As promised, here's the follow up to my previous post comparing RAW Processing from Aperture 2 (AP2), Aperture 3 (AP3), Digital Photo Professional (DPP), and Lightroom 3 Beta (LR3b).
Someone did ask about the newly-released Bibble 5. I haven't downloaded the trial version to play with yet, so it's not included.
This time, we'll be looking at 100% crops from this image, taken at ISO 3200 under some weird tungsten/compact fluorescent light.
As before, I simply opened the file in each program, and then exported the result of its default processing as a 16-bit TIFF file. In this case, that means no color correction was performed on the photos before export, so they are yellow.
I cropped out the same section of each file and put them into this one composite image to make it easy to see the differences between the noise and detail levels. The image is really big because I saved it at maximum quality when I converted to JPEG to preserve the chroma noise detail.
My conclusion - LR3b did the best, closely followed by AP3. The difference here is nowhere near as dramatic as it is with ISO 400 photo, but LR3b seems to do a slightly better job with the chroma noise while retaining more detail.
AP2 gets third place, because even though it doesn't deal well with the chroma noise, it does a good job preserving detail. DPP is last: it does a good job eliminating chroma noise, but is by far the worst for destroying detail.