Ken, I'm curious - I find DPP to be an awful interface with non-intuitive controls and apparently less capability to make fine adjustments to the RAW conversion. In what particular ways do you find it performs better conversions than ACR?
I was very skeptical about DPP. In fact for the first year I had my 1D2, I never even installed the Canon software. Armed with Bruce Fraser's fine Real World Camera Raw book, I felt confident that I was using ACR to best advantage. Then, when DPP 2.0 came out, some very experienced folks on the RG forums started saying that they were getting better conversions with DPP 2.0. Some of them had used every converter available, up to C1. I downloaded the latest version and gave it a try. I agree about the interface. I don't like it at all. I miss the highlight recovery capability of ACR, and the precise adjustments posible with all its controls. I'm sure there are folks who understand why DPP has a RAW tab with no curve tool, and an RGB tab that does have one; but I don't. I agree about coarser adustments, particularly the tone curve slider on the RAW tab. In spite of all my complaints, it seem that if I set the tone curve slider so the image looks best, maybe tweak the curve on the RGB tab, and then set the sharpness slider on the RAW tab to about 3, the resulting image has smoother gradients near the limits of dynamic range, and sharpness that is difficult to match in PS even with a lot of fiddling with the USM or Smart Sharpen control. Every once in a while, I give ACR another try, hoping that it will be as good, because I really prefer using it, but I end up deciding that the results are better with DPP, now 2.03. I'm not sure about color, but portrait shooters seem to prefer DPP to ACR for skin tone, particularly those using the 1Ds2. Many of them prefer other converters; C1, RSP, Silkypix, etc. These differences my be less with newer cameras, such as the 5D.
There are some comparisons at
I want ACR to work best, but it hasn't happened for me yet.