Well, I suppose in this day and age of easy being the best, yes...I suppose there's something to be said for the best result for the least effort. That's not the way I approach my work however and I certainly don't respect anybody whose primary goal is quick and easy (or down and dirty).
Clearly, the camera software is designed yo produce the 'Nikon Look' or 'Canon Look' where by default, the software is designed to match the JPEG image on the LCD display. Nikon and Canon can afford to do that because with their cameras and software they are trying to create a closed loop system.
Camera Raw/Lightroom support almost 200 different raw file formats from a myriad of manufacturers...the Camera Raw team doesn't really care about matching the manufacture's looks so much as creating a useful "normalized" default rendering–which the user is free to override. As a nod to those who claim Nikon or Canon produce better color off their raw files Adobe created the DNF Profile and added that to the DNG spec. So, as it relates to match up with camera looks, that's covered. If you think that Capture One or Raw Developer or Capture NX or Canon's DPP produce better detailed rendered files, I would suggest that you don't know how to use Camera Raw/Lightroom's Detail sliders for noise reduction and sharpening.
Yes, I'm predisposed to use Camera Raw/Lightroom. I was personally involved in the development and I've written a book on Camera Raw. So, I better use what I am involved with and try my best to evangelize what I think is the optimal raw processing pipeline. That's not to say I don't whisper in the ears of the ACR/LR engineers about improving this or that to try to make ACR/LR the hands down best raw processing pipeline in the industry. There are weaknesses in the current pipeline that I would like to see addressed (and I'm kinda in the position of helping to bring about that change).
But I get pretty tired of people claiming this or that raw processor is hands down better that Camera Raw or Lightroom when the person making that claim doesn't have a friggin' clue how to use ACR or LR and just let the software run at near default and then piss&moan™ that "It is becoming apparent that the raw convertors specific to a proprietary raw format..eg. .NEF ....can provide superior raw conversions."
Sorry...I seriously doubt that, ya know?
Learn to be expert with the software you decide you want to use and quit wagging your tongue about the assumptions of the masses (they generally don't have a friggin' clue).
with all due respect, I think you are missing a point. If I am wrong, or the subject has more to it (very likely) please point it out. I understood you as such: If one wants good results out of Lightroom he has to tweak, and you dont respect someone who espects an easy out of the box good result as the vendor-specific softwares provides.
Now I see it only as natural to expect from lightroom the same quality as from the native converters. I only work with Canon so here is my experience and toughts.
In lets say 98% of all Raws I can get the same quality out of Lightroom as from DPP. I have a LR preset wich comes close to my DPP settings. Often it matches 100% visually, sometimes it doesnt. Then I take the DPP image as a reference to adjust the file further, and usually I can emulate it very good.
So, I find DPP renders the tones out of the box better than Lightroom. If I had never installed DPP and only LR my conversions would be worse, tonal-wise. Large batches of comparisation renderings show the DPP tones to be consistently better. LR results are good too, but sometimes a bit dull to describe it in short. So well, of course I'd expect that LR can do the same.
So when you bash inexperienced users you are missing the point. Blaming the users is not the way to go. Of course I can fix it and make it appear like DPP, thats not the point. The point is that the software should get it right in the first place.
At the end one might wonder why I use LR/ACR at all when DPP is so much better. Well, very simple: Better noise reduction, gets better results out of lower quality base files, is generally more flexible. Also DPP is crippled severly workflow-wise.
And about me: Im used to work with Maya and other vastly more complex apps than Photoshop is and Im used to find workflows for myself. Of course Im not as competent as the LR experts, but I consider me to be reasonably competent. I am not a lazy user who just protests. I can get it like I want, but I say, LR should deliver better defaults.
If this is easy to do or not is an entirely different issue. And I respect it if this will not change, I have my solution anyway. But the issue exists, and I find it too easy to just blame the users.
All the best