Adobe has just unveiled Lightroom CC. Among the new functionalities are speed (claiming up to 10x faster on some processors), face recognition, panorama, etc. For me though the only thing that mattered is the new HDR capability.
The new HDR capability in Lightroom is quick easy to use and the most important thing about it is that the resulting 16 bit image is in RAW format. You don't need Photoshop anymore or any other third party software like Photomatix Pro to blend images together. What I also loved about the Lightroom HDR feature is the natural looking result that darkens the highlights and open up the shadows without the ugly HDR effect. It looks natural and pleasing to the eye. It also has ghosting option where if you bracketed your pictures without a tripod, Lightroom will automatically eliminate the ghosting effect before blending. You can select up to 5 image in your Library and after doing that you can right click and go Photo Merge - HDR (Control + H). You will then be presented with the following HDR Merge Preview dialog box:
You have the options to auto align the bracketed photos, perform Auto Tome (similar to the Develop Auto Tone feature) and then remove ghosting effects. If you tick the Show Deghosting Overlay, Lightroom will highlight the ghosty areas in red. Just play around with the 4 deghosting buttons to arrive to a satisfactory effect removing ghosts as best as you can. The less red overlay, the better the deghosting.
Once happy with the result just click the Merge button and Lightroom will do its magic. But the neat thing about the whole feature is that the result is a PNG / RAW file that you can work further on in the Develop settings. In previous versions I used to edit all bracketed photos, develop and sharpen before exporting to Photomatix and then apply merging. Now with the new Lightroom CC you don't need to do all that. You can perform your adjustments after the HDR Merge. Below are the three HDR tools' results compared. I found Lightroom's HDR Merge feature producing the best natural looking HDR.
So what do you think? Have you tried other tools? Did you try the HDR Merge in Lightroom? Waiting for your thoughts below. Until then, you keep shooting!