As usual, the installation process can be completed easily and efficiently. If desired, the installation of the Photoshop plug-in and graphics support before launch can be excluded from this process. In addition, the comprehensive program manual in PDF format can be opened directly from the installation window. However, this is no longer possible from the options in the program start window that appears after installation.
Curiously, the program manual is saved directly under User/UserName/AppData/Local/Temp after being called from the start window in Windows 7.
If the PDF manual is not initially called from this location, the file is not saved.
After restarting the computer, the file is no longer available because it is stored in a temporary folder.
To find the file again, the installation file must be called to display the startup window with the manual.
The installation does not need to be restarted; the manual only needs to be displayed in order to save it in another location for later use. This procedure for saving the manual correctly only applies to the downloaded version; the manual that comes with the software in its CD version is saved directly to this special storage medium and is accessible from there. Nevertheless, a better solution could have been found for this problem.
After completing the installation process, the program can be started as usual. As with the previous versions, an empty window then appears.
After starting the program for the first time, it is recommended to adjust the program settings under the Extras tab.
As shown above, the available options are spread over five different tabs.
On the first tab, the GPU accelerator can be turned off in case the graphics card used has problems with the program. However, this should not be a problem on most modern computers.
The adjustments made in this test concern the resolution of the preview display, which is now set to a value of 2.5 megapixels - a click on the Optimal Settings button should suffice.
If you need additional information when navigating this window, you can find a helpful explanation of the individual options under the respective tabs by clicking on the "I" symbol in the upper right corner - just like in the previous versions.
Of particular interest is the "Calculation" tab, which can have a major impact on the appearance and quality of the image result.
Our test is performed at maximum quality, with the smoothing mode set to quad-linear.
The relatively high sampling density can overwhelm even the most powerful computers, so we performed further tests of the preview mode and point-of-interest, the results of which are presented later in the article.
A decision-making aid for the quality settings is provided under the Extras tab by the benchmark test, a familiar feature from earlier versions of the software.
If your tested image receives a rating of five stars, you can set the quality settings to maximum performance without hesitation. This is not to give the impression that the software only runs optimally on high-performance PCs. Even on our 8-year-old computer with a quad-core CPU and only 8 GB Ram, HDR projects 5 ran smoothly and without problems.
It is often worthwhile to activate the maximum resolution for the point-of-interest, which can be found in the last submenu Automatic. A noteworthy new feature in this version is the ability to adjust the font size for menus and headings, referred to by the developers as 4K design and customizable in the Display menu.
As for other settings highlights, we leave further evaluation to you!
This Review has been written by Gerhard Lang, www.ahadesign.eu