Recently I’ve been diving into High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography. Initially I used Bracketeer to combine three photos that had been taken with different exposure (-2, 0, +2 stops). But very quickly I became unsatisfied with the output from Bracketeer. After a little research, it turns out Bracketeer only fuse photos with different exposures. Whereas other HDR software also perform tone mapping. After listening to a TWiP podcast about HDR and read through the HDR tutorial by Trey Ratcliff, I decided to try Photomatix Pro last week to see what different result I would get.
To demostrate the difference between Bracketeer and Photomatix, here are two identical photos processed by each software with the original exposure on the left:
As you can see, the result from Photomatix is so much more natural looking (though it can also produce extremely psychadelic version) than Bracketeer. And more importantly, I get to this very good photo very easily, whereas the options in Bracketeer are extremely technical and confusing.
Both are commercial software with Bracketeer a little bit less expensive than Photomatix. But judging from the output quality, I would thoroughly recommend going straight to Photomatix if you want to experiment with HDR.