Photomatix Pro HDR Software Review

Photomatix Pro is a HDR (High Dynamic Range) program created by HDRsoft, it is their top of the line HDR Photography software, they also offer a cheaper version Photomatix Essentials 3.0 ($39), and you can see the comparison between the two, here.

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If you want to skip the review and download the trial – click here

Overview

Reviewed using Windows 7 64bit

Current Version: 4.1.1
Operating System it supports – Windows (32bit+64bit) + Mac
Processing RAW files - Yes
HDR from Single RAW – Yes
Batch Processing – Yes
Overall Speed – Average to Fast
Price – $99 (light version $39) – Download Now
Trial Available (Yes, watermarked images) – Download Now

Photomatix Pro is my personal favorite; it’s what I use all the time for my personal HDR creations, it also used by top HDR photographer Trey Ratcliff as well as many others. Photomatix Pro is very easy to install and also very easy to get started with.

You have several options of working with Photomatix, you can work on a Single file (Pseudo HDR, RAW, JPEG, Tiff & more), Bracketed Shots (RAW, JPEG, Tiff & more) and also batch processing which can come in handy when doing Panorama HDR’s.

Photomatix offers great control of many of the aspects of the HDR shot as well as several built in presets that can get you started. I usually start with a preset (depending on the type of photo I took – indoor / outdoor) and usually tweak the settings. If I feel it’s a set of settings I really like you have the option of saving the preset.

For novices Photomatix is very user friendly it offers tooltips for each different slider so that you can get a quick overview of what effect it has on the overall image – but I recommend playing with them until you get the hang of it, just drag them all the way to the left/right and see how they change.

For the more advanced features Photomatix has some built in tutorials which are really handy so you don’t find yourself jumping from Photomatix to a Google Search looking for help.

Photomatix also offers 2 types of processing – Tone Mapping and Exposure Fusion – I personally keep to Tone Mapping for my shots.

For this review I worked with a Pseudo HDR.

Example of a Pseudo HDR

How: Created 3 TIFF’s from 1 single RAW (exposures of -2, 0, +2).

Before:

Photomatix Pro Before

After:

Photomatix Pro After

In addition Photomatix offers several advanced features for when working with merging bracketed shots (when importing them):

Photomatix Pro Screenshot Advanced Options

  • Option for automatic image alignment of hand-held shots. Two alignment methods are offered, the “by matching features” method corrects for translation, rotation, scaling and perspective distortion.
  • Selective deghosting tool for effective removal of “ghosts” in dynamic scenes and an option for automatic ghost removal is also available.
  • Option for automatic reduction of chromatic aberrations.
  • Option for automatic reduction of noise.

Personally for chromatic aberrations I use Adobe Camera Raw, and for noise reduction the Photoshop plugin “Topaz DeNoise” (which I highly recommend). I’ll probably be reviewing this method in a later post.

For the complete list of Photomatix Pro features please visit the HDRsoft website – http://www.hdrsoft.com/resources/features_list.html

Some additional features I would like to still see in Photomatix:

  • More control over noise reduction (maybe have this run after the 32bit hdr photo is created)
  • Speed improvements
  • Keyboard shortcuts
  • Control points

Pros:

  • Amazing control over every aspect of the HDR
  • Tooltips for explaining each feature of the toning
  • 2 methods for processing a photo (Tone Mapping & Exposure Fusion)
  • Presets (but not as many as other software like HDR Efex Pro)
  • Selection Mode (allows you to replace a section of your HDR with a section from one of the individual exposures)

Cons:

  • Sometimes can get a little sluggish
  • Once process is pressed you can’t go back and make corrections, you need to start over.
  • Photos can sometimes come out a little “flat” and require post processing. (I usually do this using Topaz Adjust)

Conclusion:

I highly recommend taking Photomatix Pro for a trial run; I find it overall the best for value of money, combined with features and ease of use.

If you are interested in purchasing the software, don’t forget to use our coupon code “HDRers” to enjoy a 15% discount on the price, just go to the order page, click buy now based on your OS (Win or Mac) and enter the coupon code.

Some example Photos I processed using Photomatix Pro

Sunset -  Tel Aviv Harbor (HDR)

Diamond Exchange before Sunset

Jaffa Streets HDR

Buckets in a Cave HDR

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One Response to “Photomatix Pro HDR Software Review”

  1. I use photomatix pro and like it very much. I was used to the earlier edition but have adjusted. My supervisors are pleased with the results and we are expanding my usage, I shoot for the Nstional Parks in the Hawaiian Islands so the dynamic range is challanging. Great fun! Dave