If you’re into HDR, you’ll be happy to hear that HDRsoft is now shipping Photomatix Pro 5.0. This release is exciting and adds several great new features including.

  • Contrast Optimizer Tone Mapping. This is an option for localized tone-mapping. It produces nearly zero halos which can produce very natural looking results. This is useful for adding clarity to images and is very easy to use.
  • Fusion/Real-Estate. This method was substantially sped up (now ten times faster). It can also be used on any image. It is useful for creating crisp HDR images that do not blow out highlights. While targeted to shooting buildings, it works well for many users.
  • Multiple settings batching. Choose multiple methods and presets to apply to a photo. This speeds up the post-processing time and allows for easier batch-processing on big jobs.
  • Improved automatic ghost removal. You can specify which source photo to use when de-ghosting. The manual methods of selection are also improved in my experience.
  • Improved alignment. If you shoot handheld, you’ll find that image alignment is improved.
  • Sliders in real-time. If your OS is 64-bit, you can see updates in real-time by checking an option in the application preferences.
5 image exposure processed with Photomatix 5 and the Real Estate Fusion method.

Download and Cost

Here’s how to get the software.

Here’s the even better news… if you bought version 4, the upgrade is absolutely free.

The upgrade to Photomatix Pro version 5 will be free of charge for customers who purchased a license of Photomatix Pro version 4.0 or higher through our website or authorized resellers (Photomatix Pro 4.0 was released on October 2010).

If you own an earlier version of the software, the upgrade is $29 US and a new version is $99 US. You can download the trial version as well to really put it through its paces before you buy.


Photomatix Pro is a standalone application. It produces images that you can then further edit in another application like Photoshop or Lightroom. There is also an export plugin to work with Lightroom or Aperture so you can easily send bracketed photos from your library for merging. You may also want to send single files for use with the Contrast Optimizer effect. A list of camera models for which the current version of Photomatix Pro and Photomatix Essentials support RAW files is available here.