Affinity as a raw editor is awful I agree. Luminar is full of unrealised promise. I love the interface and the concept. It is not unlike Nik but there are so many bugs and the raw editor has some awful flaws. Agree that Capture One is excellent but I have not tested it for a while but remember liking the layers. The price makes it prohibitive anyway. That leaves Adobe and PL2. I still like Adobe, best highlight and shadow sliders I have encountered, bags of free training resources and a huge user base. Results are good as well. PL2 is clearly powerful but I do find the interface messy and unintuitive. I have just spent an hour on an image trying to get it to the same place I managed in Lr - I just cannot get away from that dull flat look that arises once highlights and shadows have been moved (especially shadows). I am told its a mix between several sliders that is required but if that is the case I just cannot find it. I also find the colour controls on PL2 inferior to Adobe. For all that I still have a liking for PL2, but whether I’ll never crack it is open to question. I play with it often; rusults are very mixed so at the moment Adobe rules here for production work.
I do agree that color control is an area that is superior in Adobe and needs to be addressed by DXO. As to the flatness you are seeing in PL2, I don’t seem to be having a similar issue. Have you tried using the micro contrast tool? Also, have you been adding Clearview to the mix? It is useful for much more than haze removal.
What it might be Mark is that I push the shadows slider too far. Lr does not tend to suck detail/contrast that easily but maybe DxOPL’s shadow slider can be more aggressive. I’ll check that out and your tip re micro contrast. Thanks!
What value have you been setting the shadow slider to? I used to set the value higher than I should have in order to recover deep shadow detail until I discovered that a combination of Smart Lighting in conjunction with a lower setting of the Shadow slider gave me much better results. Additionally, I often apply some Clear View Plus which restores a bit of structure to the image after overusing the shadows slider. More recently I’ve also started to use the shadows slider in local adjustments using the auto mask for selective areas, which has no impact on the rest of the image. The right combination of tools and adjustments can vary dramatically from image to image, but I find I can quickly and easily get the results I’m seeking