Even though we ARE Nikon lovers,we are NOT affiliated with Nikon Corp. in any way.

English German French

Sign up Login
Home Forums Articles Galleries Recent Photos Contest Help Search News Workshops Shop Upgrade Membership Recommended
members
All members Wiki Contests Vouchers Apps Newsletter THE NIKONIAN™ Magazines Podcasts Fundraising

HDREfex vs Photomatix - First Prelim Comparison

augustf

Aldie, US
1481 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author
augustf Gold Member Nikonian since 04th Nov 2007
Sat 13-Nov-10 11:30 PM | edited Sat 13-Nov-10 11:34 PM by augustf

I finally got out to capture images to process in Nik HDR Efex Pro which I haven't had the opportunity to use yet. These were taken at Lorton Reformatory (Prison) south of Washington DC. The prison was closed in the early 2000's after a colorful past, and Congress legislated that the land could be used for the good of the community, so it was transformed into an artist's colony. The barracks now house studios for working artists - like the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria. Anyway, they wouldn't allow me to take pictures in the studios, but I was free to roam the grounds.

I went there around noon looking for scenes with wide tonal range. This is the first one I processed in both programs. The first was processed in Photomatix, and the second in HDR Efex Pro. To my mind, and eye, the results are comparable aside from the cooler hue in the Photomatix rendition which can be corrected (or not). So for me, the differences involve working with the program and what's involved in getting from here to there.

When you open an image in HDR Efex Pro, you are presented with about 33 presets with thumbnails on the left of the UI. These are visual indicators of what the image will look like if you click on that preset. You can just click through all 33 to find the one that give you the starting point closest to where you want to start, kinda like camera calibration in Lightroom and Camera Raw. There are even two presets for single image processing. I find these extremely valuable as you don't have to adjust individual sliders and guess where your image will end up as you do with Photomatix. You can even filter these preset to see your image in different modes like realistic, landscape, artistic, etc. I used one of the realistic presets for my HDR Efex image. For my adjustments in Photomatix I defaulted to Don Menges's recipe.

The global adjustment sliders are on the right of the UI and begin at the top with a tone compression slider which will globally scale back the highlights and open shadows. Below those are individual adjusment sliders; exposure, contrast, saturation, stucture, blacks, whites and warmth, all self explanatory. It's important to note that when you click on a present, all of these sliders are adjusted accordingly, so you can see how the sliders are set for the preset you chose, and you can move the sliders to make further adjustments as needed.

Next is an HDR Method drop down menu that allows you to pick what I can only describe as a finishing look such as crisp or clean or illuminate. I chose crisp for this image.

Below that is the real power of Nik software - the control points for selective adjustments. You just can't argue with the ability to add control points to selectively adjust a specific area. Those who have used other Nik apps or Capture NX know what I'm talking about.

Finally you have preset vignettes and preset levels and curves adjustment. I used neither on this image. When you're finished you click save and the image shows up in Lightroom just like Photomatix.

Bottom line for me: With all the controls and visual cues present in HDR Efex, I'm leaning in that direction, strongly. The UI is very intuitive, simple and laid out very well. There are lots of tutorial videos on the Nik Software site, although the site is not the easiest for finding what you are looking for. I just felt a lot surer about where I was going with this image as I progressed through the processing.

I'm not trying to sell anyone. This is only my impression of the app based on one image, but I do like the process. As I stated in the beginning, I think essentially, the results are comparable, but the process is different enough and easier enough to make me prefer it for now. I want to do some interiors, and capture some images at different times of the day to really exploit the program. No, I have not tried Oloneo as I believe it's still only available for PC's, not Macs.

D3
14-24mm
ISO 200
5 images
Sharpened in Nik Sharpener

Hope it helps.....

-August





Click on image to view larger version



Click on image to view larger version


Attachment#1 (jpg file)
Attachment#2 (jpg file)

De l'audace, encore de l'audace, toujours de l'audace!

Subject
ID
Reply message RE: HDREfex vs Photomatix - First Prelim Comparison
1
Reply message RE: HDREfex vs Photomatix - First Prelim Comparison
2
Reply message RE: HDREfex vs Photomatix - First Prelim Comparison
3
     Reply message RE: HDREfex vs Photomatix - First Prelim Comparison
5
Reply message RE: HDREfex vs Photomatix - First Prelim Comparison
4
     Reply message RE: HDREfex vs Photomatix - First Prelim Comparison
9
Reply message RE: HDREfex vs Photomatix - First Prelim Comparison
6
Reply message RE: HDREfex vs Photomatix - First Prelim Comparison
7
     Reply message RE: HDREfex vs Photomatix - First Prelim Comparison
8
Reply message RE: HDREfex vs Photomatix - First Prelim Comparison
10
Reply message RE: HDREfex vs Photomatix - First Prelim Comparison
11
Reply message RE: HDREfex vs Photomatix - First Prelim Comparison
12
     Reply message RE: HDREfex vs Photomatix - First Prelim Comparison
15
Reply message RE: HDREfex vs Photomatix - First Prelim Comparison
13
     Reply message RE: HDREfex vs Photomatix - First Prelim Comparison
14
          Reply message RE: HDREfex vs Photomatix - First Prelim Comparison
16
          Reply message RE: HDREfex vs Photomatix - First Prelim Comparison
17
               Reply message RE: HDREfex vs Photomatix - First Prelim Comparison
18
                    Reply message RE: HDREfex vs Photomatix - First Prelim Comparison
19
                         Reply message RE: HDREfex vs Photomatix - First Prelim Comparison
20
                              Reply message RE: HDREfex vs Photomatix - First Prelim Comparison
21
                                   Reply message RE: HDREfex vs Photomatix - First Prelim Comparison
22
                                   Reply message RE: HDREfex vs Photomatix - First Prelim Comparison
23
                                   Reply message RE: HDREfex vs Photomatix - First Prelim Comparison
25
                                   Reply message RE: HDREfex vs Photomatix - First Prelim Comparison
24
                                   Reply message RE: HDREfex vs Photomatix - First Prelim Comparison
26
Reply message RE: HDREfex vs Photomatix - First Prelim Comparison
27
Reply message RE: HDREfex vs Photomatix - First Prelim Comparison
28
     Reply message RE: HDREfex vs Photomatix - First Prelim Comparison
29

G