Hydra — Mac OS X software that gives human eye perception to photography by creating high dynamic range (HDR) images from a series of regular photographies — has been updated to version 3.0. The upgrade is compatible with Mac OS X 10.7 (“Lion”).

Hydra 3 also adds an optimized powerful Tone mapper with 12 presets, ghost artifact removal, an image crop feature and the ability to export to Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Lightroom, Aperture, Mail. The Pro version also adds scope-based image processing (color, brightness, and distance tolerance) and batch processing.

Hydra can create HDR images either from DSLRs or traditional point-and-shoot cameras, according to Raphael Sebbe of Creaceed. The software uses a number of regular photographies with different expositions (darker and lighter photos) to create a superior one which is much closer to what one’s eye can see, he adds. This image is also known as a high dynamic range, or HDR, image because a single photography can’t represent the full gamut of light due to physical limitations of the sensor.

You don’t have to use a tripod for Hydra images as is usually the case with HDR software. Hydra uses the same warping algorithm as Morph Age, which permits the alignment of images with offsets beyond a few pixels. This is a unique feature that means you can take photos anywhere without a tripod to later blend them in Hydra, Sebbe says.

Hydra Express 3 and Hydra Pro 3 retail for, respectively, US$49,99 and $99,99. Hydra Pro 2 registered users are entitled to a discount for upgrading to version 3: $29,99 for purchases of Hydra Pro 2 until Dec 31. Those who bought either version as of Jan. 1, 2011, are entitled to a free upgrade.