HDR Software Compared

Expanding on the HDR Software Comparison post from awhile ago, here are some more image comparisons from HDRsoft’s Photomatix Pro, Nik Software’s HDR Efex Pro and Adobe’s Merge to HDR Pro.  I am not a professional software comparer, so please use your own judgement as to how you receive what’s presented below.  In all cases, I was trying to get the best-looking image with a moderate amount of fuss.

View From My Back Deck

Source images taken with a Nikon D7000 at f/11 and ISO 100 using the 24-70 mm G lens

And here are the HDR images

The Small Dining Room

Source images taken with a Nikon D7000 at f/5.6 and ISO 100 using the 14-24 mm G lens

The HDR Images

Something to note in the HDREfex Pro image is the highlight detail outside the windows.  Nik’s control point technology made it easier to bring in detail and color from these otherwise blown-out areas.  In any of the images, there are tools in Lightroom and Photoshop to help with this, but Nik allows me to do it right in the HDR program, and it is super easy.

Seattle Underground – Doorway Out

Source images taken with a Nikon D7000 at f/2.8 and ISO 200 using the 14-24 mm G lens. Note that there are actually 7 exposures in this series, from -3 EV to +3 EV at 1-stop increments. These were captured using the Promote Control, and all were used for the HDR image. I just didn’t feel like posting all 7 of them here.

The HDR Images

Software Updates, 07 July 2012

In the last couple days, Nik Software released version 2 of HDR Efex Pro.  NAPP members were offered a great discount that I couldn’t pass up.  Also, Adobe recently released a CS6 version of Photoshop (with updates to Merge To HDR Pro), so I thought I’d post a new comparison set. In case it wasn’t obvious, these are also from the Seattle Underground series.

The interface for Nik’s HDR Efex Pro got a subtle but significant update.  I can’t say that it is a huge improvement; the interfaces across all of Nik’s applications were already pretty good.  The difference in the HDR processing algorithms, though, is a welcome improvement.  The output is not quite as radical and visually offensive as the previous version.  I think it has reached a level that can compete with Photomatix Pro.

Adobe’s HDR processing program, however, still lacks any real value.  That is, of course, my personal opinion, but the interface is still stark and non-intuitive, and the output is still lackluster (the inclusion of the Scott5 preset is kind of funny). Photomatix Pro will continue to be my primary HDR processing tool, but HDR Efex Pro will no longer be disregarded entirely.

The Indiana State Fair

I’m not crazy about any of the final images, but I still think the Photomatix version came out the best. The three source images were taken hand-held at 2 EV spacing.

The HDR Images

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