Image & Video Galleries > HDR - High Dynamic Range

Best HDR Software?

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I've tried Photoshop CS5's built in HDR merge with poor results. I've tried Photomatix in the past but didn't like the tone mapping on it very well.

I've mostly used Nik's HDR Efex 2. It's quick, has useful presets, makes sense when you want to tweak, and integrates very well with my Lightroom only workflow. I can get natural looking photos with high dynamic range, or you can crank the detail and get very surrealistic results, which seems to be the more common use of HDR

I think SNS-HDR is one of the best HDR programs.

I've never actually used it for HDR (it does other stuff as well) but PhotoAcute has a demo (watermarked) version if anyone's interested in trying it:

The pro version (which you need for a DSLR) is $149 although by submitting a new camera / lens profile you can get a free license. I did the 7D + 70-200mm f/2.8L II profile a while back although my results were a bit mixed with the super-resolution it'd be interesting to hear from anyone so inclined how it does on HDR.

I see HDR as a way to get the same image with a dynamic range not achievable through hardware limitations. While there is an art to the cartoon like HDR, I find most people over do it and most software are tailored to mimic this effect.

The method I use to get the most "natural" looking HDR photographs is to process it through Adobe Photoshop CS6 as a 32bit HDR and save that file as a .tiff file. (should be about 176mbs) Then import the Tiff image into lightroom and then go about editing it as you would a normal photo. This combination of software results in a lot less noise in the shadows and considerably more detail in the highlights.

I know this software is expensive, but there are ways around those fees. I am a student so I get the student pricing, but I have a lot of people ask me to process their files through Photoshop. If you know of anyone that has photoshop, that may be a viable option to getting your images processed.

There are other methods that enable oneself to acquire the software for free, but hey I'm probably not supposed to advocate that.   

^I agree 100% with you.


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