Photomatix Pro has long been the gold-standard for serious HDR shooters. It’s tonemapping features are second to none. While I have used the new Nik HDR plugin, I am not sure it will be able to dethrone Photomatix Pro.
Photomatix Pro 4.0 offers two methods of tone mapping, six methods of exposure blending, an alignment tool for out-of-register images, 16-bit support, and batch processing.
You can even tone-map a single 8-bit image.
Main new features:
1. Selective deghosting tool
This lets you select ghosted regions and change the preferred image taken for each selected region.
2. Micro-smoothing has been updated
Good for more aggressive HDR applications
3. Preset thumbnails panel
Photomatix now has built-in presets (you can create your own.) They work on both tone mapping and fusion. The presets panel can be set in horizontal or vertical orientation.
4. Improved noise reduction
The new algorithm is applied on source images
The last thing I want to say about Photomatix Pro is that it is fast. It’s very fast. It’s faster than HDR processing in Photoshop or Nik’s new HDR plug-in.
The upgrade from 3.x to 4.0 is free. That’s pretty amazing given the depth of the new features in the upgrade. The original product costs $99 if you don’t already have it. While I like the new HDR Efex Pro product from Nik, and do indeed recommend it to HDR newbies over Photomatix due to its ease of use, Photomatix Pro wins out overall in the speed, flexibility, professional application and price categories.