Ease Of Use
|As photographers we all want to produce images that show as much, if not all of the dynamic range possible for all lighting conditions that we shoot in, especially where you're told flash isn't allowed.
For HDR photography, you need to produce a minimum of three images that are set at three different exposure levels, such as 2EV apart, e.g. -2EV, 0EV and +2EV. This will produce one image that is dark with the light areas that have good contrast, a correctly exposed image for the mid tones and a very light image with the dark areas that have reasonable contrast.
The images to the right are what I intend to use in my review of this software product. As you can see they meet the basic requirement for HDR processing.
The version of HDR Darkroom Pro v1.01 on test here is for Mac and was purchased via itunes. The download and installation happened automatically.
HDR Darkroom Pro v1.0.1 Features
HDR Darkroom Pro features a range of patented HDR technologies such as feature-matching alignment technology, noise reduction and local/global tone mapping technologies to help you produce spectacular images at the fastest rendering speeds available today.
HDR Darkroom Pro is designed to minimise the work in producing sophisticated looking HDR images. It makes the HDR imaging workflow easy. HDR Darkroom Pro provides a preview of the images in your working folder (on the left side), making your workflow more convenient. The application also tags colour Flags (the BLUE border) and Suffixes on each preview image to indicate clearly which one you are working on. Across the top there are a series of drop down menus that speak for themselves and some are recreated in the bottom right for ease of use. The right hand pane is a list of Actions for processing your images; this is below a Histogram and image data, which is helpful when processing your images. At the start a Help Screen appears to guide you through the initial workflow method of bringing images in to the software to be processed, for those that have a memory lapse click the ‘i’ icon which brings up the Help screen.
HDR Darkroom Pro v1.0.1 Ease of Use
Follow the guides on the help screen and the program automatically aligns the images which is handy if you're like me and don’t use a tripod. Mostly all of the processing controls in HDR Darkroom Pro are in real time. This produces photorealistic images with reasonable control as can be seen in the image below, particularly the shadow under the hedge. To start processing your images select a ‘Tone mapping pre-set’ or do it yourself, whichever way you choose you will use the sliders to adjust the image.
HDR Darkroom Pro v1.0.1 Performance
After selecting your ‘Tone mapping’ pre-set (Local Tone Enhancer) in this case, waiting for the software to produce it’s magic; HDR Darkroom Pro has loads of changeable parameters for you to fine tune and control the final images. Curve adjustment (the Red line), colour balance, colour temperature and tint adjustment, lens correction, highlight/shadow adjustment, white/black point adjustment, noise reduction, just to name a few, many levels of fine tuning are available, hit the Auto button first though. I had difficulty removing “Fringing” (Chromatic Aberrations) both R/C & B/Y after processing. To alleviate the fringing problem, I would make CA adjustments before loading into HDR Darkroom. Many other processing tasks can be done easily within HDR Darkroom Pro.
|HDR Darkroom Pro includes a sophisticated RAW converter and supports RAW files captured by most major companies. I worked in RAW and the time taken was no worse than other HDR software working with large RAW files.
HDR Darkroom Pro is capable of saving your work to several formats (see right).
HDR Darkroom Pro v1.0.1 Verdict
The image produced was an acceptable production in a ‘photorealistic’ representation. Good colour comparison was obtained. The down side was the problem with Chromatic Aberrations could not be removed in the final image. but for the individual that wants to produce Photorealistic images quickly and simply, it works well.
HDR Darkroom Pro is on sale for £14.00 ($20.00) and it's not an unreasonable price considering you get an easy to use HDR software package. There is no help menu and the user is taken to a website where the manual has to be downloaded. The manual is fairly extensive though and worth looking through before you use the software (purely as a guide for the interface).
HDR Darkroom Pro v1.0.1 Pros
Easy to use for multiple images
Easy to use for RAW/DNG single images
Acceptable photorealistic images
Minor ghosting for moving objects
HDR Darkroom Pro v1.0.1 Cons
Have to input your own image name when saving
Chromatic Aberrations in produced image
Difficult to produce gritty/grunge images
|VALUE FOR MONEY
$39.99 at MacUpdate
v1.0.2, or $20 on the Mac App Store