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Updated by Shyam Subramanyan on Mar 15, 2018
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George Igor George Igor
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Nick Kellet Nick Kellet
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Mac OS X HDR Tools

A list of Mac OS X tools that I am trying out and doing short reviews. If you have any suggestions, please add them here. Don't forget to vote for your fave.

Photomatix Pro

Comes in standalone and plugins for Aperture and Lightroom. Downloaded trial for Aperture and was up and running with my first HDR in two minutes from right within Aperture.


Photomatix has settings to align images (for handheld shots), detect and fix ghosting, and noise reduction. When it's done processing images, you get a palette of preset HDR effects that you can choose - from natural to grunge.


The trial puts out a large Photomatix watermark in the final output unless you pay for a license which ranges from $79 to $119 depending on plugin or a package of standalone and plugin versions. Photomatix is definitely a quick way to get into HDR if you don't balk at the price tag. The Aperture plugin makes it a snap to create HDRs while you are in your regular workflow. I assume this is true for Lightroom version as well.

Luminance HDR

Open source, free and a standalone app. Ten minutes into it, I have not been able to create an HDR image yet.

This is a very technical tool and will require diving into documentation and FAQs to figure out how to use effectively.
The review is not complete until I find time to dig into this tool, but this is definitely not meant for the newbie or even an amateur HDR enthusiast. Download this if you have the time and the inclination to learn everything technical about HDRs

HDRtist Pro

There are two versions - the light free version and the pro version. The free version works pretty quick, but is limited in the variety of output.

I downloaded the pro version. Creating an HDR required just a quick drag and drop of relevant files from Aperture. There are 1-click styles similar to Photomatix Pro, but many of the effects seem contrived. I was able to get better results (at least the ones I like) by digging into the adjustments menu.

At $29 the pro version is a good deal, but the workflow is not as smooth as the Photomatix Aperture plugin.