I see that John Nack of Adobe is asking for comments (backed up by examples) of how other raw processors stack up against ACR and LR3. I have no doubt that there are many here who can contribute!
"...Over the years I've heard fans of Capture One tout the image conversion quality possible in that app. Unfortunately, I've always found it difficult to get any actual, concrete demonstrations of what they're talking about
"...For our usual tests, we use Adobe Camera Raw for our RAW tests, however, as part of our normal reviewing process we discovered that ACR simply wasn't getting the detail we'd expect out of the E-30 files (we always compare at least three raw converters before we start this section). When we compared ACR's output to Olympus's own converter and Capture One the results were more different than we'd expect (ACR usually does very well in the resolution test).
Athough the most recent version of ACR offers support for the E-30, it does not appear to be producing the sort of quality we would expect to see - specifically it's resolution is actually lower than JPEG (probably not something you'd see in a print, but it would be very unfair to the E-30 to use it for pixel-level comparisons). We contacted the ACR team at Adobe and they acknowledged the rather sub-optimal resolution results for the E-30 in ACR 5.3 (it wll be fixed later).
As a result, we have taken the unusual step of offering preliminary comparisons based on a different RAW converter...."
so the question is - where John Nack was ? too busy writing his blog, instead of checking the facts