As you might know, HDR is becoming a huge “new” way in photography. I won’t be talking about how to shoot it but how to process it. Exactly in what software.
There are many programs that allows you to merge photos to HDR. Some are well known, some are not. At this website you can find a quick list of them.
Lets go through three of them, two from list, one new one.
When I got into HDR, I used this software. It wasn’t bad. User Interface is quite nice and simple. Whole effect is done by 3 or 4 sliders. You don’t have to go through whole software and change or set the settings. It also has it’s own auto align and some other cool features.
A huge con is noise. Digital noise is a huge problem and even bigger with HDR. If you are combining 3 or more pictures shot even at ISO200, there will be noise and you will notice it on the final image. It’s noise reduction is lame and also HDRSoft, company that makes Photomatix, sais that you should export your photos from Lightroom first and then add them to Photomatix.
Photoshop CS5 HDR Pro
Photoshop overall is great peace of software but in comparison with Photomatix it’s very expensive. HDR Pro has better noise reduction, but it’s slower and you have to set many things. Cool feature is remove ghosting.
If you are shooting some scene where something is moving, like sea, you can remove ghosting artifacts thanks to this option. That is really cool.
But the end image wasn’t as nice as from Photomatix, unfortunately.
Nik HDR Efex Pro
This is the newest piece of HDR software and according to many photographers, it’s awesome. I wasn’t lucky enough to try this, because somehow I cannot force it to run on my Windows 7 😦
Great thing is that every HDR program you used just for merging photos together. Than you had to go back to Camera Raw or Lightroom and make some finishing adjustments. Not with HDR Efex Pro.
It will give you “full service” aka all inclusive. You can make all the adjustments right in the software without any trouble and it will look great. I’ll try to make it work asap and then I’ll post a review.