Tuesday, March 8, 2011
HDR Software Roundup And Review
The technology has matured beyond a gee-whiz bit of digital trickery into a full-fledged tool that nature photographers can use to overcome the limitations of the image sensor
Photomatix Pro was the first widely popular HDR program. Now in version 4.0, the great strength of Photomatix Pro is that it contains three very different methods in one package and makes it easy to compare one to the other. (HDR Efex Pro also contains numerous preset HDR methods, but in my testing, only Natural produces the sort of natural-looking results that I find acceptable.) Think of Photomatix’s three methods as increasingly heavy hammers.
Exposure Fusion is the light-duty tool; it’s not actually a true HDR utility. It comes in several configurations, of which Adjust gives the user the most control. Exposure Fusion-Adjust produces very natural results quickly and intuitively when used on scenes with moderately high contrast—perhaps a four- or five-stop difference between important highlights and shadows.
Details Enhancer is the sledgehammer method, able to handle the highest-contrast scenes, but it has a bewildering array of sliders that interact with each other in complex ways. It takes considerable time and experience to master the various controls so you can achieve the look you want without endless trial-and-error. Details Enhancer came in second in its ability to handle the sun in the frame in my Pigeon Peak test shots, but sometimes came in first when used on other scenes containing the sun.
You can see more of Glenn Randall’s work, read his new landscape photography blog, sign up for his newsletter and learn about upcoming workshops at www.glennrandall.com.
Page 3 of 3
Get 11 Issues of Outdoor Photographer for only $14.97!
That's 77% off the cover price!