Comparing all the mayor contenders in the RAW conversion field leaves us with only one conclusion: there is no real "champion". Some images are better off with program x, while others with program y. However, and in spite of its shortcomings and elevated price, the Bridge/Photoshop/ACR/DNG Converter combo is the more obvious choice for those who routinely convert large amounts of RAW images.
Adobe have just published a ACR release candidate 5.5, which adds support for the Nikon D300S, D3000, Olympus E-P1 and the Panasonic DMC-FZ35.
It is fairly common to see people desperately searching the Web, because their version of Photoshop, Lightroom or Elements refuses to open the RAW files of their new camera, mostly generating either a "File not supported" or a far more scary "This file may be corrupted" message.The same may happen in Nikon Capture, and in both cases you need to update the ACR plugin or even upgrade your software.
Let's stick it to Adobe! 3 Alternatives to upgrading Photoshop every time you get a new camera.
Adobe has published a Release Candidate of Photoshop Camera Raw 5.4 (CS4 only) for immediate download from the Adobe Labs site, which includes support for the Nikon D5000 and other new cameras.
Damn Adobe for their Suite and activation schemes. They have definitely overtaken MS as the dark empire...