Raw conversion software is not all the same, as each has strengths and weaknesses that affect your images in very different ways. Richard Sibley compares seven third-party raw converters to see which resolves the most detail
solely on the tests of sharpness and noise reduction, it is difficult
to decide which of these raw converters is best. Looking at the
sharpened images, the main contenders are Phase One Capture One, Adobe
Camera Raw/Lightroom and DxO Optics Pro 7 – and it is a tough call as to
which comes out top. These three programs are also the most capable of
dealing with noise reduction, with ACDSee Pro 2 not far behind.
think that Capture One’s sharpening is the best on test, while Camera
Raw/Lightroom and DxO Optics Pro 7 are about the best for noise
reduction. However, DxO Optics Pro 7 offers an extensive range of
excellent automatic lens corrections, although it lacks the more
extensive image management options of Capture One or Lightroom.
I think Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, powered by the Camera Raw processor,
is about the best combination for producing excellent images and having
available all the automated lens corrections and image management and
output options. Importantly, it does this quickly and efficiently.
However, what this test demonstrates is that when it comes to image
quality alone, there are other good raw converters, such as Capture One
Express and ACDSee Pro 5, that produce good results, but at a
significantly cheaper price.