Photomatix Pro 4.0 – HDR/Tonemapping Program – Mini Review

Copyright Scott Bourne 2010 - All Rights Reserved

NOTE: Cross Posted at Photofocus.com

Photomatix Pro has long been the gold-standard for serious HDR shooters. It’s tonemapping features are second to none. While I have used the new Nik HDR plugin, I am not sure it will be able to dethrone Photomatix Pro.

Photomatix Pro 4.0 offers two methods of tone mapping, six methods of exposure blending, an alignment tool for out-of-register images, 16-bit support, and batch processing.

You can even tone-map a single 8-bit image.

Main new features:

1. Selective deghosting tool
This lets you select ghosted regions and change the preferred image taken for each selected region.

2. Micro-smoothing has been updated
Good for more aggressive HDR applications

3. Preset thumbnails panel
Photomatix now has built-in presets (you can create your own.) They work on both tone mapping and fusion. The presets panel can be set in horizontal or vertical orientation.

4. Improved noise reduction
The new algorithm is applied on source images

The last thing I want to say about Photomatix Pro is that it is fast. It’s very fast. It’s faster than HDR processing in Photoshop or Nik’s new HDR plug-in.

The upgrade from 3.x to 4.0 is free. That’s pretty amazing given the depth of the new features in the upgrade. The original product costs $99 if you don’t already have it. While I like the new HDR Efex Pro product from Nik, and do indeed recommend it to HDR newbies over Photomatix due to its ease of use, Photomatix Pro wins out overall in the speed, flexibility, professional application and price categories.

Highly recommended.

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About scottbourne

Founder of Photofocus.com. Professional photographer. Author. Speaker.

Posted on October 10, 2011, in HDR and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Yup, I often use Oloneo and HDR Efex Pro, but I gotta say Photomatix is better at aligning images, manual de-ghosting, usually with a lot less noise, and nothing comes close to it’s batch processing (especially when doing oddball sets like only using the last 5 out of 7 exposures). I also get better consistency between photos with batch projects like panoramics and timelapse than I do out of the others. I really only use the exposure fusion feature of Photomatix though for panoramics and timelapse; for single tonemapped images like landscapes I find it easier to get the results I want with Oloneo or HDR Efex Pro, but Photomatix has certainly set the bar very high for features/functionality/speed. Often I’ll try all three programs and stick with whichever one worked best for a particular image or project.

  2. IMHO, the one area in which Photomatix excels over any of the other programs I’ve used is consistent and stable batch processing. Very important when shooting large scale projects with hundreds of image and exposure sets. And you can set up your naming and processing in such a way that you will easily be able to locate the source files and fix an image that didn’t process as expected for one reason or another. This has saved me on a number of occasions when processing time was critical.