If you have read the HDR software reviews I have created; you should already have a clear idea of the best choice. Nonetheless, I have produced this summary to help with your decision. In the below text, I have ranked each HDR software from best to worst so that you can make an informed choice and select a program that is suitable for you.
Furthermore, I have summarized the main points and features of these programs and listed the essential pros and cons. Read on to find out which is the best HDR software available in 2020:
1. Aurora HDR
I have always liked using Aurora HDR – it is by far the best HDR editing software available. This program has it all – a great interface, a simple HDR merging process, extensive editing tools, and a top range of presets.
I really enjoyed using the AI enhancement tools – I feel these are useful and speed-up the post-processing. You can use the AI tools and fully edit your HDR image with minimal effort.
Furthermore, the brilliant range of presets adds an extra layer of depth to the creative options. You can produce some exceptional quality images using AuroraHDR.
- Superb HDR quality
- Full suite of post processing tools
- Simple user interface
- Performance is sometimes less than acceptable
EasyHDR is an interesting program – I feel that if it had detailed post-processing tools, it could be the best HDR editing software available. That being said, AuroraHDR, unfortunately, has more to offer.
This does not detract from the quality and performance of EasyHDR, however. It is a simple program that allows you to quickly create high-quality HDR images. In addition to this, it does not require a powerful computer to run – a basic computer with 4GB of RAM can run EasyHDR smoothly.
I also liked the different presets this program has to offer, and feel it is a well-rounded product.
- Simple, easy-to-use interface
- Streamlined HDR process
- Fantastic quality HDR images
- Limited post processing tools
I found Photomatix Pro to be one of the best HDR software programs simply for creating HDR images. The post-processing tools are not extensive. However, if you want a program to create multiple HDR images quickly and effectively for further editing, this is a great choice.
The image quality is brilliant, and I also liked the simple step-by-step HDR merging process. In addition, Photomatix Pro has some of the best batch processing tools available.
- Simple step-by-step HDR creation
- Extensive batch processing
- High-quality final images
- Limited post processing tools
- Limited selection of presets
4. ON1 HDR 2020
I really enjoyed using ON1 HDR 2020, but my experience was reduced by the need for a powerful computer. My device simply was not powerful enough to run ON1 HDR 2020 as smoothly as it could run. I feel that to get the full benefit from this program, you would need a high spec device with at least 16GB of RAM.
Aside from performance, this is a great piece of HDR software. The image quality is excellent, and the user interface is also straightforward. In addition to this, you can edit RAW images, and there is a top range of post-processing features.
- RAW processing
- Great range of presets
- Superb layout and user-controls
- Slow performance
- Powerful computer required
HDR Projects 7 was an interesting program – I felt it had great potential, but certain aspects let it down. For example, the HDR quality was not the best – images were OK, but sometimes the final result was not what I expected.
The HDR merging process itself was straightforward although the user interface was sometimes confusing. Despite this, this program had an excellent array of presets and a great selection of post-processing tools.
I feel that if the user interface and HDR quality was improved, this could be rated as one of the best HDR editing software available.
- Full RAW image editing
- Over 180 different presets
- UI is often confusing
- Edits do not update in real-time
For me, Oloneo HDRengine was a surprising success. When I initially opened the program, I was not expecting much from the basic interface and style. That being said, it has great performance and does create sharp, and clear HDR images.
An issue I found, was that the HDR process wasn’t at first clear – It took me a while to figure out how to import images and start the merging process. Once I had figured this out, it was quite straightforward.
The main downside I found with Oloneo HDRengine which prevents it from being one of the best HDR editing software is the lack of post-processing. You can alter the tone mapping, and apply a minimal choice of presets, and that is virtually it.
- Quick HDR process
- Accurate, detailed HDR images
- Intuitive UI
- Practically no post processing tools
- Minimal guidance on first usage
7. HDR Efex Pro
My experience using HDR Efex Pro was OK – it is by no means a poor program. If you simply want to create high-quality HDR images, this could be a great choice.
As part of the Nix collection and DxO Photo Lab, it is not one of the best HDR editing software as a standalone item. To use it, you must use DxO Photo Lab – this may be fine if you like this program and its features. If, however, you want to use other programs, it adds an extra layer of confusion.
In terms of HDR quality and usability, the images I created were brilliant. In addition, it does have a decent set of presets. You cannot, however, edit your HDR images in full detail – an external program is required.
- Fast HDR merging process
- Brilliant quality HDR images
- OK choice of presets
- Minimal post processing tools
- Must be used as part of Nix collection
Last but not least we have Luminance HDR. I did not have a bad experience using and testing this program – I just cannot rate it as one of the best HDR editing software programs available. The main issue I had was the layout and interface – it was not initially intuitive and caused me issues.
It took time to figure out how to alter the interface into a usable layout – this is not something you should have to do when opening a program. Once I had figured this out, it was OK to use it. The HDR process itself was quick and effective.
In addition to this, the HDR composite quality was fantastic – the images were clear with great definition and detail. Regardless, the program also lacks post-processing tools and has a limited number of presets. Ideally, if you were to use Luminance HDR, it should be used in conjunction with other editing software.
- Fast performance
- Excellent quality HDR images
- No post processing
- Limited presets
- Confusing user-interface
How to Choose the Best HDR software?
I hope you have found the above information insightful. Please do not dismiss any of these programs – they are all viable choices and offer great HDR functionality. It is clear, however, that AuroraHDR is the overall winner. It is an exceptional program that is easy to use. Furthermore, its post-processing features and presets are extensive.
But how do you select the best HDR software? The logical choice is obviously Aurora HDR, but you must consider your own situation and usage too. I would suggest looking at the following points before making a decision:
- Frequency of use
- Availability of editing software
- Main purpose of HDR photos
- Computer specifications
Regrettably, the cost is always a factor – it shouldn’t be, but not everyone has the same amount of disposable income. Always purchase software within your means.
In addition to this, you must consider your current software library, and how much detail you want from your HDR photos. For example, I extensively use both Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop – these are advanced programs with excellent post-processing features.
I would, therefore, prefer to use the best HDR editing software just for creating the raw HDR images – I would then import the HDR image into Lightroom for further editing. To that end, I may not need the advanced post-processing of Aurora HDR – consider your own circumstance and choose the best HDR software that fits accordingly.
Finally, consider your own computer specifications. I am lucky to have a decent spec computer that can run most software with ease. Not everyone has that luxury. If you have a basic computer, you may, therefore, struggle to run some of the powerful HDR programs effectively – a basic HDR program like Photomatix Pro may, therefore, be a better choice.
Which is the best HDR editing software for post-processing features?
Aurora HDR undoubtedly provides the most extensive post-processing features – it is essentially like having a full editing program.
Which is the best HDR software for preset effects?
Again, Aurora HDR has the best choice of high-quality presets, but ON1 HDR 2020 also has an excellent choice of preset effects.
Which is the best HDR editing software solely for quickly creating HDR images?
Either EasyHDR or Photomatix Pro – both programs offer quick and easy HDR merging processes but have minimal post-processing features.
Which HDR software requires the highest spec computer?
ON1 HDR 2020 – it is recommended that your computer has 16GB of RAM to use effectively; this is much higher than other software.
Which program creates the most accurate HDR images?
Aurora HDR has a powerful HDR processing system – the process is largely automatic, and the resulting quality is excellent.
All the mentioned HDR editing software applications have been tested and reviewed by Paul Skidmore (using a Windows desktop computer). HDREditingSofware.com is a project created by PhotoWorkout.com with the purpose to review the best HDR software and to inform photography enthusiasts about the latest HDR software releases and updates.