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Thought it would be interesting to see how Photoshop handles combining three exposures into an HDR image over the stand-alone program Photomatrix. Both are the latest versions Photomatrix 4.2.2 and Photoshop CS6.

The gallery below shows the three images before combining. There is bound to be some issues with ghosting as the figures move across the frame in the few seconds between taking the three pictures. With Photomatrix it is simply a matter of circling the area of the photo concerned; with photoshop it is all handled automatically. The Photomatrix final combined image uses the default preset setting. This seems to give the most natural looking image, at least in this case, although the ‘Enhanced’ preset is not too bad either.

In the past I’ve succumbed to the totally unnatural HDR look with halos around prominent features and dark, oppressive skies. These can be recreated using the final image presets in Photomatrix, but its not an effect I now find pleasing.

Photoshop, in comparison, handles the ghosting poorly. The final image uses the default preset with remove ghosts enabled (and Edge smoothness enabled too). The default image I find is also too dark, although easily fixed using other settings (but this is to test the default settings of the two programs). In the final processing I think I must have removed the railing and the head from the Photomatrix version.

The photos are of the Sydney Opera House.

2 Comments »

  1. Hi Andrew — Very interesting, I’m surprised at the difference in quality between the PS and the Photomatix results. I’ve been experimenting with HDR to a limited degree, I’ve found it to be quite useful balancing exposure throughout the image and bringing forward otherwise hidden details. I had been using Photoshop for this with my Sony alpha 77, but your results have me intrigued about Photomatix. I’ll have to give it a shot.

    Thanks for sharing.
    Michael

    • andrew says:

      I do think it is worth a try; it is easy to use, brings in my opinion better results and handles the ghosts superbly.

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