DXO does indeed make it easier to save a image like this one, but in some cases, their formula also ruins a perfectly good image. There is something to be said for having the ability to control the parameters, but it takes time and skill..
+1, I just ran some images through dxo's superior "prime" noise reduction and (again) noticed three things:
1. dxo's lens correction is better than acr (ps & lr), no surprise.
2. the prime nr only makes a difference @100% crop and takes ages to process
3. on topic: the dxo results look somehow more artificial and overprocessed than acr, even with absolutely no other processing applied than lens correction. It seems to be their raw conversion engine is to blame, but of course this is a subjective impression w/o much in-depth testing.
So as a result I'm happily sticking to lightroom, even if recovering shots like the above is a pita as you need all kinds of tone-curve wizardry to pull down the highlights.
Marsu, I agree that LR/ACR are much easier to use and give better results right away, but if you really dig into the settings and understand how to manipulate them, DxO will give better results. I have challenged myself to process photos in both many times and DxO always wins. It just takes more work and I've had to read the manual (
) and some of their tutorials to get the most out of it. The default settings are usually pretty flat and colorless in comparison to ACR, but tweak away and you'll get great photos. Some of the features that I love are the lens sharpness, which is a really sophisticated unsharp mask based on the lens profile. It sharpens less at the center and more at the edges, and at all but the highest settings, it's practically artifact free. I've never loved sharpening in ACR. Also, DxO has a tool that reduces color saturation for clipped or nearly clipped color channels to pull out more detail. It works great with photos of flowers or other highly saturated colors and can be adjusted so it doesn't wash out the colors, either.
PRIME is really useful, but is pretty much pointless below ISO 3200 as their standard NR works just fine. On low ISO photos, it takes forever to process because there is so much data in the file, but on photos at ISO 6400 or higher, it really is amazing and isn't as slow. It brings back lost color and detail unlike anything I've ever seen and makes ISO 12800 and 25600 photos usable for all but the largest prints, assuming good equipment, technique, and ETTR are used.
As for the first shot Dolina posted, if I was in DxO, I would set the exposure to Highlight Recovery-High, and then use the tone sliders to recover detail in the the shadows (as the photo would now appear very dark and underexposed), pull up the midtones a bit, and potentially drop the highlights further. I might use that color saturation tool to recover detail in her top as well and I think the results would really surprise most people.