Photomatix 5 Review and Tutorial



If after reading this review you are interested in purchasing Photomatix see the bottom of this page for how to get a 15% discount

The latest version of Photomatix HDR toning Software was released in November 2013. For those who have an earlier edition then Version 5 is a free upgrade and can be installed in addition to a previous version and also retains any saved custom presets.

The 2 most important additions both make it much easier to create natural looking HDR images. The problem with many HDR images is that they often look too surreal with an overly grey look. Sometimes this is the intention to suit the image or style. However at other times it is a beginner’s mistake owing to the complexity of the number of changes which can be made in the software to produce a final result. This especially applies to the Detail Enhancer settings in Photomatix.

The new options both have far fewer sliders and these are biased more towards a natural result while retaining the advantage of capturing a wider range of light and contrast which is the basis of HDR. All the old options are retained to give users a wide choice of looks in the final image.

The first new option can be reached after from the top left under Tone Mapping and then from the method dropdown choose Contrast Optimizer. The other way is simply to click the Balanced Preset from the preset previews on the right.

Contrast OptimizerContrast OptimizerContrast Optimizer

Adjustments can be made to suit the picture using the White Clip, Black Clip and Midtones sliders. Care should be used with the Strength and Lighting Effect Sliders to avoid any excessive effects.

The second new feature is Fusion Real Estate. This is especially effective with pictures such as the example shown of an image from inside a building which includes a view out of the window. There are even fewer sliders to mess things up and the sliders are all aimed at getting a natural result with good detail of both the interior and the view out of the window.

Fusion Real Estate can be reached from the top left by choosing Exposure Fusion as the process and selecting Fusion Real Estate from the Method drop down.

Fusion Real EstateFusion Real EstateFusion Real Estate

The major advantage of this method is that the sliders for highlights and shadows will in general adjust the view out of the window separately from the interior view making it ideal for this sort of image.

Since version 4 Photomatix has been able to do basic finishing editing of contrast, colors and sharpening making it possible to produce a finished picture without another program.

My own preference is to do final edits in another program such as Photoshop or Elements which give greater control thought the use of layers.

For this image I used Topaz and Photoshop to bring much more detail to the interior.

This image is a good example of the benefits of HDR processing.

Below are the Before and After images. First the original. Then the tonemapped image using Fusion Real Estate and then the final result.

Original at 0EV

Mirador Tutorial OriginalMirador Tutorial OriginalMirador Tutorial Original

Tonemapped image

Mirador Tutorial TonemappedMirador Tutorial TonemappedMirador Tutorial Tonemapped

Final Image

Mirador Tutorial FinalMirador Tutorial FinalMirador Tutorial Final

Photomatix Coupon Code

HDRSoft the makers of Photomatix are good enough to provide a 15% discount to readers of this site for Photomatix Pro and their other products. Use the code, EDWINJONES in capitals as shown at checkout to save money.
For the code to work you need to click one of the links below to either try out the free trial or purchase immediately. If you click here for the free trial and later decide to purchase the code will work without needing to click here again.

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Edwin Jones