If you haven’t read the first two parts please take a look at them, because there you may see the images unsharpened and sharpened with the native tools of each raw converter, and you’ll learn about the specifics of this comparison.
Here I used the images from the second part, the ones sharpened with the tools of each raw converter, and I furtherly sharpened them to taste in Photoshop CS5.
Please keep in mind that some of the images may look a bit oversharpened here at 100% on screen, but than they will look good once printed.
To my eyes: it’s a tie, the crown goes both to RawTherepee and Apple Preview / Rawker.
RawTherapee “paints” the scene with a fine spaced, natural looking brush that looks pretty good at 100%, but once printed it looks less sharp that Apple Preview. More, to obtain this result in RawTherapee, like I wrote in part II, takes a lot of processing time, almost 1 full minute per picture, while Apple Preview takes only a couple of seconds for the conversion. Rawker, if set at -2 points of sharpening from the maximum value (not shown here), it’s every bit as good as Apple Preview (not a suprise, given that they share the same raw conversion engine).
On the plus side RawTherapee has excellent tools to correct chromatic aberration that Apple Preview (and almost all the others, at least good like this) lacks.
Once again a good performance from Corel AfterShot Pro, but once again penalized by the insurgence of non-existent chromatic aberration.
If you want to evaluate for yourself the images you may click below to download one of the PSDs. You have to open them in Photoshop or in Gimp, in this last case using the option File -> “Open as layers”.
The “landscape” PSD contains all the crops of the four parts of the review stacked as layers.
The “portrait” PSD contains instead crops from the three best converters (RawTherapee, Apple Preview and Rawker) when used with, guess what, a portrait image.
100% crops, sharpening for the best result