Therefore, use the software to assist your main image-editing application.

The software will noticeably help you the most with images of very low quality. If you already have Lightroom or another image management software, it’s better to stick with them for noise reduction or sharpening. However, upscaling images will be better done with Topaz Photo AI.

On the other hand, the price of $199 is not worth it for many amateur and entry-level professional photographers — and rightfully so — it’s expensive. You can buy a year’s worth of the Adobe Photography Plan subscription, which includes Photoshop and Lightroom at $9.99 per month.

Finally, if you want more control over noise reduction, image sharpening, and resizing, stick with DeNoise AI, Sharpen AI, and Gigapixel AI, respectively.

Related:


Is Topaz Photo AI any good?

Topaz Photo AI is a highly regarded tool in the photo-editing realm, particularly for tasks such as noise reduction, image sharpening, and upscaling. The software is praised for its simplicity in use, with a clean and straightforward user interface that makes it accessible even for those not deeply versed in photography software. It integrates multiple machine learning-powered tools into one application, offering a comprehensive solution for enhancing photos.

The downside is that Topaz Photo AI is not an all-in-one image editor. Rather, it’s software for making essential edits, but it still requires another software like Capture One to make final adjustments.

Do professional photographers use Topaz Labs Software?

Professional photographers use software developed by Topaz Labs, which is designed to enhance photo quality using advanced AI algorithms. The software has gained attention for its ability to improve images through upscaled resolutions, sharpening, and noise reduction, leveraging AI to achieve results that might be difficult or time-consuming to replicate manually.

The software’s integration with popular editing tools such as Photoshop allows for a seamless workflow, making it a versatile addition to a photographer’s toolkit. This compatibility is crucial for professionals who rely on an efficient process from photo capture through to the final edit.

How much does Topaz AI cost?

Topaz Photo AI costs $199. However, the developers, Topaz Labs, often offer discounts around the holidays or during major upgrades.

Vincent Croos
About the Author: Vincent Croos

Hola Parceros,

I’m the founder of Aperlust. I enjoy web development and SEO and am into snowboarding and linguistics. In my spare time, you can find me destroying my opponents in chess across the globe.

Topaz Photo AI
topaz photo ai review

Tired of making important image edits in different software? Then check out our Topaz Photo AI review, an image-editing software for the essentials.

Price: 199

Price Currency: USD

Operating System: Windows, Mac

Application Category: Photography

Editor's Rating:
4.2

Get Travel Tips, Improve Your Photography, and Receive the Best Last-Minute Vacations Deals

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!