Dfine is also a superb noise reduction program as well, but I prefer to work in LR as much as possible, so once the file was back there I conducted some colour and contrast noise reduction and ended up with the below.
Its much better isn’t it? To further remind you of the differences, here are crops from left of centre in the frame, showing the slightly lifted file, the more heavily shadow lifted file and the final Dfine corrected file. Note the banding in the sky:
So there you go. If you own Canon, don’t fancy switching to another manufacturer with higher dynamic range sensors that also don’t seem to have the same pattern/banding/read noise issues, then at $149 you have a solution. For that price, you also get another six programs, in addition to Dfine. Sadly Dfine is no longer available as a single program (I recall it was about $49), but with Canon making some advances on the banding problem since the 5D II and III (the 7D II is reportedly better, so one assumes the 5DS will be too), $149 will be a lot less than it will cost you to switch systems while Canon sorts out its sensors. Sadly you will not get the low noise of the Sony sensors once the shadows have been lifted, but you will almost have a solution that allows you to make no excuses images and that’s all that matters, right?
Hopefully there is a new generation of Canon sensors coming with the 5D IV that will bring greater competitiveness with Sony sensors, but I’m not holding my breath. In the meantime, Canon should bundle Dfine with its cameras!