1) - Thank you for the updates and this thread.
2) - I agree with Stuarte when he said that he now has a decision to make about complexity and expense.
I'm still in the 2 week trial of V5 and have found:
* - that for "push the button" automated conversion of several hundred images to JPG for distribution to the family, DxO is demonstrably superior to DPP.
* - that for intense effort work (not being expert at either) I find that DxO and ACR are about equal, but different. DPP loses.
* - after washing through PS, they seem mostly equal (ACR, DxO, DPP)
Perhaps, one of these days, you might wish to write an article about all of the tools that you are experimenting with and find to be of value; i.e., Photomatic, PhotoAcute, etc. I check Outback Photo every couple days and find that the reviews are not as useful as the article just written - especially the paragraph about which converter you use when and why.
After my earlier comments I had another go at DX05 last night and succeeded in converting 5 images without any artefacts being left all over my screen. Comments in comparison to LR/ACR for the 5D are basically below:
* Colour rendering in DXo is much better than LR, even after LR calibration it is easier to get to my desired endpoint. However, LR has some really useful colour controls that DXo lacks. I still prefer the approach DXo takes to white balance to that of LR.
* Lighting engine in DXo seems improved over v4.x and offers a useful alternative to some of LRs functionality. Makes some images sing with much less effort than LR/CS3 approaches. Both have their place here I think, as the LR exposure, blacks, recovery and fill lsiders are very helpful.
* Lens softness in DXo is excellent, but there are some glaring omissions from the supported lens list, e.g. does nobody else use a 100m f2.8 macro on a 5D!. The usm in DXo is very good, but the LR capture sharpening is outstanding in its flexibility.
* LR/ACR has vastly improved demosaicing than the ealier versions (pre v4) that means that it is now very close (maybe even equal to) to DXo. I got some output from DXo that looked better than the bare output from LR, but there could be differences in capture sharpening that would deal with this.
* Obviously DXo does a good job at automated optical correction with supported lens body combinations, which LR doesn't. However, there are some galring omissions, including the 1Ds3!!!! and the Canon 100 2.8 macro on full frame. As an aside (Alan, you may be able to flag this to DXo??) Canon appear to be recording the focus distance in the exif data of the 1Ds3 and I think in the 5D for firmware 1.0.6 on - DXo should be able to read this and improve the automated function.
* The dust function works well on both, and on DXo can be used to remove hot pixels (night exposure - 2.5s at iso 1600)
* LR has an absolutely brilliant interface and workflow that DXO would do well to emulate or to improve integration with.
Overall as a converter I still prefer DXo to LR/ACR, but like the LR workflow and the stability. I am still not happy with the LR colour rendering and even notice this on my GX100, where reds in particular are rendered radically different from the camera jpeg - which is actually pretty good in this respect.
At least this thread has got me looking at DXo seriously again as one of my tools. I will be very pleased when they get v5 running better, introduce support for the 1Ds3 and tidy up the gaps in the supported body/lens lineup.