Like many people I was quite excited to learn that the new version of ACR has preliminary support for the DP1 files. What this means to me is support for my images in Lightroom. The SPP RAW developer does a great job...one image at a time. It also is just a RAW developer and has no real cataloging capabilities. After spending the last 2 years with Aperture I have really come to appreciate the convenience.
Sadly I have to report that so far I have found ACR lacking, although the images do appear to be about 90% identical. The 2 images I used to test the programs each have very delicate tonalities and it is here that I find ACR to be lacking. It is in the rendering of subtle tones that the magic happens I think. Without this the perceived 3-D effect is missing.
I have no real expectations that the subtleties will show properly here but I will do my best to describe them.
Approaching Storm beach picture. SPP image shows substantially more low grey clouds in an almost 3-D rendition, ACR does not. This is perhaps "Micro contrast" but I can really see that there is an altitude difference in the clouds. This is somewhat lacking in the ACR image. Also, the SPP image contains more colors around the brightest part of the sky than the ACR image.
Olympic Mountain sunset picture. It is here that I immediately see the difference. The sun's disk is completely blown out on the ACR image where the SPP image shows delicate cloud cover. Also, the ACR image is starting to show that horrid bright yellow ring around the sun. This is something I NEVER see when observing sunsets but that digital cameras almost always do. I was quite excited to find that the DP1 didn't show this ring...now here it is again.
To be fair there are some things I like better on the ACR image. The noise in the dark areas of the sunset picture are more controlled and much easier for me to accept. The ACR image also seems to have a bit more mid contrast but that could be an illusion from the increased saturation the image displays.
So I guess I won't be spending the money for Lightroom just yet.