I used a lot of programs.
- I never really liked early versions of ACR
- I tried Bibble but never agreed with either the colors or the user interface
- I have tested Capture One (LE to limited, full version to expensive)
- I used Raw Shooters Premium but it was bought by Adobe
- I use Lightroom
- I also tried Silkypix
- I also tried Iridient Raw Developer
- And some others
Lightroom is OK. The essential issue is that Lightroom is not a raw converter but a workflow solution. You essentially don't convert from raw but generate the files needed on the fly. The only alternative I see to Lightroom is Aperture which essentially does the same.
Lets take a 12 MPixel RAW image. That should be about 20 MByte. To keep "all information" you would need a 72 MByte TIFF. So you would need to convert your raw files to gargantuan TIFF files and have some third party application to keep record of them.
That said, I see need for other RAW development tools for special cases and I think that Capture One, Silky Pix and Iridient Developer are great tools.
I see we're on to some really important things here.
The workflow software virus, lets call it like that, that allows us to easily process images. It's a quantity solution.
Versus a quality oriented single-image orientation.
I just tested DPP versus LR conversions, and DPP wins hands down.
In only 10 seconds I can get a good basic image that I can send to PS CS3.
In LR, I have the impression, you have much more sliders, as you need them, because the conversion is not so good.
This way you actually lose time.
So, I am now researching methods that fit my quality workflow vs. a quantity workflow.
As I never use an image without processing it in PS, a RAW converter should only do one thing: give me a good basis to start with.
LR/ACR does not give me that basis, as the file quality is not that good in regards of color, detail, and smoothness of tone. If you're starting from a flawed conversion, you will lose a lot of time working. This way, a quantity workflow makes you lose time, if you're on a quality workflow.