Eric in Florida says:
I am starting to use LR/Enfuse more often. I normally use Photomatix, because it processes much faster than LR/Enfuse. I am using LR/Enfuse at the default settings. I was wondering if there are any other settings you might recommend that make LR/Enfuse process faster.
Since Simon Maxwell is the expert on LR/Enfuse, I passed Eric's question on to Simon. Here is his answer:
I ran a comparison speed test of a five bracket sequence via LR/Enfuse and Photomatix both via their respective Lightroom plugins. Enfuse took just over one minute and Photomatix was about ten seconds faster! With Photomatix, you have to monitor the process as a secondary menu control panel appears once the bracketed images have been exported to Photomatix. You can choose the type of fusion effect you want ( I choose Exposure/ Fusion under "Process" and Fusion/ Interior under "Method") and apply and preview manual fine adjustments pre-blend if you wish to apply them. Even if you set Photomatix to run with default settings, you still have to follow the fusion process's secondary menu. With LR/Enfuse, you can simply choose not to see a preview and just set the process to run while you do other things. I set Lightroom to play a sound on re-importing the images which alerts me to locate the Enfuse file. I feel I get more time available overall for processing a shoot by using LR/Enfuse. Of course, if you are batch processing from within Lightroom, then Enfuse performs very well.
For those that find LR/Enfuse noticeably slower than Photomatix when run on the same machine and within Lightroom, the only option I can think of to improve speed is to make sure "Automatically align images before blending them" is unchecked. Selecting this option will really slow down the process and if the photographer has shot with a tripod, the alignment process will not be necessary. This align feature is designed for bracketed sequences which have been shot handheld. Photomatix should also not be set to "Align Images" in the pre-processing options.
I also ran Lightroom's own merge to HDR feature on the same five raw file brackets and the processing time was 20 seconds! I think Enfuse produces better results with more tonal range captured, but the Lightroom merge to HDR isn't a bad solution if you want to do that for some images in a shoot.
Which approach do you use?