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ON1 HDR 2020 Review – An Impressive Program for Professional Usage

ON1 HDR 2020 Review
on1 hdr photo editing software

Name: ON1 HDR 2020

Description: ON1 HDR 2020 creates flawless, natural HDR photos, that combine the highlight and shadow details from a bracket of exposures, in the blink of an eye.

Offer price: 39.99

Currency: USD

Operating System: Windows, Mac

Application Category: Multimedia

Author: ON1

[ More ]

  • Layout
  • Ease of Use
  • HDR Quality
  • Post Processing
  • Export & Sharing Features
4.2

Summary

ON1’s latest product has plenty of promise. As you can see from our ON1 HDR 2020 review, the software is extensive and has a host of useful features. You can effectively and quickly create detailed HDR compositions. Furthermore, you can add a heap of artistic license using the editing features and presets.

We did question the reliability of the HDR engine, however. Some images look superb and the engine processes the HDR shots accurately. On some occasions, however, the final HDR images didn’t look 100% right – a great deal of editing was required to make them look acceptable.

Moreover, as with other ON1 software, the overall performance of ON1 HDR 2020 isn’t perfect – some of the processes take time to load, and there is a noticeable delay when using some of the features.

Pros

  • Advanced RAW post-processing
  • Excellent selection of presets
  • Intuitive layout and controls

Cons

  • Slow performance
  • High spec computer required
  • HDR quality was inconsistent

ON1 has a wealth of successful editing software for photography – ON1 Photo RAW, for example, is a top editing program that rivals Lightroom. To build on the success of Photo RAW, ON1 has released a standalone HDR editing program – ON1 HDR 2020. We have created an ON1 HDR 2020 review detailing exactly what this program has to offer.

First, let’s provide a brief overview. This program is available on both Windows and MAC devices. Moreover, it is affordable and reasonably priced compared to other HDR programs like HDR Projects 7. There is a 30-day trial version available which lets you test the full program features.

In the sections below, we delve deeper into the functionality and quality of ON1 HDR 2020.

System requirements & basic features

Before we look at the quality and processes, let’s look at the basic features and specifications. As stated, this program is available for both Windows and MAC devices. We have listed the basic system requirements for ON1 HDR 2020 below:

System requirements

  • Windows – Windows 7 or later
  • Screen Resolution – 1280×800
  • Memory – 8GB of RAM
  • CPU – Intel Core i5 Xeon, or better
  • HDD – 1.5GB of free storage
  • MAC – macOS 10.12 or later
  • Screen Resolution – 1280×800
  • Memory – 8GB of RAM
  • CPU – Intel Core i5 Xeon, or better
  • HDD – 1.5GB of free storage

As you can see, the basic requirements are much more than other HDR software like Oloneo HDRengine. Also, consider that these are the minimum requirements – it is recommended that you have 16GB+ of RAM and a 2GB dedicated GPU.

Basic Features

  • Supported file formats – JPEG, JPEG2000, PNG, OpenEXR, RGBE, FITS, RAW
  • Automatic lens correction
  • Automatic ghost removal
  • Automated HDR merging
  • Tone mapping
  • Retouching options
  • Advanced image transformation
  • Preset image effects
  • Single image HDR
  • RAW editing

The basic features are comprehensive and give users excellent flexibility. With RAW editing and advanced post-processing features, you can create some fantastic and realistic HDR compositions.

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Layout

Like other ON1 programs, the layout is easy to follow and intuitive. You can quickly understand how to load bracketed shots and start the HDR process. On opening the program, you are given the option to create a new HDR file as shown below.

All the toolbars are logically placed and easy to access. Furthermore, the interface is not cluttered. You can also transform the workspace and change the layout as you see fit.

We also like the advanced exporting features – ON1 HDR 2020 allows for greater control of the exporting process. You can rename the file, and change other settings like file type, resolution, and watermarking.

Ease of Use

The general usability of ON1 HDR 2020 is OK. We don’t feel that this is a program suitable for beginner usage. It does have a myriad of advanced features that are suitable for those who understand the basics of photo editing.

Furthermore, to create the best quality HDR photos, some knowledge of post-processing is advisable. The controls and functionality of the program are straightforward, however. Most settings are changed using simple sliders, and there is a myriad of viewing options for your HDR images.

The main area this program appeared to fall short is the performance – you may be aware that other ON1 programs have suffered from poor performance and slow loading times.

At first glance, this program appears to have similar drawbacks. We created our ON1 HDR 2020 review on a powerful computer with 8GB of RAM – despite this, the loading time was a little sluggish. Furthermore, some of the general processes took time to load. Generally, it was slower than other HDR software we have tested.

HDR Process

The HDR process is simple. Once the program is opened, simply follow the instructions provided. First, you must load the bracketed shots you wish to include.

A screen then appears asking what style you want the HDR image to be processed in – this affects the basic settings and you can choose a myriad of different scenes.

Next, you can tweak the HDR settings including ghosting, and alignment. You can also change which image is the base image – this automatically edits the exposure of the other photos to suit.

Once this is done, you are taken to the main editing screen where you can start post-processing. Creating a basic HDR image takes less than a few minutes.

Generally, we found the HDR process to be a strong point of this ON1 HDR 2020 review. It was smooth, quick, and easy to follow.

HDR Quality

Most readers of this ON1 HDR 2020 review want to look at the quality. Does this program create high-quality, usable HDR images? Yes, it does – however, we felt the results were inconsistent. If you look at the examples we have posted in the “HDR examples” section below, you can see the inconsistencies.

For example, the seaside image looks fantastic – although the image was a little flat, we only had to make minor details so that it looked impressive. In contrast, the basic image of the canon looks strange. The sky and background mountains don’t quite look right – if we compare this to the same canon image processed in HDR Projects 6 – the difference is clear.

We are not sure if this was a result of the basic images, or how we processed it – but that particular image did not turn out as we expected. In contrast again, if you look at the other HDR samples we created in this ON1 HDR 2020 review, you can see the truly amazing results this program can create.

Post Processing Features

Another area that we enjoyed during the creation of our ON1 HDR 2020 review was the post-processing. This software has detailed post-processing features.

To start, users can edit basic parameters like highlights, contrast, saturation, exposure, and temperature. These parameters are all changed by simple sliders that update the preview in real-time.

In addition to this, users can transform images using both crop and transformation tools as seen below. This provides great flexibility and allows you to alter the basic composition of images.

Aside from these standard features, users have additional flexibility via the following tools:

  • Retouch
  • Refine
  • Mask
  • Local

Retouch and refine allow you to remove obtrusive objects from your images. Alternatively, the local and mask tools allow you to make localized adjustments to specific parts of the image. This provides additional flexibility as you don’t have to apply blanked edits to the whole image.

Presets

This is one area that we really enjoyed when creating this ON1 HDR 2020 review. The presets are brilliant. Firstly there is an excellent selection to choose from. There are over 50 presets to choose from and a number of categories available including artistic, landscape, black and white, and dramatic.

Secondly, the quality and accessibility of the presets are fantastic too. You can easily apply a preset simply by clicking on the thumbnail. Moreover, you can change the strength of the applied preset via a simple slider. Finally, you can also mark presets as favorites so you can quickly use them again.

HDR Examples

To provide some substance to our ON1 HDR 2020 review, we have created a myriad of different HDR examples. We used a variety of sample images from other software like EasyHDR, and our own images. This allowed us to create a varied set of HDR composites so you can look at the quality this program produces.

As you can see, you can create some excellent effects using presets. Furthermore, basic editing tools provide a wealth of detail and creativity. Don’t forget to check out our other HDR reviews including EasyHDR, Photomatix Pro, and Oloneo HDRengine so you can see how this program compares.

FAQs

Is ON1 HDR 2020 available as a plugin for any other software?

Yes, it is available as a plugin for Adobe Photoshop, and Adobe Lightroom.

How many computers can I install the program on for the basic license?

The single one-off purchase allows you to install ON1 HDR 2020 on 5 different devices.

Can I use my license to install on both Windows and MAC devices?

Yes, the license doesn’t restrict usage on different operating systems – you can install on either Windows or MAC devices.

Is there any tutorials available for ON1 HDR 2020?

Yes, there is a help section on ON1’s website providing a range of tutorials and user guides.

What languages is ON1 HDR 2020 available in?

English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Dutch, Russian, Chinese

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Author

  • Paul loves traveling and photography. He is also a Lightroom and Photoshop expert and likes to test new photo software, apps, and gear. Paul frequently shares his travel photography tips on his travel blog and writes for known photography publications.

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