Tone Mapping: Photomatix Vs Topaz Adjust


HDR photography is when you take multiple photos at different exposures and then merge them all in a software like Photomatix Pro to get what is called a HDR photo. HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. Tone mapping is when we use a software that can mimic the appearance of a HDR image while using a single photo.

For HDR photos, Photomatix is the standard while Topaz doesn’t have any plugin to produce true HDR photos. However both offers a Tone Mapping option, so which one is best for that particular purpose you might wonder?

Well I have put them to the test and of course, what YOU expect and want for a certain photo will determine which one you like best but one thing that was obvious to me after doing a few tests with different images is you’ll be able to get a much stronger “HDR” effect with Topaz Adjust if that’s what you are looking for.

I used the same settings in Topaz Adjust for both images and tried in Photomatix to recreate those results.

Under “HDR COLLECTION” on the left side, I chose the Dynamic Pop preset and then made those adjustments you see below, I didn’t touch anything else.


Photo #1

Topaz VS Photomatix

Photo #2

Topaz Adjust or Photomatix

As you can see in the above photos created in Photomatix, that is as far as I could push the details before the image started to get ugly while with the Topaz Adjust plugin, the HDR effect could be pushed much further.

So it really depends what your end goal is but for Tone Mapping, I personally feel that Topaz Adjust is more powerful and will get you the look people usually want when they do tone mapping on their photos. For the real deal though, 3+ exposures along with Photomatix can’t be beaten.

Both software can be tried for free, you can test them yourself and let me know which one you like best!

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  • Ashish

    Both are good. I have used both the softwares

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