Aurora HDR and Photomatix are leading high-dynamic-range imaging software. They help recover shadows and highlights in a scene, especially in landscape photography during the twilight hours.

In this Aurora HDR vs Photomatix comparison, I’ll be using Aurora HDR 2019 and Photomatix Pro 6.

In order to fully utilize either software, you’ll need RAW bracketed photos.

Aurora HDR vs Photomatix

I should first point out that Aurora HDR and Photomatix both vastly outperform Lightroom and Photoshop in terms of producing high-quality HDR photos. Hence, I won’t be comparing them to LR or PS.

Now let’s compare Aurora HDR and Photomatix.

Interface

Aurora HDR and Photomatix have easy-to-use interfaces. They display the histogram, adjustments tools, and presets.

Aurora HDR has an interface similar to its sister software Luminar 4. The presets (known as looks) are at the bottom and the adjustment tools or editor is on the right.

Aurora HDR 2019 interface screenshot

What I like is that the adjustment tools have a drop-down style like Lightroom and Luminar 4. Unfortunately, the tools don’t have solo mode. So, if you use/open all the tools, the interface can look clunky unless you close each tool after each use.

Free Aurora HDR Looks

Photomatix’s interface is less complicated than its counterpart due to having less adjustment tools; but it still comes with an effective number of tools.

Photomatix Pro 6 interface screenshot

The best part of about the interface is that it provides a description of each tool when you move your mouse over it. This saves a lot of time without the need to test out each tool slider or read the manual.

Photomatix’s adjustment tools are on the left and the presets are on the right.

Free Photomatix Presets

Aurora HDR 2019 Manual

Photomatix Pro 6 Manual

Features

Ghost Removal

Ghosting occurs when there are moving objects between the bracketed photos (e.g., person walking) and results in unwanted duplicate objects in the final HDR image. Aurora HDR and Photomatix include automatic ghost removal.

However, Photomatix also includes manual ghost removal allowing the user to select which areas of the image need ghost removal. I usually use this feature with clouds on a windy day.

Layers

Aurora HDR has the power to duplicate layers or create adjustment layers. This allows the software to be an all-in-one HDR editor without the need to take the image into Lightroom or Photoshop for further editing.

On the other hand, Photomatix doesn’t have layers.

Plugins

Both software come with Lightroom plugins making the HDR workflow faster with exporting and re-importing.

And obviously, Aurora HDR has a Luminar 4 plugin. The software are developed by Skylum.

Read my Luminar 4 review.

Rendering

Aurora HDR and Photomatix both render a tone-mapped, beautiful image.

I can’t say if one outputs a better HDR image than the other. It really comes down to what type of look you want and the final adjustments you make.

Finally, Aurora HDR has more adjustment tools than Photomatix. To learn more about them, read my Aurora HDR review and Photomatix review.

HDR Software Price

Aurora HDR 2019 costs $99 and you can use promo code aperlust for a $10 discount.

Photomatix Pro 6 costs $99 and includes one free major upgrade. You can use coupon code aperlustphoto for a 15% discount.

Pricewise, Photomatix is a better value due to receiving the next major upgrade for free. Aurora HDR charges for an upgrade.

All minor version updates are free.

Conclusion

Both software are great at producing HDR images. But I would have to give the edge to Aurora HDR. It has more adjustments tools, layers, and included presets making it the better choice for beginner and advanced HDR photographers.

 

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