You don’t have to be a fan of super-saturated photos to appreciate HDR technology. The true purpose of HDR is to eke out every last bit of dynamic range from your images, and there have been some recent changes in the HDR software arena.
Pinnacle Imaging Systems recently acquired Unified Color’s trio of HDR applications. That, in and of itself, may not be exciting news but the free updates made to HDR Expose 3, Express 3 and, to a lesser extent, 32 Float v. 3, are well worth noting, including the integration of Pinnacle Imaging Systems’ Beyond RGB color technology. This technology is designed to keep color shifts under control and maintain a natural look rather than the extremes that we sometimes see in HDR images.
HDR Expose 3.2 and Express 3.1, which operate as standalone or Lightroom (and Aperture) plug-ins, offer improved alignment ensuring accuracy even when shooting bracketed images handheld. That’s one of the features that will certainly come in handy for those spontaneous HDR shots.
Pinnacle Imaging Systems also improved the software’s deghosting and noise reduction capabilities. The ability to choose non-system volumes disks for scratch options has been added. Saving temp files to other drives, of course, makes it faster to process images on your computer and saves you time from hunting down those pesky temp files that are often hidden from view.
For an even more streamlined workflow, you can now save manual merge presets in Expose 3.2, then choose one of the presets to Batch Merge. A new panorama batch processing assist mode ensures that panorama components are tone mapped consistently for a unified look.
The third application, an Adobe Photoshop plug-in called 32 Float v. 3.2, now supports Photoshop CC 2015 and, along with HDR Express 3.1, has been optimized for performance with support for OpenCL 2.0.
Current licensed Unified Color customers can take advantage of these updates for free. Those new to these excellent HDR applications can try them out for 30 days before purchasing—HDR Expose 3 ($119), 32 Float ($89) or HDR Express 3 ($79) or a combo suite of 32 Float and HDR Expose 3 ($149). If you’re not sure which one works best for you, check out this product comparison chart.