Comparison Chart

  Photomatix Pro Photomatix Essentials
Application Type Standalone +
Lightroom Plugin
Merge to HDR
Maximum number of bracketed photos per set Unlimited 5
HDR "Look" with a Single Photo
Native RAW support
Details Enhancer HDR style (Tone Mapping)
Contrast Optimizer HDR style (Tone Mapping)
Tone Balancer HDR style (Tone Mapping)
Tone Compressor HDR style (Tone Mapping)
Fusion/Natural HDR style (Exposure Fusion)
Fusion/Interior HDR style (Exposure Fusion) -
Exposure Fusion from a single RAW file -
Advanced HDR settings -
Individual color adjustments -
Brush Tool -
Blend with original and source exposures -
Finishing (Sharpening & Contrast)
Crop Tool
Straightening Tool -
Undo HDR adjustments
Saving & loading custom presets
Thumbnails of built-in presets
Thumbnails of custom presets -
Favorite presets -
Preset thumbnails display options (larger size & 2 columns) -
Histogram -
Noise reduction
Automatic alignment of hand-held photos
Automatic ghost removal
Selective ghost removal tool -
Chromatic Aberrations reduction -
Automatic lens correction of RAW files -
Batch Bracketed Photos -
Batch Single Photos -
Opens & saves in 32-bit HDR image formats -
Color managed workflow
Integration with Lightroom -

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

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