Comparison of HDR Software


Abbey
A photograph of Fountains Abbey in North Yorkshire owned and maintained by the National Trust.

Yesterday I processed the above photographed and posted it on this blog.  The image was created using 3 photos and merged into HDR.  Today I thought I would show you comparisons of three different HDR programs I use, Lightroom Merge to HDR, HDR Pro in Photoshop and Aurora 2018.

These are the images I used.  All I have done in Lightroom is to Transform them using the AUTO setting in the Develop Module as well as cropping the images to 16:9

Image SOOC except for cropping and Auto Transformation
Image SOOC except for cropping and Auto Transformation
Image SOOC except for cropping and Auto Transformation

Now for the comparisons, I have used the default settings of each program and have added ghost removal and Alignment.

Lightroom HDR

Settings Used

Settings for Lightroom HDR

HDR Image

Lightroom HDR Merge
Lightroom HDR Merge

Details

Lightroom Details


 

HDR Pro in Photoshop

Settings

Settings for Photoshop Pro HDR Merge

HDR Image

Photoshop PRO HDR Merge
Photoshop HDR Merge

Details

Photoshop HDR Details


 

Aurora 2018

Settings

Settings for Aurora for HDr

HDR Image

Aurora HDR Merge
Aurora HDR Merge

Details

Aurora Details


Nik Collection (Old Version)*

Settings

Settings for Nik (Old Collection)

HDR Image

Nik Collection (Old Version)

Details

Nik collection old version


Photomatix

Settings (Average Used in Photomatix)

Photomatix Pro

HDR Image

Photomatix
Photomatix – Average HDR Setting once merged

Details

Photomatix details


Conclusion

When it came to detail I found Aurora 2018 had better detail.  As well as Aurora 2018 being a powerful piece of software when it came to Tone Mapping for HDR.  However, the only downside I had, is this if I had tone mapped the image in Aurora and then back into Lightroom, I would have then had to send a copy of that image if I needed to work in Luminar.

That is the one downfall you can’t jump between Luminar and Aurora, 2018 like you can do with Photoshop by using filters, ON1 software or Topaz Studio using Topaz Plugins.

Who knows perhaps in the future Skylum could let their software interact together and give us the opportunity of jumping from Luminar to Aurora and vice versa without having to create separate images.

The only way I can see of doing it now… is to create your Aurora HDR and then put that file in Photoshop and using Luminar as a plug-in.  Which is all well and good if you have Photoshop… but for those people who don’t have Photoshop,  it just keeps taking up disc space by having to create individual images for each piece of Skylum software.

The same applies with the Old Nik Collection, by luck it worked in Lightroom Classic CC, but some people say it is rather hit or miss whether the old version works or not.

However, I will be using Aurora from now on to create my HDR images, even if I have to create the extra image to use Luminar 2018.

*On another note I haven’t tried the new Nik Collection from DxO as I had purchased the collection from Google, and refuse to purchase it again.  So I wasn’t able to try out HDR Efex 2 by using the New Collection.

Post Updated to Include Photomatix

One of my readers noticed I hadn’t included Photomatix… well do you know what?  I completely forgot I had this software.  So I decided to do the for Photomatix.  However with Photomatix once the image is merged you have various options for HDR Effect.. Details Enhancer, Tone Compressor, to name put a couple… so for the test I just used Average.  And I still am of the opinion Photomatix was more intense.. it offered different HDR Merges as well as Presets.  But I still have to say that Aurora is still my favourite for ease of use and range of its HDR capabilities.

Until next time… happy snapping!!!

 

 

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Written by Bren (Ryan-Photography)

Bren Ryan is a female amateur photographer and blogger who along with her husband, Ashley, have created a photography blog called Ryan Photography which showcases the places they've visited on their photography journey. Bren and Ashley primarily concentrate their photographic skills on landscape, architecture and floral subjects. Based in the South East of England they hope to give their readers an insight into the wonderful and beautiful landscapes, buildings and places that the South of England has to offer.

6 comments

  1. I’m viewing on my mobile phone rather than my pc, so i may not be seeing the full impact. However, lightroom and Nik collection look the best to me, and Photoshop and Aurora both look flat, and lacking in contrast and tonal range.

    I’ll take a look from my pc later.

    Like

    1. Thank you for your lovely comment. It is very rare that I do HDR.. to be honest I can’t be bothered to carry a tripod 😀 😀 How lazy is that? But on certain days if the weather conditions are right I will do hand-held HDR photography. Give it a go.. Look forward to seeing your images.

      Like

  2. Interesting that you didn’t use Photomatix Pro. I have found the HDR quality and detail of the HDR result superior to Lightroom, Photoshop and Nik HDR FX Pro. I have not used Aurora HDR.

    Like

    1. I am so pleased you mentioned Photomatix… I had completely forgotten that one.. I’ll add that software… thanks for reminding me xx With all these pieces of Software sometimes it is hard to keep up with what you have and what you don’t have. 😀 😀

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