HDR Expose 2 Review
Mac users, we're pleased to announce Macphun's all-in-one photo editor Luminar is now available for purchase with special launch pricing. (Existing Macphun customers get a further discount.)
We rated Luminar as "Highly Recommended", and you can now visit the Luminar web site to try it for free.
The HDR results from Expose 2 are good. Images are balanced, although with very strong highlights it does struggle – even with the information in the underexposed shot. We found big problems with colour distortion that resembles chromatic aberration on hard contrast edges. Further investigation resolved that it is indeed chroma from the lens we used and merging the phenomenon has exacerbated the issue.
The program performs changes in real-time. That means that it will preview the changes for you so you can see what it'll look like before clicking the ok button. However, it takes a few moments to add the adjustment and it doesn't seem to work properly until the loading bar above the navigation pane has fully loaded in. One area we were really surprised at is the amount of processing power that the program needs. While rendering the images it can take up to 50% of available RAM. It scuppers any chances of doing other things while waiting for it unless you like playing Minefield.
Once saved, the file extension is a BEF file. A plug-in is added to Photoshop during installation so that it recognises the file format. You then have to reopen the pictures and save them as JPEG. This only takes a few minutes.
If you have a lot of BEF files, you can always batch process. This is the main feature of Expose 2 that isn't available on 32Float v2. When you're at the welcome screen, choose batch process. To the right are two options for batch merge and batch process. You can merge HDR images by selecting the folder. The program will extract thumbnail information about them and place them in the space to the left of the screen. You can then drag any stray images to the relevant batches before starting the process.
Alternatively, you can transfer these BEF files to JPEG or TIFF. Again, this process takes a while and uses a lot of processing power.