I stack A LOT as a hobby and use DXO PL as my primary ‘digital photo developing software’.
Personally, i have never found a single stacking software to be dynamic enough let alone be an ace at each feature. As a result i have a plethora of software and will use many in a workflow to get one final image. and to emphasise the previous point, there is no one way to get this done i could take many routes it really comes down to personal preference, final use case, hard or software availability, etc.
Some software i use for stacking and personal highlights of each:
Given i shoot with a Sony camera i can take advantage of their free software. Here you can use Remote to stack remotely. Additionally can use Sony’s Viewer software which can automatically combine Sony’s Pixel shifted photos into one file for you.
Other remote software i use is CaptureOne though for me using v12 will not compile the pixel shifted photos together so stick most of the time to Sony’s Remote and Viewer. I do like Capture ones file management though for stacking. Note your camera will need to be able to tether to your computer to use these features.
Next you will have to download the trial version of both Helicon Focus and Zerene stacker and make the call yourself. I personally went for Helicon but i think the community may be better in Zerene. I believe they are more or less the same.
As you know DXO PL gives the tools to get the image how you want it at least remove the faults with the sensor, optics, environment, etc.
Affinity Photo i will sometimes use for its very forgiving in its stacking tolerances. There are times when it does a better job in certain situations than Helicon which boggles the mind (stitching stacks aka panorama).
Above was for stacking on a rail if you stake astrophotography then perhaps look at PIPP its great for arranging images that will be most suitable for a stack based on their sharpness.
…Would be great if DXO supported the RAW file compiled from Sony’s pixel shift.
…Be good for someone to talk about staking on Adobe, never used it.