The Top 10 HDR Software Programs

Copyright Scott Bourne 2009 - All Rights Reserved

Most of you know about Photomatix ( and Nik HDR Efex Pro ( but there are other programs. Including the two just mentioned, here is a run-down of what I consider to be the top 10.

Dynamic-Photo HDR

HDR Darkroom

HDR PhotoStudio

Luminance HDR


Photoshop CS

PRO HDR (iPhone/Android)

True HDR (iPhone)

What are some of your favorite HDR software programs?

This post sponsored by Adorama – More than a camera store


About scottbourne

Founder of Professional photographer. Author. Speaker.

Posted on June 29, 2011, in HDR and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. I beta tested Oloneo PhotoEngine, but haven’t purchased the final product yet. Their HDR ReLight is unique and very impressive for real estate interiors with various light sources of differing white balances.

  2. Oh, I should add, the only two I’m aware of that have batch processing capability are Photomatix Pro (my workhorse for HDR timelapses) and Oloneo PhotoEngine (haven’t tested batch with the final release yet). I really wish Nik HDR Efex Pro had batch processing as I get very good results with that program!

  3. Photomatix is my first choice closely followed by the HDR efex pro. Sometimes I get the feeling HDR efex pro over does some scenes. I also occasionally use the Photoshop CS5 HDR capabilities.

  4. Photomatix is my choice, but then I probably haven’t given many of the others a shot at the title. IMHO, an HDR image is not even near complete without further editing/adjustment in PS/Lightroom/whatever.

    Much of the over done HDR that the process is becoming synonymous for is only has not been adjusted in PS, is over processed, and without external adjustment is only a compromise of the photographers original vision. .

    • Totally agree, I spend more time in the ACR and CS5 applications than I do in the Photomatix.

  5. Hey guys, just wondering your thoughts on the noise that Efex Pro creates? I really like the results I get from it, Except the amount of noise it adds.

  6. Yeah, I have to agree with Anthony’s comment on HDR Efex Pro’s noise, it can get pretty bad pretty easily.

  7. Thanks for the post, however I would have found this much more useful if it had gone into a little detail about why these are good, and what features they may offer that others do not. i,e Why do these make your top 10, rather than just being 10 programs that you pulled out of the internet and decided to include in a list?

    • Thanks for your comment. Sorry you didn’t find the list useful. My intention was not to review these tools but simply make people aware of them.

  8. you all miss the best. Enfuse wins!

  9. For realistic tonemapping, Oloneo and SNS-HDR are both at the top of the tree. Surprised the articles missed both. Quite a few in the list above seem to have died a death – no updates in a long time.

  10. SNS-HDR Pro would be a great addition to the list Scott. If you try it out you’ll see it handles colors more naturally than Photomatix.

    More importantly, it does batch processing and I use it for HDR Timelapse.

    Unlike other batch processes, SNS-HDR Pro doesn’t require you to separate images into separate folders.

    So lets say you shot 5aeb for an entire timelapse. You just keep all those images in one folder and when you invoke the batch process you choose (5) from number of images and it just knows to merge/tonemap 5 images at a time. Its so easy its criminal.

    The biggest pitfall is it is PC Only. Secondly, it is one developer out of Poland and PayPal only and Sebastian doesn’t always get the unlock codes out in 24hours (one man shop).

    Aside from SNS-HDR Pro, Oloneo PhotoEngine is excellent and unique. Fastest tonemapper on the planet, WICKED fast to work with (PC Only as well).

  11. Mik, I used to use Enfuse and Tufuse quite a bit for real estate interiors, but there isn’t much control over the processing.

    Michael, I didn’t know SNS-HDR had batch processing, I need to check that one out, thanks!

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