Just to reiterate, these HDR environment maps are perfect for the small time crook. Because I use a probe, they’re much faster to make. My 3D scenes are usually budgeted such that any HDR environment is already above and beyond, so doing a full-on panorama stitch would be WAAAAAY out of scope. If you’re like me, these are right up your alley.
Last week’s HDR pack had a Blender file with a Cycles setup, if you’re not sure how to use them. I prefer the .HDR over .EXR; although you have to type in ludicrous values for the environment strength (.0005, which rounds up visually to look like it’s .001), you can REALLY see the potency of any given HDR pixel, especially when cranked through the gamma. But the EXR ends up a bigger file size, so it might be better data 😛