Quick First Impressions: Unified Color HDR Expose 2

I am currently reviewing HDR Expose 2 from Unified Color. Never having seriously done HDR photography, this is (almost) totally new to me (I had once briefly experimented with Photomatix before.) Since I am an HDR newbie, it will take me some time to 1) take a couple of actually useable bracketed exposures that can be converted into HDRs and 2) gain experience in using HDR Expose 2 and all of its features, of which many say nothing to me so far. However, I have already taken a quick look at the software and made a quick HDR conversion that I compared with a “faux-DR” conversion made in Lightroom. After the break, please find the original picture (the one that had the most neutral exposure of the series), the Lightroom conversion and the HDR Expose 2 conversion.


Original picture straight from camera. Panasonic G1 + Lumix 20/1.7 @ f4

Lightroom “faux-DR” conversion

HDR Expose 2 conversion from 5 bracketed exposures (2/3 EV steps)

So, what do I think? Well, I think this shows two things. For one, Lightroom is perfectly capable of squeezing the last bit of dynamic range out of a single exposure.. However, I find the HDR Expose 2 conversion far superior in terms of conservation of  highlights and color hues. The overall look of the HDR is also much more appealing to me, and it is more truthful in reproducing what I actually saw with my own eyes. What do you think? Please let us know in your comments!

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