Post Process : Trying out Nik HDR Efex

First off, I’m not a fan of HDR. Even though I understand the arguments that HDR photo have a greater dynamic range than a non-HDR photo and that a HDR photo is closer to the image seen by the normal human eyes. There is definitely a lot of great HDR  images out there and some that I would even buy. But I still prefer the limitation of a non-HDR photo, if that makes any sense at all.

That being said, I bought the whole package of Nik Software earlier this year when the price of the whole package were reduced by approximately 200% by Nik after the acquisition by Google.

After more than 4 months, only a couple of days ago that I started to try out HDR Efex. Unlike Photoshop or Photomatix, HDR Efex uses only single exposure to create a HDR image. So, I can only guess that there is no tone mapping being done on the image . (Edited: I just realised you can tone mapped a single digital image) I tried out on a couple of photos and the final jpeg output is quite “nice” and “interesting”.

Here is one original image that I took that’s directly from RAW file.

Original image taken from RAM file.

Original image taken from RAM file.

And this is the image after going through Nik HDR Efex.

Post processed using Nik HDR Efex 2.0

Post processed using Nik HDR Efex 2.0

I used the Graduated ND filter options and adjusted some of the sliders. I also did some noise reduction using Nik Dfine and a finally increase a bit of the saturation and contrast on some parts of the photo.

As you can see the limitation of using a single exposure is definitely the noise level after some details is being extracted from the deep shadow. The greens are a bit contrasty and “harsh”, but I would say it’s acceptable.

So, is it any good? I believe this plug-ins is more than acceptable for the layperson, especially to salvage those photos that weren’t properly expose. And considering when the final output is a small jpeg file to be shared in social media such as FB, I would say it is definitely worth the buy. I would definitely use it for some of my photos at least to extract some details.

But I’m not too sure if it will held up under the scrutiny of prints. I would have to try print one of the photos that I edited using HDR Efex before I can comment any further.


About Amryl Malek

A photographer on a journey to find his vision
This entry was posted in General Photography, Landscape and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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