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Aurora HDR vs Photomatix Pro 6.1

Aurora HDR 2019 vs Photomatix Pro 6.1. Two of the most popular programs for advanced HDR images go head to head in this in-depth comparison.

Who will come out on top?!

Aurora HDR 2019 vs Photomatix Pro 6.1

HDR (High Dynamic Range) is a photo technique that combines several different exposures. Usually an under-exposed, mid-range, and over-exposed set of photos.

Wondering why you’d want to do that?

Well, the idea is that each different exposure will capture a different level of detail. When combined together, the result is a balanced and highly detailed pic.

To do this, you need special editing software. Thus comes we’re giving you a comprehensive analysis of Aurora HDR 2019 vs Photomatix Pro 6.1.

As we compare these two pieces of software we’ll look at: price, system requirements, layout, tools, usability, presets and importing/exporting.

Let’s get started!

RELATED POST: Photomatix releases HDR Batch Plugin for Lightroom

The Cost of Aurora HDR vs Photomatix Pro

First, we let’s look at the price. The good news is, both programs are great for those on working on a tight budget or don’t want a monthly subscription.

Here’s how much they cost and where you can get them:

Aurora HDR 2019

  • Aurora HDR Cost – $92.00 one-time payment
  • How to obtain – As a software download
  • Available platforms – Windows & Mac OS
  • Free trial – Yes, 30-day free trial

Aurora HDR 2019 can be purchased as a download for both Mac and Windows. Aside from the basic package, you can also purchase the program together with Luminar 3, Skylum’s professional photo editing software, for $137.00.

Aurora HDR 2019 vs Photomatix Pro 6.1
Purchasing Aurora HDR via the website was pretty straightforward.

Photomatix Pro 6.1

  • Photomatix Cost – $69.99.00 one-off payment
  • How to obtain – As a software download
  • Available platforms – Windows & Mac OS
  • Free trial – Yes, 30-day free trial

Photomatix Pro 6.1 is also available for both Mac and Windows devices. This program can be purchased as a one-off cost. There is also a variety of different bundles and software versions such as Photomatix RE which is specifically for real estate.

You can also download the full version of Photomatix as a free trial, but any images you create will have a watermark.

RELATED POST: Photomatix Pro Review

photomatix vs aurora HDR software
Here’s an example of Photomatix Pro 6.1’s download and purchase section.

System Requirements

Next, in our analysis of Aurora HDR vs Photomatix Pro 6.1, let’s look at system requirements. Some good questions to ask are:

  • What processing power do you require?
  • Is either product particularly power hungry?
  • Is your computer up to the task of running the programs?

Now, let’s get you some answers…

System Requirements For Aurora HDR vs Photomatix Pro

Aurora HDR 2019

Photomatix Pro 6.1

Processor Intel Core i5 or higher Intel Core i5 or higher
Memory Minimum of 8GB Minimum of 4GB
HDD 3GB / SSD grade performance 1GB / SSD grade performance
Graphics Open GL 3.3 or later Open GL 3.3 or later
Display Minimum of 1280×768 Minimum of 1024×768

Aurora HDR 2019 Performance Recap

Aurora HDR 2019 is certainly the more power hungry software. You’re going to need 8GB of RAM to make it run smoothly. Less than that and it simply won’t run. That being said, the other requirements aren’t too hefty.

Photomatix Pro 6.1 Performance Recap

Photomatix Pro 6.1 doesn’t require as much processing power or memory. In general, it’s the less processor intense of the two. If your computer is on the slower side this could be the better choice.

RELATED POST: The Best HDR Software Compared

The Layout of Aurora HDR 2019 vs Photomatix Pro 6.1

The actual layout of the program is important when navigating the editing software. You need to be able to access the tools, apply filters, and change the HDR parameters easily.

So which one does it best?

Aurora HDR 2019

Aurora HDR has a simple layout that’s user-friendly. On the right-hand side, there’s the main adjustment toolbar used to change the image parameters.

There are tools such as tone, structure, and hue adjustments. The layout provides you with plenty of working space. Luckily, you can easily access the tools you require.

Aurora HDR 2019 vs Photomatix Pro 6.1 - Aurora HDR Layout
Aurora HDR has a spacious and easy to use layout

Photomatix Pro 6.1

Photomatix Pro 6.1 has a basic but intuitive layout. The left-hand side contains the main editing tools such as color and HDR settings.

In the middle, there’s the preview pane. There’s a split screen view in which both the original and edited photos are shown. That’s a great feature to have!

The right-hand side contains the different presets you can use together with the histogram toolbar.

Aurora HDR 2019 vs Photomatix Pro 6.1
Photomatix has an intuitive layout with easy to access tools.

The Layout Recap

When looking at Aurora HDR vs Photomatix Pro 6.1, we felt that Aurora has the slight edge in terms of layout. The pop-up toolboxes of Photomatix are slightly annoying and can clutter your workspace.

How Do The Tools Hold Up In Aurora HDR vs Photomatix Pro?

Actual tools and features are obviously one of the main parts of our Aurora HDR 2019 vs Photomatix Pro 6.1 review.

Obviously, you need a robust set of tools to easily edit your HDR photos. You want to be able to change image parameters without a hassle.

Furthermore, cropping and rotation should be a breeze. As should removing camera imperfections such as lens flare and distortion.

Aurora HDR 2019

Aurora HDR 2019 really is a comprehensive program. It has an abundance of tools to edit your HDR shots in practically any way imaginable. Once you’ve applied the basic HDR process, you can use the tools to tailor the image and make further tweaks.

The following are some of the tools you can use:

  • HDR Basic
  • Color
  • HDR Enhance
  • HDR Denoise
  • LUT Mapping
  • Adjustment Layers
  • Masks
  • Crop & Transform

Our favorite feature?

We really liked the adjustment layers and masks. This means you can freely edit certain areas of your photo without disrupting the rest of the composition.

RELATED POST: Aurora HDR 2019 Review

Photomatix Pro 6.1

Photomatix Pro 6.1 also has a great set of tools that give you a high level of control over your HDR images.

Once you’ve opened a file, you’re taken to the adjust pane. This is where you alter the HDR parameters and choose different presets if you wish.

The following are some of the different tools available:

  • Details Enhancer
  • Contrast Optimizer
  • Tone Balancer
  • Tone Compressor
  • Lighting adjustments
  • Color settings
  • Blending
  • Histogram

Most of the tools have convenient sliders you can use – simply click and drag them to change the photo.

The photo will update automatically as you adjust the slider. The only thing we found a little annoying is the fact that several of the toolbars are opened in separate windows. This makes the workspace somewhat cluttered and you may have to move them around so that they don’t get in the way.

What was a standout feature?

The speed and quality of this HDR program are certainly up there. The end results are fantastic and the tools are intuitive.

Aurora HDR 2019 vs Photomatix Pro 6.1
Photomatix offers a comprehensive set of tools to edit your images.

Pre-sets and Automation

Part of what makes this type of program so appealing is the automation and AI. When processing HDR photos, you want a myriad of filters and automatic processes at your disposal.


The answer is simple. It lets you complete your work quickly. Both Aurora HDR 2019 and Photomatix 6.1 have pre-set filters and a degree of automation that can greatly speed up your workflow.

Here’s the scoop on each:

Aurora HDR 2019

Aurora HDR 2019 has a great array of presets and filters. Plus, this version of the HDR program has improved presets. You can actually mimic different styles of legendary photographers.

There’s also specific presets for different photo types such as landscape and architecture. The following are some of the presets available:

  • Essential
  • Landscape
  • Architecture
  • Dramatic
  • Artistic
  • Trey Ratcliff
  • Serge Ramelli

When applying filters you can change the basic settings and adjust how strong the filter is applied. For example, you can give a degree of opacity and change the saturation.

I also like how you can also do a quick preview of the filter before you actually apply it.

We felt Aurora HDR 2019 really excels in the area of both presets and automation.

The variety of filters available is staggering.

Furthermore, you can process your photos with a high degree of automation. Aurora HDR 2019 utilizes AI technology to automatically assess your photos and transform them into something beautiful.

HDR Presets
Here we can see one of the Aurora HDR 2019 presets applied to the photo.

Photomatix Pro 6.1

If you look at the right-hand toolbar, you can see a presets drop-down list. This contains all of the different preset filters you can apply to your HDR photos. Once you click on a category from the list, a series of thumbnails are shown below that related to that category.

Some of the available preset include:

  • Artistic
  • Realistic
  • Real Estate
  • Black & White
  • Contrast Optimizer

As you can see in the screenshot below, the presets are great quality and cover a range of different styles. Depending on what finish you want you can choose a style to suit.

For example, black & white presets are great if you want to create dark and moody photos. Once you’ve applied the preset, you can then alter the HDR settings on the left-hand side to tailor the preset to suit your needs.

Aside from presets, Photomatix Pro 6.1 also has a myriad of automation tools. For example, you can use batch processing to edit and finalize multiple HDR photos at once.

Aurora HDR 2019 vs Photomatix Pro 6.1
Image edited using the Monochrome preset filter

Ease of Importing and Exporting In Aurora HDR vs Photomatix Pro

An HDR program should have detailed importing and exporting features. When importing you should easily be able to access your photos. Exporting should also give you the option to save as a myriad of file types, and alter different parameters.

Aurora HDR 2019

When opening a file in Aurora HDR the process is easy. A simple dialogue box appears where you can select your file or bracketed images. You’re then taken to a merge screen where you can choose the parameters and settings for the initial HDR merge.

You can select the following:

  • Auto alignment
  • Ghost reduction
  • Reference image
  • Chromatic aberration reduction
  • Color Denoise

Basically, you can tweak the settings to give you the best quality end results for your HDR merge. This level of control over the importing and initial HDR process is nothing short of awesome.

Aurora HDR Import
Here we see the import dialogue box within the Aurora HDR software.

The export process is just as detailed. Aurora HDR once again provides great control over the settings and image parameters. When exporting an image, you’re presented with the following options:

  • Format (TIFF, JPEG, PNG, etc.)
  • Sharpen
  • Resize
  • Compression
  • Depth
  • Resolution

You can export the image for a variety of different purposes such as print or for use in digital media. As with the importing, the exporting is highly detailed and a standout feature for Aurora HDR 2019.

Aurora HDR 2019 vs Photomatix Pro 6.1
You can export with a range of options and parameters

Photomatix Pro 6.1

Opening a file in Photomatix Pro 6.1 is also an easy process. You can open the import dialogue box in Photomatix and a preview is shown. The following options are also available:

  • Reduce noise
  • Denoise (and strength)
  • Reduce chromatic aberration

There is much detail, but the three options greatly improve the general quality of the photo.

When looking at Aurora HDR 2019 vs Photomatix Pro 6.1 we do think Aurora HDR has slightly more detail and features for importing.

Photomatix Pro 6.1 Importing
This is what the import dialogue box looks like in Photomatix Pro.

The exporting features are much more detailed and varied. You can batch process your photos. And, you can alter the following image parameters before exporting and saving your photos:

  • Contrast
  • Sharpening
  • Crop
  • Straighten

A preview is shown of how the above changes will affect the final image. You can select the image type when you finally press the “save final image” button.

 Photomatix Pro 6.1 Export
The Photomatix export dialogue box is also straightforward and easy to use.
Photomatix photo Example
Example image edited using Photomatix Pro 6.1
Aurora HDR Example
This photo was edited using Aurora HDR software.

Aurora HDR 2019 vs Photomatix Pro 6.1 – The Winner Is…!

We hope you’ve found our comparison of Aurora HDR 2019 vs Photomatix Pro 6.1 useful. After all of our testing, we’d suggest Aurora HDR for professional usage and if you’re constantly using HDR photos in your work.

Photomatix Pro 6.1 has a lot to offer, but there are some features missing.

Okay, one last thing before I go! Don’t forget, both of these programs can also be used as Lightroom plugins.

RELATED POST: Aurora HDR vs Lightroom to Merge Bracketed Photos

Which one did you choose? Let us know why in the comments!

About The Author

2 thoughts on “Aurora HDR vs Photomatix Pro 6.1”

  1. I chose Photomatix Pro, for the benefit of my pocket and speed of software, I found Aurora to be far too sluggish.

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