Special-Duty Software

HDR SOFTWARE HDR (high dynamic range) photography has exploded in popularity in recent years. HDR allows you to photograph scenes that have tonal ranges beyond what cameras are capable of capturing in a single exposure. After shooting a series of exposures that favor dark to light areas, you can combine them into a single image that reflects a scene much truer to reality, though a popular use of HDR is to create a stylized, high-contrast look that’s far from realistic.


HDRsoft Photomatix started the trend and is used well by many photographers. Its interface is challenging to learn, however, and it tends to give a distinct HDR “look” unless the photographer works a bit with the tone mapping. List Price: $99.


HDR Darkroom from Ever Imaging Ltd. is a new program that has come out within the last year. It has a photographer-friendly interface and works quickly and easily. It tends to favor very natural-looking HDR and is reasonably priced. List Price: $79.


Nik Software just announced its new HDR Efex Pro program that promises a lot for the photographer. This flexible software offers multiple algorithms for HDR tone mapping, instead of just one as in all other programs. Its many preset adjustments simplify the HDR process with a range from natural to exaggerated, including variations of each of them, plus you can modify these as needed. List Price: $159.


If you want to do monster-sized prints measured in feet rather than inches, or you want to crop an image but retain its size, you need to enlarge your image file. Specialized enlarging plug-ins work well when you really need to increase the size of your photo.


Alien Skin Blow Up 2 includes over 100 presets for common output sizes to make image enlargement easier and faster right from the start. In addition, it takes advantage of multiprocessor and multicore computer systems. List Price: $249.


onOne Software Genuine Fractals uses a set of patented, fractal-based interpolation algorithms for enlargement that work even faster in CS5. Version 6 can enlarge images up to 1000% with outstanding results that maintain edge details like the original image. List Price: $299.

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