Those of you who caught our recent Google+ hangout we’re treated to a sneak peek of the new Photomatix 5. The software has some great new additions including a contrast optimizer option which works great to create subtle images that still pop. Here are the details of what’s new.

Updates in Photomatix Pro 5.0 Beta

  • New Tone Mapping method named Contrast Optimizer, which is is good at producing realistic-looking results while still enhancing shadows and highlights. Contrast Optimizer can be accessed via the Method combo-box or by selecting the ‘Balanced’ preset (second on the list).
  • New Exposure Fusion method called Fusion/Real-Estate, which is intended for scenes of interiors with a view out of the window on a sunny day. It replaces the Fusion/Realistic method available in batch mode in version 4.2.
  • Updates in Batch of Bracketed Photos: Ability to select a Preset directly from the main batch window, option to process with more than one presets or customized settings, and main Preprocessing Options are available from the main batch window.
  • Automatic deghosting offers additional options (Deghosting amount in the form of a slider and selection of base photo) that can be adjusted with the help of a preview
  • More buttons added to Workflow Shortcuts panel. In particular, ability to come back in one-click to tone mapping / fusion to redo with other settings.
  • Option to enable Exposure Fusion when a single Raw file is opened.
  • Option in Preferences to enable “real-time” Preview refreshing (option does not show when the OS is Windows 32-bit).
  • Alignment by matching features (renamed into alignment for hand-held shots) made more robust.
  • Highlights recovery step added to Raw conversion before tone mapping a single Raw file.- Contextual help for Preprocessing Options shows in a help frame.

Specific to Mac

  • Option to set the interface in “Unified Window” mode which makes the ‘Workflow Shortcuts’ panel become an app frame window and group the Setting Adjustments, Preview and Preset Thumbnails in one single window.

Known Issues

  • Documentation has not yet been updated, and contextual help is not yet finished.
  • The application Icon is not yet finalized.- The layout/design of the Workflow Shortcuts and some other interfaces are not yet finalized.

Go download Photomatix 5 right now and give it a try.