Wednesday, October 13, 2010

HDR Efex Pro, a very quick review.

Yes, it's out and you can grab a trial here. Review is perhaps a bit too strong, first impression would be better.

I downloaded the 27mb trial and first surprise, even though it is apparantly a 64 bits plugin it still works well with my 32 bits Photoshop. You can call it from bridge but all that does is open CS5 and start the plugin with the files you selected. I have not yet tried it from lightroom

On my humble dual core 2GB AMD phenom box it's somewhat sluggish, more sluggish than Photomatix although it does seem to take roughly the same amount of time.

What it does fairly well is aligning, Photomatix seems slightly better in aligning my handheld shots. It does beat photomatix in one critical aspect, usability.

Photomatix has an interface with a load of rather cryptic settings on the left. HDR efex has about 30 presets that are all quite different. Each can be finetuned. For each preset a preview is rendered which takes a bit of time. I tested it on three images and it ran out of memory and crashed once.

Perhaps it's my test shots but right now it doesn't blow me away in output just yet but, honestly, I did a rather quick and dirty processing job on just two sets. It does excel in usability, it makes you feel in control, makes you feel like getting a good looking HDR is relatively simple.

HDR efex:

Nik HDR efex test shot 1

Photomatix (slighty different shot)

hdr lens flare

And this was a weird idea that seemed

Nik HDR efex test shot 2

More to come soon, certainly before my trial period runs out.

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