1) Shoot two exposures and blend them together in Photoshop. One exposure captures lots of shadows (leaving highlights blown) and the other holds the highlights and has blocked up shadows. A related alternative would be in camera HDR, but then you have no RAW file. This multiple exposure approach is of course ill-suited to moving subjects and that includes trees in the breeze, moving grass, river scenes and all sorts.
2) You use software to reduce the banding to a point at which it does not spoil the print.
Nik Dfine is part of the Nik Collection, which is owned by Google. The programs within the collection are useful for all sorts of things, but I bought Dfine for one reason: banding. It works very well and even at the price of the full Nik Collection, it is work having for any Canon owner plagued by banding woes. It operates either as a plug in, so one just selects ‘Photo > Edit In > Dfine 2 and a the program opens up.
I will not cover the full use of Dfine here, but focus solely on banding reduction, using the severely banded ‘Lifted 2’ file. The below image shows how the Dfine control panel opens up. Click on the ‘Reduce’ tab on the right.
This will bring up the following.
See the ‘>More’ option in the bottom right? Click this and you get the below:
I then ticked the ‘Debanding’ box and selected vertical, because banding runs from top to bottom of the frame as seen on screen. In this case it defaults to 100%, which with this photo was fine, but I tend to back it off so that I use the least amount of processing to remove the problem. In the end I selected 78%. Note that artefacts can result from the debanding process and there is a subtle loss of image acutance (ticking edge preservation helps when applying aggressive noise reduction and debanding). When conducting debanding on urban night scenes, with a lot of very high contrast edges (illuminated windows against the night sky), I have noticed severe smearing or ‘dragging’ of these high contrast edges, requiring me to back off considerably on the amount of debanding applied. I have always been able to provide just enough debanding to remove the visible problem, but without introducing visible artefacts. Each image needs tweaking individually, but its a simple and quick process.
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