Digital Editing — Comparison of HDR (High Dynamic Range) Emulation Programs and Settings.
There are a number of HDR programs programs available. Over the next several days I will be comparing images processed with Adobe HDR Pro, HDR Soft Photomatix Pro (ver 4.0), and the recently released Nik HDR Efex Pro (ver 1.0). I will also include a couple of examples of “one shot HDR” from Phase One Capture One Pro (ver 6.0) and DxO Optics Pro (ver 6.0). The HDR programs have improved significantly in the last few years.
The images used for this test were taken during a Nikonians Academy Photography Adventure Workshop in Big Sur run by Michael Mariant. Five images were taken with a Nikon D3x and 14-24 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 100, 14 mm, f/16, 0.6, 1.2, 2.5, 5, 10 sec) with mirror up delay to minimize vibration on a tripod.
Adobe HDR Pro Adobe has included a HDR rendering program with the last few versions of Photoshop. The version include in Photoshop CS5 is significantly improved over the previous versions. The program is relatively easy to use. Select File> Automate> Merge to HDR Pro, Select the images to process, OK. Once the images are initially processed, there are 14 preset options (default, flat, monochromatic, photorealistic, saturated, surrealistic, etc.). I am providing examples of the standard default, photorealistic and saturated presets. In addition to the presets there are many additional sliders to control and tweak all aspects of the final image.
Adobe Camera Raw: Landscape, Nikon 14-24 mm f/2.8 Lens Correction. Original Exposure (no HDR)
Adobe Photoshop CS5 HDR Pro (5 images (+2, +1, 0, -1, -2 EV) using the preset Default settings.
Adobe Photoshop CS5 HDR Pro (5 images (+2, +1, 0, -1, -2 EV) using the preset Photorealistic settings.
Adobe Photoshop CS5 HDR Pro (5 images (+2, +1, 0, -1, -2 EV) using the preset Saturated settings.