As someone who has built their worfkflow around Adobe Lightroom, it never occurred to me that there might be any serious mileage, image quality wise, in looking at other RAW conversion software. Lightroom has established itself as one of the two professional tools of choice, along with Apple Aperture. RAW conversion seems pretty commoditised. The choice seems to be around whether you’re a Mac or a PC, and minor usability considerations. No-one has been claiming that one produces better image quality than the other, or indeed than any of the many lesser known RAW conversion options.
Maybe that’s not quite true. I have come across the suggestion for example that Aperture beats Lightroom for RAW conversion of Sony A900 images.
Going much further with the notion that Lightroom (which shares its RAW conversion engine with Adobe Camera Raw) does a rotten job with Sony DSLR images is this recent post by Photoclub Alpha’s David Kilpatrick.
David is speculating that the loose tie up between Sony and French camera software company DxO labs may go further than first thought. In any event, he points out that the DxO Optics Pro RAW conversion program seems to do a far better job on high ISO Sony images than Lightroom/ACR or indeed anything else. Now this may not be just a Sony thing. Perhaps the science of RAW conversion has not been fully tamed after all, and DxO have come up with a superior conversion engine full stop.
I will in any event be trying out the DxO software. I can think of a number of noisy images which might benefit from better RAW conversion. It must be better to get the best possible conversion first, rather than rely entirely on Noise Ninja or similar in a subsequent step.
So I will give it a try and post my findings. Should be fun.