A Photographers Review of HDR Darkroom

HDR Darkroom is not new to the HDR industry but they have made improvements in their software.  From the tests I did I think they made the software part of HDR photography very simple.  I would compare HDR Darkroom to HDRSoft’s Photomatix Lite.  From what I understand the Windows version of HDR Darkroom is ahead of the Mac version.  That means that the Windows version most likely has more features and controls over the tone mapping.  Possibly even some features that the Mac version doesn’t have yet.  However, I was told they are working on bringing the Mac version up to speed.


  • Simple controls but very powerful
  • Can save as a variety of formats and even .HDR
  • No memory lag
  • Quick and smooth rendering and tone mapping
  • Handles DNG RAW files
  • Only $99, now on sale for $79


  • No loupe or way to zoom in as far as you want
  • With the limited controls some images turn at as better B&W HDRs that color ones
  • No halo control
  • Same price as Photomatix

As with all the HDR software I test I processed the same 7 photos through HDR Darkroom to compare the basic settings.  Below you can see a basic HDR without major tone mapping.  The photo is from the Rahway River Park in Rahway, NJ.  You can see all the comparisons in my Flickr set.

Rahway River Park, NJ  - HDR LR/Enfuse

I decided to run a test on a single photo HDR and better yet, do it of portrait.  Below you can see that while it’s not a bad result I can not get rid of the Halo in HDR Darkroom because of the limited tone mapping options.

Next on the list is another new photo from my recent trip to Washington DC.  This single photo couldn’t tone map good enough to remain in color but looks absolutely wonderful in Black and White.

So now you’ve seen on examples.  Is HDR Darkroom worth the current $79 sale price?  Is it worth the $99 regular price?  I do not know.  For that price I’d prefer the HDR industry standard of Photomatix Pro however HDR Darkroom has much potential.  If you want to try it for yourself they do offer a free download trial so please go check it out.  I really enjoy trying new software and I had fun with this one.  The interface is refreshing from some other software.

Thanks for reading and happy shooting,


Use the discount code scottwyden to save an extra 15% off the price of HDR Darkroom

The single HDR results above could also be achieved with Topaz Adjust 4

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Thanks for the post, I’m fairly new to OSX and have been wanting something to process NEF photos from a Nikon D70.

    1. Process how? If you’re looking to process HDRs then HDR Darkroom is one of the many options.

      1. As in creating HDR’s.

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