I understand where you're coming from on this, but the examples I showed put forward that the workload is going to increase in a lot of cases where noise is more evident, as LR3 looks like it is going to make more evidence of noise in the image. It seems that all camera manufacturers are trying to give us more smoothing and reduction of noise and Adobe have gone in the oposite direction.
The whole reason for going Lightroom in the first place was to reduce the in-out of Photoshop or other tools by helping us streamline our workflow. I fail to see why a radical change in the way base line noise is handled is going to help me in any way. When you have 200 hundred photos from a shoot and they are all taken with varying ISO settings, with varying levels of noise, the problems increase as it is not possible to sync the settings across large swaths of photos.
What's more, to make these changes and say, "Hey guys the quality is better" but fail to point out the reasons for the Dithering in the image, is not going to make me want to upgrade. The reason I called this dithering is that in my eyes, (and at 1:1) it looks like a cheap 1995 inkjet output, which means that I will see poor visual output. I also fail to see how they can have suddenly thought, "I know lets put more noticeable noise in the photos, at the default settings, yeah that sounds like a good idea."
I am aware that we can adjust this slider to compensate for this problem, and that slider for that problem, but there is only so much time I want to spend messing with client images. The photoshoots I do have multiple problems with lighting, and in most cases I am forced to abuse the settings on the camera, to get the image. Very rarely in my line of work is anything studio setup, so I have to work with what I can get. This means that I don't like to have too much work after the shoot, which this will give me as I will be having to check all the images from now on. I know that I can set a default base line that is softer and does not show this problem, but when I need to sharpen, I will see what I consider to be dithering and this will cause me to refuse to use it. So before you point out about the masking or other sliders, this brings me back to more work and that is a no-no.
My reasons for increasing all the sliders, was to show the extremes of difference between one tool and another, where seemingly no outside evidence is visible in the UI. Theoretically Lightroom 3 should work in a similar, if not exact same manner to Lightroom 2, but apparently it does not. The problem I have is it is all very well and good, making an excuse for Adobe by saying that it is more sensitive, or that it works in a different way, but why do they use the same interface to facilitate an understanding of the function of the tool. I would agree with you if the numbers where different with in the UI, so we knew that something different was going to happen, or something else gave me some feedback about the reasons behind the design. But as usual with Adobe, nothing but the standard, "It's an improvement."
Rory - I think that the sharpening brush will be a lost cause as the problem I see is not on this little area, but the whole image. When I imported it I immediately noticed the darker spots in the image, which where not blended in with the other pixels. Problem is that I believe that the rendering engines between LR2 and LR3 are so radically different that it is going to be a problem for many people. They say that we can use the older 2003 processing engine, but even that does not hack it. I know that I could make the brush massive, but have you tried to use a brush on a 21mp image. Even the processing engine on lightroom takes a hit and stutters.
I get the impression that they will radically improve the image quality when the final version ships, as even they will see this as unacceptable. My reason for asking the question was to find out if anyone else had seen this problem in image quality. It is like my impression of the 1Ds2 against the 1Ds3, I personally prefer the 1Ds2, for image quality as it was nicer and more film like, but that's my perception. Remember kiddies - Perception is nine tenths of reality...
On a positive note, I don't need to upgrade, as no one is forcing me. But if they're claiming a better image quality then I would have to disagree at the moment.