The Perfect Sunrise

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I am looking for a good HDR programme to use on my apple computer, preferably a free programme but am prepared to pay if programme is worth it

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marked as duplicate by dpollitt, Itai, mattdm, John Cavan May 4 '13 at 0:18

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What have you tried and what haven't you liked about the existing ones. (The ones you can find with google...) –  Paul Cezanne May 3 '13 at 21:48
    
Most importantly, what do you find not good about those you tried. HDR output is mostly a matter of taste. –  Itai May 3 '13 at 22:35
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2 Answers

I've always been quite happy with the results from HDRtist. It's a very simple, free app with not a lot of configuration options, but it produces punchy, saturated images. It is by no means a replacement for Photomatix or any professional piece of software, but it does a decent job for shots that are just going to be posted to the web.

Another option is Luminance HDR, which is very configurable, but produces (IMO), rather sub-par images on its own, but combined with Enfuse and the GIMP, it can produce excellent images.

Photomatix seems to be the de-facto choice for commercial HDR software, though I've found that somewhat like Luminance, the images it produces take work in the GIMP or Photoshop to get right, though the images are better than what Luminance produces.

Look at the examples below to get an example of what you can do with HDRtist and Photomatix. The Photomatix images are, I feel, nicer and a bit more subtle, but took a lot more time and effort to achieve. The HDRtist images are pretty much straight out of the program, except the selective colouring in the second image, which was done in the GIMP.

The following two images were processed with HDRtist + GIMP (only for the selective colouring in the second image): Loch Ness Town, Scotland Loch Ness Boat, Scotland

While these two were processed using Lightroom + Photomatix + Photoshop: Kashid, Maharashtra, India Phansad Wildlife Sanctuary, Maharashtra, India

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Photomatix would be my first choice. http://www.hdrsoft.com It gives you a simple interface step-by step, some easy default choices but also a very sofisticated control panel if you are not satisfied with the default styles. I always get superior results comparing to Photoshop!

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I have yet to get really good images straight out of Photomatix... I find that I need to work on them more in Photoshop, often by blending multiple Photomatix images produced using different settings. Is this true for you as well? –  Chinmay Kanchi May 3 '13 at 22:27
    
@ChinmayKanchi - maybe HDR is not what you want, after all? Have you tried Exposure Fusion? It is very near to HDR but different technique. Explained in How does exposure fusion work? –  Esa Paulasto May 4 '13 at 5:44
    
Yes, but those images tend to end up flat. I find HDR + fusion overlaid in layers in Photoshop works well though. –  Chinmay Kanchi May 4 '13 at 7:14
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