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(15% off voucher) Best good value HDR software?

Discussion in 'Editing (Photo and Video)' started by FreddiesFlights, Mar 19, 2018.

  1. FreddiesFlights

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    EDIT: Scroll down a few pages for the 15% off voucher code, which the author of EasyHDR offered after I'd already started this thread.

    I see a lot of people recommending Lightroom and other expensive software, when all I wanted was something that worked for a much cheaper cost. Preferably free.

    There are a couple of freebies, Fusion and one I can't even remember it was so bad; and demo versions of "the best". I tried them and several others and was generally underwhelmed. Unless you want your images to look like a 5 year old turned all the colour, contrast and saturation settings up to 11, you need to dial things back a bit; but in some this seemed almost impossible.

    "It's bright, colourful, in your face or nothing" seemed to be the attitude, which wasn't what I wanted. I just wanted to insert a well-exposed sky into a well-exposed ground image as simply as possible. HDR is nice, but sometimes, "less is more". Then you can start playing with dialing things up for more impact.

    Fusion freebie was OK for dabbling, the demo of the full version had a few more features, but it's old and clunky and unpolished compared to PhotoMatix, and especially Aurora; which you'd think would actually take the photos for you if you believed all the hype about it.

    I nearly settled for PhotoMatix, as...fairly expensive, but close in quality/features to Aurora and works pretty well for less... when I found EasyHDR.

    Weirdly EasyHDR seems off the radar of quite a few "Best HDR software" bloggers, but gets high marks for those that have found it. so...gave it a twirl anyway and...very impressed.

    And pretty cheap. And the free v2 is better than Fusion (which is OK, until you start to realise what you need it to do that it can't, after playing with PhotoMatix and Aurora).

    The chromatic aberration removal in EasyHDR, even on single images, is amazing; and with AEB shots: the results are IMO better than PhotoMatix Pro produces and on a par with Aurora HDR at a much lower cost.

    There is a free V2 Basic version, try it, then spend some cash on the extra features of V3...the results are worth it. The V3 demo doesn't automatically recognise the DJI 6310 (P4P) camera for chromatic aberration removal, but you can set the focal length to 9mm (slightly off, but close) to test with. In the paid-for version it uses the correct data from the LensFun database automatically. Also works with a huge range of other cameras. If they're in the database: it does them. Neither Photomatix Pro or Aurora HDR recognise the Phantom camera at all, so...strikes against them for that.

    EasyHDR also works with RAW .DNG photos and applies the correct Lens Correction to them (no RAW processing in the demo version though), so no other expensive (Lightroom etc.) software required to work with the .DNGs, although the JPG results are almost as good. TBH, I'll probably just use JPGs most of the time, even though I'll shoot JPG+RAW to be safe.

    It also has a pretty simple 'Ghost removal' tool, where something could have moved during the shots, like a person or a car, or a tree moving in the wind (this is what I've had a lot lately). You can have it take the best exposed selections from each image automatically, select one of the photos as 'the master', or use a brush to paint it out yourself. This is especially handy to completely remove something if it is in position 'A' in one shot and position 'B' in another. You brush the background section from the one that it is not visible in over the one where it is visible and...it's gone in the result. You can also use layers, to 'paint' with areas from different image and also apply different effects to them all separately. Not really played with that much, as I get great results with the default options, but nice to know it's there.

    For use with "normal" cameras, no more worrying about people walking through your shot, you can paint them away entirely.

    Anyway, no examples or the website link, I don't want to be too pushy about it. You can google that yourself if you're interested.

    YMMV, so what made you choose what you use?
     
    #1 FreddiesFlights, Mar 19, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2018
  2. ryantrax

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    I've played with the demo version of EasyHDR, I just can't get close to the quality and customization that I get with Aurora HDR 2018, I've been using Aurora exclusively since it was released on Windows. I used to be a Photomatix guy, I do agree that EasyHDR does keep up with Photomatix though.
     
    ravedog likes this.
  3. FreddiesFlights

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    It's interesting to hear another viewpoint. Maybe I'm not 'pushing' EasyHDR enough to see if it has any limitations yet, but I found the qualities broadly similar (to a newcomer to this) and the price was a factor for me too. Plus, EasyHDR recognises the P4P camera right away, which was pretty crucial for aberration removal and lens correction.

    If you've been using Aurora for a while (years?), was it the EasyHDR version 3 demo you'd tried? Version2, is more basic and now free.

    Admittedly, Aurora has lots of custom templates ready to go, and you can buy more packs of them too. EasyHDR initially has less, but having made up a few templates of my own, I'm doing OK so far.

    Maybe I'll outgrow it, but so far: it's a blast. Anyone interested should get demos of all three products and give them a go - or tryout the freebie versions - you just have two people's opinions so far.
     
  4. ryantrax

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    I tried version 3 demo recently. Nothing against the software, just not my cup-of-tea. Below is an example of my comparision between Aurora HDR 2018, EasyHDR 3 and Photomatix Pro 5.

    Aurora HDR:
    [​IMG]

    EasyHDR 3 Trial:
    [​IMG]


    Photomatix Pro 5:
    [​IMG]
     
    loonie01 likes this.
  5. FreddiesFlights

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    Nice composition. Photomatix 6 Pro is available now, BTW.

    Are you saying you couldn't match the Aurora version's style in EasyHDR? Was that one of its defaults? I'd have expected dialing down the local contrast strength and saturation and maybe tweak the gamma a bit should get them pretty much the same.

    No need if you use Aurora now anyway, but that's what demos versions are for: suck it and see.

    I went back and forth with 5 programs open at one point trying to see which gave the "best" look with a single set of 3 HDR pics, then seeing if I could replicate it in the others, either easily, or at all. While doing that, I'd decide I preferred the look I'd created on one of the others instead and went back and readjusted the first, and other others to match that one. Then repeat with yet another look. The best 3 could pretty much get to the same result with varying degrees of ease of use.
     
  6. ravedog

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    That easyHDR photo is awful. It reminds me of the early days of HDR where everything was dialed up to acid levels. Not as bad but still. Horribly over done.

    To the other posters here, you really need to know what HDR is and how to use the apps. Relying on settings or presets is not the way to do things. You might as well use a filter in Instagram. Learn to use the app to pull the best out of your images.

    The Trick about HDR is not to look like HDR. It’s about trying to pull a little more detail out of crushed shadows or recover blown out highlights.
     
  7. FreddiesFlights

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    I agree, and I don't get results like that and I do use my own settings, which is why I asked how it was produced.

    If it did turn out like that from a preset (and Aurora and PhotoMatix are equally guilty of whacking all the settings up to 11 to "show off") it's very easy to dial it back on one, maybe two sliders: Strength and Saturation without even needing to get too involved in all the other options.
     
  8. FreddiesFlights

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    OK, here's a good result: I'd asked a few questions of the EasyHDR author about certain features and after a few useful answers, he's offered a discount on the price with the following code until 30th June. (2018, if you're reading this in the distant future from a galaxy far, far away)

    Just use 'aerialhdr' as the code on the page when you buy it for 15% off the already pretty reasonable price of V3 of EasyHDR.

    It seems I can't update the title of this thread to let people know, so I'll make a new one and direct them here.
     
    #8 FreddiesFlights, Mar 20, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2018
    BigAl07 likes this.
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