A Raw HDR Showdown with Photomatix and HDR PhotoStudio
Exhibit A: Photomatix 4.0 Beta

Getting Started

I picked up a Promote Control recently. For those that do not know what a Promote Control is please click one of the links to read more about it. A quick summary of the Promote Control is that it is a device like a cable release that gives the ability to have complete control over a HDR photograph. In the samples you will see below I photographed the scene with 27 exposures. In this showdown I took the 27 exposures and merged them into an HDR photo in Photomatix 4.0 Beta and HDR PhotoStudio 2. The reason I call this a Raw HDR Showdown is not because I shot the photos in RAW (which I did) but because although I adjusted the tonemapping I did no post production the HDR photographs. What you see is the result I got from both softwares.

Exhibit A: Away from the sun

Exhibit A: Photomatix 4.0 Beta
Exhibit A: Photomatix 4.0 Beta
Exhibit A: HDR PhotoStudio 2
Exhibit A: HDR PhotoStudio 2

First Impressions

I have used Photomatix for many years. Every so often I get contacted from HDR software companies to try theirs. Aside from Photomatix, HDR PhotoStudio 2 is the only other HDR software that I like to use. My only problem I have with the software is how different it is from Photomatix. The tools are so different that when I open the software I get confused about what to do first. However to me the result from HDR PhotoStudio 2 is so much better than the Photomatix 4.0 Beta one. The result seems cleaner and more natural than the Photomatix photo.

Exhibit B: Into the sun

Exhibit B: Photomatix 4.0 Beta
Exhibit B: Photomatix 4.0 Beta
Exhibit B: HDR PhotoStudio 2
Exhibit B: HDR PhotoStudio 2

Second Impression

Let’s start off with something silly.  Yes Photomatix 4.0 Beta is what is it.  Beta.  But with that said it took five times for Photomatix to stop crashing in order for me to process this photo.  So with this photo shooting into the sun I was expecting some cool results which I did get.  Both photos look great in my opinion but again HDR PhotoStudio 2 looks much more natural.  A little bit of post production in Photoshop or Lightroom and this photo would be good to go in my opinion.

note: The crashing problem didn’t occur when using the stable release of Photomatix

Let’s chat

So please comment below and let me know what you think.  I’d love to hear what tests you have done and see some comparison samples.

All in all

For a while now I have been compiling a comparison series on my Flickr page.  Visit the HDR Software Tests set on my Flickr to see what I have done so far.  I wish I had the time to keep up with it but unfortunately I do not.

Discounts

If you’re interested in either of the HDR softwares I do have discounts available.  You can also download free trials to see for yourself.

Photomatix Pro: 15% off using “ScottWyden15”
HDR PhotoStudio: 20% off using “scottwyden”

What is to come

If you follow my blog you would know that I have photography challenges.  Well, make sure to check back in July when I share the next challenge.  You won’t want to miss the HDR fun!

Thans for reading and happy shooting,

Scott

This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. Interesting…hadn't heard of the HDR PhotoStudio, but may have to check it out now…definitely has a more natural look to it…but with the "into the sun" shots, I almost lean towards the Photomatix version in a way.

  2. Mike,That's one of the things I love about HDR. I could take the 27 photos and show you the photos in this post and then you could take it and show me something completely different. That fascinates me.At this point I would bring the PhotoStudio version into Photoshop and/or Lightroom to make my final touches, bring in some contrast, etc.. With such a beautiful result I'd prefer having a more realistic approach to the photo. But that's my taste :-)Thanks for commenting Mike and I hope you do try PhotoStudio. If you decide to purchase it be sure to use my discount code and save some cash.

  3. Interesting…hadn't heard of the HDR PhotoStudio, but may have to check it out now…definitely has a more natural look to it…but with the "into the sun" shots, I almost lean towards the Photomatix version in a way.

  4. Mike,That's one of the things I love about HDR. I could take the 27 photos and show you the photos in this post and then you could take it and show me something completely different. That fascinates me.At this point I would bring the PhotoStudio version into Photoshop and/or Lightroom to make my final touches, bring in some contrast, etc.. With such a beautiful result I'd prefer having a more realistic approach to the photo. But that's my taste :-)Thanks for commenting Mike and I hope you do try PhotoStudio. If you decide to purchase it be sure to use my discount code and save some cash.

  5. It should be an improvement above HDR PhotoStudio 2. Since that was already so good I expect Expose to be really impressive. I'm excited as well.

  6. This creates a nice HDR, very realistic. I see that they are going to release HDR EXPOSE on the 12th. Cant wait to see what it is like.

  7. It should be an improvement above HDR PhotoStudio 2. Since that was already so good I expect Expose to be really impressive. I'm excited as well.

  8. Is it possible to work with 360° Panoramas in Photostudio (Expose) like in Photomatix?

    Do you ear something when Photomatix 4 is coming out?

    Both pictures looks very nice but Photostudio looks very nice and much natural.

    1. HDR Expose does not have a Pano feature.

      No word on the release of Photomatix 4

  9. Is it possible to work with 360° Panoramas in Photostudio (Expose) like in Photomatix?
    Do you ear something when Photomatix 4 is coming out?
    Both pictures looks very nice but Photostudio looks very nice and much natural.

    1. HDR Expose does not have a Pano feature.

      No word on the release of Photomatix 4

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