We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
Digital photo software Reviews
15,670 Reviews

HDR Efex Pro 2 review

£81 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Nik Software

Our Rating: We rate this 4 out of 5

Used sensibly, Nik Software's HDR Efex Pro 2 allows you to reveal detail and deliver punchy results from your photographs. Read our review to find out more.

Before the current love of retro, the previous fad in photography was the HDR and subsequently, the tone-mapped image. The high dynamic range image was laudable in concept, capturing an otherwise contrast impossible range. The tone-mapping follow up can be applied to combined HDR images or to single images and that’s the case with Nik Software’s HDR Efex Pro 2. See Group test: what's the best photo-editing software?

As the name might suggest, this shares a similar interface to Nik’s marvellous Efex 4. That means recipe presets on the left, previews in the middle and parameters on the right. One of the preview options is to have a before and after split down the middle or run before and after images next to each other. Alas, this is not the original image and the tone-mapped version because the filter – Photoshop, Aperture and Lightroom compatible – automatically renders a balanced image as the start. Anything you then come up with is compared to that, which is a little strange. Take a look at Adobe Photoshop Elements 10 too.

There are numerous presets to generate lots of varied results, ranging from dramatic and effective to stupid and cartoon-like. The parameters can be used to tweak all aspects of the process so just one preset can be used in many different ways. If you come up with something that works particularly well it can also be saved as your own preset. See also Ashampoo ImageFX review.

HDR Efex Pro 2 review

HDR Efex Pro 2 review Expert Verdict »

Mac OS X 10.6.8, 10.7, Intel CPU, 2GB RAM, Photoshop CS5+, Lightroom 3+, Aperture 3.0+
  • Overall: We give this item 8 of 10 overall

There’s no doubt that if you area fan of tone-mapped images or just want to liven up or balance out ones with significant contrast or shadow problems, this is an excellent way of doing it.

  • Nik Color Efex Pro 3.0 review

    Nik Color Efex Pro 3.0

    Some special effects and filters are fun or useful; only a few become absolute necessities. Nik Software Color Efex Pro is in that latter category because it is not only one of the finest collections of Photoshop-compatible plug-in filters available, its quality and versatility make it almost indispensable.

  • Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 review

    Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4

    Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 is a photo editing and sharing tool that shines. Read our Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 review to find our why it is worth the upgrade.

  • CyberLink PhotoDirector Ultra 4 review

    CyberLink PhotoDirector Ultra 4

    CyberLink PhotoDirector 4 adds face recognition and Mac OS X support to this Lightroom and Aperture wannabee.

  • Sony Handycam HDR-XR200V review

    Sony Handycam HDR-XR200V

    The GPS-enabled Sony Handycam HDR-XR200V certainly sports innovative features, but it lacks the video quality needed to make it stand out from - or even measure up to - the best small AVCHD camcorders we've seen this year.

  • Sony HDR-CX520 review

    Sony HDR-CX520

    The Sony HDR-CX520 is a high-definition, flash memory-based camcorder aimed at both casual users and discerning videophiles.

IDG UK Sites

Android M / Android 6.0 UK release date and new feature rumours: Android M live video stream -...

IDG UK Sites

Why I think the Apple Watch sucks and you'd be mad to buy it

IDG UK Sites

Ben & Holly's Game of Thrones titles spoof is delightfully silly

IDG UK Sites

Jony Ive 'semi-retired' into new role: kicked upstairs as Chief Design Officer