Top 10 Best HDR Software for Mac and Windows Review in 2023

Last Updated on December 7, 2022 by Peter Wood


Even if you get an HDR camera, you still need HDR software to merge photos with different exposures to a stunning HDR photograph. Just imagine when you are inside Vatican Cathedral, you can take advantage of the HDR software to enhance the color range, brightness, sharpness, and shadow of a standard photo and adds more dynamic ranges.

When you take a series of images with different exposures, what should be the best HDR software for Mac and Windows? The article explains the 10 best high-dynamic photo editor reviews in 2023 and illuminates the assets and liabilities of each HDR program. Just learn more details from the article now and choose the right one according to your requirements.

HDR Software for Mac and Windows

Top 1. Best HDR Software – WidsMob HDR

WidsMob HDR is an all-in-one HDR editor, which enables you to merge a series of bracketed images into standard HDR and apply HDR filters to a single photo. There are some gorgeous HDR effects and advanced parameters. It is one of the best HDR software with advanced tone mapping, ghost suppression, and auto-align algorithms. Moreover, you can always explore more HDR effects with brightness, saturation, tint, and contrast.

  • Merge a series of bracketed images into standard HDR images.
  • Apply HDR effects for bracketed HDR images or single ones.
  • Tweak HDR tone length, color correction, color filter, tint, etc.
  • Provide auto tone mapping and ghost suppression for HDR alignment.
  • Advanced HDR merging that works with RAWs, JPEG, and JPG.
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How to edit HDR photography with WidsMob HDR

Step 1. Download and install WidsMob HDR, you can launch the program on your computer and click the Add Photos button to import the series of bracketed images. Of course, you can simply drag-n-drop the desired photos into the program with different file formats.

Launch WidsMob HDR

Step 2. Select the desired HDR mode, for aligning a series of bracketed images, you can choose the Bracketing mode and select the related photos. As for applying HDR filters for a single photo, you can simply choose the Single Photo mode in the best HDR software.

Import Photos for Auto HDR

Step 3. It will automatically merge photos into an HDR photo and present the optimal effect. Just turn on the Before/After mode from the top-right corner. Click the Effect menu to select the desired HDR effect from the 10 stunning presets. Simply switch to the Advanced menu for advanced settings.

Auto HDR Advanced Bracketed

Step 4. Go to the Advanced menu, you can simply choose different settings for Color Enhancement, Color Correction, Contrast Enhancement, Image Radiance, Color Filter, Vignetting, Smart Tone, and HDR Denoise. Once you get the optimal effect before clicking the Save As button.

Apply Auto HDR Effect Bracketed Win Download Mac Download

Note: It supports most RAW file formats, including DNG, CRW, CR2, CR3, MOS, RAF, 3FR, DCR, KDC, K25, PXN, MEF, MRW, NEF, ORF, RAW, PEF, X3F, SRF, SR2, and others.

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Top 2. Best HDR Software - Picturenaut

Picturenaut is another free HDR software that creates HDRIs from multiple exposures. It is donationware. If you are satisfied with the HDR software or use it in a commercial project, you should support the development with a donation.

  • Picturenaut is originally a plugin for HDRShop integrate with Absolute HDR Calibration.
  • Add weight to an image with standard or mid emphasis to the desired result of HDR.
  • Choose Grayscale or RGB-color mode and change color density to 8 Bit, 16 Bit, or 32 Bit per channel according to your need.
  • The HDR software can reuse the camera curve for the Gamma adjustment of a tone-mapped LDR result.
  • You can carry out exposure correction, ghost removal, automatic image alignment, and color balancing on a set of images to merge.

And the free HDR program can get stunning HDR result from DNG, CRW, CR2, 3FR, DCR, KDC, K25, PXN, MEF, MOS, RAF, MRW, NEF, ORF, RAW, PEF, X3F, SRF, SR2, ARW, TGA, VDA, ICB, VST, JPEG, PNG, TIFF, and PPM files. And save to TIFF, EXR, HDR, PIC, or PFM formats.

But the major problem should be hard to make any further edit, especially the alignment of handhold images problems. It is impossible to de-ghost the semi-transparent HDR photograph. Another issue should be impossible to enhance the filter of the HDR photo after the combination. As for the case, you have to edit the photo after try the HDR software free.

Picturenaut HDR Software

Top 3. Best HDR Software - Luminance HDR

Luminance HDR is an open-source HDR software developed by Source Forge. The program can add multiple images of the same frame to merge and then change different properties. The program lets you make HDR images using HDR Creation Wizard. Just learn more detail about the features of the free HDR software.

  • Adjust image properties to use tone maps, such as white balance, contrast factor, saturation factor, and other parameters.
  • The Anti-ghosting feature can use HDR merge with handhold or tripod with professional results.
  • Once you get the HDR photograph, you can use the program to rotate, resize and crop them into desired results.
  • The HDR software with extensive features also lets you batch process HDR images, copy EXIF data, perform batch tone mapping, and import FITS files.

The HDR freeware can handle the following formats for HDR photographs. JPEG, TIFF, KDC, DCR, PEF, NEF, DNG, VDN, MRW, OFF, CLF, ANV, RAF, REFV, PTX, RAW, SR2, RW2, SRW, TKV, CR2, 3FR, MEF, MEFV, MCR, MCS, EIF, NRVV, etc. And then process to EXR, HDR, PIC, TIFF, or PFS.

It is difficult and slow to use auto-align the HDR images with Luminance. The initial controls are a little awkward but should be easy enough after getting used to them. Just download the free HDR software to create the one desired file.

Luminance HDR Software

Top 4. Best HDR Software - Machinery HDR

When you need to make HDR images out of a single image file, Machinery HDR is the right HDR software to handle the HDR filters. The program adds HDR effects by varying the range of saturation, RGB color, color scheme, etc. It also lets you batch edit HDR images.

  • The HDR software has a built-in app called Machinery Explorer, which lets you add image files for HDR processing pretty.
  • You can adjust parameters for Micro-contrast, Details, and Dynamic contrast for detailed images.
  • It also empowers you to compare the process of the photos together with the original one with ease.
  • Besides the HDR merge features, it is also an HDR photo editor with some editing features.

Machinery HDR supports various image formats, like JPG, BMP, TIFF, PNG, DNG, CRW, CR2, RAW, NEF, and other RAW formats. If you are satisfied with the result, you can also purchase the full version to export HDR with a large size.

Machinery HDR Software

Top 5. Best HDR Software - FDRTools Basic

FDRTools Basic is the HDR software to create high-quality tone-mapped images for free. If you are a newbie to HDR photographs, you can use the Basic version first. Of course, you can also upgrade to FDRTools Advanced version to create desired files as well.

  • There are three HDR-creating modes of the HDR program to enable you to create HDR: Average, Separation, and Creative.
  • For White Balance Reference, you can choose an image from the set of images. You can change Image Exposure and color options as well.
  • The HDR software to make HDR images takes each pixel from one source image, and you can use separation sliders to separate pixels by intensity.
  • You can change various other HDR parameters to achieve the desired result.

You can create HDR images from JPEG, TIFF, HDR, RGBE, EXR, and DCRAW (3FR, ARW, CRW, CR2, CS1, DCR, DNG, ERF, IIQ, K25, KDC, MEF, MRW, NEF, NRW, ORF, PEF, RAF, RAW, RW2, RWL, SRF, SR2, SRW) files.

PDRTools HDR Software

Top 6. Best HDR Software - Canon Digital Photo Professional

If you have already purchased Canon cameras, you can use the default HDR camera free. Canon HDR cameras should be another option for the beginner. You can find the CD bundled with Canon cameras.

  • Included with many digital SLR cameras by Canon and support editing and managing assets of Canon RAW CR2 files.
  • Adjust brightness, white balance, picture styles, contrast, saturation, and sharpness.
  • With noise reduction tool for photos taken in high ISO and lens aberration tool for correcting imperfections.
  • Auto lighting optimizer can apply to JPEG images.
  • With Color adjustments for specific color gamuts.

The free HDR program can load three images with different exposures for creating HDR images. And there are some limited parameter settings for the free HDR program to make a stunning result. If you are serious about HDR photographs, you might need another program instead.

Cannon DDP HDR Software

Top 7. Best HDR Software - Fusion

When you need to yield a good result with the best HDR software, you can try Fusion. You can obtain the HDR photographs by using the SUM operator rather than the HDR operator. Another splendid feature of the free HDR software should be an automatic alignment of photos.

  • The batch processing tool is excellent for bulk manipulation and makes editing easier.
  • The program allows the processing of single photos in RAW, TIFF, or JPEG formats.
  • Merging of exposures and processing can be done by one of the operators – HDR or Summation With Priorities.
  • There are two-tone mapping options available (paid version). Both seem to produce good results.

Fusion HDR free version is a restricted version, the latest version of free HDR software is from Fusion 2.8.8. There is only one processing mode in summation operation, one tone-mapping mode in HDR operator, no processing tool or batch processing operator. And you can only save the result in JPEG in 32-bit with the free HDR program.

Fusion HDR Software

Top 8. Best HDR Software - Photomatix

Photomatix has been the top HDR software for most people as it has four different tone mapping methods. It is easier to use and has more presets for you to select. It includes automatic working modes for those who don’t want to be bothered tweaking a dozen different values. And it is also a manual mode for picky photographers who prefer controlling every single detail.

  • It will take several photographs with different exposures and merge the photos to HDR.
  • There are designated tone mapping tools available.
  • It can create ultra-realistic images easily.
  • Support batch processing which is great for HDR timelapse.

As there are two versions for Photomatix: Pro and Essentials, you may need to learn its differences according to their features. Photomatix Essentials focuses on simplicity and ease of use, While Photomatix Pro offers more options and includes advanced features such as batch processing and selective deghosting. Besides, Photomatix Pro has a Plugin for Lightroom. And Photomatix Essentials includes a Plugin for Photoshop Elements.

Photomatix HDR Software

Top 9. Best HDR Software – Aurora HDR 2019

Aurora 2019 is the newest HDR software and full of options with many different features to make it easy to produce good HDR images. It is supposed to be all-in-one software with pretty close. There are many changes in the 2019 version that bring significant improvements. The program has been rewritten from the ground up to focus on speed improvements, better RAW image handling, and a more user-friendly interface.

  • HDR Tone Mapping is one of the most powerful tools available in the software.
  • There are several options to add custom textures, bracket the HDR mode, and add back some of the original images into the frame.
  • With Aurora HDR, you can import the RAW files directly into the software or export them through Lightroom with or without changes you have made quite easily.

Aurora HDR 2019 supports JPG, JPEG, PNG, TIFF, RAW (NEF, CR2, RAF, ARW, etc.). With the export function, you can create an image file and save it in the following formats: JPEG, PNG, GIF, JPEG-2000, TIF, PSD (Mac only). It also can be used as a plug-in for Lightroom, Photoshop Element, Apple Aperture, and Adobe Photoshop.

Aurora HDR Software

Top 10. Best HDR Software – EasyHDR

EasyHDR is one of the best and easiest software to use for producing beautiful HDR images. It has been around since 2006. The software is quick and easy to install with a straightforward operation user interface. EasyHDR is capable of tone mapping single photographs, which is especially useful in developing raw images.

  • Combine several different exposed photographs (JPEG, TIFF, or RAW) into an HDR image.
  • With tone mapping algorithms of the easyHDR get realistic or dramatic HDR results.
  • Correct white balance during tone mapping or in case of RAWs at import step.
  • Automatic and manual Ghost Removal feature ensures that moving subjects like cars, people, clouds, trees won’t spoil the final photo.

EasyHDR can let you get neat results even if the photos take in difficult lighting conditions. The program can import various file formats: JPEG, TIFF, FITS (used in astrophotography cameras), Radiance RGBE (HDR image), and nearly all digital camera RAW formats, by all vendors.

EasyHDR HDR Software

Conclusion

When you need to composite photos into HDR photographs, you can use HDR software. If you only take one image, you can still apply the HDR effect to create a similarly high dynamic photo result. If you need to turn any image into an HDR photo, WidsMob HDR should be the optimal choice.

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