Photomatix Pro & Photomatix Plugin for Aperture 3 comparison
So I was going through my photo collection in Aperture 3 and I saw this sunrise photo that I’d processed a couple of years ago with I think the Photomatix plugin for Aperture 3. I’m not sure though, it might have been the standalone, Photomatix Pro. So I decided to process the original files for that image and see if I could do a better job. So I opened the three source photos in the latest Photomatix plugin for Aperture 3 and started processing. Boy, was I in for a surprise. I could not do it. The results were just terrible compared to what I’d done before. The detail, the color, the sharpness, it just wasn’t there. So I reprocessed it again, and the results were a little better, but still awful. Now, its normal that your editing skills go up and down, but, man, I was thinking that I’d completely forgotten how to edit. So I tried it again and again and again and the results were the same. I was getting frustrated, so after two hours of moving sliders back and forth, I fired up the latest, standalone, Photomatix Pro (v4.2) application, loaded the source files, pre-processed them, and without even moving any sliders, just with the default settings, the image looked amazing compared to what I was getting with the plugin. The details in the shadows were back, there was less noise, and the image was sharper. I learned something today, don’t use the Photomatix plugin for Aperture 3, use the standalone application.
This is the image I processed a few years ago, maybe using Photomatix Pro or the Plugin (I kinda think that they’ve gone backwards with the plugin).
This is the image I just processed using the standalone application, Photomatix Pro.
This is the image I that I just processed using the Photomatix plugin for Aperture 3.
The top two are about the same, some lighting differences, but in terms of detail they’re about the same. The second one is just a bit sharper because I added more sharpening. The third image has horrible detail in the shadows. You can really see that detail is lacking in the grass and in the walls of the shack.
Here are crops (if you open the image by itself you can see the 100% crop) of the three images. The top one being on the left and the bottom one being on the right. What do you think?
Some details about this photo:
Camera: Pentax k-x
Lens: DA-L 18-55
Focal Length: 18mm
HDR Composite using 3 photos from -2 EV to +2 EV