Sunday, July 15, 2012

Photomatix Pro vs. HDR Expose 2

When creating HDR image, I always struggled between creating an image that has a more dramatic look or creating an image that is as realistic as possible.  Photomatic Pro has been the one that I used for the last two years.  HDR Expose 2 is the one I just downloaded.  I like both programs because they allow me to import RAW image directly into the program to create the HDR image without going through the RAW converting program.

The following HDR images are created from 5 bracket shots, 1 EV apart between each shot.  They were photographed at Colmar, France.

 This one is tonemapped in Photomatix Pro.

 This one is fused in Photomatix Pro.

This one is created with HDR Expose 2 then adjusted with Capture NX2.

The two programs work quite differently.  In Photomatix Pro, I have to try hard in order to create a HDR image with less so called HDR-look.  On the other hand, I often obtain a relatively flat image in HDR Expose 2 that I need to bring into Capture NX2 to further adjust it.  Thus for me, Photomatix Pro gives me images that have more HDR-look.  The HDR Expose 2 gives me images that look more realistic.  Both are good but serve different purpose.

Both programs create images in TIF format, thus I can no longer use the automatic lens distortion function of Capture NX2 to correct the image.  I bring the images to PTLens for the automatic lens distortion adjustment as well as any necessary prospective correction.  It is much more practical than Photoshop for this purpose.

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