HDR Darkroom 2 Review
Mac users, we're pleased to announce Macphun's all-in-one photo editor Luminar is now available for just $69£52 for new users, or $59£44 for existing Macphun users.
We rated Luminar as "Highly Recommended", and you can now visit the Luminar web site to try it for free.
HDR Darkroom 2 is very easy to use. Even if you've never used HDR before, this would be a great way to get into it. We mentioned earlier that there are two types results to be attained from HDR merging and Darkroom 2 does them both. And a third version just for good measure.
We loaded in a few HDR pictures that we had hanging around and were instantly impressed with how HDR Darkroom 2 performs. Sure there's some delays in processing but when you compare it to an in-built HDR program such as Corel's HDR Merge in Paint Shop Pro X4, it's like lightning and doesn't crash.
No matter what we threw at the program, it responded well. The sliders can over cook things if you're not too careful. We found that moving them anything more than a slight amount would give a drastically altered image. Still, not every picture is the same and some may need that depth of adjustment.
According to the Everimaging website, they seem to base the results of the pictures based on the camera being hand-held. It's traditionally known that HDR images have to be taken using a tripod. However, we like this fresh approach to looking at it. Programming the system to cope with images that will be largely misaligned due to hand movement makes it much more robust and sympathetic to real life situations. The great thing is that it's exactly that. The ghost reduction system simply chops out the information from the under and over exposed image that will create a ghost and it's very effective.
We tried the alternative HDR option of getting one picture and adjusting the brightness in Photoshop to recreate bracketing. Some photographers who enjoy HDR photography do this for fun. It means when you have a shot, such as a portrait, that isn't easy to get the subject to stay still, you can still get the effect of HDR. The program doesn't like this at all. WE got a lot of pixellation in the shadow areas. The most realistic Tone Map was Tone Compressor. Because of this, in our test shot, we pushed the white and black sliders to 50% and over compensated to make it look more gritty.
We've tested programs in the past (Paint Shop Pro springs to mind) where we would move a slider and the program would start to process the changes before we'd finished. This happened when making fine adjustments. Darkroom 2 doesn't do this. If you keep hold of the slider, it waits.