The tests below were inspired by a comment from Tom on my previous Adobe Camera RAW vs Canon JPEG test which I very much appreciate. All the images use the same RAW file so this is purely a test of the various software processing not hardware. The test image was shot with the Canon 50D, 24-105 F/L and all the camera noise and image lightning options were turned off. Essentially the rest of the actual exposure settings are meaningless since as I say this is to test the post processing software. Well, that’s my opinion anyway.
The results are most interesting I think. Clearly Adobe Camera RAW is terrible at processing the higher ISO settings compared to Canon’s Digital Photo Professional software, which actually I would expect since Canon does not share all of it’s RAW format details with 3rd party companies from what I’ve read, and that the companies essentially have to reverse engineer the file to understand it. That plus the fact that Canon can use the same algorithms it uses inside the camera firmware to handle the noise.