Features Comparison

  Photomatix Pro Photomatix Essentials Tone Mapping Plugin
Application Type Standalone +
Lightroom Plugin
Standalone +
Photoshop Elements Plugin
Photoshop CS/CC Plugin
Merge to HDR Yes Yes No (*)
Maximum number of photos per bracketed set Unlimited 5 n/a
Thumbnails of Built-in Presets Yes Yes No
Thumbnails of Custom Presets Yes No No
Display Options for Preset Thumbnails Yes No No
Favorite Presets Yes No No
Saving and Loading Custom Presets Yes Yes No
HDR Tone Mapping with Details Enhancer Yes Yes Yes
HDR Tone Mapping with Contrast Optimizer Yes Yes No
Advanced Details Enhancer settings Yes No Yes
Exposure Fusion with Fusion/Natural Yes Yes No
Exposure Fusion with Fusion/Interior Yes No No
Finishing Touch (sharpening, contrast) Yes Yes No
Undo Tone Mapping / Fusion Yes Yes Yes
Fusion from a single RAW file Yes No No
Automatic alignment of hand-held photos Yes Yes No (*)
Automatic ghost removal Yes Yes No (*)
Adjustment options for Automatic Deghosting Yes No No (*)
Selective Deghosting tool Yes No No
Batch Bracketed Photos Yes No No
Batch Single Photos Yes No No
Noise Reduction Yes Yes No
Chromatic Aberrations Reduction Yes No No
Loads JPEG, RAW and TIFF (8-bit & 16-bit) images Yes Yes Yes
Opens and saves in 32-bit HDR image formats Yes No No (*)
Integration with Lightroom with free Plugin Yes No n/a
Host Requirement none (Standalone) none (Standalone) Photoshop CS2 or higher

(*) Photoshop CS2 to CC includes the merge of bracketed photos into 32-bit HDR with automatic alignment and read/write in 32-bit HDR image formats. Photoshop CS5 to CC includes an option for ghost removal as well.

You can also visually compare Photomatix Essentials and Photomatix Pro through their introduction videos.

Note: If you buy a license of Photomatix Essentials, you can later upgrade to Photomatix Pro for the $60 price difference between both products.