Here's an interactive mouseover table to see the differences. Areas too look for are in the wood grain (you'll see a lot of colour or chroma noise in the different examples), Smearing of details (look at the texture of the walls to see how it gets smeared and creates the water colour effect), Aliasing issues (look on hard contrast edges to see a zipper aliasing effect), and lastly loss of details (in the red brick you'll see the various levels of details in the pores of the brick).
Mouse over the links below to swap. Click on the links to view 100% (opens into new window)
DCRAW | 1/2 Median | RPP 4.7 | Graphic Converter | InCamera JPG | SilkyPix Pro | Fuji RAW | Lightroom
Some quick comments:
DCRAW 9.16: Gives the highest details, however has aliasing artifacts. Some chroma noise (even after filtering). Command line prompt only. Requires some technical know how. I use VNG interpolation and 15 pass median filtering.
1/2 Median: Is the filtering I apply to DCRAW to combat the aliasing artifacts. Requires a program that has Median filtering, and very process intensive.
Raw Photo Processor (RPP 4.7): Utilizes a proprietary method that seems similar to DCRAW but I haven't confirmed what extraction library it uses (I early assumed that it was DCRAW because every function that I've done in the program can be done with precisely the same results in woring with DCRAW directly). Works very well for details, but aliasing and chroma noise is high. The technique of 15 passes of median averaging in DCRAW clears up more chroma noise than what is produced by this program.
Graphic Converter (Patched): Patched with DCRAW 9.16 gives very similar results to RPP however this program is much friendlier to use than RPP and has some real nice post processing options. Could almost be used as an all in one solution.
In Camera JPG: The default standard. Still exhibits some detail smearing compared to something like DCRAW output, but has no aliasing or chroma noise artifacts.
SilkPix Developer Pro 5: The software that is part of Fuji's RAW processing uses an older SilkyPix engine. This current version is very clean however does show some chroma smearing (look at the green colour that appears under the window ledge and the loss of other colours). Shows very little chroma noise and no real aliasing errors. Very clean output and slightly softer than raw DCRAW output, but lot less aliasing even over the 1/2 Pixel Median filter. I would highly recommend this option if it weren't for the fact that the cost of the software is pretty high.
FujiFilm Raw File Converter: This software bundled with the camera uses an older SilkyPix engine. It does a pretty good job, but the interface is very difficult to use and understand. Compared to the latests version of SilkPix it exhibits chroma noise and some detail smearing.
Lightroom 4.3: Has low amounts of chroma noise, but very heavy detail smearing. Loss of details but no aliasing artifacts. Even at 100% it's hard to see the 'Watercolour' effect if you don't know what to look for. I suspect a very heavy pre-demosaic median filter and bicubic interpolation algorithm is the cause of the issues. However it's still one of the easiest to use, and if you can handle some of the image quality loss, most likely won't notice the detail loss.