HDR Image Processing: Adobe Lightroom vs Photomatix

photomatix vs lightroom

The HDR image technique is all about clicking multiple exposures on your camera and then merging them into one using an HDR image processing software. There must be many softwares out there in the market, but my personal favourite from the past 5 years has been Photomatix. But, only until I tried out the HDR Merge feature in Lightroom CC.

I am not saying that Photomatix is bad software of HDR processing, but in this particular post I am going to compare the non-edited images as processed by respective softwares. This comparison will show how Adobe Lightroom and Photomatix process multiple exposures into one.

Deghosting

deghosting

LEFT: HDR image processed using Photomatix | RIGHT: HDR image processed using Adobe Lightroom CC

While you are clicking multiple exposures, there are possibilities that elements in your frame might me in motion. In the case of this image, people were moving as I clicked 5 different exposures.

If you look at the image on the left, the HDR image processing software has not done a great job in rectifying the ghosting effect, as you can see the people in the frame appear somewhat transparent. Whereas the image on the right has done a great job in applying the deghosting effect, it appears that the people were stationary.

If my HDR image has moving elements and requires deghosting, I would prefer using Adobe LightroomCC over Photomatix.

Softness

softnessThe default HDR image processed by Photomatix has softness to it, this is something I have been having issues with since the time I started using this software. Whereas the default HDR image processed by Lightroom done not has softness, it looks sharp. Earlier I had to import the Photomatix processed image to Lightroom in order to increase the sharpness.

Saturation

As you can see in the image above or in any of the images in this article, you will realise that the Photomatix version has more saturation of colors as compared to the Lightroom version. Now it is completely up to you which approach you wish to take, proceed with your color correction using a less saturated imaged or use a more saturated file to same your time.

I personally would go with the Lightroom version (less saturated) as I have more room to play with the colors and can adjust it as per my choice.

Conclusion

overall

To conclude this post, I would share that Photomatix was my all-time favourite HDR image processing software but I always had to import my HDR images to Lightroom to give the final touch. Recently I thought of trying the HDR Merge feature in Adobe Lightroom and I found it better than Photomatix for a couple of reasons.

Firstly I get better deghosting results, so this sames me a lot of time that I otherwise will have to give in rectifying it. Secondly the sharpness and saturation that I get in my images are better for my post processing taste. I also save time by simply making the HDR image and color correcting the same within Lightroom itself.

Which software do you prefer to make HDR images? Share it in the comments below.

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About Author

Kunal Malhotra
Kunal Malhotra, a photography enthusiast whose passion for photography started 6 years back during his college days. Kunal is also a photography blogger, based out of Delhi. He loves sharing his knowledge about photography with fellow aspiring photographers by writing regular posts on his blog: The Photography Blogger. Some of his favourite genres of photography are Product, Street, Fitness and Architecture.